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Frederik Ruysch: The Artist of Death

- March 5, 2014 in anatomy, Art & Illustrations, Articles, cadavers, dioramas, embalming, Featured Articles, frederik ruysch, preservation, Science & Medicine, skeletons

Luuc Kooijmans explores the work of Dutch anatomist Frederik Ruysch, known for his remarkable ‘still life’ displays which blurred the boundary between scientific preservation and vanitas art.

The Founding Fathers v. The Climate Change Skeptics

- February 19, 2014 in Articles, benjamin franklin, british america, british colonies, climate change, founding fathers, Science & Medicine, thomas jefferson, weather

When claims from Europe accused British America of being inferior on account of its colder weather, Thomas Jefferson and his fellow Founding Fathers responded with patriotic zeal that their settlement was actually causing the climate to warm. Raphael Calel explores how, in contrast to today's common association of the U.S. with climate change skepticism, it was a very different story in the 18th century.

Olaus Magnus’s Sea Serpent

- February 5, 2014 in Art & Illustrations, Articles, carta marina, great norway serpent, konrad gesner, olaus magnus, Painting, Science & Medicine, sea orm, Sea Serpent

The terrifying Great Norway Serpent, or Sea Orm, is the most famous of the many influ…

Writing his Life through the Other: The Anthropology of Malinowski

- January 22, 2014 in anthropology, Articles, bronislaw malinowski, diary, ethnography, History, Science, trobriand islands

Last year saw the works of Bronislaw Malinowski – father of modern anthropology – enter the public domain in many countries around the world. Michael W. Young explores the personal crisis plaguing the Polish-born anthropologist at the end of his first major stint of ethnographic immersion in the Trobriand Islands, a period of self-doubt glimpsed through entries in his diary – the most infamous, most nakedly honest document in the annals of social anthropology.

Inside the Empty House: Sherlock Holmes, For King and Country

- January 8, 2014 in arthur conan doyle, Articles, conan doyle, History, Literature, royal baccarat scandal, sherlock holmes, sir arthur conan doyle, tranby croft affair

As a new series of BBC’s Sherlock revives the great detective after his apparent death at the hands of Moriarty in ‘The Empty Hearse’, Andrew Glazzard investigates the domestic and imperial subterfuge beneath the surface of Sherlock Holmes’s 1903 return to Baker Street in Conan Doyle’s ‘The Empty House’.

Encounter at the crossroads of Europe – the fellowship of Zweig and Verhaeren

- December 11, 2013 in Articles, austria, belgium, Books, Culture & History, Emile Verhaeren, first world war, friendship, Literature, poetry, Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig, whose works passed into the public domain this year in many countries around the world, was one of the most famous writers of the 1920s and 30s. Will Stone explores the importance of the Austrian's early friendship with the oft overlooked Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren.

Time and Place: Eric Ravilious (1903-1942)

- November 27, 2013 in Art and Illustrations, Articles, engravings, Eric Ravilious, Painting, sussex, watercolours

In many countries around the world the works of Eric Ravilious have come out of copyright this year – he died when his aircraft went missing off Iceland while he was making war paintings. An artist in multiple disciplines, his greater legacy dwells in water-colours. Frank Delaney re-visits the work of this understated, yet significant figure.

Lost in Translation: Proust and Scott Moncrieff

- November 13, 2013 in À la recherche du temps perdu, Articles, Books, Literature, marcel proust, memory, rememberance of things past, scott moncrieff, translation

Scott Moncrieff's English translation of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu is widely hailed as a masterpiece in its own right. His rendering of the title as Remembrance of Things Past is not, however, considered a high point. William C. Carter explores the two men's correspondence on this somewhat sticky issue and how the Shakespearean title missed the mark regarding Proust's theory of memory.

Alfred Russel Wallace: a Heretic’s Heretic

- October 30, 2013 in Alfred Russel Wallace, Articles, charles darwin, evolution, intelligent design, Religion, Science

On the centenary of his death, Michael A. Flannery looks back at how Alfred Russel Wallace's take on evolution, which radically reintroduced notions of purpose and design, still speaks to us in a post-Darwin world where problems of sentience and of the origin of life remain, some would argue, as intractable as ever.

Elizabeth Bisland’s Race Around the World

- October 16, 2013 in around the world, Articles, Books, cosmopolitan, elizabeth bisland, Events, History, Literature, nellie bly

Matthew Goodman explores the life and writings of Elizabeth Bisland, an American journalist propelled into the limelight when she set out in 1889 – head-to-head with fellow journalist Nellie Bly – on a journey to beat Phileas Fogg’s fictitious 80-day circumnavigation of the globe.