Nasty, Brutish, and Short

The University of Cincinnati offers a great class centered around The Enlightenment called 'Nasty, Brutish, and Short' taught by Professor Terry Grundy. This blog is to document the student's trip to England at the end of the 2013 Fall Semester.

Jan 4
Although most of this blog attests to our trip abroad itself, the class which we took with it, known as “Nasty, Brutish, and Short,” regarding the British Enlightenment, also greatly benefited us as individuals and gave us a new world perspective. Not only did this fabulous course immerse us into a new community, but it enabled us to engage in hands-on learning which will stick with us for the rest of our lives. It gave us the opportunity not only to travel and get a taste for a new culture, but also allowed us to dive into the history of England and its Enlightenment.
This blog shows only some of our amazing experiences that we had in England in 2013 with this program; if you like what you see/read and want to become a part of this next year, you can! The E-Flier shown above has some of the basic details of the trip next year, and we urge any students to pursue it no matter what your major or back ground is or whether you have any friends going, because the friends you make on this trip will be more than enough!
Thank you for reading and enjoy!
-The 2013 Enlightenment Group

Although most of this blog attests to our trip abroad itself, the class which we took with it, known as “Nasty, Brutish, and Short,” regarding the British Enlightenment, also greatly benefited us as individuals and gave us a new world perspective. Not only did this fabulous course immerse us into a new community, but it enabled us to engage in hands-on learning which will stick with us for the rest of our lives. It gave us the opportunity not only to travel and get a taste for a new culture, but also allowed us to dive into the history of England and its Enlightenment.

This blog shows only some of our amazing experiences that we had in England in 2013 with this program; if you like what you see/read and want to become a part of this next year, you can! The E-Flier shown above has some of the basic details of the trip next year, and we urge any students to pursue it no matter what your major or back ground is or whether you have any friends going, because the friends you make on this trip will be more than enough!

Thank you for reading and enjoy!

-The 2013 Enlightenment Group


Dec 28

Opening Dinner at the In & Out

December 11th, 2013

Our first night in London featured the opening dinner at Naval & Military Club, called the In and Out Club, in St. James Square. We were happy to attend despite our extreme exhaustion from our overnight flight.

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         Lounge of the club; a portrait of Prince Charles is in the back.

Before dinner we had a brief tour of the club, which led to the club’s beautiful Long Bar, where we had pre-dinner drinks. We met some of the members of the club, including an English sailor who was shipping out to Oman that night, and got to know Jody Grundy, our professor’s wife. .image

                              Our males at the Goat Bar.image

                                   Our ladies at the Goat Bar.

The club’s main dining room was previously Lady Astor’s ballroom, as this club previously was her London home when she was a member of Parliament. The food was very different from that in America, and definitely would take some getting used to.

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                                       The Dining Room

Everyone tonight had different combinations of the following:

Starters:

  • French Onion Soup
  • Potted Shrimps and Prawns, Melba Toast, Lemon Dressing
  • Whitebait Dressed Salad, Lemo0n, Brown Bread & Butter
  • Pressed Ham Hock Terrine, Fennel & Orange Salad  

Mains:

  • Seared Kentish Guinea Fowl, Apricot & Sage Stuffing, Colcannon Potatoes, Madeira Jus
  • Braised Belly of Pork, Spiced Red Cabbage, Calvados Sauce
  • Smoked Haddock Monte Carlo (Poached Haddock, Wilted Spinach, Poached Egg & White Wine Sauce)
  • Spinach, Pea, Herb & Runner Bean Risotto

Pudding:

  •  Christmas Pudding with Winter Warmer Ice Cream & Brandy Anglaise
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We all had the same dessert, Christmas Pudding, except for Michael who, because of his nut allergy, had a lovely fruit plate that he shared with everyone at the table.

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We concluded the evening in the library where we had a meeting after dinner to discuss the rest of our trip. It was a great start to our journey through England!

-Bethany Gorby


On the morning of the 12th of December, we had the opportunity to visit the oldest scientific society in the world, The Royal Society, in Carlton House Terrace. The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished and eminent scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

Rupert Baker, librarian of the society, acquainted us with the beautiful house of the Royal Society, its history, and contents. He explained to us in detail how Enlightenment tendencies in England in the 17th century played such a big role in the founding of the Royal Society and how the scientific discoveries of the members of the Royal Society helped the Enlightenment put down strong roots. We felt extremely privileged to know about this Society because of its history with so many great scientists and discoveries. In fact Sir Isaac Newton was one of the early presidents of the society. We were pleased to see the beautiful paintings of all these great individuals.

