It’s the middle of the year (June) and the middle of the month (the 15th), so I figured what better time to do a mid-year recap of all the ‘Madeira Mondays’ that I’ve posted so far this year, as well as a look ahead at what topics I’m hoping to cover in the second half of 2020.
This blog series is all about early American history and historical fiction, but the topics I’ve looked at range pretty far and wide, so I’ve organized this list in terms of category (‘On Films and TV Shows’ ‘On books’ ‘Recipes’ etc). You can easily scroll down to the category that might be of most interest to you. I’d also love any suggestions and feedback on which topics you’d be curious about as I move forward – more on that at the end of the post!
Display of items that would have been found in an 18th century American shop, at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia (November, 2019)
Madeira Mondays January-June 2020
On Films and TV Shows
Washington miniseries Episode 1; Washington miniseries Episodes 2-3 (Reviews of The History Channel’s new miniseries about the life of America’s first President, George Washington)
Behind the Mask (Review of film set in Revolutionary War Philadelphia, directed by Chad Burns)
Grace and Frankie and…John Adams (A look at the popular TV series Grace and Frankie and its surprising links to early American history and John Adams)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Film review of Celine Sciamma’s 2019 film about a romance between two women in 18th century France)
18th century Fashion on RuPaul’s Drag Race (A look at how drag queen Gigi Goode incorporates 18th century fashion into her outfits)
Scene from Portrait of a Lady on Fire, featuring Noemie Merlant as Marianne (right) and Adele Haenel as Heloise (left)
Thomas Jefferson, James Hemings, and French Cooking (Book review of Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brûlée by James Craughwell, about how Jefferson and his enslaved cook James Hemings brought French cuisine to America)
Historical Short Stories (On Karen Russell and her historical fiction short stories)
The Five by Hallie Rubenhold (Book review of non-fiction book about the lives of the five women who were killed by Jack the Ripper)
Celia Garth (Book review of this novel by Gwen Bristow, first published in the 1950’s and set in Revolutionary Charleston, South Carolina)
Emily Dickinson’s Poem about Waiting (Analysis of a poem by Dickinson)
A Forgotten 18th Century Drink (Making ‘flip’, an 18th century warmed rum drink)
A Cheap and Delicious 18th Century Recipe (Making potato cakes from an 18th century recipe)
Discovering an 18th Century Energy Drink (Making ‘switchel’, a refreshing summertime drink popular in early America)
Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (A-F); The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (G-P); Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (R-Z) (A series of posts about the best words from Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, a compendium of 18th century slang)
Hamilton wasn’t wearing any underwear (An in-depth look at 18th century men’s underwear)
The Poetry of Phillis Wheatley (A look at the life of Phillis Wheatley, a young African-American writer who was a celebrity in 18th century Britain and America and one of the first American poets)
The Surprisingly Interesting History of Tomato Ketchup (A look at ketchup’s history, from ancient China through to today)
Exhibitions and Historic Sites
Runaway Slaves in 18th Century Louisiana (A visit to The Cabildo museum in New Orleans Louisiana in January 2020, and a look at their exhibition Le Kèr Creole (The Creole Heart): Runaway Slaves, Music, and Memory in Louisiana)
Inside a Georgian Drawing Room (A visit to The Georgian House in Edinburgh, run by The National Trust of Scotland, where I volunteer as a costumed historical guide)
The Drawing Room at The Georgian House where I volunteer in Edinburgh, Scotland
I’ve really enjoyed writing and researching these posts and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. So what’s next for Madeira Mondays? Since I have a new book coming out next month, there will be a couple of posts on the research I did for that and how I went about writing some of the poems (many of the poems are inspired by history). I also have plans to read two books by Laurie Halse Anderson in the near future. One of these I’ve read before – Chains – about an enslaved young girl in 18th century New York City who gets involved with the Revolution. The other book – Fever, 1793 – is about the outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia in the late 18th century, and I’ve never read this one. But I know Anderson is a brilliant writer (she’s most famous for her 1999 novel Speak, which is a really harrowing but beautifully written book about a teenager’s experience with sexual assault).
In terms of shows, I plan to watch Dickinson (the new TV series loosely inspired by the life of Emily Dickinson, which looks like a lot of silly fun). And, in honor of the upcoming 4th of July, I’d like to do a post or two about the musical 1776, about the signing of the Declaration of Independence (I also researched this musical as part of my PhD, so I’ve got a lot to say about it!).
Which posts have been your favorites thus far? Are there any historical fiction books/TV series/films that I should know about? I’ve also toyed with the idea of asking some of the Early American historians that I met through my PhD to do a guest post (or perhaps an interview) for the blog, so let me know if that’s something you’d be curious to see!
As always, thanks so much for reading. Hope to see you next Monday! x