Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Miles Taylor's top history moments of 2009

Miles Taylor is Director of the Institute of Historical Research and Professor of Modern History at the University of York. He is the author of Southampton: Gateway to the British Empire (IB Tauris, 2007) and is currently writing a book on the history of parliamentary representation in Britain since the late 18th century, and a study of the Victorian monarchy and India.

He shares his top history moments of the past year...

‘The Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library, which combined the poignant and tragic (the suffragette Emily Davison’s return train ticket to Epsom on the day she took her life at the Derby in 1913) with the epic (the original 1831 reform bill) and really made one think hard and long about how protracted and contested the evolution of democracy has been in the country.’

‘The Handel the Philanthropist display at the Foundling Museum – a timely reminder of how so much talent and wealth and philanthropy was put to a good cause in mid-18th century London – art in the service of humanity: wonderful.’

‘The Edo-Tokyo museum in the Japanese capital which conveys brilliantly through its large-scale reconstructions of architecture, mapping and film the ways in which Japan was catapulted through western contact, earthquake and war into the idiosyncratic modernity we know today – all in the space of 80 years. Amazing.’

‘My favourite book was Alexander Waugh’s The House of Wittgenstein (Bloomsbury Publishing), which captured the contingency, chaos and eccentricity of a truly unique family and their time and place in history, and made sense both of a philosophy and of a fin-de-si├Ęcle middle European dynasty.’

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