In­fec­tious en­thu­si­asm

BBC History Magazine - - Letters -

I read with in­ter­est your fe­male his­to­ri­ans’ panel dis­cus­sion. Even as a man, I think I can un­der­stand most of their con­cerns and com­ments. I am not sure whether I am suf­fer­ing from re­verse sex­ism, as the ma­jor­ity of my most en­joy­able his­tory ex­pe­ri­ences are thanks to fe­male his­to­ri­ans and pre­sen­ters.

Whether they have more em­pa­thy with their sub­ject or have to be more clued-up than male col­leagues, I don’t know, but watch­ing Jan­ina Ramirez en­thus­ing about the re­mark­able Julian of Nor­wich, on screen and at the BBC His­tory Mag­a­zine event at Winch­ester, was in­fec­tious. I’ve also been for­tu­nate to see the bril­liant He­len Cas­tor talk en­gag­ingly about Joan of Arc.

I love any­thing Ro­man with Mary Beard and Egyp­tian with Joann Fletcher. Joann’s style, with her ubiq­ui­tous um­brella and gen­uine amaze­ment when she sees some­thing new, is great. I do find some of the grey-suited male pre­sen­ters men­tioned in the ar­ti­cle a bit pompous. Although un­doubt­edly knowl­edge­able about the sub­ject, they gen­er­ally don’t en­gage me as much. There are al­ways ex­cep­tions such as Michael Wood and the ex­cel­lent Alas­tair Sooke.

I re­cently en­joyed a very en­gag­ing talk on the pol­i­tics of the Ro­man con­quest of Bri­tain by Bri­tish Mu­seum cu­ra­tor Ju­lia Far­ley. She was ex­cel­lent and de­serves a wider au­di­ence (hint BBC Four!). Fi­nally, don’t get me started on my real favourite, the won­der­ful Lucy Wors­ley! An­thony Pike, London

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