The Medieval (and Not-So-Medieval) History Behind Netflix’s ‘Cursed’

Looking for history in the latest version of King Arthur. Introduction For those of you watching Cursed, there are spoilers ahead.  The elusive Lady of the Lake from the legends of King Arthur is the leading character, Nimue, in Netflix’s new action-and-magic-packed series Cursed. Based on the 2019 graphic novel of the same name, Cursed[…]

Myth and Epic in the Ancient World

Exploring believed what and the effect literal belief in myths had on given social orders. Introduction Anthropologists and literary critics tend to read even sacred ancient literature in the manner of Homer’s and Virgil’s epics, that is, as fiction with historical elements. They don’t, however, always follow up with the implications of that. Mesopotamian myths[…]

The American Renaissance in Context in the 19th Century

Exploring the literary context in which American Renaissance writers wrote and published. Introduction In 1941, when Harvard scholar F. O. Matthiessen published American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman, he defined the canon for the period that many regard as the most important in American literary history. Matthiessen argued that,[…]

American Gothic Literature in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Gothic literature has a long, complex, and multi-layered history. Introduction Ever read a strange book or watch a scary film, and feel the hairs on your arms stand on end? Ever get the “chills” encountering a creepy story, or have a hard-to-pin-down, icky feeling while standing in a cemetery or house that feels “haunted”? Have[…]

Representations of Brazil and the Portuguese in 18th-Century Travel Literature

The travel literature, which did not have Brazil as final destination, could have disproportionate and unsuspected repercussions. By Dr. Ângela Maria Vieira DominguesProfessor of HistoryInstituto de Investigação Cientíca TropicalCentro de História de Além-Mar (FCSH/UNL) Abstract As part of a reflection on Atlantic history, I intend to reread the travel literature written by Europeans who stayed[…]

Sicko Doctors: Suffering and Sadism in 19th-Century America

American fiction of the 19th century often featured a ghoulish figure, the cruel doctor, with unfeeling fascination about bodily suffering. This article, Sick Doctors: Suffering and Sadism in 19th-Century America, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ On one page [of[…]

Vampire Myths in Lore and Literature Drew on a Real Blood Disorder

The myth is likely related to a medical condition with symptoms that may explain many elements of centuries-old vampire folklore. Introduction The concept of a vampire predates Bram Stoker’s tales of Count Dracula — probably by several centuries. But did vampires ever really exist? In 1819, 80 years before the publication of Dracula, John Polidori,[…]

‘On the Sublime’: Ancient Greek Rhetoric and Literary Criticism

Given his positive reference to Genesis, Longinus has been assumed to be either a Hellenized Jew or readily familiar with the Jewish culture. Introduction Longinus is the conventional name of the author of the treatise, On the Sublime (Περὶ ὕψους), a work which focuses on the effect of good writing (Russell xlii). Longinus, sometimes referred[…]

Find A Reliable English Editing Service With This Guide

Writing is always followed by editing, which includes all the crucial elements needed to put a document upright. Editing works to take hold of the errors in a document, specifically bringing up the subject matter. However, editing is not a one-time thing and requires professional expertise. And with the market lined up with so many[…]

An Analysis of Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’

Poe’s story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death. Introduction “The Masque of the Red Death” (originally published as “The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy”) is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842. The story follows[…]

Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Masque of the Red Death’

A full reading of Poe’s work. By Edgar Allan Poe (1842) The Masque of the Red Death is a short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842. The work follows in full (public domain): The red death had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so[…]

The Skeptical Pilgrim: Melville’s ‘Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land’

Exploring the knot of spiritual dilemmas played out in the poem and its roots in Melville’s trip to the Middle East two decades earlier. This article, The Skeptical Pilgrim: Melville’s Clarel, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ In October 1856,[…]

After the Storm: Progress and the Demented Quest for Historical Purity

The idea of progress in the West has a legible history – one bound from the outset to conquest and racial dominance. By Ben Ehrenreich Introduction Late in November 1939, Walter Benjamin, an unemployed Jewish writer who had been residing in Paris, was released from a makeshift prison camp for German nationals housed in a[…]

Ancient Chinese Literature

The earliest written works in China are ghost stories and myths. By Emily MarkHistorian Introduction Chinese literature is some of the most imaginative and interesting in the world. The precision of the language results in perfectly realized images whether in poetry or prose and, as with all great literature from any culture, the themes are timeless.[…]

From Suspicion to Solidarity?: Post-Critical Conversation and Literature

Examining ‘suspicious reading’ – allied reading – or reading in solidarity. By Stephen SquibbDoctoral Candidate in EnglishHarvard University The prefix ‘post-’ has, for some time, served as an intellectual gesture of enclosure, demarcating the limits of something in an effort to think around or beyond it. Post-modernism, post-structuralism, post-Marxism, or post-Newtonianism, to name but four[…]

Telling the Story of the Trojan War in Ancient Greece and Rome

Exploring how manuscripts reveal the evolution of the tale of Troy in ancient Greek and Latin traditions. For over 3000 years, people have told legends of a long and bloody war between the Greeks and the Trojans, sparked by the abduction of the beautiful Queen Helen of Sparta by Paris, the Trojan prince. In response,[…]

Charles Darwin’s Effect on Charles Loring Brace and 19th-Century Social Reform

The evolution of a reformer. Sometimes a book can change a life. In December 1859, a copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Speciesarrived from across the Atlantic and almost immediately began to change the lives of those who read it. The book was addressed to Asa Gray, the Harvard botanist who soon became Darwin’s most influential[…]

Shahnameh: Ferdowsi’s Medieval ‘Book of Kings’

The work covers the entire history of ancient Persia from the creation of the world to the Muslim Arab conquest of 651 CE. Introduction The Shahnameh (“Book of Kings”, composed 977-1010 CE) is a medieval epic written by the poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi (l. c. 940-1020 CE) in order to preserve the myths, legends, history, language,[…]

Ten Great Ancient and Medieval Persian Poets

These poets would affect the literary arts of cultures around the world and continue to inspire readers in the present day. Introduction Persian literature derives from a long oral tradition of poetic storytelling. The first recorded example of this tradition is the Behistun Inscription of Darius I (the Great, r. 522-486 BCE), carved on a[…]

Ancient and Medieval Persian Literature

The first evidence of Persian literature is usually dated to c.522 BCE with the creation of the Behistun Inscription of Darius I. Introduction Persian literature differs from the common definition of “literature” in that it is not confined to lyrical compositions, to poetry or imaginative prose, because the central elements of these appear, to greater[…]

Transcription and Translation in the Dark Ages

When one is “brewminating” over the middle ages, anywhere between the collapse of the Roman empire to the Age of Enlightenment, translation and transcription may not be the first thing that come to mind. However, what, if anything would have been known without monks providing translation and transcription services, even if only for kings and[…]