The title page of Life and confession of Ann Walters, the female murderess

How “Female Fiends” Challenged Victorian Ideals

At a time when questions about women's rights in marriage roiled society, women readers took to the pages of cheap books about husband-murdering wives.
The Decameron by John William Waterhouse

Boccaccio’s Medicine

In the Decameron of Boccaccio, friends tell one another stories of love to while away the hours of quarantine.
A portrait of Emily Dickinson in front of an evolutionary illustration

How Emily Dickinson Wrestled with Darwinism

The current vogue for the Amherst poet needs to give credit to the way she readily examined her childhood ideas about fixed and immutable truth.
Two face masks in front of some text about the COVID-19 virus

When Language Goes Viral

How do innocuous words become insidious in the face of a public health emergency?
A Reading from Homer by Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1885

How Do We Know That Epic Poems Were Recited from Memory?

Scholars once doubted that pre-literate peoples could ever have composed and recited poems as long as the Odyssey. Milman Parry changed that.
A Valentine's Day card from 1912 depicting Cupid

Why Cupid Rules Valentine’s Day

The rascally cherub has been part of Valentine's Day lore since Chaucer’s time.
3 boys hanging out outside laughing

Black English Matters

People who criticize African American Vernacular English don't see that it shares grammatical structures with more "prestigious" languages.
Photograph: Anya Taylor-Joy in the 2020 film Emma

Source: Focus Features

Is Emma Really the Heroine of Emma?

Jane Austen gave her character Emma Woodhouse plenty of off-putting qualities. So does she even deserve her popularity?

How to Write Great True Crime

Hint: Branch out from serial killers coming through the window.
Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury on War, Recycling, and Artificial Intelligence

As the 21st century unravels, Ray Bradbury remains a fundamental figure of the sci-fi genre.