All posts filed under: Archives & Libraries

Restoration

Chronicles of a librarian’s librarian – a treasure of Senate House Library

John Evelyn, the 17th-century diarist whose Restoration diary is recognised as the most extensive and informative record of a momentous period, even advised Samuel Pepys on libraries. Dr Karen Attar, research fellow at the Institute of English Studies, looks at his legacy.

South Sea Bubble

South Sea Bubble: a byword for folly and fraud

As oil prices tumble and we face high national debt, it seems particularly appropriate to reflect on the South Sea Bubble, a stock market crash from 300 years ago, and its contemporary documentation. Dr Karen Attar, research fellow at the Institute of English Studies, looks at the stories behind the headlines that were splashed across […]

Florence Nightingale

The Year of the Nurse and what an eyewitness account reveals about ‘the lady with the lamp’

As we celebrate the Year of the Nurse and the 150th anniversary of the British Red Cross, Institute of English Studies research fellow Dr Karen Attar, takes a look at an eye-witness account of a nurse who accompanied Florence Nightingale, ‘the lady with the lamp’, to Scutari in 1854.

Experts

‘Following the science’: the role of experts in historical perspective

Historian Christopher Phillips compares specialist involvement in the Covid-19 crisis with civilian expertise in government during the First World War. Though very different situations, both point to the importance of experts in planning for and responding to an evolving challenge. Both equally demonstrate the constraints placed on outsiders when expertise comes in to close contact […]

Pascal

Pascal’s jottings in defence of Christianity turns 350

Mathematician, physicist, inventor, religious controversialist, literary author: in a brief life terminated by a lingering, debilitating illness, Blaise Pascal (1623–62) was nothing if not multi-talented. As the curator of rare books at Senate House Library, I think of Pascal primarily in terms of mathematics, says Dr Karen Attar.