The article shows the ways in which an idiom of marriage became normative in early modern English translations of the Hebrew Bible. Focusing on successive biblical versions (especially from Tyndale's translation, published in 1530/1 and the first based on the Hebrew original, to the Authorized Version published in 1611), it shows how Hebrew terms relating to a variety of domestic and sexual union were rendered in English biblical versions in a language pertaining to monogamous matrimony. This was further amplified in adjacent textual commentaries and notes.
The use of a contemporary language of marriage in early modern biblical translations was not unlike the ways in which early modern commentator perceived social relations in other remote cultures and filtered them through their own world view. Translators and readers were also relying on long-standing and strong traditions which anchored Christian notions of matrimony in the ancient Hebrew text. However the early modern English biblical idiom of marriage should also be seen in the context of contemporary efforts on behalf of both religious and secular authorities to regulate the institution of marriage. Textual readings and social history are brought together to suggest links between histories of marriage, the church, print culture, and the English bible.
Across the early modern period actors at all levels of European society expressed fears of imminent ‘wood scarcity’ with potentially catastrophic social and economic consequences. Debates as to the ‘reality’ of this risk have subsequently been pursued in many national historiographies with little international comparison. This article provides a cross-national synthesis of this work, along with novel perspectives on the causes of such debates; an examination of the condition of European woodland and the regulation thereof; and reflections on whether Europe was approaching a state of ecological exhaustion around the time of the Industrial Revolution. It is argued that the framework for regulation and debate was set in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century with the widespread development of state oversight of woodlands. Quantitative evidence of the level of supply and demand for wood suggests however that a general, as opposed to a localized, shortage of wood was not plausible before the later eighteenth century. Earlier fears were generated by a combination of an emerging governmental sense of responsibility for resource management, local pressures exerted by urban growth and industry, and above all competition among different users of the woodland. Genuine shortages had emerged by the Napoleonic period but were largely remedied during the nineteenth century by the widespread application of scientific forestry, though at the cost of serious social conflict. This suggests that Europe was not close to an ecological frontier at this period.
Few parts of London attracted so much attention as did Limehouse between the Great War and the 1930s. In popular novels, films, hit records and sensationalist newspaper reports, Limehouse (and its ghostly double ‘Chinatown’) figured as one of the most exciting and dangerous places in Britain. This article explores the Chinese presence in Limehouse and the ways in which it was represented. It utilizes census and other kinds of data to attempt an assessment of the numbers of Chinese in the district, numbers which were often inflated by contemporaries. It then looks at the ways in which a fantasy Chinatown of opium dens, dangerous Chinese underworld masterminds, and suborned white girls was projected on to the district. And finally it looks at how the evident discrepancy between exotic fantasy and drab reality was negotiated in contemporary representations of Limehouse.
Recent histories of twentieth-century heterosexual behaviour have tended to place the practices of young people centre-stage in accounts of social change. Trends in premarital intercourse have been presented as evidence of changing sexual mores: the varied experiences of married people, beyond the realm of fertility, have less often been interrogated. Yet in the years after the Second World War, extended access to fault-based divorce, a state-sponsored determination to remake family life and an increasing emphasis upon the relational aspects of marriage ensured that marital infidelity was prominent in public discussions of sexual and emotional life. This article therefore investigates illegitimate sexual and emotional intimacies involving married rather than single heterosexuals, unpacking the social meanings and significance of adultery in post-war England. It explains why attitudes towards adultery hardened across the period, even as the practice became apparently more common, by exploring the growing centrality of love and sex to discursive constructions of marriage. In so doing this article offers an account which destabilizes a ‘golden age’ characterization of post-war marriage and challenges linear models of sexual and emotional change.
This article examines the wartime diaries of a left-wing middle-class couple living in a small market town in the Durham coal-field. In the late 1930s Peter and Maggie Brittain were both active in Popular Front politics, but the diaries they wrote for Mass-Observation between 1939 and 1946 reveal sharply contrasting trajectories. Peter, English teacher and intellectual, became disillusioned with politics (though retaining a touching faith in the Soviet Union), and sought solace in cultural pursuits. Meanwhile Maggie, who had given up teaching when they married in 1929, blossomed as a shop steward in a local engineering factory. Following her inevitable victimization she persevered doggedly as a Labour Party activist in a notoriously corrupt local Party run in close collaboration with the capitalists who had sacked her. The fact that these bosses were German Jews, and that both Peter and Maggie had found relief from the philistinism of their lower-middle-class neighbours by befriending the well-educated young German Jewish refugees working in the local factories, throws an intriguing light on the way in which these particular middle-class socialists managed to combine democratic commitments with their own acute sense of cultural distinction.
