The Pursuit of the Heiress is a new, greatly enlarged and more widely focused version of what the late Lawrence Stone described as "a brilliant long essay or short book on the subject of the role of heiresses among the Irish aristocracy," which was published by the Ulster Historical Foundation under the same title in 1982 and has long been out of print. The new book comes to the same broad conclusions about heiresses—namely that their importance as a means of enlarging the estates or retrieving the fortunes of their husbands has been much exaggerated. This was because known heiresses were well protected by a variety of legal devices and, in common with many aristocratic women of the day, also had minds and strong preferences of their own—which meant that they were not generally an object of deliberate or profitable pursuit. The new book also ranges more widely than its central theme of heiresses and addresses other aspects of aristocratic marriage such as abductions, elopements, mésalliances, the supposed "rise of the affective family," and the disadvantaged situation of even the richest and most privileged women in an age when both adultery and divorce were largely the prerogative of men.
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One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year Did Garibaldi do Italy a disservice when he helped its disparate parts achieve unity? Was the goal of political unification a mistake? These questions are asked and answered in a number of ways in this engaging, original consideration of the many histories that contribute to the brilliance-and weakness-of Italy today. David Gilmour's wonderfully readable exploration of Italian life over the centuries is filled with provocative anecdotes as well as personal observations, and is peopled with the great figures of the Italian past-from Cicero and Virgil to Dante and the Medicis, from Garibaldi and Cavour to the controversial politicians of the twentieth century. Gilmour's wise account of the Risorgimento, the pivotal epoch in modern Italian history, debunks the nationalistic myths that surround it, though he paints a sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, a beloved hero of the era. Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive art, civic cultures, identities, and cuisines. Italy's inhabitants identified themselves not as Italians but as Tuscans and Venetians, Sicilians and Lombards, Neapolitans and Genoese. Italy's strength and culture still come from its regions rather than from its misconceived, mishandled notion of a unified nation. With The Pursuit of Italy, David Gilmour has provided a coherent, persuasive, and entertaining interpretation of the paradoxes of Italian life, past and present.
From ancient times to the present day, Iranian social, political, and economic life has been dramatically influenced by psychoactive agents. This book looks at the stimulants that, as put by a longtime resident of seventeenth-century Iran, Raphaël du Mans, provided Iranians with damagh, gave them a "kick," got them into a good mood. By tracing their historical trajectory and the role they played in early modern Iranian society (1500-1900), Rudi Matthee takes a major step in extending contemporary debates on the role of drugs and stimulants in shaping the modern West. At once panoramic and richly detailed, The Pursuit of Pleasure examines both the intoxicants known since ancient times--wine and opiates--and the stimulants introduced later--tobacco, coffee, and tea--from multiple angles. It brings together production, commerce, and consumption to reveal the forces behind the spread and popularity of these consumables, showing how Iranians adapted them to their own needs and tastes and integrated them into their everyday lives. Matthee further employs psychoactive substances as a portal for a set of broader issues in Iranian history--most notably, the tension between religious and secular leadership. Faced with reality, Iran's Shi`i ulama turned a blind eye to drug use as long as it stayed indoors and did not threaten the social order. Much of this flexibility remains visible underneath the uncompromising exterior of the current Islamic Republic.
The end of the millennium has always held the world in fear of earthquakes, plague, and the catastrophic destruction of the world. At the dawn of the 21st millennium the world is still experiencing these anxieties, as seen by the onslaught of fantasies of renewal, doomsday predictions, and New Age prophecies. This fascinating book explores the millenarianism that flourished in western Europe between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries. Covering the full range of revolutionary and anarchic sects and movements in medieval Europe, Cohn demonstrates how prophecies of a final struggle between the hosts of Christ and Antichrist melded with the rootless poor's desire to improve their own material conditions, resulting in a flourishing of millenarian fantasies. The only overall study of medieval millenarian movements, The Pursuit of the Millennium offers an excellent interpretation of how, again and again, in situations of anxiety and unrest, traditional beliefs come to serve as vehicles for social aspirations and animosities.
