Nineteenth Century Europe

Victorian City

September 9, 2014

In The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London,* social historian Judith Flanders (The Invention of Murder) reminds us Charles Dickens was a journalist before he was a novelist. The London that stands at the hearts of his novels–so vibrant that it’s almost a character in its own right–is not only a work of the […]

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First Known Serial Killer Terrorizes The Slums of London

August 12, 2014

On August 6, 1888, Martha Tabram was stabbed to death in the Whitechapel neighborhood of London–many believe she was the first victim of the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.* Between August and November, five more women were murdered within a one-mile radius in London’s East End. All were prostitutes and all but one […]

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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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The Crystal Palace

January 28, 2014

Several weeks ago, My Own True Love and I ventured out into a frozen Chicago to attend an exhibition about the Columbian Exposition at the Field Museum.  A meta-exhibit if there ever was one, Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair deals with the changing nature of how we think about the world around us and […]

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Victorian People

October 18, 2013

Asa Briggs’ Victorian People first crossed my path again when A. Scott Berg unexpectedly quoted Briggs in his new biography of Woodrow Wilson.* (Coming soon to a blog post near you.) Soon I was stumbling over it everywhere–a phenomenon I’ve commented on before. When I needed to check a quick fact about the Crimean war […]

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Wastrels and Fallen Women

September 13, 2013

Last week I reviewed Nicola Phillips’ The Profligate Son. I immediately heard back from a regular reader of History in the Margins who likes to keep me on my toes.* He asked: “How comes it’s always a guy that is a wastrel? Are there no Regency or Victorian ‘ladies’ that are wastrels?” Not wanting to […]

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If You Love Jane Austen…

August 23, 2013

Allow me to introduce Emily Eden–aristocratic spinster, political hostess, accomplished painter, and talented novelist. I first discovered Emily Eden through her connection to India. Her brother George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, was appointed Governor-General of India in 1835. Emily accompanied him to India and served as his Burra Lady Sahib (the rough equivalent of […]

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Macaulay’s Education Minute

August 10, 2013

I often check in with My Own True Love when I’m unsure about a blog topic.* When I asked him what he knows about Thomas Babington Macaulay he said “He sounds very distinguished.” I explained that Macaulay is best known as the most important writer of Whig history,** but that I think his real importance […]

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History on Display: Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity

July 2, 2013

Last week, my writing pal Amy Sue Nathan and I headed off to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the hot new exhibit, Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity. * It wasn’t quite what I expected. I was looking for what the museum describes as “a la mode as the harbinger of la modernité“. I wanted […]

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Learning to Read Egypt: Hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone

April 4, 2013

As I believe I mentioned recently, European scholars at the time of the Renaissance rediscovered ancient Egypt in the writings of classical Greece.* Like the ancient Greeks before them, they believed Egypt was the source of art, religion, and science: a land of mystery and arcane knowledge. The belief in Egypt as a land of […]

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