This essay explores the ‘underground’ queer culture of London, as mapped assiduously by the pseudonymous author, Rodney Garland, in his 1953 novel, The Heart in Exile. The novel charts the progress of its narrator, Dr Anthony Page, a psychiatrist, as he investigates a former lover's mysterious death. His investigation draws him into the ‘strange half-world of the homosexual’, as a 1961 paperback edition of the novel announces; it is a world which Page maps in detail. The novel was reissued in 1995 with a preface by novelist and playwright Neil Bartlett, who claimed that Garland offers contemporary readers ‘a perfect crash course in the prehistory of British gay culture’, a ‘systematic exploration of our twilight world’. This essay takes issue with that claim and suggests that we need to view Garland's London as radically unfamiliar territory – a queer world, but not a gay world as we now understand the term. It suggests that the task of recuperation – of finding ‘our’ hidden history – is an inadequate paradigm within which to read Garland's text. It defamiliarizes the London of 1953, mapping the ways in which the queer subject was then constituted, and demonstrates how The Heart in Exile is central to the project of destabilizing those categories of identity taken for granted today.
The film Billy Elliot (dir. Stephen Daldry, 2000) brings supposed working-class assumptions about masculinity into confrontation: it is 1984, the miners are on strike and fighting the police, while young Billy has this unfathomable need to be a ballet dancer. ‘It's not just poofs, Dad’, he insists. What is scarcely questioned is the conventional gendering of ballet as feminine.
Billy Elliot alludes purposefully to Kes (dir. Ken Loach, 1969), which presents another boy, Billy Caspar, with an aptitude and an obsession that marks him out in an industrial working-class town. The two films offer specifically different stories about class, the state, gender and agency. Elliot's individual talent removes him to London in a consolatory fantasy of personal escape. For Caspar and his like there is no idea of leaving Barnsley; the viewer is left to intuit prospects for changing it. The two films are separated by distinct attitudes toward social transformation. As Cora Kaplan remarks, in the mid seventies many on the left took it for granted that significant new advances were possible. That is difficult in the present context.
During 1956 Colonel Bar-On served as the personal assistant of General Moshe Dayan, the Chief of Staff of the Israel Defence Forces. Over this period he kept a detailed diary. During 21–24 October colonel Bar-On served as secretary of the Israeli delegation, headed by David Ben-Gurion the Israeli Prime Minister, which in meetings held in the Parisian suburb of Sèvres negotiated the agreement between Israel, France and the United Kingdom to launch a concerted attack on Egypt. Bar-On kept a detailed record of the proceedings. He was the only one who kept such records. The French and especially the British wished ardently to keep the conference in total secrecy and refrained from leaving any written trace.
In the summer of 1957, after the completion of Israel's retreat from the Sinai, General Dayan instructed Colonel Bar-On to transform the diaries into a book form. This book remained classified for the next thirty-five years and was made available to the Hebrew public only in 1991. This article is an abbreviated translation of the chapters which describe what happened at the Sèvres Conference. When this story was written Bar-On was able to use his own diaries and other documents of the Chief of Staff's office as well as his own memory. The result is an authentic description of the event, told with great precision and full colour, though obviously written and interpreted from the perspective of a young and patriotic Israeli officer. It therefore reflects the way the Israelis understood what transpired and does not claim to be an outcome of an objective and academic research. Of special interest are the sections which describe the awkward meeting between Ben-Gurion and Selwyn Lloyd, British secretary for foreign affairs; how a new operating plan suggested by General Dayan enabled Ben-Gurion to overcome his initial hesitations; and the intimate relations which evolved between the Israelis and the French delegation, which included Guy Mollet, the prime minister, Christian Pineau, the minister of foreign affairs and Maurice Bourgès-Manoury, the minister of national defence. Also of interest is the odd way a senior British official signed the ‘Sèvres Protocol' against the ardent wish of Sir Anthony Eden to avoid any trace of direct contacts between Her Majesty's Government and the Israelis.
