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Author Archives: Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Agnes’s problem

It was 1658. Agnes Bowker, 27, a spinster and domestic servant found herself with a difficult, but hardly unusual problem ... Read More »

Bullying (and bullied) girls

Two books about the horrible things done to girls, most often by other girls. One is the application of the label “school slut”. Now I think about it, every school, college and similar collection of adolescents or young adults with which I have been involved had a school slut, or, to be more precise, had a girl or woman identified ... Read More »

Roman sex

A lot of what I read is about gender issues, sexuality and similar, and an email exchange off-blog recently made me think about why these are valuable beyond simply the information they contain. Studying these areas provides a continual reminder that other cultures, other times, other people don’t see the world in the same way you do and make you ... Read More »

Those ancients weren’t dumb

One of my most surprising, “whow” books of 2004, was The Fossil Hunters, by Adrienne Mayor. Posted on my blog is a reconstruction of the skeleton of a Protoceratops, a dinosaur that lived in what is now the Gobi desert. Below is a Scythian “griffin”, placed into the same stance. This very clear example is used to introduce the idea ... Read More »

The Turks, the start

They’ve arrived. No, I don’t mean the Turks, but the hordes of visitors at Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years: 600—1600 AD. It was like a rugby game in there today, albeit a very polite one. But the exhibits, if not perhaps the exhibition, deserve the attention. I only had an hour to spare, and so concentrated on two ... Read More »

Piranesi, a man of many parts

I’ve always thought of Piranesi as a sculptor; when I look several times a week at the giant, spectacular, if rather ugly “Piranesi vase”, which towers above your head in a riot of decorated marble in the Enlightenment gallery in the British Museum, that’s perhaps not surprising, but I’m learning from Marguerite Yourcenar that he was primarily, and probably most ... Read More »

Females everywhere, but no women

From a young age I noticed how certified heroes were mostly male. I failed to notice, before Monuments and Maidens Read More »

The King’s Midwife: great book, great woman

I’ve already found one of my books of 2005, The King’s Midwife: A History and Mystery of Madame du Coudray, by Nina Rattner Gelbart. On my site is the map assembled by the author (from ten years of research, primarily in French provincial archives) of the travels of Mme Coudray (1715-1794), who after more than a decade as a leading ... Read More »