The primary task of literary theory, Jonathan Culler asserts in the new edition of his classic in this field, is not to illuminate individual literary works but to explain the system of literary signification—the rules and conventions that determine a reader's understanding of a text and that make literary communication possible. In this wide-ranging book, he investigates the possibilities of a semiotics of literature. A new preface places The Pursuit of Signs in the context of major developments in the study of literature since publication of the original Cornell edition in 1981.
The pursuit of happiness is a defining theme of the modern era. But what if people aren't very good at it? This and related questions are explored in this book, the first comprehensive philosophical treatment of happiness in the contemporary psychological sense. In these pages, Dan Haybron argues that people are probably less effective at judging, and promoting, their own welfare than common belief has it. For the psychological dimensions of well-being, particularly our emotional lives, are far richer and more complex than we tend to realize. Knowing one's own interests is no trivial matter. As well, we tend to make a variety of systematic errors in the pursuit of happiness. We may need, then, to rethink traditional assumptions about human nature, the good life, and the good society. Thoroughly engaged with both philosophical and scientific work on happiness and well-being, this book will be a definitive resource for philosophers, social scientists, policy makers, and other students of human well-being.
Islam scares the West. Militant conservatism and the horrific acts of violent fundamentalists evoke outrage, but the reprehensible few reinforce a longstanding Western stereotype of all Muslims as incorrigibly fanatical, violent and morally and culturally different. Overlooked is the long history of Muslim intellectual and cultural achievement, and its potential to flower once again. With about 1.5 billion adherents, Islam is the world's fastest growing religion. An understanding of its past glories, present state and future potential has never been more critical. This survey of Muslim intellectual and cultural achievements spans 1,400 years. Chapters fall into three sections: fundamentals of Islamic learning; its growth until the present; and its future direction in the face of anti-intellectual fundamentalism. Arranged chronologically within the sections, chapters begin with an historical overview of the time period they encompass, providing context for the subsequent discussion of key intellectual and cultural achievements within that period. Appendices describe decorative and other arts, the requirements for expertise in Islamic thought, Islamic ethical traditions, and list noteworthy personalities and achievements chronologically. Maps and photographs illustrate the text, which also includes a glossary, notes, a bibliography and an index.
Affirmative action strikes at the heart of deeply held beliefs about employment and education, about fairness, and about the troubled history of race relations in America. Published on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, this is the only book available that gives readers a balanced, non-polemical, and lucid account of this highly contentious issue. Beginning with the roots of affirmative action, Anderson describes African-American demands for employment in the defense industry--spearheaded by A. Philip Randolph's threatened March on Washington in July 1941--and the desegregation of the armed forces after World War II. He investigates President Kennedy's historic 1961 executive order that introduced the term "affirmative action" during the early years of the civil rights movement and he examines President Johnson's attempts to gain equal opportunities for African Americans. He describes President Nixon's expansion of affirmative action with the Philadelphia Plan--which the Supreme Court upheld--along with President Carter's introduction of "set asides" for minority businesses and the Bakke ruling which allowed the use of race as one factor in college admissions. By the early 1980s many citizens were becoming alarmed by affirmative action, and that feeling was exemplified by the Reagan administration's backlash, which resulted in the demise and revision of affirmative action during the Clinton years. He concludes with a look at the University of Michigan cases of 2003, the current status of the policy, and its impact. Throughout, the author weighs each side of every issue--often finding merit in both arguments--resulting in an eminently fair account of one of America's most heated debates. A colorful history that brings to life the politicians, legal minds, and ordinary people who have fought for or against affirmative action, The Pursuit of Fairness helps clear the air and calm the emotions, as it illuminates a difficult and critically important issue.
Today, practically any situation involving some kind of learning is liable to be referred to as an instance of curriculum. In this book, however, the author defines curriculum as the program or programs offered to students who enter ntar elementary school at age 5 or 6 and leave secondary school somewhere between the ages of 16 and 18. What is the curriculum? What should students be learning? Who should decide what should be taught? How are such decisions to be made? In this volume, the author examines the factors that need to be considered in finding solutions to these questions.