J.R.R. Tolkien’s tales of Middle-earth are hailed as founding texts of modern fantasy. But his recently published commentary on the Old English poem Beowulf suggests that Tolkien saw his creative writing as a work of historical reconstruction. The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings were conceived as the original stories behind an ancient but long lost English …Read More »
Oxford: Mapping the City Daniel MacCannell Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd., 2016 One of the tests that can b...
Jem Duducu is a historian and author of The Presidents in 100 Facts, The Busy Person’s Guide t...
No one tells you this, but one of the best things about conducting historical research is the opport...
Apple Tree Yard has finished, Endeavour is over and Sherlock is no more. What can history-loving TV ...
‘If historians neglect to educate the public, if they fail to interest it intelligently in the past,...
Dr Olivette Otele is a historian of transnational colonial history at the College of Liberal Arts, B...
Thanksgiving is fast descending on the American landscape. At the end of November, millions of Americans, fueled by an unquenchable passion for gluttony-based nostalgia, will sharpen their carving knives and engage in the mass ritual slaughter of turkeys in the name of a national feast that puts any pyramid-topped, beating heart extirpating, ancient Aztec sun-god sacrifice to shame. Yes, it’s …Read More »
“A history undergraduate places aside her work on an assignment for a few hours to surf the Web, and what she sees there worries her. It always troubles her, because her conscience keeps asking her how to connect her work with the world outside the university. She thinks of herself as a reformer, and corruption, pollution, and inequality rock her …Read More »
The purpose of the kind of popular historical writing exemplified in The Dead Duke, by Piu Marie Eatwell, is to present a period or subject to a non specialized audience in an accessible way. Hopefully by the end of the work the reader’s genuine curiosity is piped and they can go on to explore the era further. Taking this function …Read More »
Delicious chocolate has a far stranger history than you may at first think biting into its brown creamyness. Chocolate is derived from Theobroma cacao seeds, better known as cocoa beans, which are indigenous to South America. The very earliest discovery of chocolate being processed for human consumption comes from drinking cups that have been dated to around 1,750 BC. These cups were …Read More »
We are often told how “civilised” and how much better the Romans were than the surrounding barbarians (the word barbarian comes from the Roman era, the Romans couldn’t understand these languages and thought they were just saying “bar, bar” all the time so barbarian means some who says bar all the time). However the Romans weren’t always as smart as …Read More »
What a joy it is in this internet era, when so much information is ‘out there’ and (it seems) just about everything has been discovered, to find subjects which remain unexplored. With historical topics, newly-opened archives can offer fresh information. When an area of what might be called living history turns out to be unexamined, it is very exciting. Britain’s …Read More »
Exclusive extract from the first chapter of ‘The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife and the Missing Corpse’ by Piu Marie Eatwell After a long and dreary drive through wet country lanes, the party that included the ‘young duke ’ – for that was the identity of the pale and heavy-eyed young man of twenty-two – arrived at its destination. Welbeck …Read More »
John W Hawkins Reviews ‘Landscapes of London’ by Elizabeth McKellar Elizabeth McKellar Landscapes of London: the city, the country and the suburbs, 1660-1840 Yale University Press, 2013 xvi + 260 pages; 24 colour + 120 b/w illus. £45.00 RRP According to the author, a respected architectural historian, ‘This book is about cities, where they begin and where they end.’ Except …Read More »
Dr Ian Mortimer is an acclaimed historian, bestselling author and television presenter. His latest book Centuries of Change: Which Century saw the Most Change and Why it Matters to Us is published by Random House and out now. What is an historian? A historian (I don’t use the old-fashioned ‘an’, I pronounce the ‘h’ instead) is simply someone who studies …Read More »
Malcolm Archibald, Bloody Scotland: Crime in 19th Century Scotland Black & White Publishing: Edinburgh, 2014 RRP: £9.99 Body snatchers, murdering bigamists, and poisoners. Whisky-joints and smuggling rings. A socially-excluded victim of bullying that finally snapped and killed his tormentors. These are all stories that we have come across, either in the news of today or in films and books about …Read More »
Everyone knows how Edward II died. He was murdered at Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire on 21 September 1327 by being held down and having a red-hot poker inserted inside his anus, and his screams could be heard miles away. This cruel torture was most probably devised as punishment for his presumed sexual acts with men. Right? Wrong. Edward II’s murder by …Read More »
The Great Fire writer on creating ITV’s new drama “It’s a health and safety nightmare!” It’s the end of April and I’m sitting under a gazebo in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside with screenwriter, author and ITV News political editor Tom Bradby. We’re sitting next to an impressive recreation of seventeenth-century London – complete with timber buildings, narrow streets and …Read More »
The role of Eleanor of Castile as queen consort – and her influence over Edward I There is a fiction common in Victorian writing, that Edward I referred to Eleanor of Castile as “chère reine” and that it was thus that the Charing Cross derived its name. In fact both elements of this fiction are wrong. As is now moderately …Read More »
Dr Jonathan Foyle is an architectural historian, author, broadcaster and Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain. His latest book is about Lincoln Cathedral and will be published by Scala next March. What is an historian? The ultimate quality of a good historian is someone who cheats time itself. They can reveal truths that could have been lost to record; and encounter …Read More »