What's all this then?

My name is Victoria Stiles and I'm an Early Career Historian currently doing whatever odd research / consulting / outreach / tutoring jobs come my way. I blog here about some of the interesting texts I've found.
My research focusses on books about Britain and the British Empire which were in circulation in Nazi Germany but you'll also find a smattering of school textbooks, witchcraft beliefs, bog drainage, bemused travellers and weird illustrations that caught my eye.
Translations from German are my own. Comments are currently unmoderated and are mostly spam for leather jackets anyway.

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Image via tywkiwdbi
This photograph clearly illustrates the feelings of emasculation felt by many soldiers of World War One, as the encroachment of women into traditional male territory quite literally meant that they were no longer 'wearing the trousers' (Hosentragend). The expression on the soldier's face is a mixture of pride and bemusement; something experienced often by troops at the front line as they attempted to come to terms with their role as defenders but also as killers. His pose is carefully arranged, either by himself or the photographer, with bayonet pointing down to pristine black jackboots, most likely in a conscious foreshadowment of the street violence and extreme politics in which many of their comrades were to be embroiled post-1918. The cat - it would be naive to assume that it is by coincidence alone a black cat - is a reference both to fate and to the increasingly fatalistic attitude of the men, as the world they knew was crumbling around them, while the photographer's decision to include the outhouse in the background suggests a subconscious acknowledgement that the world in which they moved at that time, similar to this analysis, was replete with Mist.