Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Habsburg legacy in Austria and Kipling in India

The abandoned Imperial Crypt beneath the city of Vienna
The Imperial Crypt, 10 metres (33ft) beneath the city of Vienna, is the burial site of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705) and of 146 of his Habsburg relatives. However, the site has been largely abandoned by the Austrian government, which still appears to be struggling to deal with the legacy of its Habsburg past. In April 1919, the Austrian government enacted the Habsburg Law. In the words of Walter Mayr in Der Spiegel, ‘the Habsburgs were dispossessed of private property held in family funds, denied the right to run for election, and forbidden to remain in Austria, unless they renounced in writing their claims to the throne and their affiliation with the deposed dynasty’. Today, the Austrian government is still ignoring pleas to preserve the site.
Read the full report.
In In the Blood - The Secret History of the Habsburgs Andrew Wheatcroft examines how an 18th-century succession crisis unlocked a tale of dynastic obsession and myth-history in Austria's first family.

Kipling’s legacy in India
Rudyard Kipling was born in the Dean’s Bungalow in the grounds of the Sir JJ School of Arts in Mumbai in 1865. Plans to turn the house into a museum have sparked considerable protest and have recently been suspended. Andrew Walker discusses the author’s controversial legacy in both Britain and India on the BBC’s Today programme.
In Kipling, Kim and Imperialism Fred Reist and David Washbrook explain how Kipling's view of imperialism was more complex than is usually supposed.
The author also pointed to cracks in the imperial facade at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Denis Judd explains in Diamonds are Forever? Kipling's Imperialism .

1938 comic book sells for £1million
Yesterday, a 1938 edition of Action Comics No 1, the first comic to feature Superman, was sold for $1 million (£646,000) on the US auction website Comic Connect. The sale was over three times higher than the previous record price for a comic book, which was sold for $317,200 (£205,000) in 2009.

Sir Trevor Lloyd-Hughes: press secretary to Harold Wilson
Trevor Lloyd-Hughes died last week, aged 87. He was press secretary to Wilson in Downing Street from 1964 to 1969. Prior to his position in the press office, he was the political correspondent of the Liverpool Daily Post. In 1961 he also became the paper’s first wine correspondent. Following Labour’s defeat in 1970, he was knighted and founded his own lobbying company specialised in government-industry relations.
His obituary is published on the website of The Times.

Israel’s plans to add West Bank shrines to heritage list may halt peace negotiations
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told his cabinet that two major religious sites in the West Bank would be added to the country’s heritage list and included in a £103 million restoration plan. In the Bible, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried; Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem is the traditional gravesite of the Matriarch Rachel and is one of the holiest sites in Judaism. The announcement has sparked protest from the Palestinian Authority. The BBC reports.

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