Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.


History as Spectacle
Charles V and imagery

Peter Burke

About this book

This entirely new volume comprises an important study. It forms the fifth of Peter Burke's essays published by EER. It turns on historical issues raised by the career of  the emperor Charles V (1500-58).

Professor Burke writes that "It is often said, and correctly, that as our present changes, we look at the past from new perspectives. Today, the different media play an important role in our lives, including our vision of politics. Some politicians have become stars, and in a few countries, from the USA to India, some film stars have become politicians. ‘The State as Spectacle’ (L’État-Spectacle) is the title of a book ‘about and against the star system in politics’, published in 1977 – and brought up to date in 2009 – by the political scientist Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg. He is also a member of the Radical Party of the Left and a deputy in the French National Assembly. In similar fashion, the role of advertising in everyday life inspired an earlier book, The Selling of the President(1969), an account of the successful campaign of Richard Nixon by the journalist – and novelist – Joe McGinniss. The concern with the role of the media in politics and the role of politics in the media has inspired historians, and in particular historians of the early modern period, to investigate the representation of political leaders, especially monarchs, in the past. 

"The danger of anachronism is an obvious one. What is not anachronistic, however, is the idea of politics as spectacle, as theatre. It was Queen Elizabeth I who remarked, in the age of Shakespeare, that ‘we princes are set on stages’."

About the author

​​Peter Burke was, from 1962-79, one of the leading educational innovators in developing the inter-disciplinary School of European Studies at University of Sussex. He then moved to the University of Cambridge, where he now holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Cultural History and Fellow of Emmanuel College. He is celebrated world-wide as a historian both of the early modern era and as a writer and teacher who emphasizes the relevance of social and cultural history to modern issues. He is married to Brazilian historian Maria Lúcia Garcia Pallares-Burke.

His many influential works include:
The Italian Renaissance (1972); Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe (1978); Sociology and History (1980); The Renaissance (1987); The French Historical Revolution: The Annales School 1929-89 (1990); History and Social Theory (1991); The Fabrication of Louis XIV (1992); The Art of Conversation (1993); Varieties of Cultural History (1997); The European Renaissance: Centres and Peripheries (1998); A Social History of Knowledge (2000); Eyewitnessing (2000); New Perspectives on Historical Writing (2001) (editor and contributor); A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet (2002) (with Asa Briggs); What is Cultural History? (2004); Languages and Communities in Early Modern Europe (2004); Cultural Hybridity (2009); and A Social History of Knowledge Volume II: From the Encyclopedie to Wikipedia (2012).


"It is the merit of the publishers E. E. Root to have devoted a whole series to the authoritative cultural historian Peter Burke." - Professor Michaela Valente, Sezione Notizie Archivio storico italiano

See also - click on covers to

ISBN 9781912224708  Paperback  £24.99  Order

ISBN 9781912224715  Hardback    £60.00  Order
ISBN 9781911454731   eBook         £19.99  Order

​211 x 148mm.