Regular Contributors

Karen Abbott |Stephanie Cowell | Adrienne Mayor | Jack El-Hai | Elizabeth Goldsmith | Christine Jones |Helen King |Eric Laursen| Lisa Smith | Pamela Toler | Holly Tucker| Juliet Wagner |


KarenAbbott Karen Abbott’s forthcoming book Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy tells the true story of four daring (and not entirely scrupulous) Civil War spies who risked everything for their cause, and will be published by Harper Collins on September 2. Abbott’s previous books, Sin in the Second City and American Rose, were both New York Times bestsellers. She is a featured contributor to the Smithsonian magazine and also writes for Disunion, the New York Times series about the Civil War. Visit her online at or follow her on Twitter @KarenAbbott.

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Stephanie Cowell Stephanie Cowell was born in New York City to a family of artists and fell in love with Mozart, Shakespeare and historical fiction at an early age. She began printing stories in a black and white school notebook at about nine years old and in my teens wrote several short novels which remain in a dark box. Her first published novel was NICHOLAS COOKE: ACTOR, SOLDIER, PHYSICIAN, PRIEST, followed by two other Elizabethan-17th century novels: THE PHYSICIAN OF LONDON (American Book Award 1996) and THE PLAYERS: A NOVEL OF THE YOUNG SHAKESPEARE. In 2004, she returned to my musical background and wrote MARRYING MOZART; it has been translated into seven languages and optioned for a movie.

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jackJack El-Hai is a writer of books and articles who covers medicine, science, and history. His books include The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WWII (PublicAffairs Books, 2013; optioned for screen and stage by Mythology Entertainment), Nonstop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness (Wiley, 2005), and many volumes of regional and business history. He teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and serves on the board of The Loft Literary Center.

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beth photo 2Elizabeth C. Goldsmith is a writer and scholar of French literature, recently retired from Boston University.  She has published books on conversation , letter writing, memoirs, and literary culture in the early modern period.  Her newest book is about the lives of two adventurous ladies who inspired wonder and amazement in the public of their day: The Kings’ Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin.   Current projects include an anthology of seventeenth-century travel writing and an edited collection of the letters of John Singer Sargent to Isabella Stewart Gardner.

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Christine Jones Christine A. Jones is an associate professor of French and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies in the Department of Languages and Literature at the University of Utah. She is the author of Shapely Bodies: The Image of Porcelain in Eighteenth-Century France and co-editor with Jennifer Schacker of Marvelous Transformations: An Anthology of Fairy Tales and Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Her research has been funded by grants from the NEH, the French Porcelain Society, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Current work includes unorthodox translations of Charles Perrault’s Mother Goose tales based on a new interpretation of his classic stories, and a monograph on the rage for hot drinks in early modern France, particularly as it was expressed in science, etiquette, and visual culture.

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Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 11.18.22 AMIn the last two years, Helen King’s activities have ranged from teaching school students on a ‘Roman Medicine’ themed day, to lecturing to medical students in the Czech Republic on the origins of medical terminology; and from a public lecture surrounded by body parts in jars at the Bart’s Pathology Museum, to another public lecture for a group of heart surgeons at the Royal Galleries at Holyroodhouse; and from face-to-face teaching at the University of Vienna as a visiting professor in women’s and gender studies, to writing distance learning material for the new Open University Classical Studies MA.

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Eric LaursenEric Laursen is an Associate Professor of Russian and Honors at the University of Utah.  He is the author of Toxic Voices: The Villain from the Early Soviet Period to Socialist Realism (Northwestern University Press, 2013).  His current project, Transformers: the Aesthetics of Energy in Soviet Culture, is a book on the influence of energy science on theory and practice in Soviet-era art, literature, theater, film, and propaganda.

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Adrienne Mayor Adrienne Mayor is the author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World (2014) and The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Award. Her books The First Fossil Hunters and Fossil Legends of the First Americans have inspired international museum exhibits and television documentaries, as has her study of ancient biochemical warfare, Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs. She and her husband and their Bengal cat Bindi divide their time between California and Montana.

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Lisa-Smith-AppendixA historian of gender and medicine in eighteenth-century France and England, Lisa Smith (Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan) has published widely on leaky bodies, pain, fertility, and the household. She is finishing a book on “Domestic Medicine: Gender, Health and the Household in Eighteenth Century England and France”. In addition to developing an online database of the Sir Hans Sloane Correspondence, she is a co-investigator on a crowd-sourcing recipes transcription project. She blogs at The Sloane Letters Blog, co-edits The Recipes Project and tweets as @historybeagle.

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Pamela TolerPamela Toler is a freelance writer with a PhD in history, a large bump of curiosity, and a red-hot library card. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Socialism and Mankind: The Story of All of Us, a companion book to the History Channel Series of the same name.

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Holly Tucker Holly Tucker is Professor of French and Professor of Medicine, Health & Society at Vanderbilt University.  Tucker’s research interests are in early medicine and culture. She is author of Blood Work:  A Tale of Medicine & Murder in the Scientific Revolution and Pregnant Fictions: Childbirth & the Fairy Tale in Early-Modern France. Blood Work was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in Science and Technology.  The book was also named a Best Book of 2011 by the Times Literary Supplement and the Seattle Times. She is currently at work on her next book, under contract with W.W. Norton.

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Juliet Wagner is a Research Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, where she is also an active participant in colloquia in ‘Medicine, Health and Society’ and at the Penn Warren Humanities Center.  Her research focuses on Modern Europe, in particular the cultural and social history of medicine, science and technology. She is currently completing the final touches on her first book, on film and shell shock during the First World War, which argues that the notion of “suggestion” was central to both trauma and cinema in the early twentieth century.

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