An illustration by James Gillray, 1807

Vulgarity: An Alternative Language of the People

Was Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue the font of all popular culture studies?
A Christmas Carol

Pirating Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, in the 1840s

When Parley's Illuminated Library published a pirated version of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens decided he had had enough.
Emily Dickinson, circa 1847

17 Poems by Emily Dickinson

Celebrate Emily Dickinson's birthday with a selection of her poems.
Mark Twain and James Fenimore Cooper

Mark Twain v. James Fenimore Cooper

A trial in the court of public opinion.
A man reading a newspaper with facebook reactions in a cloud around him

The Incredibly True Story of Fake Headlines

Are you still reading? Editors frequently use this space to include important contextual information about a news story.
Walter Benn Michaels

Walter Benn Michaels: What’s His Deal?

The literary critic Walter Benn Michaels challenges the prevailing trends of postmodernist theory.
A manz

How Linguists Are Using Urban Dictionary

Urban Dictionary continues a long history of recording low-brow language. It’s also a repository of a specific kind of internet immaturity.
A collection of Native American utensils and weapons

What We Lose When We Lose Indigenous Knowledge

By mistaking a culture's history for fantasy, or by disrespecting the wealth of indigenous knowledge, we're keeping up a Columbian, colonial tradition.
A tall bookcase of old books

Who Decides Which Books Are “Great?”

The concept of “Great Books," the historian Tim Lacy explains, developed in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to foster a “democratic culture.”