“Courtly Gifts and Cultural Diplomacy” explores the history of British-Russian state relations from the perspective of art and material culture. This richly illustrated book presents manifold practices of courtly gift-giving and vivid case studies of British-Russian artistic diplomacy over the centuries. It traces a visual and material history of cross-cultural dialogue that starts with an early English map of Russia made in the 16th century and ends with gifts of Fabergé art objects and domestic photographs exchanged between the British royal family and the family of Tsar Nicholas II in late Imperial Russia. Twelve expert authors from academia, the arts, and the museum sectors in Britain, Russia, and the United States present new narratives and critical interpretations based on material from previously unexplored archives. Their diverse approaches reveal the importance of artistic diplomacy and the agency of gifts of art and material culture in courtly and state relations.
Wewelsburg Castle in Germany figures prominently in right-wing conspiracy theories and popular culture. This book sheds light onto the background and impact of these myths for the first time.
During the Nazi era, this Westphalian castle became a key venue for gatherings of high ranking SS leaders. After World War II, rumors about occult SS rituals made the place a pilgrimage site of the extreme right. The northern tower’s ornamental sun wheel design, today known as the “Black Sun,” appears in thrillers, comic books, and in the right-wing music scene. It has morphed into a dubious visual element of today’s pop culture and is now familiar to people throughout the world as a symbol of neofascist and alt-right groups. The lavishly illustrated volume traces facts and fiction about the origins and current reception of the myths related to Wewelsburg Castle and the sun wheel symbol.
This is the first book available in English to comprehensively address the complicated subject of Polish-Ukrainian relations during and immediately after World War II. Polish-Ukrainian relations in the twentieth century are a topic that invariably engages historians, politicians, and public opinion in Poland and Ukraine. Many valuable works have been written on the subject, but many are distorting historical truth and collective memories, sometimes making today’s mutual relations problematic. Grzegorz Motyka’s book is a careful account of the most difficult period in Polish-Ukrainian relations, beginning in 1943 with the start of the Volhynian massacre and ending with the “Vistula” action in 1947. By discussing episodes of common history in an accessible manner, Professor Motyka presents an impartial picture of Polish-Ukrainian relations, devoid of national martyrology. In extremely difficult times, it builds a bridge for mutual understanding across historical divides.