Michael Ledger-Lomas

Michael Ledger-Lomas is a historian and the author of Queen Victoria: The Thorny Crown. He is writing a book about Edwardians and gods.

The Call of the Weird: Last Gasp Apparitions

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 4 April 2024

Andrew Lang​ was in Oxford when he first encountered the living dead. One autumn night in 1869, he passed John Conington, professor of Latin, staring silently at Corpus Christi College. Nothing odd about a distracted don, except that Lang soon learned that Conington had, at that moment, been breathing his last in Boston, Lincolnshire. Years later, he discussed this ‘real or sham...

Shady Acquisitions: Corporate Imperialism

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 21 September 2023

In April​ 2022, Justin Trudeau watched Richard Baker, the 39th governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, hand over ownership of its ornate department store in Winnipeg to the local First Nations. The ceremonial was Hanoverian, with Baker and Grand Chief Jerry Daniels trading pelts and a gold coin, but the rhetoric was that of postcolonial reconciliation. Though proud of his company’s...

Against boiled cabbage: Falling for Vivekananda

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 2 February 2023

Swami Vivekananda (centre right) at the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893.

Swami Vivekananda​ might never have become a guru to the world if he hadn’t met a stranger on a train. In the summer of 1893, he travelled from India to represent Hinduism at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, only to discover that he had arrived several months early. Not...

Finished Off by Chagrin: Monarchs and Emperors

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 21 July 2022

European monarchies​ and extra-European empires were made for one another, especially in the decades after the 1848 revolutions, when the ancien régime was transformed. Monarchs were increasingly beholden to their subjects: they became charismatic figureheads or emblems for their democratising nations, rather than autocrats answerable only to God. When they looked beyond Europe,...

The Hierophant: Servant King

Michael Ledger-Lomas, 10 March 2022

The​ Queen’s Dolls’ House, designed by Edwin Lutyens, was put on display at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924. A twee descendant of Victoria and Albert’s Crystal Palace, three feet tall, it advertised the ingenuity of Britain’s manufacturers to the world. Its Palladian shell lifted off to reveal a miniature vision of upholstered modern life, as well as...

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