Category: the past

Barking at the angel.

On the top floor of the Accademia in Florence, in an overlooked panel of a medieval altarpiece, is an image that’s easy to ignore: a shepherd’s dog, barking at the angel who’s suddenly appeared to rouse the obviously startled shepherds from their sleep. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks […]

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Tinfoil Mary, “strong women,” and stays against confusion.

Left: The great writer. Right: Her tinfoil avatar. “I was hoping for a great memorial to Mary Wollstonecraft…this isn’t it.” – Historian Simon Schama I’m sure everyone involved meant well. I can’t wait to see how my next crop of “In Frankenstein’s Footsteps” study-abroad students will react to it [in a post-COVID J-term 2022 — […]

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An Awful Rainbow: possible introduction, part 2.

Possible introduction, continued, to An Awful Rainbow: Reading the Romantics in a World on Fire. Read Part One here. *** We Frankenstein pilgrims came home to a year that only got scarier. First, there was barely-averted war with Iran. The presidential caucus – Iowa’s pride and joy – came apart in our hands.  Then the […]

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My first novel: welcome to the world.

Did I ever think I’d be writing the words, “My first novel is published today?” Not really. But I am. And here it is, from Bowen Press Books. As a twenty-one-year-old dreaming of being a writer, I never could have imagined I’d be sitting here (in the British Library, no less!) marking this day. Nor […]

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Macaulay and Marlborough: “The Favourite” on screen and page.

It’s not often that a movie lives up to its press, but “The Favourite” does – and more.  It also reanimates a story coming to life in front of me, right now, in the first six-volume history of England written by a woman, published around the American Revolution and resting on my desk in the […]

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