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Flash Mob: Revolution, Lightning, and the People’s Will

Adam Green - November 9, 2017 in allegory, Art & Illustrations, benjamin franklin, Culture & History, Featured Articles, french revolution, Jean-Paul Marat, Joseph Priestley, lightning, Maximilien Robespierre, power, revolution, Science, symbolism, thunderbolt

Kevin Duong explores how leading French revolutionaries, in need of an image to represent the all important “will of the people”, turned to the thunderbolt — a natural symbol of power and illumination that also signalled the scientific ideals so key to their project.

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Phil Morrow - October 24, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart. The Lydian Monarch had been sighted from Fire Island and was expected in Jersey […]

Master of Disaster, Ignatius Donnelly

Phil Morrow - October 24, 2017 in apocalypse, Atlantis, Books, catastrophe, disaster, disaster porn, Featured Articles, Ignatius Donnelly, Literature, pseudo-science, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine, science fiction

The destruction of Atlantis, cataclysmic comets, and a Manhattan tower made entirely from concrete and corpse — Carl Abbott on the life and work of a Minnesotan writer, and failed politician, with a mind primed for catastrophe. The magnificent civilization of Atlantis shattered and plunged beneath the sea in February 1882. Or, to be more […]

Human Forms in Nature: Ernst Haeckel’s Trip to South Asia and Its Aftermath

Phil Morrow - October 24, 2017 in aart form in nature, Art & Illustrations, biology, ceylon, Darwinism, ernst haeckel, eugenics, Featured Articles, Kunstformen der Natur, race, racism, Science, Science & Medicine, sri lanka

An early promoter and populariser of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, the German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel was a hugely influential figure of the late 19th century. Bernd Brunner looks at how a trip to Sri Lanka sowed the seeds for not only Haeckel’s majestic illustrations from his Art Forms in Nature, for which he is […]

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Adam Green - October 11, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart.

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Adam Green - October 11, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart.

Ignatius Donnelly: Recipes for Disaster

Adam Green - September 27, 2017 in apocalypse, Atlantis, Books, catastrophe, disaster, disaster porn, Featured Articles, Ignatius Donnelly, Literature, pseudo-science, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine, science fiction

The destruction of Atlantis, cataclysmic comets, and a Manhattan tower made entirely from concrete and corpse — Carl Abbott on the life and work of a Minnesotan writer, and failed politician, with a mind primed for catastrophe.

Out From Behind This Mask

Adam Green - July 27, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, death, death masks, Featured Articles, laurence hutton, laurence hutton collection, masks, memorial, Philosophy, plaster, punctum, roland barthes, walt whitman

A Barthesian bristle and the curious power of Walt Whitman’s posthumous eyelids — D. Graham Burnett on meditations conjured by a visit to the death masks of the Laurence Hutton Collection.

Decoding the Morse: The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

Adam Green - June 14, 2017 in carta marina, conrad gessner, Culture & History, Featured Articles, morse, olaus magnus, Religion, Myth & Legend, walrus

Amongst the assorted curiosities described in Olaus Magnus' 1555 tome on Nordic life was the morse — a hirsuite, fearsome, walrus-like beast, that was said to snooze upon cliffs while hanging by its teeth. Natalie Lawrence explores the career of this chimerical wonder, shaped both by scholarly images of a fabulous north and the grisly corporeality of the trade in walrus skins, teeth, and bone.

Gustav Wunderwald’s Paintings of Weimar Berlin

Adam Green - May 31, 2017 in 1920s, Art & Illustrations, Berlin, Featured Articles, flâneur, gustav wunderwald, industrialisation, industry, interwar, neue sachlichkeit, new objectivity, Painting, roaring twenties, walter benjamin, working class

The Berlin of the 1920s is often associated with a certain image of excess and decadence, but it was a quite different side of the city — the sobriety and desolation of its industrial and working-class districts — which came to obsess the painter Gustav Wunderwald. Mark Hobbs explores.