The German World and Its Inheritance: Some Thoughts on Reading Beowulf

From a medieval manuscript / British Library, Public Domain The heroic character of Beowulf, the nature of leadership and, hence, of the politics of the society, and the forces to which humans are subject. By Dr. Lynn Harry Nelson Emeritus Professor of Medieval History The University of Kansas Introduction I believe that one can easily discern[…]

An Overview of Pakistani Folklore

Baloch Raaj, The Death of Doda Pakistani folklore is shaped both by the languages and traditions of the various ethnic groups that make up the population, and by the religious convictions of the people in each region. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 11.23.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Sohni Swims to Meet Her Lover Mahinwal,[…]

Culture and Intellectual Life in British Colonial South Asia

The contributions and influence of South Asian artists, poets, intellectuals and sportspeople within British arts, sciences, law, and sport during the colonial period in the 19th and 20th centuries.      By (left-to-right) Dr. Susheila Nasta, Dr. Florian Stadtler, and Dr. Rozina Visram Nasta: Chair in Modern Literature, The Open University Stadtler: Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literatures, University of Exeter Visram: Author and[…]

King Lear: Madness, the Fool, and Poor Tom

King Lear and Cordelia, by Benjamin West (1793) / Folger Shakespeare Library, Wikimedia Commons Considering how the Fool and Poor Tom, two characters in King Lear who stand outside the social order, enhance the play’s investigation of madness, civilisation and humanity. By Dr. Gillian Woods / 03.15.2016 Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Theatre and Drama Birkbeck University of London[…]

Shakespeare’s Cholerics Were the Real Drama Queens

Taming of the Shrew, 1809, by Washington Allston / Philadelphia Museum of Art, Public Domain In Shakespeare’s times, personalities were categorised according to four temperaments. The choleric temperament was hot-tempered and active, as Nelly Ekström describes. By Nelly Ekström / 12.11.2016 Visitor Experience Assistant Wellcome Trust William Shakespeare’s plays provide examples of all four temperaments, but it’s[…]

Shakespeare and the Four Humours

Profile of William Shakespeare, c.1793 / Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons Blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile: the body’s four humours were believed to control your personality in Shakespeare’s day and influenced the way the Bard created some of his most famous characters. By Nelly Ekström / 12.11.2016 Visitor Experience Assistant Wellcome Trust Shakespeare’s writing is one[…]

Mistress of a New World: Early Science Fiction in Europe’s ‘Age of Discovery’

Portrait of Margaret Cavendish in the frontispiece to her Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668). The image is also used as frontispiece to some editions of The Blazing World / Wikimedia Commons Considered by many one of the founding texts of the science fiction genre, The Blazing World — via a dizzy mix of animal-human hybrids, Immaterial Spirits, and burning foes —[…]

The Medieval World: An Introduction to Middle English Literature

Bronze statue of Geoffrey Chaucer The world about which Chaucer wrote was a very different world from that which produced Beowulf.  Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 10.27.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief The world about which Chaucer wrote was a very different world from that which produced Beowulf. Developments in language, new structures in society, and changes[…]

‘A Ghost in Daylight’: Drug Literature and Two Centuries of Gothic Convention

British Library, Public Domain Examining how drug literature—writing on drugs by drug users—has consistently resorted to Gothic conventions, images and atmospheres for 200 years.    By Dr. Jayson Althofer (left) and Dr. Brian Musgrove (right) / 09.04.2018 Abstract This article examines how drug literature—writing on drugs by drug users—has consistently resorted to Gothic conventions, images and[…]

The 19th-Century Author Rejected from the Brazilian Academy for Being a Woman

Júlia Lopes de Almeida was a founding member in the creation of the Brazilian Academy of Letters but was left out because she was a woman. | Image: National Library Foundation. Public Archives. She helped create the Brazilian Academy of Letters—only to be excluded by the institution for being a woman. By Fabíola Hauch / 10.12.2018 Júlia[…]

Linguistic Evidence Support for Dating the Homeric Epics

Linguistic dating is in close agreement with historians’ and classicists’ beliefs derived from historical and archaeological sources.        By (left-to-right) Dr. Eric Lewin Altschuler, Dr. Andreea S Calude, Dr. Andrew Meade, and Dr. Mark Pagel / 02.18.2013 Altschuler: Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Microbiology and Molecular Medicine, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, University Hospital[…]

