The Ruined Girl, 1786

Cads and handkerchiefs…..

The History of Love



‘Oh! fatal Day when to my Virtues wrong,
I fondly listen’d to his flattering Tongue,
But oh! more fatal Moment when he gain’d,
That vile Consent which all my Glory staind.’

In this print of 1786, a young woman of some fashion appears to have received a letter from her beau, informing her that their dalliance is at an end. Knowing that she has surrendered her virtue to an undeserving suitor, she weeps and leans again the sofa for support. A half-draped portrait hanging on the wall, showing a conversing couple hidden from view, hints at their clandestine affair.



Images © The British Museum

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Fall’s top non-fiction titles ~ September 14th & 15th Show

Some interesting books appearing soon….

The Book Report with Elaine Charles

“Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” by Reza Aslan
The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomless Rules Our Lives” by Leonard Mlodinow
“Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal” by Conor Grennan
“The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown
Chef Tell: The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef” by Ronald Joseph Kule
“Bertie: A Life of Edward VII” by Jane Ridley
“The House in the Sky” by Amanda Lindhout with Sara Corbett
“When I Left Home” by Buddy Guy with David Ritz

Chef John Moeller is a member of an elite corps of chefs who have served at the White House, cooking for three First Families: President George H. W. Bush, President Clinton and President…

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Reading between the lines: reconstructing lives from parish registers

The raw material of History!

Dr Alun Withey

I’ve recently returned from a research visit to Ruthin archives to look at the Denbighshire parish registers. The purpose of the visit was to trawl through every one of the hundreds of parish register transcriptions, looking for medical practitioners. With two bookcases full of volumes, each containing many individual registers, this was always going to be a long task. The registers for the town of Wrexham alone took two days, and monotony soon sets in when faced with page after page after page of names and bare information.

Parish registers are commonly the domain of genealogists and family historians, perhaps researching their own family history. Through the popularity of television shows like Who Do You Think You Are researching your own family tree has never been so popular, aided by the growing availability of source material online. Historians too are making use of parish registers. In aggregate they can reveal…

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How the FBI Turned Me On to Rare Books by Natalie Zemon Davis | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books

Anyone seen Jodie Foster and Richard Gere in Sommersby? Or the original Return of Martin Guerre with the inimitable Gerard Depardieu?

Unusually enough, the ultimate source of the story of both films is a non-fiction book by historian Natalie Zemon Davis…….who was very nearly stymied by J. Edgar Hoover‘s FBI before discovering a way round the problem………

How the FBI Turned Me On to Rare Books by Natalie Zemon Davis | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books.


Bloggers, Beware!

A salutary warning about the downside of blogging….or maybe human nature as manifest in, thankfully, a small minority.


When I started WaywardWomen in April 2012, I wanted to create a space where I could explore the themes and points of interest in my PhD project – but more than this, I wanted to create a place in which I could share and exchange my ideas with others – be that academic scholars, to those with a more general interest in the topics, and everyone in between. My hope, perhaps a naive one, was that WaywardWomen would allow me to become a better researcher, a better writer, and a more thorough thinker. The wonders of the internet and social networking sites like Twitter also allowed me to take the vital step it starting to associate my name and work with the subjects that I hope to build my academic reputation around. This is an experience that any anxious PhD student will tell you is invaluable at such an early…

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