Georgie Hyde-Lees

W. B. Yeats’ Live-in “Spirit Medium”

In the Victorian era, a different kind of ghostwriting became popular—largely because it allowed men to take all the credit.
An illustration from War of the Worlds

What The War of the Worlds Had to Do with Tasmania

H.G. Wells's famous science fiction novel imagines what would happen if Martians did to Great Britain what Europeans did to Tasmania.
Nancy Drew: The Clue of the Dancing Puppet

The Secret Syndicate behind Nancy Drew

If you remember your grade-school reading log, the Nancy Drew mysteries are by Carolyn Keene. Only she never existed.
Emily Dickinson

Marketing Emily Dickinson as a Children’s Poet

Some of Emily Dickinson's poems were first published in children's magazines, in what one scholar calls a "marketing ploy gone awry."
Neon text on the side of a building reads "All we have is words, all we have is worlds."

The Hidden Life of Modal Verbs

A linguist explains why we get so distracted by the fiery language of politics, while ignoring urgent information reported by scientists.
Vintage engraving from 1876 of a old victorian haunted house.

How Victorian Mansions Became the Default Haunted House

Quick: Picture a haunted house. It's probably a Victorian mansion, right? Here's how these structures became signifiers of horror, haunting, and death.
hawaii stars lava mana

The Mysterious Mana of Speaking

The Austronesian concept of "mana" helps us understand that behind the monolithic "magic" of modern power and authority, there is a fragile human dimension.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Obsession with the Cemetery

The author of Frankenstein always saw love and death as connected. She visited the cemetery to commune with her dead mother. And with her lover.
Truman Capote

How Truman Capote Advanced the New Journalism

In Cold Blood changed the face of journalism. And yet years after its publication, we are still asking: how much of it was factually true?
Charles Dickens in 1858 writing at a desk

Charles Dickens and Fame vs. Celebrity

Many of our current celebrities are famous for being famous. Charles Dickens, the first self-made global media star, would've had a lot to say about this.