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville and the ‘Moral Geography’ of the Medieval World

Mandeville’s Travels was, for more than two centuries after its appearance in c.1356, of enormous influence and popularity in many fields of European culture. This paper discusses first its unprecedented generic eclecticism and its casting into the form of a first person narrative, and then proceeds to explore concepts of space and how a journey[…]

Change the World, Not Yourself, or How Arendt Called Out Thoreau

Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr Ralph David Abernathy, their families, and others leading the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. It is not often that a neighborhood squabble is remembered as a world-historical event. By Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick / 08.22.2018 Humanities Editor Los Angeles Review of Books It is not often that a neighbourhood squabble[…]

The Second Nun in the Canterbury Tales: Language Politics and Translation

The second nun from Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) The Second Nun, her prologue, and her tale might be the quietest pilgrim and narrative in the Canterbury Tales. By Dr. Candace Barrington Professor of English Central Connecticut State University Introduction The Second Nun, her prologue, and her tale might be the quietest[…]

The Poetry of Victorian Science

Watercolour portrait by William Buckler of Robert Hunt, 1842 — Wellcome Library, Creative Commons In 1848, the mineralogist, pioneer of photography, and amateur poet Robert Hunt published The Poetry of Science, a hugely ambitious work that aimed to offer a survey of scientific knowledge while also communicating the metaphysical, moral, and aesthetic aspects of science to the[…]

Women and the 1956 Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris

Photo via AAIHS Examining the significant contributions of women and the dynamics of gender at the 1956 Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris.  By Merve Fejzulah PhD Candidate in Historical Studies University of Cambridge The First International Congress of Black Writers and Artists, held from September 19-22, 1956 at the Sorbonne in Paris, was[…]

The Hamlet Effect

Image by Michelle Gia, Flickr, Creative Commons The active properties of sharing – what it means to be bound to others through the common experience of a textual/dramatic artifact. By Dr. Holly Crocker Professor of English University of South Carolina Until very recently, I have avoided writing about Hamlet. With the occasional exception, I have also avoided[…]

Langston Hughes and the Paris Transfer

By Dr. Tracy Sharpley-Whiting Gertrude Conaway Distinguished Vanderbilt Professor of Humanities (AADS and French) Vanderbilt University In his exquisitely written biography of Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad details the poet’s wanderlust, from his travels with his father to Mexico to his hopscotching across the globe on the S. S. Malone and McKeesport freighters, visiting African and European port cities in[…]

Things—In Theory

Don DeLillo, New York City, 1990s How do the literary, visual, and plastic arts fashion questions about the object world and our relation to it? By Dr. Bill Brown / 01.01.2016 Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture University of Chicago n the opening pages of Falling Man, an unidentified consciousness struggles to apprehend the[…]

Replotting the Romance of Paris: Americans and the Commune

Creative Commons Photo The tenacity of the Commune’s second life does not simply attest to its continuing usefulness in American culture for making sense of revolutions past and future: it also crucially reverses the assumption that transnational circuits of memory—that memory without borders, as it were—are uniquely or definitively a product of our own hyper-mediated historical moment.[…]

Rhythms of Change: The Victorian Science Poems of May Kendall

Ammonite fossil / Photo by Becks, Wikimedia Commons Nineteenth-century England saw a major revolution in the scientific understanding of the natural world. By Olivia Rosane / 05.17.2018 Nineteenth-century England saw a major revolution in the scientific understanding of the natural world. Charles Lyell’s 1830s Principles of Geology explained how landscapes were shaped and reshaped by daily processes like[…]

Henry Morton Stanley and the Pygmies: Stereotypes in Victorian Society

Henry Morton Stanley as pictured in the frontispiece to Volume 1 of his In Darkest Africa (1890) – Internet Archive After returning from his disastrous mission to central Africa to rescue a German colonial governor, the explorer Henry Morton Stanley was eager to distract from accusations of brutality with his ‘discovery’ of African pygmies. Brian Murray explores how[…]

Think You Know Your Rhetorical Structures? I Can’t Even…

All rhetorical techniques are designed to enhance one of the three pillars of communication: ethos, logos and pathos. Benson Kua We all use rhetorical structures. But, unless we’re skilled in their use, as politicians and advertisers clearly are, we don’t necessarily grasp their full manipulative power. By Dr. Joan Leach / 02.02.2016 Professor and Director, International Programs Australian National[…]