Drinking Habits in Ancient India

Consumption of one or other form of intoxicating substances has been present throughout the history of the world. By Dr. Ottilingam Somasundaram, Dr. D. Vijaya Raghavan, and Dr. A.G. Tejus MurthyDepartment of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College, Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India Abstract Consumption of one or other form of intoxicating substances has[…]

Should We Scoff at the Idea of Love at First Sight?

We talk excitedly about meeting someone with whom we ‘click’ or ‘really hit it off.’ So why do so many of us hesitate to call it love? For a lecture course I teach at Brown University called “Love Stories,” we begin at the beginning, with love at first sight. To its detractors, love at first sight must be an illusion – the[…]

Darling, I Love You … From the Bottom of My Brain

The irrelevance of the heart to love has been amply demonstrated by cardiac transplant surgeons. In William Shakespeare’s comedy Merchant of Venice, the play’s heroine Portia sings: Tell me where is fancy bred,Or in the heart or in the head. If you look at Valentine’s Day cards, it’s clear fancy is bred in the heart and not in[…]

From Reproducers to ‘Flutters’ to ‘Sluts’: A History of Attitudes to Women’s Pleasure in Australia

Historically, pleasure was not the only, or even the main, expectation from sex for women in a patriarchal society. In our contemporary world, the idea that sex is pleasurable is rarely questioned: pleasure is a key way of understanding what sex is and what it means. Yet this was not always so. Historically, pleasure was[…]

Sex and the Sisterhood: How Prostitution Worked for Women in 19th-Century Melbourne

Rubbish excavated from brothels sheds light on sex workers’ lives in the 19th century. Despite the dangers, prostitution offered an independent living free of male control. Sex work was one of the major ways poor women could earn a reasonable income in the 19th century. Especially unmarried women with babies. But we don’t hear people[…]

‘A Mixture of Minds Which Cannot Unite’: John Milton and Divorce in Early Modern United Kingdom

Actual divorce allowing remarriage could only be granted by parliament. The government’s current consultation (closing on 10 December) about making ‘no fault’ divorce quicker and easier might have drawn a robust contribution from the famous seventeenth-century poet and polemicist John Milton, if he were alive today. From 1643 to 1645, in the midst of the English Civil[…]

Beware Cupid’s Arrow! French Print Reveals Dangers of Romantic Mix-Ups

The Exchange of Arrows Between Death and Cupid, ca. 1665–1701, Pierre Landry (publisher). Engraving. The Getty Research Institute, 2012.PR.102 By Courtney Wilder / 02.14.2013 “Hide your heart from sight, Lock your dreams at night, It could happen to you.” While the presumably dreadful “it” referred to in the opening verse of “It Could Happen to[…]