Today is the United States release of my non-fiction animal history book The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries! The paperback is now available in the U.S. and can be purchased at Amazon and other online or brick and mortar booksellers.
In January of 1818, on the second page of a small Irish newspaper, was a brief article with the sensational headline: “Projected Divorce in High Life.” This case, which would soon become notorious in both England and France, was not, in fact, a divorce. It was an action for criminal conversation – a tort, long extinct, in which an aggrieved husband could make a claim for damages against the lover of his adulterous spouse. These sorts of cases were always deliciously scandalous, and none more so than that of Aston v. Elliot – a case which involved noblemen, prostitutes, syphilis, a veteran of Waterloo, and some of the highest ranking members of the beau monde.[…]Continue Reading
Today, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Charlotte Brontë, and Charles Dickens are generally recognized as four of the greatest authors in English literature. But how did their contemporaries view them? Were their works appreciated? And how did the 19th century public feel when three of them, still in their prime, met an untimely end? To discover the answers to these questions, one might delve into the legions of biographies written over the years or have a look at their letters, journals, or contemporary reviews of their poems and novels. However, since it is less than a week until Halloween, I thought we might instead take a brief look at their obituaries.[…]Continue Reading
Born of humble origins in 1774, Robert Southey went on to become Poet Laureate of England from 1813 until his death in 1843. A contemporary of 19th century Romantic poets like William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he was an incredibly prolific writer, both of poetry and of prose. He was also a great lover of cats, as evidenced in his vast correspondence with friends and family.[…]Continue Reading