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.
Mary Sidney and the Voice of God
Philip Sidney’s attempt at translating the Psalms ended with his early death. Then, his sister took up the cause—and proved herself the superior poet.
The Newsletter Boom, 300 Years before Substack
Some journalists are turning to newsletters to get their work out. But they're not hand-copying them onto folded paper, like people did in the 1600s.
“Beating the Bounds”
How did people find out where their local boundaries were before there were reliable maps?
Pompeii Mania in the Era of Romanticism
Nothing appealed more perfectly to the Romantic sensibility than the mix of horror and awe evoked by a volcano erupting.
The Rhythms of Shaker Dance Marked the Shakers as “Other”
The name Shaker originally comes from the insult “Shaking Quakers,” which mocked the sect’s use of their bodies in worship.
William Blake, Radical Abolitionist
Blake’s works offer an alternative to the failures of the Enlightenment, which couldn’t muster a consistent argument for abolition.
The Prince of Quacks (and How He Captivated London)
James Graham, founder of the Temple of Health, benefitted from his undeniable flair for showmanship and his talent for leaping on trends.
Meet the original Bluestockings, a group of women intellectuals. Their name would eventually become a misogynist epithet -- but it didn't start that way.
The Ladylike Language of Letters
Letters reveal how language changes. They also offer a peek into the way people--especially women--have always constructed their private and public selves.