The Rest Is History

Wombats, chickens in trousers, and literary tourists.

By Jaime Fuller

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Fleet of Aeneas Arrives in Sight of Italy (Aeneid, Book III), by the Master of the Aeneid, c. 1530. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1925.

• It’s too late to stop Richard Beale from doodling in his maths homework—he didn’t get caught until more than two hundred years later: “But there’s one thing we didn’t expect to see. Richard put an eighteenth-century chicken in some trousers.” (The Guardian)

• On Dante Gabriel Rossetti and wombats. (London Review of Books)

• Why has everyone always been obsessed with the Aeneid, a stylish tale about dullards, losers, and embarrassments? (The New Yorker)

• The home where the Bloomsbury Group worked: “There’s something a little uneasy about the site of such artistic and sexual experimentation, the home of people who pushed so forcefully against the establishment, having become a destination for day-trippers, complete with café and gift shop. Under Charleston’s modern guise as a tourist heritage site, it’s easy to overlook just how radically the members of the Bloomsbury Group lived their lives.” (NYR Daily)

• Looking at Margaret Cavendish’s science fiction, which “sheds historical and literary light on conceptions of gender, natural philosophy, political theory, theology, and the life of the author herself in seventeenth-century Europe.” (The Public Domain Review)

• A war over…archives? “All records were then sealed in tin boxes and stored at Mrs. Eberley’s under day and night guard. An attempt to take them by force would have precipitated a civil war.” (

• Archaeologists in Florida are trying to conduct a dig while hurricanes keep pummeling the area. (St. Augustine Record)

• Looking back at the career of Charles White: “Paint is the only weapon I have with which to fight what I resent.” (New York Times)

• This week in obituaries: a quackery historian, Montserrat Caballé, a woman who fought for tenants and prisoners, the first black football player drafted by the NFL, a former Federal Trade Commission chair, and a prolific novelist.