Mining the Archive of Octavia E. Butler

The papers of award-winning science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler (1947–2006) came to The Huntington in 2008. By the time the collection had been processed and cataloged, more than 40 scholars had already asked for access. Today, the Octavia E. Butler Collection is one of the top two most actively … Continue reading

Fictive Histories and Historical Fictions

The last decade has seen a surge of interest in historical fiction. Led by Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies—novels that chronicle the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell (1485–1540) in the court of King Henry VIII—these stories have dominated bestseller charts and shortlists for literary prizes. Meanwhile, public appetite … Continue reading

Evelyn Waugh as Reader, Writer, Collector

Early in his life, the celebrated British writer Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966) thought he’d make furniture for a living; he also studied art. While he ultimately abandoned those paths, his desire to make beautiful things never ceased. Loren and Frances Rothschild’s 2013 gift of their Evelyn Waugh collection made The Huntington … Continue reading

Religious Affections in Colonial North America

In 1746, Jonathan Edwards—the famous preacher, theologian, and philosopher of the Great Awakening—tried to sort through the wide variety of experiences that doubt and faith can generate. Some experiences should be trusted as signs of grace, he argued; others, less so. Either way, Edwards remained emphatic about the importance of … Continue reading

The Brave New (and Old) World of Data

Data, made up of units so uniform as to be, almost by necessity, boring, unite to form collectives of information in a data-driven world that is recognized now as exciting, sexy, and consummately modern. And not for the first time, we must add. At least since the rise of print … Continue reading

Early Modern Literary Geographies

One of the gems in The Huntington’s library collection is a 16th-century image titled “View from Wotton Underwood.” Although officially cataloged as a “map,” it’s quite different from what we usually call a map today. Offering a detailed and colorful point of view on a particular Buckinghamshire village, this map … Continue reading

Ben Jonson’s Works at 400

The conference “Ben Jonson: 1616-2016” takes place at The Huntington on Sept. 16 and 17 in Rothenberg Hall. We asked the conference’s conveners—Martin Butler, professor of English Renaissance Drama at the University of Leeds, and Jane Rickard, associate professor of 17th-century English Literature at the University of Leeds—to share their … Continue reading

Printed News and Royal Proclamations

The highways and byways of early modern England carried travelers transporting news of the day. Royal messengers jostled with post-boys, merchants, booksellers, and balladeers. Judges rode their circuits, and private individuals braved the rutted roads on business or private journeys. One of the main topics was politics, delivered in the … Continue reading

The Fabricated American Desert

Humans have negotiated the desert for millennia, finding in it equal measures of sustenance, terror, beauty—and, above all, a dwelling place. To explore issues of human intervention in and on the American desert, my colleague James Nisbet and I have organized a conference at The Huntington titled “The Fabricated American … Continue reading