Robert Redford, The Great Gatsby (1974)

When Very Bad Words Are the Sh*t (Linguistically Speaking)

The fact that people can use “literally” about things that can’t possibly be factual may literally make your blood boil.
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, by Peter Lely

“Mad Meg,” the Poet-Duchess of 17th Century England

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, shocked the establishment by publishing poems and plays under her own name.
Shena Mcauliffe

The Wonderland Awaits: Researching The Good Echo

Author Shena McAuliffe describes how she used JSTOR to research her debut novel, The Good Echo.
Hamlet. Poster for W. S. Hardy Company, 1894

When Did the Verb “To Be” Enter the English Language?

A Curious Reader asks: To be or naught to be?
Charlotte Bronte

Sorry, but Jane Eyre Isn’t the Romance You Want It to Be

Charlotte Brontë, a woman whose life was steeped in stifled near-romance, refused to write love as ruly, predictable, or safe.
James Joyce in front of a flowery background

James Joyce’s NSFW Love Letters

The often explicit letters James Joyce wrote to Nora Barnacle contain the same mass of contradictions as his famous literary works, like Ulysses.
An illustration from an 1897 edition of Persuasion

The Physical Pleasures of Jane Austen’s Persuasion

Smoldering glances? Romantic letters? Forbidden love? Why Persuasion may be the most seductive of Jane Austen's novels.
Felicitación de cumpleaños by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta

The Disappointing Reality of 19th-Century Courtship

For white, middle-class women in the 19th century U.S., courtship and marriage offered less emotional intimacy than their friendships with other women.
A collection of romance novels

The Business of the Romance Novel

How romance novels—despite their decided lack of cultural clout—became big business for the publishing industry.
Photo by _HealthyMond . on Unsplash

Asian Families, the RAND Book, and Science Fiction

New books and scholarship from Stanford University Press, University of Minnesota, and MIT Press.