A REVOLUTION OF FEELING: THE DECADE THAT FORGED THE MODERN MIND
A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind was published by Granta in hardback in 2017, and paperback in November 2018. A Revolution of Feeling is about emotion: it explores how the emotions that we allow ourselves to feel are shaped by our societies, culture, politics, and language. In particular, the book is interested in emotional change – radical shifts in how people think and talk about emotion – and it charts how this is often a consequence of radical political change.
A Revolution of Feeling explores these ideas in the context of one historical decade: the 1790s. And it tells the stories of five political radicals, who began the decade as embodiments of the late enlightenment’s spirit of buoyant optimism, but ended it crushed by disappointment and disillusionment; harbingers of a new cultural attitude towards emotion, defined by pessimism, conservativism and individualism. The shift that A Revolution of Feeling charts – from political hope to disappointment – seems incredibly resonant in the present moment.
A Revolution of Feeling won a Gladstone’s Library Political Writing Residency, which Rachel will take up in September 2019.
Praise for A Revolution of Feeling:
‘an extraordinary book,…packed with insight, analysis, understanding, revelations, and weird anecdotes. Hewitt is a talented juggler of ideas’ (Gerard de Groot, Times)
a ‘mighty project’, a ‘passionate…book, fuelled by vim and vigour, and one that will change the way we think about feeling.’ (Frances Wilson, New Statesman)
a ‘singular book…invaluabl[e] for our time’ (Ed Vulliamy, Observer)
‘an exemplary piece of popular history writing’ (Prospect)
‘a truly remarkable achievement’ (Ella Whelan, Spiked)
‘impressively learned’ (Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times)
‘intricate but always accessible…clear-eyed and amusing’ (Ruth Scurr, Spectator)
MAP OF A NATION: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ORDNANCE SURVEY
Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (Granta, 2010) tells the story of the creation of the Ordnance Survey map – the first complete, accurate, affordable map of the British Isles. The Ordnance Survey is a much beloved British institution, and Map of a Nation is, amazingly, the first popular history to tell the story of the map and the map-makers who dreamt and delivered it. The Ordnance Survey’s history is one of political revolutions, rebellions and regional unions that altered the shape and identity of the United Kingdom over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It’s also a deliciously readable account of one of the great untold British adventure stories, featuring intrepid individuals lugging brass theodolites up mountains to make the country visible to itself for the first time.
Map of a Nation won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Prize for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Galaxy Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year, the Scottish Book Awards, the Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize and BBC History Magazine‘s Book Prize.
Brian Friel’s 1989 play Making History centres on Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who led an Irish and Spanish alliance against the armies of Elizabeth I in an attempt to drive the English out of Ireland. The action takes place before and after the Battle of Kinsale, at which the alliance was defeated: with O’Neill at home in Dungannon, as a fugitive in the mountains, and finally exiled in Rome. In his handling of this momentous episode Brian Friel has avoided the conventions of ‘historical drama’ to produce a play about history, the continuing process. Rachel Hewitt wrote the York Notes Advanced guide to Friel’s play.