Captain Misson, described by Captain Charles Johnson as the founder of a fictional "pirate utopia" called Libertalia or Libertatia.

Return to Pirate Island

The history of piracy illustrates a surprising connection to democratic Utopian radicalism—and, of course, stolen treasure.
Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë’s Lost Second Novel

The author of the English literary classic Wuthering Heights died tragically young, leaving her second novel unfinished.
Source: https://www.jstor.org/stable/community.29919071

Victorian Knitting Manuals Collection

The first manuals for knitting were printed in the 1830s. Those interested in the history of knitting will find them a rich primary source for research.
Sans Dessus Dessous by Jules Verne

How Early Sci-Fi Authors Imagined Climate Change

A century before the modern “cli-fi” genre, many authors envisioned unsettling worlds shaped by man-made climate chaos.
A collage of book covers

What We’re Reading in 2020

Funk music, floating cities, poetic prose, and a return to the classics.
Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s Anti-Black Racism

The first edition of the beloved novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory featured "pygmy" characters taken from Africa.
Two pages from a baby book from the 1920s

The Long-Lost Ritual of Baby Books

Mothers used to documented their infant children's milestones—first steps, first smile—in specially made books. They're amazing historical documents.
The cover of the first edition of Slan by A.E. van Vogt

The Self-Styled Sci-Fi Supermen of the 1940s

Way before there were stans, there were slans. Too bad about their fascist utopian daydreams!
The cover of Exodus by Leon Uris

How Americans Were Taught to Understand Israel

Leon Uris's bestselling book Exodus portrayed the founding of the state of Israel in terms many Americans could relate to.

Resistance through Silence in Camus’s The Plague

"On this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it’s up to us, so far as possible, not to join forces with the pestilences."