30 May. 2023

This silent picture offers a glimpse into the early activities of the Denishawn dance school.

25 May. 2023

To ward off attackers this mythical animal was said to expel excrement with a devastating explosive force.

23 May. 2023

The heart of this book is the sharp and disjointed accounts of survivors, their experience not yet shorn of its surprise.

17 May. 2023

Charles Perrault is celebrated as the collector of some of the world’s best-known fairy tales. But his brothers were just as remarkable: Claude, an architect of the Louvre, and Pierre, who discovered the hydrological cycle. As Hugh Aldersey-Williams explores, all three were able to use positions within the orbit of the Sun King to advance their modern ideas about the world.

16 May. 2023

Painted by an unidentified artist, these opera characters are gathered from literature, military history, and myth.

11 May. 2023

These images of the LA Alligator Farm depict a level of casual proximity unthinkable today.

10 May. 2023

An early guide to communicating in the language now known as Plains Indian Sign Language.

3 May. 2023

Those who sipped or sniffed ether and chloroform in the 19th century experienced a range of effects from these repurposed anaesthetics, including preternatural mental clarity, psychological hauntings, and slippages of space and time. Mike Jay explores how the powerful solvents shaped the writings of Guy de Maupassant and Jean Lorrain — psychonauts who opened the door to an invisible dimension of mind and suffered Promethean consequences.

27 Apr. 2023

Taking a child on a tour through punctuation, Mr. Stops introduces him to a cast of literal “characters”: admiring exclamation marks and militaristic semicolons.

27 Apr. 2023

In these images, Vérany realizes his ambition — to accurately render “the suppleness of the flesh, the grace of the contours, the transparency and the coloring” of cephalopods.

25 Apr. 2023

A collection of more than 60 sundial inscriptions, exploring various themes relating to the passing of time.

19 Apr. 2023

From cabbage green to course meal, medieval manuscripts exhibit a spectrum of colours and consistencies when describing urine. Katherine Harvey examines the complex practices of uroscopy: how physicians could divine sexual history, disease, and impending death by studying the body's liquid excretions.

18 Apr. 2023

In this “personal guidance” film, Phil the shy guy learns a valuable lesson: to fit in, you need to “think about the other guy”.

13 Apr. 2023

In these illustrations, Emerson's words are interpreted literally, repurposed for cheeky, teasing, and toothless ends.

12 Apr. 2023

A sprawling eighty-page poem about teeth, written by an eminent dentist, with fifty pages of erudite endnotes.

5 Apr. 2023

These watercolour images depict a lost 19th-century Manhattan of grand country estates and vast private gardens.

5 Apr. 2023

Beneath the waves, off the Suffolk Coast, lies a city taken by the sea through centuries of erosion. Matthew Green revisits Dunwich, a once lively port transfigured into a symbol of loss, both eerie and profound, for generations of artists, poets, and historians drawn to its ruinous shores.

30 Mar. 2023

This form of folk art from 17th- and 18th-century Pennsylvania was designed for private, domestic pleasures.

28 Mar. 2023

In this essay on the ailments of sedentary lifestyles, reading and scholarly study have tragic and sometimes fatal consequences.

22 Mar. 2023

These 18th-century microscopic illustrations offer wonderful glimpses into the minutiae of the natural world.

22 Mar. 2023

During the late 1660s in Paris, transfusing the blood of calves and lambs into human veins held the promise of renewed youth and vigour. Peter Sahlins explores Jean Denis’ controversial experiments driven by his belief in the moral superiority of animal blood: a substance that could help redeem the fallen state of humanity.

21 Mar. 2023

Eigil zu Tage-Ravn asks a GTP-3-driven AI system for help in the interpretation of a key scene in Moby-Dick (1851). Do androids dream of electric whales?

16 Mar. 2023

Rising to prominence in the seventeenth century, the Basohli School of painting is particularly known for its vibrant use of color and inventive textural elements — including iridescent beetle carapaces.

14 Mar. 2023

Offering hundreds of examples from religious history, this book was part of a larger Phallic Series of treatises by Hargrave Jennings.

8 Mar. 2023

When the womb began to appear in printed images during the 16th century, it was understood through analogy: a garden, uroscopy flask, or microcosm of the universe. Rebecca Whiteley explores early modern birth figures, which picture the foetus in utero, and discovers an iconic form imbued with multiple kinds of knowledge: from midwifery know-how to alchemical secrets, astrological systems to new anatomical findings.