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Tim Blanning is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge.
A compelling and persuasive account of how the Romantic Movement permanently changed the way we see things and express ourselves.
August 2010 Editor's Choice. A fascinating look in to how the Romantic Revolution changed the way we see things and produced some of the most talented and creative minds of all time.
'One stroke of good fortune after another had taken him to be ... the sovereign of three kingdoms and thus ruler of what was rapidly becoming the most prosperous and powerful empire in the world' George I was probably the most important of the Hanoverian monarchs to have reigned in England. He was certainly the luckiest, rising from the son of a landless German duke to rule an empire. Tim Blanning's incisive biography reveals George as a tough, effective and determined monarch, at a time when other European thrones had started to crumble.
George I was not the most charismatic of the Hanoverian monarchs to have reigned in England but he was probably the most important. He was certainly the luckiest. Born the youngest son of a landless German duke, he was taken by repeated strokes of good fortune to become, first the ruler of a major state in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and then the sovereign of three kingdoms (England, Ireland and Scotland). Tim Blanning's incisive short biography examines George's life and career as a German prince, and as King. Fifty-four years old when he arrived in London in 1714, he was a battle-hardened veteran, who put his long experience and deep knowledge of international affairs to good use in promoting the interests of both Hanover and Great Britain. When he died, his legacy was order and prosperity at home and power and prestige abroad. Disagreeable he may have been to many, but he was also tough, determined and effective, at a time when other European thrones had started to crumble.
'Highly readable and deeply researched' - Andrew Roberts 'Masterful ... brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history' - Sunday Telegraph 'It is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises' - Philip Mansel, The Spectator Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, dominated the eighteenth century in the same way that Napoleon dominated the start of the nineteenth. He was a force of nature, a ruthless, brilliant, charismatic military commander, a monarch of exceptional energy and talent, a gifted composer, performer, poet and philosopher, and a discerning patron of artists, architects and writers, most famously Voltaire. From the very start of his reign he was an intensely divisive figure - fascinating even to those who hated him. Tim Blanning's brilliant new biography captures Frederick's vitality, complexity and flawed genius better than any previous writer. He also recreates a remarkable era, the last flowering of the old regime that would be swept away almost immediately after Frederick's death by the French Revolution. Equally at home on the battlefield or in the music room at Frederick's extraordinary miniature palace of Sanssouci, Blanning draws on a lifetime's immersion in the eighteenth century to present him in the round, with new attention paid to his cultural self-fashioning, including his sexuality. Frederick's spectre has hung over Germany ever since, both as inspiration and warning - Blanning at last allows us to understand him in his own time.
A distinguished historian chronicles the rise of music and musicians in the West from lowly balladeers to masters employed by fickle patrons, to the great composers of genius, to today's rock stars. How, he asks, did music progress from subordinate status to its present position of supremacy among the creative arts? Mozart was literally booted out of the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg with a kick to my arse, as he expressed it. Yet, less than a hundred years later, Europe's most powerful ruler-Emperor William I of Germany-paid homage to Wagner by traveling to Bayreuth to attend the debut of The Ring. Today Bono, who was touted as the next president of the World Bank in 2006, travels the world, advising politicians-and they seem to listen. The path to fame and independence began when new instruments allowed musicians to showcase their creativity, and music publishing allowed masterworks to be performed widely in concert halls erected to accommodate growing public interest. No longer merely an instrument to celebrate the greater glory of a reigning sovereign or Supreme Being, music was, by the nineteenth century, to be worshipped in its own right. In the twentieth century, new technological, social, and spatial forces combined to make music ever more popular and ubiquitous. In a concluding chapter, Tim Blanning considers music in conjunction with nationalism, race, and sex. Although not always in step, music, society, and politics, he shows, march in the same direction.
'The Penguin History of Europe series ... is one of contemporary publishing's great projects' New Statesman The Pursuit of Glory brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in European history - from the battered, introvert continent after the Thirty Years War to the dynamic one that experienced the French Revolution and the wars of Napoleon. Tim Blanning depicts the lives of ordinary people and the dominant personalities of the age (Louis XIV, Frederick the Great, Napoleon), and explores an era of almost unprecedented change, growth and cultural, political and technological ferment that shaped the societies and economies of entire countries.