W&M Contributors

The very individual journey of novelists

by stephaniecowell August 16, 2013
The very individual journey of novelists

by Stephanie Cowell It strikes me what great individual journeys each and every novelist has had…different joys, different frustrations. As a writer you start off wanting to tell stories; somewhere along the way some of us add the desire to win a Pulitzer, make the New York Times best seller list, receive several million dollars […]

10 comments Read the full article →

The Secret of Vesuvius

by CarolineLawrence August 14, 2013
The Secret of Vesuvius

by Caroline Lawrence Girolamo Ferdinando De Simone is an Italian-born, Oxford-educated archaeologist based in Naples. We met via Twitter because he likes my children’s book, The Secrets of Vesuvius, and might stage a shortened version using local schoolchildren on the north slope of Vesuvius. Finding himself in London for a colloquium on Herculaneum he tweeted […]

5 comments Read the full article →

Caecilius’ Willy

by CarolineLawrence July 15, 2013
Caecilius' Willy

by Caroline Lawrence (Wonders and Marvels contributor) Students and teachers familiar with the Cambridge Latin Course were in for a shock at the British Museum Pompeii exhibition this summer. We saw Lucius Caecilius Iucundus as never before and many of us exclaimed Herclé! (By Hercules!) Everybody knows his face from the famous orange textbook 1. […]

5 comments Read the full article →

When three hundred historical novelists met together in one room….

by stephaniecowell June 30, 2013
When three hundred historical novelists met together in one room….

Well, it seemed nearly five hundred and it happened at the grand banquet of the semi-annual Historical Novel Society Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. Writers who are fairly famous and those in the middle and those unknown to this point met together for two glorious days at the historical Renaissance Vinoy hotel whose veranda overlooks […]

5 comments Read the full article →

Buffon and the Beagle

by Lisa Smith June 30, 2013
Buffon and the Beagle

By Lisa Smith, W&M Contributor Beagles, that adorable and humble breed of hunting dog, were at the centre of a debate about the meaning of civilisation and nature in the eighteenth century. Long before Charles Darwin, scientists (or natural philosophers as they were called at the time) wanted to understand the process of breeding, as […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Avoiding the Crowds

by tracybarrett June 20, 2013
Avoiding the Crowds

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) I recently accompanied a group of alumni from Vanderbilt University on a cruise that started in Cannes and ended in Venice, with lots of stops on the way (at one point, we were in four different countries in four days). In Florence, I left the group and went to the […]

3 comments Read the full article →

Modern Evil Eyes

by CarolineLawrence June 15, 2013
Modern Evil Eyes

by Caroline Lawrence The more I try to find differences between the Romans and ourselves, the more similar we seem. Recently I’ve been thinking about charms against evil. In researching my Roman Mysteries books, I noticed that Romans seemed to employ three types of visual charms against evil. left: two modern versions of ancient evil eyes. […]

0 comments Read the full article →

The Art of Beagling in Eighteenth-Century England

by Lisa Smith May 30, 2013
The Art of Beagling in Eighteenth-Century England

By Lisa Smith, W&M Contributor Snoopy, the world’s most famous beagle, epitomizes several of the breed’s traits: the dangly ears, the prominent snout, the fixation on food. But in the cartoon, he retreats regularly to an imaginary world of adventures to escape the monotony of a dog’s life. An eighteenth-century beagle’s life would, perhaps, have […]

3 comments Read the full article →

Reading Women, and Reading Women

by tracybarrett May 20, 2013
Reading Women, and Reading Women

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) That is, reading women (the act of reading works written by women) and reading women (women who read). When I received a grant from the NEH to study texts about women written by women in the Middle Ages, many of my friends were puzzled that this was possible. “Medieval women […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Stranger Magic

by PamelaToler May 18, 2013
Stranger Magic

by Pamela Toler I’m fascinated by the Arabian Nights. By the stories themselves and the way they fit together into their complicated frame story. By their transformation from Arabic street tales to a established position in the Western canon. By their echoes in Western culture, from the Romantic poets to Disney. So I was delighted […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Secrets of a Roman Sewer

by CarolineLawrence May 15, 2013
Secrets of a Roman Sewer

by Caroline Lawrence Recently I attended a fascinating lecture by Professor Mark Robinson of Oxford University on the subject of Roman organic waste. Excavating the Ancient Sewers of Herculaneum was part of the British Museum’s fabulous ongoing exhibition Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum. For a fuller account, please read my History Girls blog post. […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Masturbation and the Dangerous Woman

by Lisa Smith April 30, 2013
Masturbation and the Dangerous Woman

By Lisa Smith, W&M Contributor Remember all those playground stories about masturbation causing hairy palms and blindness? Those tales go way back. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, much ink was spilled on the devastation that masturbation would cause. Men’s frequent self-pleasuring would destroy the fibres of their penis, and the masturbator would become effeminate, […]

7 comments Read the full article →

To Brand or Not to Brand

by tracybarrett April 20, 2013
To Brand or Not to Brand

by Tracy Barrett (W&M contributor) My writing career has been somewhat anomalous, not because I came to it lateish (in my thirties—younger than a lot of authors), and not because I continued to work full-time and raise a family for the first twenty years of it—most women and many men who write have combined writing […]

4 comments Read the full article →

A Labyrinth of Kingdoms

by PamelaToler April 18, 2013
A Labyrinth of Kingdoms

By Pamela Toler Sometimes a book grabs you by the throat and won’t let you put it down. I recently experienced that with Steve Kemper’s A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles Through Islamic Africa. I got so wrapped up in the story that I broke my long-standing rule about traveling with hardcover books because I […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Ivory Bangle Lady

by CarolineLawrence April 15, 2013
Ivory Bangle Lady

Sometimes I miss Rome so much I think I might die. They found her body in York. Her bones show she died young, aged around 19. She was probably beautiful, for her skull is symmetrical and her teeth were good. Isotopes (trace elements) in her molars prove she came from a hot country, almost certainly […]

0 comments Read the full article →