The Greatness of Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby’

Oheka Castle on Long Island served as one of the inspirations for Jay Gatsby’s estate in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. / Photo by Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons By Qin Li (Baoding University, China) and Lili Zheng (Send School of Linxi, China) Abstract The Great Gatsby is the masterpiece of Fitzgerald, the representative of “Jazz Age”.[…]

What We Can Learn from Reading Sylvia Plath’s Copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’

For centuries, readers have written in the margins of their books to indicate admiration, disagreement or inspiration. Plath was no different. As a rare books curator, I get to interact with first editions of novels I love, illustrated versions of my favorite poets’ works, and lavish editions of historical engravings. In 2015, I started using the University[…]

Excavating Sheffield Castle, One-Time Prison of Mary, Queen of Scots

The Scottish queen spent 14 years imprisoned at the medieval stronghold. By Meilan Solly / 08.17.2018 By all accounts, England’s Elizabeth I never should’ve made it to the throne. Bastardized following the 1536 execution of her mother, Anne Boleyn, young Elizabeth’s childhood was marred by the ever-changing whims of her father, Henry VIII. Following his death in 1547, Elizabeth[…]

Plutarch, Plato, and Sparta: A Questionable Attribution

Plutarch’s attribution of the Spartan constitution to Plato is not strictly correct;the question of whether its assertion can be explained in terms of literary and rhetorical goals is left for future research. Introduction In the Life of Lycurgus, Plutarch appears to say that Plato embraced the Spartan constitution as a socio-political ideal. This claimgenerates a[…]

The Surprising Historical Significance of Fortune-Telling

The possible futures predicted by fortune-telling happen just often enough to tantalize, preying on our deepest aspirations of catching a “big break.” By Cody Delistraty / 10.26.2016 In 1786, 14-year-old Marie Anne Lenormand ran away from the convent school where she was raised. Lenormand set off to Paris on her own, where she learned the[…]

Why a 14th-Century Mystic Appeals to Today’s ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Americans?

Meister Eckhart was a 14th-century Dominican friar, who gave sermons on the direct experience of God. His words are finding resonance among today’s spiritual seekers. By Dr. Joel Harrington / 12.06.2018Centennial Professor of HistoryVanderbilt University The percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religious tradition continues to rise annually. Not all of them, however, are atheists or agnostics. Many[…]

Thomas Aquinas and the Shape of Law

Recovering a more capacious social topology from the Thomist theology that modern Western philosophy supplanted. Titled Declarations of Dependence: Money, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Care(University of Nebraska Press, July 2018) my recent book develops the insights of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) for critical theory and aesthetics. While the modern Liberal imagination treats money as a finite, private and[…]

The Genesis of Secular Politics in Medieval Philosophy: The King of Averroes and the Emperor of Dante

By Dr. Sabeen AhmedPhD Candidate, Department of PhilosophyVanderbilt University Poi ch’innalzai un poco piu’le ciglia,vidi ‘l maestro di color che sannoseder tra filosofica famigliaEuclide geometrae Tolomeo,Ipocrate, Avicenna e GalienoAverois, che ‘l gran comento feo. Dante Alighieri[1] Abstract In contemporary political discourse, the “clash of civilizations” rhetoric often undergirds philosophical analyses of “democracy” both at home[…]

The Domus Aurea: From the Ashes of Rome, Nero’s ‘Golden House’

The Domus Aurea (Golden House), located between the Esquiline and Palatine Hills, was one of Nero’s most extravagant projects. The Domus Aurea (Latin, “Golden House”) was a large landscaped portico villa built by the Emperor Nero in the heart of ancient Rome, after the great fire in 64 C.E. had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the[…]

Emigration Across the Atlantic: Irish, Italians and Swedes Compared, 1800–1950

Examining scale of emigration, the reasons behind emigrants’ departure, the various origins and destinations, and the attitudes in sender and receiver states. Abstract Emigration across the Atlantic by Europeans during the 19th and 20th centuries, and especially during the so-called age of mass European migration from 1850 to 1914, forms a key part of Europe’s recent[…]

Convivencia: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain

Examining the inter-relationship of religion and culture in the time period of medieval Spain known as the convivencia. By Lindsey Marie Vaughan Abstract Few time periods in world history offer as unique a glimpse into cultural cohabitation as the one in medieval Spain following the Arabic invasion and preceding the Christian Reconquest ended in 1492.[…]

The Mongol Invasion of Russia in the 13th Century

Because of its geography, Russia is a relatively easy country to invade from both east and west. Introduction “Give us trade,”demanded the Vikings from the north. “Try our religion,” urged missionaries from the south. Now a new voice was heard throughout Russia. “Pay us taxes,” ordered the Mongols of the east. Because of its geography,[…]

