The World That Was

Arts, Culture & Media

After the rediscovery of a 19th-century novel, a view of black female writers is transformed

While looking through old British newspapers, I was astonished to read an 1893 announcement in The Daily Telegraph proclaiming Sarah E. Farro to be “the first negro novelist” with the publication of her novel “True Love.” I wondered: who was this woman? The Daily Telegraph didn’t get it exactly right: We know now that Farro wasn’t the first African-American novelist. But after doing more research, I soon realized that Farro had made her mark writing about white people — and that this may also be the reason her work was forgotten.

Arts, Culture & Media

DNA solves mysteries of ancient Ireland

The early history of Ireland has long been shrouded in mystery. But a new study of the DNA of the ancient Irish has cast some light into the darkness. The first headline is that Ireland's first farmers originated in the Middle East. The second headline is that all those stone rings and tombs that we associate with Ireland appear to have nothing to do with the Celts.