Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Counterfactual history

Twenty five or so years ago counterfactuals were all the rage amongst Oxford historians, especially modern historians.

I was myself, and still am, somewhat hesitant about the more enthusiastic ways in which it was taken up by some. However looking at the counterfactual concept such studies can have value in helping us see what past generations thought might happen in what was to them a still unrealised future. They also may help us to reflect upon what might have come to pass and how that might have shaped our own lives and situation.

Quora recently had a thought provoking counterfactual, with some very impressive maps to illustrate it, which can be seen at How would Europe be if the German Empire had won the First World War?

Some while ago I also came across this online example of a counterfactual or alternative history that provides food for thought about Austria-Hungary. It can be viewed at What If Austria-Hungary Reunited Today?

Oh that it might happen.....

1 comment:

Matthew Reynolds said...

Well I did read online that the Royalist Association in Czech State have had a whip round to fund making a duplicate of the Crown of St Wenceslaus as a gift for The Head of The House of Habsburg-Lorraine. So the titular King of Bohemia will be getting a Crown albeit a duplicate one. Hope that is of interest.