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emily zarevich

Emily Zarevich

Emily R. Zarevich is an English teacher and writer from Burlington, Ontario, Canada. She has been published by a variety of magazines and websites, including (but not limited to) The Archive, The Queen’s Quarterly, Russian Life, and The Calvert Journal. She is especially passionate about literary history.

A detail from Ophelia by John Everett Millais, c. 1851

Elizabeth Siddal, the Real-Life “Ophelia”

A working-class woman with artistic aspirations of her own, Siddal nearly died of pneumonia after posing for John Everett Millais’s iconic painting.
Black and white photo of The Boston Athenaeum by Southworth & Hawes

The Boston Athenæum

Founded in 1807, the subscription library was a gathering place for local scholars, “men of business,” and members of the upper classes in search of knowledge.
Etching of early Italian physicist Laura Bassi profile

Laura Bassi, Enlightenment Scientist

The Italian physicist and philosopher was the first woman to earn a doctorate in science and the first salaried female professor at a university.
Etching of Catherine of Aragon by Wenceslaus Hollar (Bohemian, 1607-1677)

Catherine of Aragon: Europe’s First Female Ambassador

Remembered as the wife Henry VIII brushed aside for Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon was viewed as a strong leader and diplomat in her own lifetime.
Edgar Allan Poe with some seashell illustrations from The Conchologist’s First Book

Edgar Allan Poe (Sort of) Wrote a Book About Seashells

The American writer was an enthusiast of the sciences, which may explain his decision to “adapt” a text about seashells for publication under his own name.
From the cover of Henry and June by Anaïs Nin

June Miller: More Than An Erotic Muse?

Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller, two writers in search of sexual and literary inspiration, modeled their most seductive characters on June Mansfield Miller.
A painting of Queen Eleanor by Anthony Frederick Sandys

Eleanor of Aquitaine’s “Court of Love”

Allegedly, the noblewomen of Poitiers solved the problems of love, lost and found. But was the court real, or was it just the fanciful invention of historians?
The Devonshire Manuscript facsimile 6v

The Devonshire Manuscript

The sixteenth-century handwritten collection of poetry and commentary offers a glimpse of intellectual life at the court of King Henry VIII.
French lawyer and politician Simone Veil, the Minister of Health, addresses the French Senate in Paris, on the subject of abortion, 13th December 1974

The Manifesto of the 343

In a dramatic act of civil disobedience, more than three hundred French women publicly confessed to having had an illegal abortion.
At the Theatre, Prudence Heward, 1928

Who Belonged to the Beaver Hall Group?

An association of Montreal-based artists, the Beaver Hall Group embraced the free-spirited Jazz Age in their work, their habits, and their lifestyles.
Portrait of Edna St. Vincent Millay, c. 1914-1915

The Poetry Contest Edna St. Vincent Millay Lost

Though her writing career opened in an inauspicious manner, Edna St. Vincent Millay became the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, c. 1843-47

The Contrary Journalist: Lady Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake

One of the sharpest female journalists of Britain’s Victorian era, Eastlake considered Jane Eyre an exercise in rudeness and vulgarity.
Portrait of Frances Theresa Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox by Peter Lely, 1662

The Woman Famous for Not Sleeping With a King

As a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of England, Frances Stuart was known as much for her ability to fend off the advances of King Charles II as for her beauty.
Gwendolyn MacEwen

Remembering Gwendolyn MacEwen

The Canadian poet was inspired by everything from Ancient Egyptian mythology to folk magic, from Gnosticism to global politics.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Was This Book the Original Eat, Pray, Love?

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was arguably the most popular book ever written by Mary Wollstonecraft.
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.
An illustration of the cat Behemoth from The Master and Margarita

The Symbolic Survival of The Master and Margarita

Neither supernatural forces nor Soviet censors were able to suppress individual creativity and determination.
Kenneth Haigh and Mary Ure in the final scene of 'Look Back in Anger' at the Royal Court Theatre, London.

The Reality Behind Kitchen Sink Realism

The gritty dramas of the 1950s and 1960s revealed the bitterness and disillusionment of Britain's working class youth.