Painting of a woman's hand holding a pomegranate

The Paradoxical Pomegranate

Aphrodisiac and contraceptive, enflaming and cooling, the pomegranate was a balancing act, mediating between opposing states.
A Cheshire cat stuffed toy, from the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

A Brief History of Literary Cats

There’s nothing like curling up with a good book and a soft cat. Even better is a book with a cat in it.
Nella Larsen, 1928

The Plagiarism Scandal That Ended Nella Larsen’s Career

Larsen's 1930 story "Sanctuary" had a similar plot to an earlier British story. So what? Perhaps the tale never really belonged to either writer.
A still from Dune, 2021

The Ecological Prescience of Dune

Frank Herbert’s novel isn't just about space messiahs, giant sandworms, and trippy space drugs. At its core, the sci-fi epic is about ecology.
a passenger on the London Underground, reading D H Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'

Would You Let Your Servant Read This Book?

How the ban on D. H. Lawrence's book Lady Chatterley's Lover was reversed.
Book cover: The cover of a copy of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky 

Source: https://flickr.com/photos/cdrummbks/3756574568

The Power of Sibling Bonds in The Brothers Karamazov

In the year of Dostoevsky's bicentennial, a revisiting of familial relationships in one of his most popular works.
Charles Chesnutt

The Ghosts of Slavery in Charles Chesnutt’s Fiction

What begins as a magical escape from the horrors of plantation life soon turns into a spine-chilling testament to slavery’s dehumanizing effects.
An abstract spectrum of colored dots on a black background that cohere together to represent sound waves or a music equalizer.

How to Hear Images and See Sounds

Artists Shannon Finnegan and Andy Slater talk accessibility, transdimensional hearing, alt-text as poetry, sound descriptions, and Instagram captions for McSweeney’s Audio Issue.
Handout for a 1776 performance of Oroonoko

Science and Slavery in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko

In one of the first novels written in English, a West African prince, fascinated with navigation, boards a ship for a fateful journey.