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.
An illustration depicting two regency-era women speaking with an iMessage bubble

Is Jane Austen the Antidote to Social Media Overload?

Racking up likes and followers today resembles the nonstop friending of 19th-century England. But Austen's characters figured out how to disengage.
Isaac Asimov. Photo by Jay Kay Klein, courtesy Regents of the University of California

Asimov’s Empire, Asimov’s Wall

The science fiction author Isaac Asimov engaged in forms of unwanted touching with countless women. It set the tone for the entire genre.
Cixin Liu

“To Reach the Pure Realm of the Imaginary:” A Conversation with Cixin Liu

The science fiction author Cixin Liu is best known for his mind-bending trilogy The Three Body Problem.