A film still from The Eighties by Chantal Akerman

A Feminist Vision of the Musical

Chantal Akerman’s The Eighties proves that a musical set in a mall can be a significant feminist work.
Phrenology head from The Household Physician, 1905

Walt Whitman, America’s Phrenologist

The pseudoscience of phrenology included a notion of body as text that Whitman loved. But the craze of "bumpology" also had a darker side.
Letitia Elizabeth Landon

The Life of Forgotten Poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon

She was known as the "female Byron." So why doesn't anyone read L.E.L. anymore?
George Orwell

Think Again

Rereading W.H. Auden, George Orwell, and James Baldwin in times of crisis.
Frank Capra, 1937

Frank Capra’s Not-So-Sunny Vision of American Life

Capra's films are known for being upbeat and sometimes cheesy, but beneath the surface are rather dark stories of American corruption.
A hand holding a magnifying glass looking at pages with different fonts

The Font Detectives

For typography experts like Thomas Phinney, the history of the printed word is crucial to weeding out fraud.
Rossia macrosoma, Stout Bobtail Squid

The Delicate Science-Art of the Blaschka Invertebrate Collection

The Cornell Collection of Blaschka Invertebrate Models includes hundreds of glass models of sea creatures, making it both a teaching tool and a metaphor.
Chatterton by Henry Wallis, 1856

The Posthumous Mystique of Thomas Chatterton

He died young of suicide and became the quintessence of the tormented poet. But his death may have been an accident, and his greatest work, forgeries.
Allegorical Groups Representing the Four Continents: America by Francesco Bertos

These Gravity-Defying Sculptures Provoked Accusations of Demonic Possession

Demons and artists, it seems, pull from the same bag of tricks. They take ordinary matter and transform it into something more wondrous, more terrifying.
Woodstock, 1969

Woodstock: Sex, Drugs, and Zoning

It's the 50th anniversary of the famous Woodstock festival, which was fraught with controversy before it even happened.