Made in Taiwan?: An Eighteenth-Century Frenchman’s Fictional Formosa

Fictional characters, unlike laudanum-addicted impostors, never really die. A handsome youth with shoulder-length golden hair sits in a London garret, pondering. He is composing his first book—a work he believes will transform him from a penniless foreigner into a literary cause celebré. But first he must answer a self-imposed question: what do Taiwanese aristocrats eat for[…]

Peasant and Nestrobber: Bruegel as Witness of His Times in 16th-Century Antwerp and Brussels

In ‘Peasant and Nestrobber’, Bruegel was engaged with the troubles of his time. Abstract Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Peasant and Nestrobber (1568) remains one of his most challenging paintings. By the time of its creation Bruegel had already innovated by treating ordinary people as subjects suitable for the attention of a serious painter. In this[…]

Medieval Mystic Margery Kempe and the Economics of Beer Brewing

This 15th-century mystic turned her hand to brewing the bubbly, and she wasn’t very successful. By Karl HagenIndependent Educational Consultant Near the beginning of her autobiography, the fifteenth-century mystic Margery Kempe relates her ill-fated attempts to make her worldly fortune. Among her mercantile ventures, she turned her hand to brewing: And than, for pure coveytyse[…]

The Evolutionary Origins and Significance of Drug Addiction

By looking at drug addiction from an evolutionary perspective, we may understand its underlying significance and evaluate its three-fold nature: biology, psychology, and social influences. By Dr. Tammy Saah / 06.29.2005 Psychiatrist Abstract By looking at drug addiction from an evolutionary perspective, we may understand its underlying significance and evaluate its three-fold nature: biology, psychology,[…]

How Climate Change Put a Damper on the Maya Civilization

Thousands of years before their collapse, severely soggy conditions lasting for many centuries likely inhibited the civilization’s development. By Olivia Trani More than 4,000 years ago, when the Great Pyramid of Giza and Stonehenge were being built, the Maya civilisation emerged in Central America. The indigenous group prospered for thousands of years until its fall[…]

The Grolier Codex: What the Oldest Manuscript to Survive Spanish Conquest Reveals

Extensive trade networks connected the Maya to the rest of Mesoamerica, producing the dynamic landscapes and bustling ports reported in early Spanish accounts. The Maya were, at their height, one of the world’s great civilisations. In the “classic” period, from AD 250–900, Maya cities with monumental architecture and huge populations spread across a large area[…]