You are browsing the archive for Religion, Myth & Legend.

Greenland Unicorns and the Magical Alicorn

- September 19, 2019 in alicorn, cabinet of curiosities, caspar bartholin, Featured Articles, folklore, greenland, iceland, magic, narwhals, ole worm, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine, thomas bartholin, unicorn horns, unicorns, wunderkammer

When the existence of unicorns, and the curative powers of the horns ascribed to them, began to be questioned, one Danish physician pushed back through curious means — by reframing the unicorn as an aquatic creature of the northern seas. Natalie Lawrence on a fascinating convergence of established folklore, nascent science, and pharmaceutical economy.

Woodblocks in Wonderland: The Japanese Fairy Tale Series

- September 3, 2019 in Art & Illustrations, best of folk and fairytales, Books, Chirimen, Chirimen-bon, crepe paper books, fairy tales, Featured Articles, japanese folklore, japonisme, Lafcadio Hearn, Religion, Myth & Legend, Takejiro Hasegawa, The Japanese Fairy Tale Series

From gift-bestowing sparrows and peach-born heroes to goblin spiders and dancing phantom cats — in a series of beautifully illustrated books, the majority printed on an unusual cloth-like crepe paper, the publisher Takejiro Hasegawa introduced Japanese folk tales to the West. Christopher DeCou on how a pioneering cross-cultural endeavour gave rise to a magnificent chapter in the history of children's publishing.

Woodblocks in Wonderland: The Japanese Fairy Tale Series

- September 3, 2019 in Art & Illustrations, best of folk and fairytales, Books, Chirimen, Chirimen-bon, crepe paper books, fairy tales, Featured Articles, japanese folklore, japonisme, Lafcadio Hearn, Religion, Myth & Legend, Takejiro Hasegawa, The Japanese Fairy Tale Series

From gift-bestowing sparrows and peach-born heroes to goblin spiders and dancing phantom cats — in a series of beautifully illustrated books, the majority printed on an unusual cloth-like crepe paper, the publisher Takejiro Hasegawa introduced Japanese folk tales to the West. Christopher DeCou on how a pioneering cross-cultural endeavour gave rise to a magnificent chapter in the history of children's publishing.

Divining the Witch of York: Propaganda and Prophecy

- October 24, 2018 in apocalypse, Culture & History, English Civil War, Featured Articles, henry viii, mother shipton, occult, poetry, predictions of the end of the world, propaganda, prophecies, prophecy, Religion, Myth & Legend, witch of york, witches

Said to be spawn of the devil himself and possessed with great powers of prophetic insight, Mother Shipton was Yorkshire's answer to Nostradamus. Ed Simon looks into how, regardless of whether this prophetess witch actually existed or not, the legend of Mother Shipton has wielded great power for centuries — from the turmoil of Tudor courts, through the frictions of civil war, to the spectre of Victorian apocalypse.

Bringing the Ocean Home

- June 21, 2018 in anemones, aquariums, Art & Illustrations, Books, fish, inventor of the aquarium, philip henry gosse, Religion, Myth & Legend, Science & Medicine

Bernd Brunner on the English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse and how his 1854 book The Aquarium, complete with spectacular illustrations and a dizzy dose of religious zeal, sparked a craze for the "ocean garden" that gripped Victorian Britain.

Fallen Angels: Birds of Paradise in Early Modern Europe

- April 4, 2018 in Art & Illustrations, birds, birds of paradise, conrad gesner, conrad gessner, Religion, Myth & Legend, Ulisse Aldrovandi

When birds of paradise first arrived to Europe, as dried specimens with legs removed, they were seen in almost mythical terms — as angelic beings forever airborne, nourished by dew and the "nectar" of sunlight. Natalie Lawrence looks at how European naturalists of the 16th and 17th centuries attempted to make sense of these entirely novel and exotic creatures from the East.

Defining the Demonic

- October 30, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, catholicism, cristianity, demonology, demons, dictionaries, dictionary, Enlightenment, illustration, occult, occultism, Religion, Religion, Myth & Legend, the devil

Although Jacques Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire infernal, a monumental compendium of all things diabolical, was first published in 1818 to much success, it is the fabulously illustrated final edition of 1863 which secured the book as a landmark in the study and representation of demons. Ed Simon explores the work and how at its heart […]

Defining the Demonic

- October 25, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, catholicism, christianity, demonology, demons, dictionaries, dictionary, Enlightenment, illustration, occult, occultism, Religion, Religion, Myth & Legend, the devil

Although Jacques Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire infernal, a monumental compendium of all things diabolical, was first published in 1818 to much success, it is the fabulously illustrated final edition of 1863 which secured the book as a landmark in the study and representation of demons. Ed Simon explores the work and how at its heart lies an unlikely but pertinent synthesis of the Enlightenment and the occult.

Master of Disaster, Ignatius Donnelly

- 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 […]

Ignatius Donnelly: Recipes for Disaster

- 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.