Though the 17th-century whaling station of Smeerenburg was in reality just a few dwellings and structures for processing blubber, over the decades and centuries a more extravagant picture took hold.
On Dante Gabriel Rossetti and company's curious but longstanding fixation with the furry oddity that is the wombat — that "most beautiful of God's creatures" that found its way into their poems, their art and even, for a brief while, their homes.
In the summer of 1937, stories started appearing in the local papers of Nantucket carrying photographs of giant footprints found on a local beach. With the region of New England's long history of sea-serpent sightings, rumors quickly began to circulate reporting that, at last, one of the elusive creatures had come ashore.
Musings upon the whys and wherefores of polar bears, particularly in relation to their forest-dwelling cousins, played an important but often overlooked role in the development of evolutionary theory.
A bizarre and fanciful piece of genealogical scholarship — and what it tells us about identity in late 19th-century America.
William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois — late 19th-/early 20th-century sociologist, historian, activist, Pan-Africanist, and prolific author — had also, it turns out, a mighty fine eye for graphic design.
Written by the mysterious hypnotist Santanelli, this book gives you everything you need to know to master the art of mind control.
It is 200 years since "The Year Without a Summer," when a sun-obscuring volcanic ash cloud caused temperatures to plummet the world over. Gillen D’Arcy Wood looks at the humanitarian crisis triggered by the unusual weather, and how it offers an alternative lens through which to read Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein," a book begun in its midst.
Celebrated for his innovative wit, Oscar Wilde and the notion of originality are common bedfellows. The pairing, however, is not without its complications. Joseph Bristow and Rebecca N. Mitchell explore the claims of plagiarism that dogged Wilde’s career.
Amongst the images — which show both the outer as well as the inner structure of the body — is the striking “wound man” illustration, depicting a man who has been stabbed, bitten, and wounded by arrows, as well as bludgeoned in the arm and head.
Hyperspace, ghosts, and colorful cubes.
An article found in a 1905 issue of American Homes and Gardens magazine reveals an unusual form of sculpture.
Obsessed with the smallest and seemingly least exciting of plants — mosses and liverworts — botanist Richard Spruce never achieved the fame of his more popular contemporaries. Elaine Ayers explores the work of this unsung hero of Victorian plant science and how his complexities echoed the very subject of his study.
How a wildly popular sex manual — first published in 17th-century London and reprinted in hundreds of subsequent editions — both taught and titillated through the early modern period and beyond.
Most familiar today as the godfather of Realpolitik and as the eponym for all things cunning and devious, the Renaissance thinker Niccolò Machiavelli also had a lighter side, writing as he did a number of comedies.
The author of "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland," which sees its 150th anniversary this year, remains to this day an enigmatic figure. Jenny Woolf explores the joys and struggles of this brilliant, secretive, and complex man, creator of one of the world’s best-loved stories.
Film was defined at the start by the same protean aspect that made it impossible to define. Was it a way of documenting life, or telling stories? Was it in service of fact or fiction? Art or science? Could the shadow-like findings of the camera ever be trusted as concrete, or as something more than apparition?
With his child prodigy status came questions from a skeptical few. Was he really so young? Was he really that talented? One person eager to test the truth of these doubts was Daines Barrington, a lawyer, antiquary, naturalist and Friend of the Royal Society.
Dane Kennedy reflects on two disastrous expeditions into Africa organised by the British in the early-19th century, and how their lofty ambitions crumbled before the implacable realities of the continent.
The image above details the aesthetic requirements for achieving the “Ideal English Rabbit,” the benchmark of perfect markings for a particular breed of rabbit first developed in the middle of the nineteenth century.