Horseracing, the media and
British leisure culture, 1918–39
edia experience was part of everyday activity. It helped make sense of the
world and construct cultural citizenship.1 Reading the racing pages in the
sporting, national and regional press or the adverts, novels and non-fiction with
a racing theme, provided a temporary escape from Britain’s economic problems.
Watching breathtaking racing action shots in newsreel and film was enhanced
by ever-improving photographic equipment. As electricity and radio became
more available, the BBC radio commentaries on
American-Spanish war, and it continued through the ‘penny press’ era in the US,
where duelling editors sought to grow their readership with fantastical and scandalous accounts
of events ( Tucher, 1994 ). Although it is not new, two factors are making the challenges of disinformation far more acute
today. The first is technology. The internet has led to an explosion of all information sources
– both truthful and false – and the sheer quantity of sources makes it
increasingly difficult to delineate the two. When the celebrated British philosopher Onora
Frédéric Le Marcis, Luisa Enria, Sharon Abramowitz, Almudena-Mari Saez and Sylvain Landry B. Faye
relationships. In each of the three countries, humanitarian interventions or clinical trials were largely run through national institutions with direct ties to former colonial powers (France intervened in Guinea, the UK in Sierra Leone, and US organisations were the first in Liberia). 4 A comparison of social resistance and engagement in the Ebola response in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea reveals that explanations for the challenges encountered by the response lie in these political configurations, not culture, as was often implied by initial analyses ( Chandler et al
( Boltanski and Chiapello, 2005 ). Jobs for life,
intergenerational career structures, apprenticeships, subsidised canteens, social clubs, sports
facilities and company pensions have disappeared. In the mid twentieth century, for the white
working class at least, welfarism together with a Fordist employment culture provided a high
degree of protection against market forces. Indeed, this was a defining political feature of the
West’s racial- and gender-inflected Cold War social-democratic settlement ( Streeck, 2017 ). Over the last two or three decades
This book provides a detailed consideration of the history of racing in British culture and society, and explores the cultural world of racing during the interwar years. The book shows how racing gave pleasure even to the supposedly respectable middle classes and gave some working-class groups hope and consolation during economically difficult times. Regular attendance and increased spending on betting were found across class and generation, and women too were keen participants. Enjoyed by the royal family and controlled by the Jockey Club and National Hunt Committee, racing's visible emphasis on rank and status helped defend hierarchy and gentlemanly amateurism, and provided support for more conservative British attitudes. The mass media provided a cumulative cultural validation of racing, helping define national and regional identity, and encouraging the affluent consumption of sporting experience and a frank enjoyment of betting. The broader cultural approach of the first half of the book is followed by an exploration if the internal culture of racing itself.
This book offers a startling re-evaluation of what has until now been seen as the most critically lacklustre period of the British film history. It includes fresh assessment of maverick directors; Pat Jackson, Robert Hamer and Joseph Losey, and even of a maverick critic Raymond Durgnat. The book features personal insights from those inidividually implicated in 1950s cinema; Corin Redgrave on Michael Redgrave, Isabel Quigly on film reviewing, and Bryony Dixon of the BFI on archiving and preservation. A classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity. Raymond Durgnat's A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence, which deals extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. In a 1947 article called 'Angles of Approach' Lindsay Anderson delivered a fierce attack on contemporary British film culture, outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics . The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. The book also talks about the Festival of Britain, White Corridors, and four Hamer's post-Ealing films: The Spider and the Fly, The Long Memory, Father Brown and The Scapegoat. A number of factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history.
Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.
This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670–1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how he moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. The book explores the connections between Toland's republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, he counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates. In particular, Toland's intimate relationship with the Electress Sophia of Hanover saw him act as a court philosopher, but also as a powerful publicist for the Hanoverian succession. The book argues that he shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy but on reforming public religion and the Church of England. It also examines how Toland used his social intimacy with a wide circle of men and women (ranging from Prince Eugene of Savoy to Robert Harley) to distribute his ideas in private. The book explores the connections between his erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian ‘knowledge’ as much as the political power of the Church. Overall, it illustrates how Toland's ideas and influence impacted upon English political life between the 1690s and the 1720s.
Royal Tourists, Colonial Subjects, and the Making of a British World, 1860-1911 examines the ritual space of nineteenth-century royal tours of empire and the diverse array of historical actors who participated in them. The book is a tale of royals who were ambivalent and bored partners in the project of empire; colonial administrators who used royal ceremonies to pursue a multiplicity of projects and interests or to imagine themselves as African chiefs or heirs to the Mughal emperors; local princes and chiefs who were bullied and bruised by the politics of the royal tour, even as some of them used the tour to symbolically appropriate or resist British cultural power; and settlers of European descent and people of colour in the empire who made claims on the rights and responsibilities of imperial citizenship and as co-owners of Britain’s global empire. Royal Tourists, Colonial Subjects, and the Making of a British World suggests that the diverse responses to the royal tours of the nineteenth century demonstrate how a multi-centred British-imperial culture was forged in the empire and was constantly made and remade, appropriated and contested. In this context, subjects of empire provincialized the British Isles, centring the colonies in their political and cultural constructions of empire, Britishness, citizenship, and loyalty.
as were Scottish philosophers. From a Scottish
or genuinely British perspective this is interesting, but such a perspective
is at variance with Pevsner’s absorption into the English tradition of
these pioneers who came from a different cultural and intellectual background. With respect to art and architecture, Pevsner’s view seems to
parallel that held by T. S. Eliot with respect to literature. In Cairns
Craig’s words, Eliot identifies the fact that ‘the real function of Scottish,
Irish and Welsh writers is to contribute, not to their own culture, which