Three new OUPblog posts by Oxford Bibliographies contributors are now available:
- By Maurizio Valsania, author in Atlantic History:
"Thomas Jefferson was a deliberate man and nothing escaped his attention. Jefferson‘s eyes were powerful, lively, and penetrating. Testimonies swore that his eyes were nothing short of 'the eye of an eagle.' He wore spectacles occasionally, especially for reading, but his eyes stood the test of time despite physiological decline. 'My own health is quite broken down,' he wrote on 3 March 1826 to Robert Mills, the architect who designed the obelisk for the Bunker Hill monument. Mostly confined in the house, Jefferson proclaimed, 'my faculties, sight excepted are very much impaired.' [...]"
- By Linda Frey and Marsha Frey, authors in International Relations:
"11 April marks the 304th anniversary of the signing of the Peace of Utrecht by most of the representatives at the congress that convened to negotiate the terms that would end the War of the Spanish Succession. Or perhaps it should be 12 April. A few contemporaries alleged that the documents were backdated so that the ceremony would not fall on 1 April, or Fools’ Day, according to the old calendar. At that time, England and most of Protestant Europe had still not accepted the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582, so countries that followed the old style were, by the eighteenth century, 11 days behind those who had accepted the new style. Purportedly, the representatives of the Netherlands either deliberately signed after midnight or refused to backdate the agreement, thinking 1 April (that is, April Fools’ Day) a fitting date for such a treaty. [...]"
- By Kirsten Stirling, author in Childhood Studies:
"J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan; or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up has exercised the popular imagination since its first performance in 1904. Yet not everyone is aware of Peter Pan’s stage history or the darker currents that underlie the apparently escapist story of Wendy Darling and her brothers flying away from their nursery to the “Never Land”, a fantasy world of make-believe and adventures with Captain Hook and his pirates, mermaids, and other characters drawn from children’s games. Sally Cookson’s production at London’s National Theatre in the winter season 2016-17 returns to the darker roots of Peter Pan, reaching back beyond its first performance to Barrie’s earliest notes towards the play, where he imagined Captain Hook, Peter’s arch-enemy, being played by a woman. [...]"