We visited the library of the Royal Society which was mesmerizing. It was beautiful and we felt honored to be able to look at all the historic books in the collection. The Royal Society makes sure all resources  in the library are made available to people whose research can benefit from them . We also had the opportunity to see a copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s telescope, which was made and given to the society 100 years after Newton’s presidency.

The Society has played a part in some of the most fundamental, significant, and life-changing discoveries in scientific history and Royal Society scientists continue to make outstanding contributions to science in many research areas. The Royal Society’s mission is to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.The Royal Society’s motto “Nullius in Verba” roughly translates as “Take Nobody’s Word for It.” It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to resist the domination of science by authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment.

-Sushmita Walve


December 12th, 2013

On the afternoon of December 12th we ventured to the South Kensington neighborhood of London, which is home to The Victoria and Albert Museum.

The V&A is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design and currently holds a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  

We were provided with a very informative docent-led tour that highlighted many artifacts that were produced during the age of The Enlightenment. Our group moved through many galleries of The V&A, including the ‘British Galleries’ and the 17th and 18th century specific galleries.

The V&A holds the largest and most comprehensive ceramics and glass collection in the world, with over 80,000 objects from various countries.  The group spent a great amount of time discussing the Staffordshire potter, Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) and how he was able to mass produce ceramic vases and bowls. This mass production made it possible for the average middle class person to be able to purchase items that were of high quality and that mimicked the tastes of the very wealthy. This new way of quicker reproduction is a prime example of what was happening with design and the arts during the 18th century in England, a key period in the Enlightenment.

Photos Above:

1. The front of The Victoria and Albert Museum - Francis Fowke - 1857

2. Rotunda Chandilier - Dale Chihuly - 2001

3. Tureen - Josiah Wedgwood - 1790

4. Wedding Suit worn by James II - 1673

5. Writing Box - 1690-1720

6. Various ceramics - Josiah Wedgwood - 1760-1780

- Michael Chapman


December 13th, 2013

During our Enlightenment tour of London we stopped by the Royal Society of Arts to speak with our friend Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, about the concept of “21st Century Enlightenment”. Matthew challenged us to ask questions such as, “What is the emotional foundation that makes us want to treat people with fairness?”, and,  “How have ideals of the Enlightenment shaped modern norms, values, and lifestyles?” He told us that “21st century enlightenment should champion a more self aware, socially embedded, model of autonomy” and took time to answer our questions about how we, our generation, can be this change. Matthew talked about how “People make change, politicians reinforce it” and we had a very riveting discussion about how all civilizations survive only for a limited time. Matthew was full of knowledge and made a statement that I liked very much:“You can’t be free until you’re self aware.”

Afterwards we had a quick tour of the RSA and concluded our time with lunch at their restaurant, The Vaults.

-Andrew Brown


December 13th, 2013

Very relevant to the course material is the Enlightenment Gallery in the British Museum, which we toured Friday, December 13th. Founded by an act of Parliament signed by King George III in 1753, the museum became the first of its kind in regard to sheer quantity, as it housed 71,000 artifacts and objects that were bequeathed to the King by Sir Hans Sloane. 

Created to resemble an 18th century gentleman’s “Cabinet of Curiosities,” the Enlightenment Gallery fills the space formerly occupied by the King’s Library.  The room’s 18th century design has been retained and it is a very humbling experience to know that what we were viewing today is just about the same as that seen by someone in 1759. While our intriguing hour-long tour by Andrew Burnett only scraped the surface of the Gallery, I will highlight some of the more interesting artifacts.

In the Science section we saw a false mermaid from the 1700’s made by joining a fish’s body with a monkey’s head; pieces of grave-stolen skull believed to cure epilepsy; and ground-up Mummy fingers also used for medicinal purposes. Accompanied by live 18th century Chamber music, we also viewed a replica of the Rosetta Stone (which did not have any line, compared to the real one on a floor above), the deciphering of which helped uncover thousands of years of Egyptian history.

As the first modern museum in the world, the British Museum was an extremely interesting stop on our London journey. And given its emphasis on the Enlightenment period, it was an eye-opening experience to see first-hand items and ideas we encountered in our readings and discussed in our seminar. For anyone traveling to London, whether they are a history-buff or not, I would label the British Museum a must-see destination because of its impact on human history and society.

