The Long Eighteenth Century

Bernard Cornwell on Waterloo

May 26, 2015

Bernard Cornwell writes historical fiction.  Really vivid, well-researched historical fiction with a military bent and complicated main characters. Now Cornwell makes his first foray into historical nonfiction with Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles. Published in time for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Cornwell’s account features the […]

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Went The Day Well? Witnessing Waterloo

May 15, 2015

In case you’ve missed it, the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo is nigh.  As is always the case with major historical anniversaries, major historical hoopla has begun. The first commemorative articles have already appeared. Reenactment groups are preparing a grand scale reenactment–5000 reeanctors, 300 horses, 100 cannons, a gazillion spectators.* And new books on […]

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On The Shores of Tripoli

April 10, 2015

In my seventh grade music class, we regularly sang the anthems of the various branches of the United States’ armed services.*  Three days a week, the caissons rolled, bones sank to Davy Jones, planes sailed into the wild blue yonder, and the Marines fought from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.  It […]

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“Oriental” Jones

March 21, 2015

Sir William Jones (1746-1794), known to his contemporaries as “Oriental” Jones, was one of the great eighteenth century polymaths. He was a linguist, what was then called an Orientalist,* and a successful public intellectual–the kind of scholar who is able to make abstruse topics not only accessible but exciting. Jones started early with his love […]

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In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon’s Wars

February 3, 2015

Even the most eclectic history buff has periods that draw her back time and time again. if you’ve spent much time here at the Margins you know the late eighteenth century is one of those times for me. Regency England and Revolutionary France, colonial expansion in India and losses in North American, Enlightenment thought and […]

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Let Them Eat Cake?

January 16, 2015

Today we’re going to take a little side trip from French Algeria to think about grain*, thanks to Paul Hancq, who responded to my recent attempts to convert the price of an eighteenth century grain purchase into modern American dollars with the comment, “At any rate, that is a LOT of expensive grain!” He’s right. […]

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A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III

December 30, 2014

Quick, name two things you know about King George III of England. If you’re an American, I’m pretty sure I know what you said: He held the throne during the American Revolution. If you’re a history buff (and I assume you are), you may have added that on July 4, 1776 he wrote “Nothing of […]

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1814: The Year in Review

December 23, 2014

I wish I could tell you that 1814 was a year of peace compared to 1914–but it wouldn’t be true. In fact, the two years look an awful lot alike–emphasis on the awful. The allied powers of Europe fighting an aggressive empire. A generation of young men damaged by war. Belgian fields trampled into mud […]

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The Black Hole of Calcutta

March 18, 2014

In mid-eighteenth century India, power was up for grabs. The Mughal dynasty was in decay. Smaller regional powers flourished. European trading companies, which held their trading privileges at the discretion of Indian rulers, were constantly looking for a way to get an edge. The British and French East India Companies, in particular, maintained private armies […]

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Introducing Flat Arthur, aka His Grace the Duke of Wellington

March 12, 2014

Several weeks ago, fellow Historical Novel Society member Cora Lee shared an idea that she’d been having fun with for a few months and asked if any of us would like to play along. She took the idea of “Flat Stanley” and gave it a historical twist, creating “Flat Arthur”– a two dimensional version of […]

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