Goodbye to the Vikings
Ben Jones (detail). There was no such thing as a ‘Viking’ in the medieval period. Use of the term emerged in the 19th century. The word wicing occurred in Old English and víkingr in Old Icelandic, but…
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The Business of Books
It is now 55 years since Robert Darnton first became aware of the vast archive of the Société typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), one of the principal suppliers of books to the French market in the late…
Rocks of Ages
Charles Darwin, 1881 © Bridgeman Images. Charles Darwin experienced what he recalled as one of the most significant events of his five year voyage aboard HMS Beagle on 20 February 1835: his first…
Could the Soviet Union Have Survived?
Rodric Braithwaite, British Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1988-91) and author of Armageddon and Paranoia: the Nuclear Confrontation (Profile, 2017). People still argue about the fall of the Roman…
Scene from The New Art and Mystery of Gossiping, Being a Genuine Account of All the Women’s Clubs in and about the City and Suburbs of London, c.1760. British Library Board. *** What follows will be…
Christmas with the Tudors
‘Christmas entertainment’ illustration from A Book of Roxburghe Ballads, 1847. Bridgeman Images. In Tudor England, the festive season was a tale of contrasts. It began with a period of spiritual…
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