Lady Arbella Stuart

The Lady Who Might Have Been Queen of England

The failed campaign to put Lady Arbella Stuart in the line of succession began with a matchmaking scheme between her two grandmothers.
Jean-Paul Sartre in front of a swirling background of red crabs

That Time Jean-Paul Sartre Got High on Mescaline

The French existentialist got more than he bargained for when he went in search of drug-induced inspiration for his philosophical writings.
The second page of Austen's The History of England, with illustrations by Cassandra Austen

Jane Austen’s Mock History Book

Working with her sister, Cassandra, the teenaged Austen composed a satirical send-up of England's monarchs.
Part of a painting by Paul Sandby of Reading Abbey Gateway

The Reading Abbey Girls’ School

This all-girls boarding school in England produced a generation of accomplished female writers in the eighteenth century.
Detail from Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez

Who Was the Little Girl in Las Meninas?

A Spanish princess who became a German queen, Margarita Teresa lived a life structured by Catholicism and cut short by consanguinity.
Queen Jadwiga's Oath by Józef Simmler

The Marriage Myths of Jadwiga of Poland

Crowned rex Poloniae, King of Poland, as a ten-year-old, Jadwiga soon had a decision to make: should she marry for love, or should she marry for politics?
An illustration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 1831

The Hoax That Inspired Mary Shelley

In the hot summer of 1826, the British people—including science fiction author, Mary Shelley—embraced a fake and frozen Roger Dodsworth.
Portrait of Beatrice Hastings before a door by Amedeo Modigliani

Beatrice Hastings: The Forgotten Modernist

Marginalized in early histories of Modernist literature, Hastings left a mark on one of the most influential literary magazines of the early twentieth century.