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Andrew CaytonLove in the Time of Revolution: Transatlantic Literary Radicalism and Historical Change, 1793-1818

University of North Carolina Press, 2013

by Lilian Calles Barger on April 21, 2015

Andrew Cayton

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Andrew Cayton is a distinguished professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In his book Love in the Time of Revolution: Transatlantic Literary Radicalism and Historical Change (University of North Carolina Press, 2013) he has given us a lucid and beautifully written history of the transatlantic relationships among the circle of radical writers that included William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Gilbert Imlay. Caught in the fervor revolutionary change, these free thinkers believing in the goodness of humanity and reason rejected the need for authority, hierarchies, and tradition in preserving social cohesion and wellbeing. Rather, mutuality and open exchange were offered as a better foundation for society. At the intersection of public lives and private desire, they sought to extend their radical vision beyond politics and into their intimate lives through new a model of egalitarian and free relationships between men and women. Deconstructing marriage their writings reflected the protested against the constraints of conventional society. Cayton demonstrates how these radicals embodied a modern interpersonal ethic arising with the liberal free trade in goods and ideas in which the personal was political. How the sexes were to relate to each other changed forever. Differing gendered understanding of "social commerce," between men and women, brought uneven consequences. Relationships founded on freedom, openness and devoid of binding ties beyond reasoned desire could also produce the fruits of a masculinist frame of mind – the tragedy of neglect, abuse, and abandonment experienced by women. Cayton's portrait of Godwin, Wollstonecraft and Imlay changes how we read them and how we understand our modern selves.

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Mariana CandidoAn African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World: Benguela and its Hinterland

April 17, 2015

Mariana Candido’s book An African Slaving Port and the Atlantic World. Benguela and its Hinterland (Cambridge University Press, 2013) is a powerful and moving exploration of the history and development of the port of Benguela. Founded by the Portuguese in the early seventeenth century, Benguela, located on the central coast of present-day Angola, was the third largest […]

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Thom van DoorenFlight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction

April 17, 2015

Thom van Dooren’s new book is an absolute must-read. (I was going to qualify that with a “…for anyone who…” and realized that it really needs no qualification.) Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a beautifully written and evocative meditation on extinction. The book offers (and implicates us […]

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James Q. WhitmanThe Verdict of Battle: The Law of Victory and the Making of Modern War

April 3, 2015

In The Verdict of Battle: The Law of Victory and the Making of Modern War (Harvard University Press, 2012),  Yale Law School Professor James Q. Whitman dissects the law behind eighteenth century European land wars. Whitman's impressive attempt to sort out the intellectual path of the laws of war leaves us with a clearer understanding of […]

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Aristotle TziampirisThe Emergence of Israeli-Greek Cooperation

March 30, 2015

Aristotle Tziampiris is The Emergence of Israeli-Greek Cooperation (Springer, 2015). Tziampiris is Associate Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International and European Affairs at the Department of International and European Studies at the University of Piraeus. The recent fiscal debt crisis in Greece has drawn world attention to the country’s position […]

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Abdelwahab El-AffendiGenocidal Nightmares: Narratives of Insecurity and the Logic of Mass Atrocities

March 25, 2015

Genocide studies is one of the few academic fields with which I'm acquainted which is truly interdisciplinary in approach and composition.  Today's guest Abdelwahab El-Affendi, and the book he has edited, Genocidal Nightmares: Narratives of Insecurity and the Logic of Mass Atrocities (Bloomsbury Academic 2014), is an excellent example of how this works out in […]

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Amanda RogersPerforming Asian Transnationalisms: Theatre, Identity and the Geographies of Performance

March 25, 2015

Identity, performance and globalisation are at the heart of the cultural practices interrogated by Amanda Rogers in Performing Asian Transnationalisms: Theatre, Identity and the Geography of Performance (Routledge, 2015). The book explores the global networks of theatre that have emerged between Asia, America and Europe, using a variety of policy, practice and political examples. The book argues that […]

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Kaeten MistryThe United States, Italy, and the Origins of Cold War: Waging Political Warfare

March 11, 2015

In the annals of cold war history Italy is rarely seen as a crucial locale.  In his stimulating new book, The United States, Italy, and the Origins of Cold War: Waging Political Warfare (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Kaeten Mistry reveals how events in Italy proved surprisingly crucial in defining a conflict that dominated much of […]

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Hasia DinerRoads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way

March 10, 2015

The period from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries witnessed a mass migration which carried millions of Jews from central and eastern Europe, north Africa, and the Ottoman Empire to new lands. Hasia Diner’s new book, Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way […]

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Sophia Rose Arjana, "Muslims in the Western Imagination" (Oxford UP, 2015)

March 10, 2015

In Muslims in the Western Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2015), Sophia Rose Arjana explores a variety of creative productions—including art, literature, film—in order to tell a story not about how Muslims construct their own identities but rather about how Western thinkers have constructed ideas about Muslims and monsters. To what extent are these imaginary constructs […]

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