-Frank Busofsky


Christmas Gala

Friday, December 13, 2013

Students during intermission

Beautiful Interior of St. Martin in the Fields inTrafalgar Square

To wrap up our first few days in London we braved the chilly, rainy weather to attend a sold-out Christmas Gala at St. Martin in the Fields. The gala was held in a church and was lit by candlelight. The performance was put on by the Festival Orchestra of London and featured the Baroque period— pieces by Handel, Corelli, Bach, and Vivaldi — as would have been heard in 18th century London. The orchestra was accompanied by two singers as well, a soprano and a baritone. The performance was not all listening though! The conductor, Steven Devine, got the audience up and on its feet to sing several Christmas carols to get us into the Christmas Spirit! We arrived prepared to listen to music and take in the scenery of the candlelit church and left filled with Christmas Spirit, waiting to take on the rest of the week’s adventures in London and Cambridge! 

-Brynn Crowgey


Royal Observatory at Greenwich

December 14th, 2013

On day five of our trip to England, we visited one of Sir Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpieces, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. I was particularly interested in writing about this tour, not because I am a lover of architectural masterpieces, but because we would be learning about “seafaring, exploration… and maritime might.” Back in my hometown in Virginia, my dad always boats with me in the summers and I was excited to learn more about the mysterious sea and how the British learned to conquer it.

In addition, I know observatories are known for being used to gaze upon the stars, and I have a slight obsession with stars and space. 

Read More


December 16th, 2013

After we had been in London for a few days, we all met up and hopped on the tube to go off to St. Paul’s Cathedral, a huge tourist attraction.  There has been a Christian church on the site for over 1400 years, and the current cathedral houses thousands of secrets and historical artifacts that recount much of English history. The current cathedral was designed and build by Christopher Wren after the Great London Fire of 1666 destroyed the medieval cathedral, and took about 30 years to build. (Comparing this to the 200 years it took to build the earlier cathedral, this feat is quite impressive.)

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures past the entrance, but above are the ones I did manage to capture.  They can’t begin to convey how impressive the cathedral really is.

Barbara, our tour guide, led us on an amazing, private tour, through St.Paul’s secret, hidden gems that are never seen by the casual tourist who visits St. Paul’s. We traveled down to the bottom of the famous spiral staircase, the Geometrical Stairs, and discovered that the beautiful wrought iron craftsmanship of the railings took over two years to make!

We traveled to the cathedral’s private library that hosted many beautiful artifacts that have not been removed since the place was built.  Hosting us in the library was the cathedral’s learned and aptly named librarian, Jo Wisdom.

All of us truly felt blessed to be able to explore such an amazing historic monument, and would surely do it again if the opportunity arose. At the end of the tour, we were invited to climb to lantern and viewing area at the very top of the Cathedral.  It was a climb of well over 700 steps, but definitely was worth it. Those pictures are above as well!

-Emma Gilkey


Gresham College Lectures

December 16th, 2013

We had the great privilege of hearing private lectures by Professor Tim Connell and Dr. Valerie Shrimplin at Gresham College, which has been giving free lectures to the public since 1597. The main themes were the Enlightenment and the role of Gresham College has had in propagating its insights and values.  In addition, Professor Connell discussed the implications of this in today’s ever-moving, Internet-driven world. Professor Connell’s breadth of knowledge of the Enlightenment period was apparent and his eccentric, witty approach his lecture very enjoyable. Connell is a Life Fellow of Gresham College and one can readily detect his pride in being a part of such an historic and still relevant institution.  His excitement was as obvious as his lecture topic was clear.

In brief, Professor Connell and Dr. Shrimplin provided us students with a picture of the Elizabethan times in which Gresham College arose, helped us understand the hardships and opportunities of those times and how they led to later periods, when innovative thinkers were doing their part in developing English society and developing the great city of London. Professor Connell also discussed a more modern take on the Enlightenment and the expansion of knowledge: the Internet Age, which he finds very exciting and full of promise. Appropriately, he assured us that the mission of Gresham College has kept up with this leap from text to the computer screen, while remaining true to the College’s foundational aspects, such as referring to the library for answers, as well as providing public lectures on a wide array of topics, relevant to the issues and concerns of the times.

Appropriately, the figure most discussed was Sir Thomas Gresham. Gresham perhaps is most notably remembered for his creation of the Royal Exchange, the place of commerce and trade that has been at the heart of England’s wealth for almost 500 years.  Not far behind, and depending on whom one asks, Gresham’s historical importance also rests in his founding of Gresham College. Created by Gresham’s will in 1597, the College holds a staggering 130+ lectures annually, all of which are free to the public, and open to any intellectually aware and curious person who wants to make sense of our complicated world.

The lectures were most inspiring and those of us who heard them couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of purpose: an intent to continue and contribute to Enlightenment thinking today. 

- Tim Fuller


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