Tag England

Why Are We Still Reading Jane Austen (But Not Mary Brunton)?

H. J. Jackson— Up to 1860, the career paths of Jane Austen and Mary Brunton were strikingly similar. If Brunton had an advantage in the reviews and reference books, Austen—who after all produced more novels—gradually took the lead in numbers of editions and reprints. Almost exact contemporaries, they both started

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The Legacy of Jane Austen and the Industry of “Jane Austen”

Fiona Stafford– When Jane Austen spoke of being “in love with” Clarkson, in a private letter of 1813, she was referring to the indefatigable antislavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson and his splendid History, which charted the progress of the abolitionist movement. Two hundred years later, the name of Clarkson would be

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The Office of the Coroner and the Birth of the Modern English State

Matthew Lockwood— The image of the detective is a familiar one to modern eyes. Contemporary culture is rife with crime dramas, police procedurals, and medical investigations. Searching for the origins of this ubiquitous cultural type in the Anglo-American world, few would delve deeply into the past, pinpointing instead the nineteenth

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On Writing “William the Conqueror”

David Bates— Since William the Conqueror was published, I have often been asked how long it took me to write the book. Although the actual answer is fifteen years, I often reply that it has taken both fifty and three years. For all that this is an inaccurate answer—some might

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The Prince Who Saved the Magna Carta

Catherine Hanley— Have you ever heard of Magna Carta? It’s likely that you have: the document is famous throughout much of the world and has come to represent enduring freedom and liberty. It exercised a strong influence on the US constitution; sixteen states incorporated the full text into their statute

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Winston Churchill’s Beach Reading: His Top Ten Books

Jonathan Rose— More than most politicians, Winston Churchill was an insatiable reader. He loved to schmooze with authors, and what he read profoundly shaped his political worldview. He never actually published a “Top Ten” list of his favorite books—but if he had, it might have been something like this: The

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The Men Who Lost America: “The Tyrant”

As we transition from American History November to Holiday Gift-giving December, we are sharing a series of previews of Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy’s profiles of the British leaders during the American Revolution from The Men Who Lost America, beginning with King George III. Each profile looks carefully at the myths that have develop around each

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Ghostwriting on Behalf of the ‘Greatest Victorian’s’ Ghost

The Memoirs of Walter Bagehot is an unusual inclusion in our September theme, “Memoir and Memory,” as the recorded memories, although told in the first person, were fabricated on behalf of Bagehot by historian Frank Prochaska. Walter Bagehot (1826-1877), called the “Greatest Victorian”, left no memoir of his life as a prominent

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To London, with Love: British Hispanists

Ivan Lett For many Britons, there is a certain long-standing fascination with Spain. In the early colonial and modern periods, the great Spanish empire was a Catholic rival to newly-Protestant English prowess on the seas, culminating in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. So quickly after its rise

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Bugs and the Victorians, a great summer read

The Fourth may be the most celebrated day in July, but we at the Press are fond of a lesser-known summer celebration, “Don’t Step on a Bee Day,” observed annually on the 10th. While watching your step for wayward insects, you might consider how our multi-legged friends played an essential

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