Brothers Grimm cover

"How Some Children Played at Slaughtering"


The pioneering collection of fairy tales published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the first half of the 19th century reflects both the romantic interest in the national past—that is, in the cultural origins and "childhood" of the German people—and the burgeoning efforts to create a literature tailored to the perceived needs of children. "How Some Children Played at Slaughtering" encompasses two... Read More »

Title page of Camila O'Gorman

"To the Spirits of Camila O'Gorman"


The story of Camila O'Gorman (1828-1848), the daughter of a prominent merchant in the Buenos Aires community, is one of the most famous cases of a young person challenging both parental and state authority. In 1847, at the height of Rosas's power, 19-year-old Camila and Ladislao Gutiérrez, a young Catholic priest from Tucumán, fell in love. On December 12, 1847, they eloped and fled to... Read More »

A Poem by Victor Hugo (1830)

A Poem by Victor Hugo (1830)


In his poem “To the Column,” the great French poet Victor Hugo celebrates the memory of Napoleon.

Analyzing Literary Sources


Analyzing Evidence presents case studies that demonstrate how scholars interpret different kinds of historical evidence in world history. On this screen, you see writing from a 14th century lai. Lais are short, poetic romances written during the Middle Ages in Western Europe. These stories were written and shared orally among nobility. Click on the image of writing to read an excerpt... Read More »

Cover of The Chouans

Balzac’s The Chouans


Novelist Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) was a giant of nineteenth–century European literature. In his multivolume The Human Comedy, he investigated the general desire for social advancement in the post–revolutionary world. Although generally supportive of the Revolution, Balzac could also portray those rebels in the Vendée known as Chouans in a sympathetic or even romantic light, as the... Read More »

Thumbnail image for Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes

Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes


Isaac Taylor Headland (1859-1942), a resident of Beijing and a scholar at Peking (Beijing) University, joined other contemporaries interested in both popular culture and folklore in collecting and transcribing Chinese children's rhymes. The rhymes were shared by nurse-maids who cared for the children of expatriates living in the city as well as through interviews of kids who sang in the... Read More »

Christmas Poem, Pima Indian School image thumbnail

Christmas Poem, Pima Indian School


The poem and photographic collage is the work of students at the Pima Indian School boarding school near Phoenix, Arizona, and is part of an album probably owned by the school matron. The school was one of some 150 institutions for Indian wards of the U.S. Government. The boys' poem was dedicated to their Matron, a female official who was responsible for supervision and discipline of the... Read More »

Title page of the Decameron



Giovanni Boccaccio provided the most famous description of what happened during the Black Death in Italy. His report on the behavior of the Florentines after plague entered their city during the spring of 1348 serves as introduction and frame for his collection of 100 tales entitled the Decameron. The epidemic provides the pretext for a group of young men and women to leave Florence... Read More »

Thumbnail of a drawing of man cutting a boy with scissors

Der Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter)


Published in 1858, Der Struwwelpeter (Shaggy Peter) is a German children's book first published anonymously under a different title in 1845 by Heinrich Hoffman. Hoffman, a Frankfurt physician and father, wrote the book after realizing that there were none he wanted to buy for his 3-year-old son for Christmas. The first English translation was published in 1848. While living in Berlin with his... Read More »

Cover of A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens, Tale of Two Cities


Charles Dickens’s (1812–70) novels generally appeared in serial form in popular newspapers. Usually he took his subjects and characters from contemporary English society, but in this novel he created one of the most enduring and pessimistic English–language portrayals of the French Revolution, particularly the fearsome female "knitters" of the Faubourg Saint–Antoine in Paris, like Madame... Read More »