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Making History

A Huguenot brought to life: Jeanne III d'Albret, Queen of Navarre

Archives are one thing, the public another and connecting the two is one of a historian’s hardest challenges, as Suzannah Lipscomb knows from experience.

Philip II (on a cow) with the Duke of Alençon, the Duke of Alba, William of Orange and Elizabeth I, by Philip Moro, 16th century

Practical details from historical sources may convince us that historical fiction is fact, but, warns Suzannah Lipscomb, such novels are fraught with danger for one in search of the past.  

Tudor chicken: Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII, 1933

Was Henry VIII a good-natured buffoon or an egotistical tyrant? Your answer is likely to depend on which cinematic portrayal you have seen most recently.

Understanding the emotional lives of people in the past is one of the most difficult challenges facing the historian, argues Suzannah Lipscomb.

Our conceptions of time have become more accurate but less personal, says Mathew Lyons.

Politics should be informed not just by history but by historians, argues Suzannah Lipscomb.