Stephanie Barron, author, That Churchill Woman
After Waterloo, the British exiled Napoleon, who had conquered most of Europe, to St. Helena—an island so remote and tiny, it can barely be found on a map. Kind of like banning Donald Trump from Twitter for life.
Bill Peschel, author, Writers Gone Wild
Alexander Pope and Edmund Curll. Angry that the bookseller was publishing his poem without permission, Pope spiked Curll’s drink with an emetic, then relished describing his painful vomiting in print.
Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, authors, An Anonymous Girl and The Wife Between Us
For nearly 50 years, speculation has swirled around the identity of the stunningly self-absorbed man in Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” By tightly holding the name of the louse who cast her aside—and who slept with “the wife of a close friend”—Simon paints a dark cloud over all the exes who ever did her wrong. (We imagine Warren Beatty hastily changing the station every time the song plays.)
Ronnie Ra, Princeton, N.J.
Katherine Parr outliving Henry VIII.
William McMullen, Mississauga, Ontario
Returning to Ithaca after 20 years, Odysseus disguises himself as a beggar, strings his great bow, and slaughters his wife’s 108 suitors. The palace doors are locked. None is spared.