Exactly 350 years ago, on 31 May, 1669, Samuel Pepys stopped writing his diary and our intimate view of life in London in the 17th century was suddenly cut short, writes novelist Deborah Swift. She tells Historia what we’re missing as a result.
“All lines converged on the Dragon Yard case and the Fire Court at Clifford’s Inn.” But in Andrew Taylor’s second book in the James Marwood and Cat Lovett series, set in London just after the Great Fire, those lines tangle and twist fiendishly before coming together, writes Frances Owen. It’s 1667. James Marwood, son of […]
For National Tea Day, Isabel Stilwell investigates the story of Catherine of Braganza, the queen who popularised Britain’s favourite drink. In 1777 a Frenchman came to Portugal as a spy, and to prove his point that the country was utterly under British influence, he wrote: “The Portuguese copy the English to such an extent, that they […]
On May 9, 1671, at a little before 7am on a chilly spring morning, a tall, handsome, middle-aged man calling himself Thomas Ayliffe, and dressed in the severe black gown and square white collar of a humble country parson, presented himself at the door of the Irish Tower in the northeast corner of the Tower of London. He […]
Four of my novels have been set in the seventeenth century, and for all of them I have used Pepys’ Diary as an integral part of my research process. In the process, I became fascinated by the women who appear as vague figures in the background, between the lines, always overshadowed by Pepys’ ebullient presence. […]
Our guest this month is Janet Todd, an internationally renowned scholar and biographer, expert on women’s writing and feminism and the author of two novels, Lady Susan Plays the Game and Man of Genius. She is a Professor Emerita at the University of Aberdeen and Honorary Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. Her pioneering biography of Restoration writer Aphra Behn has recently […]
There is nothing Janet Todd doesn’t know about the Restoration playwright, Aphra Behn; her acclaimed 1996 biography is testimony to this. Twenty years on she has returned to this work, updating it with subtle textual revisions and a new introduction: Aphra Behn: A Secret Life is the result. In the years separating these editions historical […]
It is unsurprising that there seems to be a new appetite for the Stuart period, given the seventeenth century brought us some of the best and most enduring drama ever written, a regicide, a civil war, a republic, a restoration and, in the aftermath of all this, one of the most dramatically eventful and devastating […]