Harriet Beecher Stowe George Eliot

When Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot Were Penpals

These 19th-century novelists might seem to have little in common. But for 11 years they wrote each other letters, forging an unusual literary friendship.
Ignaz Semmelweis

The Man Who Invented Modern Infection Control

He's hailed as the "father of infection control" and the "savior of mothers," but the truth about Ignaz Semmelweis is more complicated than that.
Engraved Illustrations of Various Castles and Fortified Structures

The Medieval Castle That Pranked Its Visitors

At Hesdin, in France, the idyllic beauty of the grounds met the sadistic slapstick of the castle’s “engines of amusement.”
Jessie Chaffee Florence in Ecstasy

Expecting the Unexpected: Researching Florence in Ecstasy

Debut novelist Jessie Chaffee on how she researched her critically-acclaimed new novel Florence in Ecstasy, with a little help from JSTOR.
WB Yeats

W.B. Yeats Loved Tarot Cards

The august Irish poet was once a member of a secret occult order called The Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn. He was also an avid student of the Tarot.
King Arthur Harry Potter

Harry Potter, the Arthurian Romance

Perhaps the Harry Potter stories are so potent because they rework the iconic hero stories of medieval French Arthurian romances.
Arif Anwar The Storm

The Bright Future of Bangladesh: Researching The Storm

An interview with Arif Anwar, whose debut novel covers sixty years of Bengali history in five love stories.
Clare Booth Luce

Clare Boothe Luce, the Conservative Politician Who Wrote an All-Female Play

Clare Boothe Luce was a socialite, an editor, a feminist playwright, a devout Roman Catholic, a Republican Congresswoman, an early LSD user, an ambassador, and, believe it or not, more.
Elise Hooper The Other Alcott

Discovering the Real Little Women: Researching The Other Alcott

Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" is a cultural touchstone. But what about the women behind the "Women," Alcott's real-life sisters on whom she based her characters? An interview with novelist Elise Hooper considers the life of "The Other Alcott."
Norma Jean the Termite Queen

A Forgotten Feminist Novel About the Creative Power of Rage

Remembering history helps us to parse the present, and it follows that women struggling to process these "decades of pent-up anger" can find apt reading material in the feminist fiction of the 1970s.