East India Company

History Today

What is the soul, where does it come from and where does it go when we die? Such questions have continued to fascinate since the early modern period. The answers that were produced were never decisive, but were often surprisingly creative, as Richard Sugg demonstrates.

Angered by his native country’s rush towards western-style modernisation, the acclaimed Japanese author committed a shocking act of protest. Alexander Lee reveals the journey that led to such an extreme conclusion.

The maxim ‘show don’t tell’ is often forgotten when film-makers confront historical horrors, argues Suzannah Lipscomb, as two recent cinema releases demonstrate.

As Britain got hooked on tobacco, smoking paraphernalia became ubiquitous. Items such as tobacco boxes provide an insight into the anxieties and aspirations of the early modern psyche, says Angela McShane.

The ideas set out by Martin Luther sparked a reformation in the idea of authority itself. 

Despite its popularity in France, the political memoir took a while to get going in Britain. It was Lord Clarendon’s epic attempt to make sense of the turbulent 17th century that slowly set the ball rolling, according to Paul Seaward.

Perhaps the greatest disaster to ever befall humanity, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is strangely overlooked. Laura Spinney examines our shared memory of that and earlier tragedies.  

In the absence of a European democratic model, the Founding Fathers turned to the apparently perfect state of the Iroquois Five Nations as a template for a federal United States, combining the best of both worlds, writes C.K. Ballatore.