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    Jill Lepore, a professor of history at Harvard, and Jane Kamensky, a professor of history at Brandeis, met as graduate students in the 1980s. In 2007, the two began to write a historical novel. The product of that collaboration, the occasionally racy Blindspot (Spiegel & Grau, $24.95), tells the story of the portrait painter Stewart Jameson and his apprentice, "Francis Weston," née Fanny Easton, the disguised daughter of a prominent Bostonian. Lepore and Kamensky compiled glossaries, consulted collections of urban slang and lifted freely from eighteenth-century sources. With each in charge of one narrator--Lepore wrote Jameson's chapters, Kamensky Easton's letters--the two volleyed passages back and forth, like "a tennis game."--Christine Smallwood
    Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky, friends since graduate school, didn’t plan to write a book. Their project, set in 1760s Boston, was supposed to be a sketch, a playful spoof of two genres: the picaresque, with its rogue hero exposing the hypocrisy around him, and the sentimental epistolary narrative—in this instance, a series of letters from a young “fallen” woman to a friend. Lepore would write a chapter as Stewart Jameson, a portrait painter in exile; then Kamensky would pick up the story in a letter from Miss Fanny Easton. They planned to present the finished product as a gift to their mentor, John Demos, the historian under whom both studied at Yale.

    A panel discussion on the Tea Party. The participants present their thoughts the Party's supporters, what they stand for and their potential impact to the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections. The panelists include Dick Armey, former House majority leader, chairman of FreedomWorks and author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, Kate Zernike, national correspondent with the New York Times and author of Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America, Jill Lepore, history professor at Harvard University and author of The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History, and Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of The Daily Caller. The event is hosted by the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

    Historians, Ralph Ellison once said, are "responsible liars," but at least they're responsible. Historical novelists, on the other hand, don't let facts get in the way of a good story. But in "Blindspot," to be published next week, two academic historians and long-time friends, Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore, have painted a portrait of pre-Revolutionary Boston that is true to the spirit of the time while inventing a couple of romantic, witty, down-on-their-luck, larger-than-life characters struggling to stay afloat in a tumultuous time. Ms. Kamensky is the chairwoman of Brandeis University's history department; Ms. Lepore is chairwoman of the History and Literature Program at Harvard University and a contributor to the New Yorker magazine. Both have written several works of nonfiction; this is their first novel.

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