I owe much of my interest in the seventeenth century to the late historian, Christopher Hill (1912-2003). I went to see Justin Champion deliver an impassioned defence of Hill and his work at a memorial lecture in Newark. … More Christopher Hill, Andrew Marvell, and the Dissenting Tradition
Why do we always seem to be drawn to what we don’t have? The stumbling block of how to pursue academic publications without fear of rejection. … More The Politics of Envy
The difficulties of dealing with involuntary celibacy, from desolation to misogyny, seem to haunt some of Andrew Marvell’s most famous lyric poems. … More Was Marvell a seventeenth-century ‘incel’?
Review of Kate Loveman, Samuel Pepys & His Books: Reading, Newsgathering & Sociability, 1660-1703 (Oxford University Press, 2015). … More Samuel Pepys and His Books
I was reminded this week how nerve-wracking it can be getting to grips with a master’s, and why I have my supervisor to thank for it. … More Learning a new language
There is no hard evidence that Andrew Marvell’s ‘Horatian Ode’ ever left his hands. Yet, it may have come to John Dryden’s attention. How is Dryden the privileged one? A brief study of hard and soft evidence. … More Marvell, Dryden, and the Horatian Ode
There’s no escape from growing old, but can we escape the sense of inadequacy it can bring? Watching this unfold is perhaps the most uncomfortable aspect of the BBC’s new drama, Apple Tree Yard. … More Dealing with inadequacy: Apple Tree Yard
It’s not often that I greet New Year with indifference. On the contrary, I’m notorious for indulging in it. But a change of attitude is exactly what’s needed – so let’s begin. … More Create Chaos to Find Quiet: An Epilogue, 2016
Is it alright to brand yourself a failure in some things if you’re prepared to be a winner at others? … More When is calling yourself a failure a good thing?
The seventeenth-century poet Andrew Marvell received a mention in a recent Cosmopolitan article about Tinder. Would he really have approved of it, as its author claims? … More Would Marvell approve of Tinder? A response to Cosmopolitan