Friday, 27 March 2009

Historians at the Oxford Literary Festival

by Kathryn Hadley

The 2009 Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival begins this Sunday. Lasting eight days, the festival will feature over 430 speakers with events organised in Christ Church College, the Sheldonian Theatre and the Bodleian Library. Prominent historians will notably discuss their latest books, many of which we have reviewed or featured on our books blog . Here is selection of some of the talks taking place over the coming week…

Sunday March 29th
Henry: Virtuous prince
4pm / Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street
David Starkey will discuss the first volume of his two-part life of Henry VIII, taking the view that the king’s descent into tyranny began with Wolsey’s rise to fame.

Tuesday March 31st
- Children of the Revolution: The French, 1799-1914
10am / Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church
Robert Gildea will discuss his reassessment of France’s post-revolutionary history.
- Millennium
12pm / Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church
Tom Holland will discuss his account of the two centuries on either side of the year 1000.
- Admirals
2pm / Festival Room 1, Christ Church
Andrew Lambert will discuss his account of the lives of eleven men who shaped the Royal Navy, which dominated the oceans for over three centuries.
- Women in War’s Aftermath
8 pm / McKenna Room, Christ Church
Virginia Nicholson and Julie Summers will explore the similarities and differences of the post-war worlds inherited by women in 1918 and 1945.

Wednesday April 1st
- Eyes Wide Open: the Narrative Dance of History as Fiction
2pm / Garden Marquee, Christ Church
Louis de Bernieres and Zulfu Livaneli
A discussion between the two novelists about their respective re-investigations of the past in relation to the paradoxical diversity of contemporary Turkish identity.
- Wrath of God: The Story of the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755
2pm / Festival Room 2, Christ Church
Edward Paice will discuss his account of the political, economic and cultural consequences of the Lisbon earthquake.
- World War Two: Behind Closed Doors
8pm / Hall, Christ Church
Laurence Rees will re-examine the key decisions made by Stalin and Churchill during the Second World War and explore their effects for those on the ground.

Thursday April 2nd
The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior
8pm / Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church
Ross King and Paul Strathern will offer an appraisal of the legacies of Leonardo da Vinci, Cesare Borgia and Machiavelli.

Friday April 3rd
- Florence Nightingale
10am / Festival Room 1, Christ Church
Mark Bostridge will throw new light on the life and character of Florence Nightingale.
- The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
12pm / Hall, Christ Church
Niall Ferguson will discuss his account of the history of money, in which he makes a case for liberalised finance, pointing out that the history of finance is a process of creative destruction.
- Eyewitness to History
2pm / Garden Marquee, Christ Church
Kate Adie, Robin Laurence, Harry Sidebottom and Stephen Venables will consider the issues involved in the use of eyewitness accounts of history.

Saturday April 4th
Poland: A History
12pm / McKenna, Christ Church
Adam Zamoyski will discuss his revised version of his book The Polish Way, first published in 1987, in which he brings the story up to date, addressing the downfall of communism and Poland’s integration into the European Union.

Sunday April 5th
- Attila the Hun: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire
12pm / Festival Room 1, Christ Church
Christopher Kelly will discuss his quest for the real Attila the Hun, revealing the history of an astute politician and first-rate military commander who exploited the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman Empire.
- Truth in Historical Fiction – Does it Matter?
4pm / McKenna Room, Christ Church
Harry Sidebottom and Robyn Young question the extent to which an imaginative fictional story with a compelling narrative is more important than accurate historical facts.

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