On the night of 24 February 1956, the Moscow headquarters of the Communist Party's Central Committee was humming with activity into the early hours, with the great black limousines of the Party elite parked all round it. This puzzled westerners in Moscow such as journalist John Rettie, since the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU) had formally ended that afternoon. Soon, Rettie recalls, rumours began to circulate, fuelled by western diplomats with good connections to their Central European communist colleagues and by western correspondents of communist newspapers. It was whispered that Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary of the CPSU, had made a sensational speech denouncing Stalin for heinous crimes including murder and torture. As it was a mere three years since Stalin's death, this seemed barely credible. Nothing appeared in the Party or government press. The unsubstantiated rumours were nevertheless so insistent that Sidney Weiland, Rettie's colleague in Reuters news agency, filed a brief report. He fully expected it to be censored and indeed it vanished into the censor's maw and was never heard of again.
The following week one of Rettie's local contacts, Kostya Orlov, set up a meeting in which he confirmed and expanded the story of the speech. He also reported that in Georgia reading of the speech had provoked riots against the ‘insult’ to their national hero, and a number of Georgian civilians and Soviet soldiers had been killed. Rettie was about to leave for Sweden, where he wrote up his notes from this meeting and filed the report (with strict instructions to disguise its origins) which broke the story to the world. In Britain it appeared in the Observer in March 1956.
After recounting these events Rettie goes on to explore the question who told Orlov to leak the speech, and why to Rettie. He points to the strong evidence that Khrushchev wanted the speech to be known in the rest of the world as well as in the Soviet Union, and suggests why he had been a logical person to select as the conduit.
In this memoir Jean McCrindle – ‘born a Communist as one might be born a Christian or a Muslim' – compares the communism of her parents' generation and her own, recalls the impact in her youthful activist circles of the events of 1956, and describes the emergence in their aftermath of the Universities and Left Review, the Partisan Coffee House in Soho, and the New Left Clubs around the country.
Her close friends included Raphael Samuel, then ‘a brilliant student… [who] wouldn't take no for an answer when arguing with potential Party recruits'. Despite admiring his personal indefatigablility and enthusiasm, she was unhappy with the wooden and impenetrable language of the Party journals and the education courses she had to attend. Through Raphael and the Party she made other friends: in Oxford Peter Sedgwick, Denis Butt, Stuart Hall and Gabriel Pearson; and further afield Edward and Dorothy Thompson, Ken Alexander, Lawrence Daly, Dorothy and Jo Greenald, Ron and Dorly Meek, Dorothy Wedderburn, Royden Harrison, Michael Barratt Brown – the group around The Reasoner and then the New Reasoner whose project was a renewal of socialist politics and theory (what Thompson called Socialist Humanism), free from the Soviet Union's revolutionary and ideological dominance but also from the compromises of parliamentary Socialism.
Khrushchev's Secret Speech seemed to promise a new dawn in Soviet honesty and openness about the notorious trials of dissidents and the cult of the personality of the Stalin period. But the Hungarian Uprising eight months later, its crushing by Soviet tanks and the muddled reaction of the British Party, confirmed all her earlier doubts and pessimism. McCrindle and most of her friends left the Party; though her father stayed. She resisted the temptation to join any other small righteous sect, preferring the muddle of being a member of the Labour Party and arguing within it for the ideas she embraced – nuclear disarmament, support for Castro and African socialism, the Women's Liberation Movement, Parliamentary Socialism.
While 1956 is remembered for the military attacks on Egypt and Hungary in the autumn, the first signs of what was to develop came earlier, with Nikita Khruschchev's criticism of Stalin at the Soviet Communist Party's twentieth congress in February, followed in July by the Egyptian government's nationalization of the Suez Canal. The Khruschchev speech produced ferment inside the Communist movement, while the canal takeover led to immediate military preparations by the British government, including the call-up of reservists.
British and French forces launched their attack on Egypt at the end of October; at the same time, Soviet forces in Hungary attacked demonstrators in Budapest and elsewhere and arrested the prime minister, Imre Nagy, who had announced Hungary's withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact and had promised to hold free elections, Nagy was subsequently executed.
In Britain an impressively large demonstration against the Suez adventure took place in London, and the world reaction against the invasion brought Eden's departure from office. On the left, the Hungarian tragedy pitched the Communist Party into a deep crisis, which saw a third of the membership resign; the combined impact of the twin conflicts of Suez and Hungary led to the development of the ‘New Left’, which sought to break with stereotyped Cold War thinking.
