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Power especially proves itself to itself by the singular abuse which consists in crowning some absurdity with the laurels of success, thereby insulting genius, the only strength which power can never attain. The promotion of Caligula's horse, that imperial farce, has enjoyed an almost unbroken run.
Honoré de Balzac, Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes [A Harlot High and Low]
The article offers a comprehensive discussion on one of the most influential artistic trends of the 20th century. While its origins lie in efforts by Italian writers to break with the conservative literary canons of the time, its legacy extends far beyond, being instrumental in shaping various movements of European cinema (such as the French New Wave and the British Free Cinema) as well as the gritty neorealism of later Hollywood movies.
An illuminating overview of one of the most prominent literary scandals of the 20th century, concerning Radclyffe Hall’s overt representation of same-sex female desire, one of the first of its kind in English literary history. The trial of The Well of Loneliness (1928) – and its condemnation on charges of obscenity - had a significant impact on public notions of lesbianism in Britain, “crystallizing the range of discourses which had previously circulated on the subject”.
The article is part of a larger group of essays concerning some of the most consequential political and military conflicts that have shaped the modern world, involving, on the one hand, the struggle for dynastic supremacy in Europe and, on the other, the colonial rivalry between Britain and France on the North American continent. Such articles are part of our effort to provide a more granular understanding of the historical contexts that played a crucial role in the development of new literary and cultural movements.
The article proposes to explore abbé Saint-Pierre’s cutting-edge work of political science, Projet pour rendre la paix perpétuelle en Europe (1713) [Project for Bringing about Perpetual Peace in Europe] in light of its filiation with various traditions of British pacifism. This is a timely revival of a visionary project of European peace and power balance which bears – as a recent article in The Economist suggests (“The EU: 1713 edition”, The Economist 21 Aug. 2021) – a striking resemblance to the current ambitions of the European Union.