Cottagecore Debuted 2,300 Years Ago

Keeping cozy in a countryside escape, through the ages.
La Liberté ou la Mort by Jean-Baptiste Regnault

The French Revolution as Illuminati Conspiracy

The Illuminati was a real secret society. But in the hands of British conservatives during the French Revolution, it became a massive conspiracy.
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?
"The Vexed Man" by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Man Whose Face Got Stuck Like That

No one could have predicted Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s turn to the bizarre.
Empress Joséphine holding a Jacquemus Mini Le Chiquito handbag

A Mini History of the Tiny Purse

The purse has always been political, a reflection of changing economic realities and gender roles.
A plate from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, by Maria Sibylla Merian

The Metamorphosis of a 17th-Century Insect Artist

Maria Sibylla Merian's work in the natural sciences was overlooked for centuries. Now a rare butterfly has been named in her honor.
"The Macaroni. A real Character at the late Masquerade", mezzotint by Philip Dawe, 1773

The Gender-Bending Style of Yankee Doodle’s Macaroni

The outlandish "macaroni" style of 18th-century England blurred the boundaries of gender, as well as class and nationality.
Sir Humphry Davy

When Scientists Perform Experiments on Themselves

More than one self-experiment has resulted in a Nobel Prize. Against all odds, and sometimes in spite of the damage they cause, these crazy gambits pay off.
Email friendship

How Facebook Revived the Epistolary Friendship

Would today's online, social media-based friendships look familiar to the letter-writing friends of earlier centuries, when epistolary friendships were also common?