Miscellanies

Miscellanies is History Today's free weekly long read. Every Thursday, we publish a specially commissioned essay or long read from our archive. The subject? History. As the name suggests, we can’t be more specific…

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The Electric City

London’s West End came to life in the late 19th century, its glamorous attractions illuminated by innovations in electric light. The night, once associated with peril and danger, was reclaimed for leisure.

Edith Wharton’s Moroccan Clichés

In 1917, the American novelist Edith Wharton travelled in Morocco seeking ‘barbaric splendor’ and an escape from war-torn Europe. Her French colonial hosts, keen to gain US support for their Protectorate, were happy to oblige.

The Afterlives of the International Brigades

Despite defeat in the Spanish Civil War, veterans of the International Brigades would soon face fascism again. Experiences and connections forged in Spain would prove key in the fight against Hitler and beyond.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s Myth of Ancient Hatreds

The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan is sometimes explained as a result of ‘ancient hatreds’. In reality, it is nothing of the sort, despite both sides using history to bolster their claims to the region.  

David Ker’s Khivan Fictions

As the Russian Empire expanded into Central Asia, a British correspondent filed reports on the fall of the Khanate of Khiva. Unfortunately, he did so despite being hundreds of miles from the events he described and months before they occurred.

100 Years of Greater Lebanon

The disastrous explosion in Beirut has prompted calls for French intervention in Lebanon. But the history of France’s involvement in the region has been driven by the creation of proxy elites and the pursuit of its own interests.

Belarus Begins Again

Belarus’ history has been a series of false starts, but the recent uprisings against Alexander Lukashenko suggest a new chapter is imminent.

Looking Radiant

Before the harmful effects of radiation were acknowledged, the beauty industry sold radium as ‘liquid sunshine’. Marie Skłodowska Curie’s death would change that. 

The Many Faces of the Enlightened Man

In the 18th century, new scientific ideas meant new thinking about what it meant to be male and female. As everything became gendered, anxieties proliferated.