Culture, community and murder most horrid: recommendations for history students


Faculty: Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
School: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Course: BA (Hons) History
Category: All about university

31 March 2023

Headshot of William Tullett

Associate Professor Dr Will Tullett gives his recommendations for a textbook, novel and film that students should try before joining our BA (Hons) History course.

History text

Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre And Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1985, Basic paperback edition 2009) – a book of essays on different aspects of eighteenth-century French culture.

Read the whole thing or pick an essay that strikes you as interesting. A great introduction into the strange and exciting world of cultural history.


Adam Thorpe, Ulverton (1992, Vintage Classics edition 2012) – the history of a fictional English village over the course of 300 years, told as a series of fabricated, but highly realistic, historical documents.

A fascinating and thought-provoking novel that explores the relationship between historians, fiction, sources, and how to tell the history of a community.


Perfume: The Story of a Murderer directed by Tom Tykwer (2006). As my first book was on smell, I thought I should offer something odorous!

This film, based on a novel by Patrick Suskind and starring Ben Whishaw, traces an eighteenth-century Frenchman named Jean-Baptiste Grenouille and his murderous quest to create the ‘perfect’ scent.

By Dr Will Tullett

Will teaches on ARU's BA (Hons) History. Find out about this, and other degree courses, at one of our Open Days.


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