Remembering the Holodomor

Erin Litteken tells the story of four generations of women of an American family. At the centre of the story is Cassie, the young widow, who struggles to come to terms with her husband’s recent death in an accident. She lives in Wisconsin with her little daughter Birdie, who has not spoken since her father… Continue reading Remembering the Holodomor

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Passengers

I have just finished reading Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz’ The Passenger, the story of a Jewish businessman trying to escape the Nazis in the wake of Kristallnacht. The novel opens on 9 November with a visit of Nazi officers to the Berlin flat of Otto Silbermann which sees one of his few remaining friends attacked, while the… Continue reading Passengers

Risk and Controversy – The Life of Mary Wortley Montagu

The story of a woman who has her children inoculated against the smallpox at a time when most people, including the medical establishment, were highly sceptical towards such foreign practices certainly makes for timely reading during a pandemic. Sometimes it is worth taking a small risk to avoid a larger one.  Mary Wortley Montagu learnt… Continue reading Risk and Controversy – The Life of Mary Wortley Montagu

Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun takes on the big questions

During the pandemic I have started reading more fiction again, and any new book arriving through the post has been greeted with some excitement. Yet, I had pre-ordered Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel with a mix of both eager anticipation and an ever-so-slight fear of disappointment. I had liked Ishiguro long before anybody thought of giving… Continue reading Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun takes on the big questions

Defending the English Revolution in the German Lands

In his study of the contemporary reception of the English Revolution in the German-speaking lands of continental Europe, Günter Berghaus stresses that a large majority of pamphlets published on the subject in German were biased towards the Stuart monarchy. This is little surprising given that the majority of territories were ruled by princes who were… Continue reading Defending the English Revolution in the German Lands

How not to write women out of history

Admittedly, my headline sounds a bit dramatic. But I am serious about this. Several years ago, I reviewed two books in short succession: one, a collection of essays on Oliver Cromwell, another, a history of gender in the English Revolution. The former barely mentioned any women at all, the latter focused on gender relations during… Continue reading How not to write women out of history

Royalist Republicans in the United Provinces

I have just finished reading Helmer Helmers’ The Royalist Republic (CUP, 2015), which offers a profound challenge to received views of Anglo-Dutch relations during the seventeenth century, in particular the idea ‘still influential among non-specialists – that Dutch republicanism somehow separated Dutch political culture from the kingdoms surrounding it.’ (262) In his book, Helmers explores the… Continue reading Royalist Republicans in the United Provinces

Translating Cultures – Workshop at the Duke August Library, 26/27 June

If you are an early modernist interested in translation, print and the book trade in Europe and you can make it to Wolfenbüttel this summer, drop in on our workshop on 26 and 27 June. We are gathering at the excellent Duke August Library (HAB) once in the charge of the Enlightenment philosopher Gotthold Ephraim… Continue reading Translating Cultures – Workshop at the Duke August Library, 26/27 June

Being a refugee

It’s weird to be writing a book about English republican exiles in the seventeenth century while thousands of refugees from the Middle East and Africa make their way to Europe every day. I’ve been wondering a lot what it might feel like to be a refugee and if there are experiences that might link these… Continue reading Being a refugee