Written by

John Mitchinson

John Mitchinson is a writer and publisher and co-founder of Unbound, the world's leading crowdfunding platform for books. He was previously Director of Research and a senior writer for the BBC TV show 'QI'. He is co-host of the popular books podcast Backlisted and a Vice-President of the Hay Festival. He writes a monthly column, 'The Upside Down', for Byline Times

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Topic: History
Year: 2020
Topics: Timeline:
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The Upside Down: The Year of No Yule – How the Puritans Created Christmas Without Meaning To

, 8 December 2020
John Mitchinson explains how increasing intolerance around festivities in the 17th Century helped promote a reactionary backlash

THE UPSIDE DOWN: History’s Greatest Headline – Why the Dreyfus Affair Still Reverberates

, 7 September 2020
John Mitchinson reflects on what may be the finest moment in print journalism – the use of the press as a channel of truth and justice

THE UPSIDE DOWN: The Shocking Brutality of Empire was a Scandal In Its Own Time

, 6 August 2020
John Mitchinson considers the relationship British people have with their country's past and how questions raised by uncomfortable imperial truths remain unanswered

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Keep Clean and Carry On

, 4 May 2020
John Mitchinson explores how pandemics can have odd and unexpected consequences and ponders what the new 'normal' will be post-COVID-19

The UPSIDE DOWN: This Too Shall Pass – What Defoe’s Plague Journal Can Still Teach Us

, 30 March 2020
As the Coronavirus pandemic changes all of our lives, John Mitchinson reflects on how the observations of humanity revealed in such moments of crisis transcend time and place.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Raising Hell – The Long Afterlife of William Blake

, 16 March 2020
John Mitchinson explores the lasting resonance of the works of the English poet and artist who attracted little acclaim during his lifetime.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: The Lie of the Land – We Need to Talk about the Enclosures

, 9 March 2020
John Mitchinson considers the economic and psychic dangers of land appropriation.

From Sunderland to the Bullingdon Club: Englishness Unravelled

, 26 February 2020
Unsatisfied with George Orwell's description of patriotism, John Mitchinson digs deep into his own personal history to untangle the complex roots of his Englishness.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Reasons to be Cheerful

, 24 February 2020
John Mitchinson sets out why the Greek philosopher Epicurus' legacy has been claimed by hedonism but actually represents the opposite and is so relevant for our anxious times.

THE UPSIDE DOWN: Mongrel Tongue – Is English Really So Special?

, 17 February 2020
John Mitchinson on why we should celebrate the success of the flexibility of the English language which enables its richness.

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