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Brief Lives: Biographies from Early Modernity

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About the "Brief Lives" Project

Modelled on John Aubrey's Brief Lives, our project hopes to showcase biographies on more obscure characters who may have been overlooked by the wider academic scholarship or who have only existed as peripheral figures to more high profile personalities. In the main articles have been and will be written by students or early career academics, enabling them to showcase their research while entertaining and informing the reader.

Tue 15 May 2012, 12:36

Amabel Hume-Campbell (nee Yorke)

Amabel Yorke (1751 – 1833) left behind an extensive archive of letters and diaries, carefully documenting her life, her observations, and her strong political opinions. Growing up immersed in a culture of intellectual debate, Amabel longed to participate in political life. She wrote extensively on the French Revolution, and described herself as an old English Whig. Discussed here by Serena Dyer, PhD candidate at the University of Warwick.

Mon 08 July 2013, 15:43 | Tags: 19th Century, Britain, 18th Century

George Keith

George Keith was a convert to Quakerism who rose to prominence within the movement before leading a schism within it. After the schism he wrote against the Quakers and their doctrines, later joining the Church of England in 1700 and becoming a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). He produced vast quantities of literature throughout his life, however, he has remained less studied than other leading Quakers such as William Penn, Robert Barclay and George Whitehead. 

Sun 30 June 2013, 16:46 | Tags: 17th Century, 18th Century

Mary Weston

Mary Weston was an eighteenth-century Quaker preacher and missionary, who undertook extensive ministerial work in the British Isles and the American Colonies. Ceding domestic responsibilities to a husband was highly unusual for an eighteenth-century woman. This Brief Life therefore intends to contextualise not only the mechanisms of support within Quakerism that were provided for Mary throughout her ministerial career, but also the relationships that developed with her husband and daughter as a result of her frequent calls to ministry.

Sun 19 May 2013, 14:39 | Tags: Britain, 18th Century, America

Sabine Winn

Serena Dyer discusses the interesting character and life of Sabine Winn, the Swiss wife of Sir Rowland Winn of Nostell Priory in Yorkshire. Born into a prominent Huguenot banking family, Sabine found adjustment to life as an English aristocrat difficult. Regularly left alone in Yorkshire by her politically ambitious (though unsuccessful) husband, she was left isolated. Troubled by suspicious neighbours, unruly servants and rebellious children, she often referred to Nostell as her prison. However it is how she combatted this isolation and loneliness that make Sabine fascinating. She compiled a culinary and medical recipe book, corresponded with tradespeople, and experimented with new crafts. The records that she left of these activities provide a unique window into the life of a woman trying to make a home for herself in a foreign country.

Mon 18 February 2013, 12:44 | Tags: 18th Century

Elizabeth Helme

Elizabeth Helme (1772-c.1810/1813) was an English novelist, translator, educational writer, teacher, and headmistress. Although much of her work did well critically and commercially, since the mid-nineteenth century it has largely been ignored. For more information, please listen to the podcast by Kate Scarth.

Tue 15 May 2012, 13:27 | Tags: 19th Century, Britain, 18th Century

Nicolas Delamare

Nicolas Delamare authored one of the most influential legal treatises of the early modern French period, La Traité de la Police. While this brief biographic entry by Matthew Jackson touches upon Delamare's oeuvre, its primary focus is to interrogate the fundamental yet historically obscure question, who was Nicolas Delamare? A four minute podcast accompanies this text.

Tue 15 May 2012, 13:22 | Tags: 17th Century, 18th Century, France

Nicolas de Condorcet

Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat marquis de Condorcet (1743 - 1794), famous as Nicolas de Condorcet was a French philosopher, mathematician, political thinker and politician.

Seyed Morteza Hashemi Madani provides a short insight into his life, and in particular his philosophy of history...

Tue 15 May 2012, 13:09 | Tags: 18th Century, France

Eustachio Celebrino

Rosa Salzberg pieces together Eustachio Celebrino's life from his own (not necessarily trustworthy) admissions, and from the numerous works he published in the early decades of the sixteenth century. A prolific hack writer (poligrafo) and a maker of woodcuts for printed books, Celebrino typifies the adaptability, versatility and mobility of many of those who became involved in the Italian publishing industry in the first century after its initiation in the 1460s.

Tue 15 May 2012, 13:00 | Tags: 16th Century, Italy

François Bordier

François Bordier was a boulevard actor born 2 August 1758 in Paris. He attained more fame for the circumstances of his death on 21 August 1789, and the posthumous pamphlets and prints it generated, than for his life.

Brief life by Claire Trévien

Tue 15 May 2012, 12:57 | Tags: 18th Century, France

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