Richard Francis

Mass hysteria in Massachusetts: the 17th-century witch crisis in America

30 October 2021 9:00 am

One September day in 1649, in the frontier town of Springfield, Massachusetts, Anthony Dorchester returned from church to the house…

From persecuted to persecutors: The Mayflower Pilgrims fall out

6 June 2020 9:00 am

The Mayflower’s journey did not simply end with landfall at Plymouth Rock, if indeed it ever arrived there in the…

Henry Tilney, a younger son and beneficed clergyman, defies his father in a scene from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

A single man of no fortune must be in want of a job: younger sons in Jane Austen’s England

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Readers of Jane Austen gain a clear idea of the task facing the daughters of gentlemen. They need to secure…

Detail of ‘Penn’s Treaty with the Indians’ by Benjamin West. Though William Penn was celebrated for his humane treatment of Native Americans, his heirs swindled the Lenape out of a million acres of territory

Should William Penn be shaking in his grave?

12 January 2019 9:00 am

The ultimate driving force of William Penn’s adult life is inaccessible, as the Quaker phrase ‘Inner Light’ suggests. While a…

The best sort of magic realism

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Michael Fishwick’s new novel tells the story of a young man called Robbie, who has been uprooted from his London…

Back from the front

9 July 2016 9:00 am

In his preface Sebastian Junger tells us that this book grew out of an earlier article. It obviously didn’t grow…