Length of Brocaded Silk, Italy, 18th century

Eighteenth-Century Spies in the European Silk Industry

Curious about the advancing wonders of the age, savants traveled abroad to gather trade secrets for their homeland.
The cover of an album by the Masked Marauders

How a Fake Supergroup Mocked the Real Thing

The Masked Marauders were the cockamamie creation of a bored rock critic. They still sold 100,000 albums.

Poetry from the Trenches of WWI

Tragically killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917, Edward Thomas was on the verge of a breakthrough.
Richard Wright sits in an armchair with his hand to his chin, 1950s.

The Haiku of Richard Wright

As he lay bedridden with dysentery, the author wrote an astonishing number of haiku. What inspired him?
An illustration of claqueurs from an 1853 issue of Harper's Magazine

When Paid Applauders Ruled the Paris Opera House

Professional applauders, collectively known as the “claque,” helped mold the tastes of an uncertain audience.
Six Tuscan Poets by Giorgio Vasari

The Heretical Origins of the Sonnet

The lyrical poetic form’s origins can be traced back earlier than Petrarch.
Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

A 2012 essay from the American Poetry Review on poetry and the architecture of anger.
Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia, Cuba 1946

Ernest Hemingway and Gender Fluidity

Despite his reputation for hypermasculinity, the author was fascinated by different forms of gender expression.
Source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/community.29877673

Victorian Botanical Paintings

Amateur botanist Margaret Rebecca Dickinson painted the wildflowers she collected in the English countryside.
An illustration from the Bantam edition of Graham Greene's The Quiet American

When the CIA Was Everywhere—Except on Screen

Hollywood was just fine avoiding all portrayals of the Central Intelligence Agency for years after the agency's founding in 1947.