At the end of summer term in 1956 I went into the English countryside with the school's contingent in the annual camp of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). We were virtually cut off from radios and newspapers on a military site run by regular army soldiers. Without warning to us boys almost the entire permanent staff disappeared overnight. Our image of war was a literary conceit forged from the writings of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rupert Brooke and their like – in the First World War. The younger boys conjured up visions of a new world war when they might be going over the top into battle.
Later in the year came Israel's invasion of Egypt, in collusion with Britain and France, followed by the withdrawal of the Anglo-French expedition under the condemnatory pressure of the United Nations and particularly of the United States. The Suez affair broke the unquestioning trust among my contemporaries – influenced by a rather conventional and antiquated education we were largely conservatives with a small c – in a benign government doing the right thing for our country. We saw that government had failed to adapt to Britain's changing role in a changing world, where imperialism was no longer meaningful or desirable.
This is a transcription by Anna Davin, from a partially filled exercise book, of the minutes of six meetings. They were taken by the secretary, Ken Vaughan, who recorded attendance, agendas, decisions and sometimes discussions. Other members named are: Irfan Habib, David Hall, Luke Hodgkin, Martin Zuberi, Partha Gupta, Stuart Hall, Jane Gardner, Saddiq Al-Mahdi, Alan Hall, Terence De'Ath and Peter Sedgwick.
The minutes provide references to the unfolding crisis alongside mundane doings such as organizing speakers, arranging food for lunchtime meetings or music for socials, and working out relations with the Labour Club or the broadsheet Oxford Left. October's plans for a watchdog Middle East Committee, preferably in co-operation with other groups (‘on a broad basis to include all interested in preserving peace in the Middle East… [and not] bound to any one policy or appraisal of the present situation’), are quickly overtaken by events and abandoned.
The University authorities warn that they will not tolerate demonstrations which – like one organized by Ruskin College on 1 November – could ‘cause a disturbance’ or bring the University ‘into disrepute’. In January Peter Sedgwick announces Universities and Left Review, a new ‘left-wing, non-sectarian’ magazine under the editorship of ‘ex-Balliol’ Raphael Samuel and with Rod Prince, ‘a former Socialist Club E.C. member’, as sales manager. A month later Luke Hodgkin reports that 140 orders for ULR have been taken in Oxford.
There are hints of the great changes that Suez and especially Hungary were bringing on the left. John Saville, a founder of the New Left and one of the editors of The Reasoner, is announced to speak on the future of Marxism in Britain, and a meeting with a speaker from the Soviet Embassy is cancelled.
Josephine Butler's campaigns against the state regulation of prostitution have been studied almost exclusively in the anglophone and imperial context. Research on the International Abolitionist Federation, which she founded in 1875 and supported until her death in 1906, places these campaigns in a new perspective, demonstrating the importance she attached to the issue in Europe. This article reports on findings at the half-way stage of a project funded by the Leverhulme Foundation under its ‘International Academic Networks’ programme. The strains and contradictions revealed in the correspondence and proceedings of the Federation illuminate cultural and social differences between countries often summarized simplistically as ‘the west’. The influence exercised by Butler, especially over a new generation of French and German feminists in the 1890s, throws new light both on her own career and on the work which these women undertook in the League of Nations in the period between the two world wars.
It seems scarcely credible that a few words about a man who died almost sixty years ago might undo a politician's career, tear apart a major party and dominate public debate in a nation for months. Yet, that is precisely what happened in India following the visit in 2005 by L.K. Advani, an eminent Hindu right wing leader, to the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan. This paper seeks to explain this extraordinary denouement in the light of the powerful hold of nationalist histories on the imaginations of post-colonial Indians and their perceptions of Pakistan and its founder, dooming Advani's politically motivated attempt to side-step this long-entrenched historiographical legacy.
This article documents the emergence, in recent years, of a prominent discourse on queer history in the public sphere. Focusing especially on LGBT History Month, an events programme launched in February 2005 that sets out to ‘mark and celebrate the lives and achievements of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people', as well as reviewing an exhibition at the Museum of London called ‘Queer is Here’, which opened in February 2006, I consider the potential exclusions generated in these contexts by a rhetoric of outness and repression. Stressing the significant role that transgender identification has played historically, as well as the shaping effects of race and place on experiences of sexual and gender dissidence in urban environments, I argue that models of ‘sexual orientation’ leave certain dimensions of queer experience and desire untold. Drawing on recent efforts to theorize the relationship between publics and queer counterpublics, I conclude that the translation of queer history into the language of public culture ideally entails a contestation of the very norms of presentation and consumption in which museums and other popular history narratives are currently embedded.