Can Bridgerton Teach Us How to Live?

A Historian Finds Classical Resonance, and Maybe Even Useful Philosophy, Beneath the Elaborate Costumes and Melodrama

Everything is broken,” repeated the chorus of a Bob Dylan song from his 1989 album Oh Mercy—strings (guitar, presumably), heads, hearts, vows, laws, and idols. The nation suffered from social and spiritual crisis: family breakups, community breakdowns; ecological disaster, school shootings; suicides, addictions. Private self-interest flooded the public realm. Corporate greed bombed us back to the Gilded Age. The glitz of the super-rich hid the cost to jobs, democracy, and well-being.

But if things seemed broken then—before 9/11, before the pandemic, before January 6th—what does that make things now? Is …

Julia Ward Howe’s Real Life’s Work Was Spreading ‘Helpful Philosophy’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Julia Ward Howe’s Real Life’s Work Was Spreading ‘Helpful Philosophy’

Famous for Writing ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ the Poet Sought to Uplift American Life

Julia Ward Howe’s fame rests largely on “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Written at one of the Civil War’s darkest moments, the poem appeared on the front page of …