An office secretary - 1970s

A Woman’s Life in Publishing

Anita D. McClellan entered the publishing industry as a secretary, one of the few opportunities available to women at the time. We tell her story.
King James Bible

How the King James Bible Influenced American Literature

The King James Bible, the most popular version read worldwide, had a lasting influence on the American literary canon.
Front of Nobel Prize medal

On The Cultural Logic of Prizes

Prizes and awards are forms of cultural capital in prestige-making projects.
Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian investigative journalist and prose writer, Nobel laureate in Literature 2015

Read Work From 2015 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature Svetlana Alexievich

Read an excerpt from "War's Womanly Face," a book by the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize Svetlana Alexievich about female Russian soldiers in World War II.
Portrait of William Shakespeare

Linguistic Anarchy! It’s all Pun and Games Until Somebody Loses a Sign

The pun is in an interesting bind: it is both ubiquitous and reviled. We try to understand why.

More Hipster Than Thou: Is Vintage Language Back in Vogue?

A look at the recent boon in archaic terms and its relationship to "hipster" culture.
Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Read the Poems of “Genius” Grant Recipients Ellen Bryant Voigt & Ben Lerner

We've made available two poems each by Ellen Bryant Voigt and Ben Lerner, 2015 recipients of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant.
Portrait of American Author, Poet, and Naturalist Henry David Thoreau

The Myth of Henry David Thoreau’s Isolation

The famous writer-observer of nature, Henry David Thoreau, fills the popular imagination. But have we mythologized the image of him as a recluse?
"Juan felipe ferrera 9150360" by slowking4 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Juan_felipe_ferrera_9150360.jpg#/media/File:Juan_felipe_ferrera_9150360.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>

The History of the Poet Laureate

Juan Felipe Herrera is the new U.S. Poet Laureate. It is a position that has had a long life, dating back to the Greeks.
Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Syllables Without Vowels? Pfft, Inconceivable!

Is the syllable universal? Maybe. We look at how languages use (and don't use) syllables, and what this says about language itself.