Jefferson’s Delayed Credit as Author of the Declaration of Independence

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Thomas Jefferson was not then credited with its authorship. By Matthew Wills / 07.02.2016 The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. We now credit Thomas Jefferson with the Declaration’s authorship, but that was not the case[…]

The Dantean Anomaly (1309-1321): Rapid Climate Change in Late Medieval Europe with a Global Perspective

In the last years of his life, Dante Alighieri was an unsuspecting witness to a rapid shift in climatic conditions that led to cooler and wetter weather all over the continent. I am in the third circle, filled with cold,  / unending, heavy, and accursed rain; / its measure and its kind are never changed.[…]

How Ancient and Medieval Science Fiction Imagined the Mobility Revolution

At first glance, a category like ancient science fiction might seem paradoxical. By Mike Bezemek / 08.30.2017 At first glance, a category like ancient science fiction might seem paradoxical. Most contemporary discussions of science fiction tend towards movies, TV shows, and fictional stories from the past 50 to 100 years—with the early part of that period being called the[…]

Croesus: An Ancient Ruler Brought Down by His Own Wealth and Hubris

There is evidence that he was an actual historical king who ruled from the city of Sardis, though the story may be legend. Croesus (pronounced ‘KREE-sus’) was the King of Lydia, a country in western Asia Minor (corresponding to modern-day Turkey) from 560-547 BCE and was so wealthy that the old expression “as rich as Croesus” originates in reference to[…]

The Italian Renaissance: A Classical Rebirth

Introduction Art, literature, and architecture are forms of expression. These forms of expression often communicate what is happening during certain periods in time. Have you ever heard the word Renaissance? The word Renaissance means“rebirth” and comes from both the French and Latin languages. This word Renaissance describes a cultural movement that began in what is[…]

William of Norwich and a Jewish Woman’s Appeal of Murder in Medieval England

Periodic outbursts of hostility incited numerous massacres of the Jews in the Middle Ages. Setting the Scene The period leading up to the expulsion of the Jews from England in July of 1290 was a time of mounting uncertainty for the Anglo Jewry. That Saint Augustine’s long-endorsed “toleration theory”[1] was beginning to lose its force is[…]

The Medieval Origins and Growth of Ashkenazi Judaism

The Ashkenazi Jews developed a distinct liturgy and culture. Introduction Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim, are Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland—”Ashkenaz” being the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany. They are distinguished from Sephardic Jews, the other main group of European Jewry, who arrived earlier in Europe and lived primarily in Spain. Many[…]

Emperors, Gods, and Foreign Invaders of the Aztec Empire

Moctezuma I expanded the Aztec Empire beyond the Valley of Mexico by constantly waging war. Introduction As the city of Tenochtitlán grew, the Aztec fought for dominance over other city-states in the area. In 1428 CE, Tenochtitlán formed a Triple Alliance with the cities of Texcoco and Tlacopan in the Valley of Mexico.These three cities[…]

Tenochtitlán: Aztec City on the Water’s Edge

The Aztec empire existed more than 500 years after the Maya abandoned their great inland city-states. Introduction Did you know that the modern capital of Mexico, Mexico City, was built on top of another city? If you visit Mexico City today, you can see archaeologists at work.They are busy uncovering the ancient city of Tenochtitlán.[…]

The Poetry of Mary, Queen of Scots

She was known not only for her political status, but also for her textual skill – whether authentic or imagined. Think Mary, Queen of Scots and a few key facts probably come to mind: she was Catholic, she was imprisoned and she had her head chopped off. But a poet who offers insight into 16th-century[…]

Naming as an Instrument of Strengthening Early Medieval Dynastic Power

In historiographical tradition, which is characteristic of medieval societies,the history of a nation is portrayed, first, as the history of its political elite. Dr. Marina R. Zheltukhina (Professor of Theory of English, Volgograd State Socio-Pedagogical University)Dr. Larisa G. Vikulova (Professor of Roman Philology, Moscow City Teacher Training University)Dr. Gennady G. Slyshkin (Head of Social Sciences and Professional Communication, Moscow State[…]

Social Structure and Aristocratic Representation in Medieval Hungarian Red Wax Seals

The first law differentiating the rights within nobility was enacted by the national assembly, the diet of Wladislaus II, in 1498.    By Ádám Novák (left) and Balázs Antal Bacsa (right) / 10.22.2018PhD Students of Political HistoryUniversity of Debrecen Abstract One might perceive the Middle Ages as an era of certain rights and privileges.Social stratification or the[…]