The Rest Is History

Chair lit, a medieval pen-twister, and an unusual mud-wrapped mummy.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, February 05, 2021

Girl on Chair, by Louis Eilshemius, c. 1891. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966.

• When the humble and variable chair captured the literary imagination, spawning a new genre of sedentary travel books. (Public Domain Review)

• A profile of the historian Dan-el Padilla Peralta: “There is a certain kind of classicist who will look on what transpired and say, ‘Oh, that’s not us.’ What is of interest to me is why is it so imperative for classicists of a certain stripe to make this discursive move?” (The New York Times Magazine)

• A conversation about “the increasing nationalization of racial histories, and the way African American studies in the United States have been influenced by ideas of American exceptionalism.” (LRB Conversations)

• “The thorny process of figuring out what to do with the colonial war booty that is scattered throughout hundreds of public and private collections in Europe and America has not been resolved.” (The New York Review of Books)

• “Prehistoric teeth found over a hundred years ago are some of the best evidence yet for hybridized communities of Neanderthals and modern humans.” (Gizmodo)

• “If you’re at all interested in the twentieth-century history of the American newspaper business, you now have access to a robust new resource.” (Nieman Lab)

• “The hidden meaning of a medieval pen-twister.” (History Today)

• On colonial nostalgia and the myth of Karen Blixen. (The Drift)

• A story about Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Joe, who lived in New Jersey. (New York Times)

• “An unusual mud-wrapped mummy is leading archaeologists to rethink how nonroyal Egyptians preserved their dead.” (Science News)

• On the photographers who managed to get a shot of Hank Aaron breaking the home-run record. (Defector)

• This week in obituaries: Andrew Brooks, Paul J. Crutzen, Hal Holbrook, Cicely Tyson, Rennie Davis, Corky Lee, Tom MooreJune Rose Bellamy, Wayne TerwilligerDustin Diamond, Sophie, Sibongile Khumalo, Rémy Julienne, Double K, Maxine Cheshire, Marc Wilmore, Monika Tilley, Jamie Tarses, Antonio Sabàto, Loretta Whitfield, Lewis Wolpert, Ricky Powell, Jack Palladino, and Eugenio Martinez.