Mark Kishlansky

Mark Kishlansky is the Baird Professor of History at Harvard. He is working on a study of the reign of Charles I.

Madd Men: Gerrard Winstanley

Mark Kishlansky, 17 February 2011

The Russians have a saying: ‘The past is unpredictable.’ So it has proved for Gerrard Winstanley. For all but one of his 67 years he lived in obscurity and then he died forgotten. Generations of historians passed over him either in silence or derision. He entirely eluded the notice of the Earl of Clarendon in the 17th century and of David Hume in the 18th. Even the Jacobin William...

Sex Sex Sex: Charles II

Mark Kishlansky, 27 May 2010

Harry Widener went down on the Titanic at the age of 27. He was the scion of a wealthy Philadelphia family whose patriarch began life as a street vendor and ended it as one of the richest men in America; one of his early coups was a contract to supply the Union army with meat. Harry grew up amid priceless collections of pictures, coins, and especially books. When he graduated from Harvard in...

Mighty Causes: the English Civil Wars

Mark Kishlansky, 11 June 2009

Thomas Hardy, it is said, believed the history of humanity could be written in six words: ‘They lived, they suffered, they died.’ As a historical account this was more than adequate. It depicted change over time, contained a point of view, and encapsulated a universally applicable lesson. What detail the story lacked could be supplied by readers, each in their own way. Like many...

Fear of Words: The Cavalier Parliament

Mark Kishlansky, 18 December 2008

Annabel Patterson’s passion and sense of justice were inbred, but her belief in what was possible and the drive to achieve it were acquired, learned at a time when women like her were sent to secretarial school. Born in England, she has had a long career in both Canada and the United States; she was a member of the English department at Duke before its immolation, and recently retired...

In the 1660s, repression gave way to liberation. Samuel Pepys took great pleasure from his debauching of the progeny of such well-known Puritans as ‘Penny’ Penington, whose grandfather Isaac had been the Presbyterian alderman and mayor of London. The Duke of Monmouth had an illegitimate child with Elizabeth Waller, the daughter of the Parliamentarian general, Sir William. The...

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