A tall bookcase of old books

Who Decides Which Books Are “Great?”

The concept of “Great Books," the historian Tim Lacy explains, developed in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to foster a “democratic culture.”
Sylvia Beach outside of Shakespeare & Co., circa 1935

The Patron Saint of Bookstores

100 years ago, Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses, opened the doors to her legendary bookstore, Shakespeare & Co.
The cover of A Book to Burn by Li Zhi

Burn This Book!

Li Zhi’s exasperation with the corruption, greed, and superficiality of the powerbrokers in his society fueled his rebellious writing.
The covers for "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison and "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark

Books and other art are often censored for covertly racist reasons.

The Filipino Novel That Reimagined Neocolonial Gender

Revisiting an essential Asian American work, beloved for its synthesis of neocolonialism, postmodernism, and central queer and female characters.
Profile portrait of Catherine II by Fedor Rokotov (1763)

The Memoirs of Catherine The Great

Catherine II ruled Russia for many years. She also wrote her own memoirs, in a time when such writing was considered inappropriate for a monarch.
Shena Mcauliffe

The Wonderland Awaits: Researching The Good Echo

Author Shena McAuliffe describes how she used JSTOR to research her debut novel, The Good Echo.
Charlotte Bronte

Sorry, but Jane Eyre Isn’t the Romance You Want It to Be

Charlotte Brontë, a woman whose life was steeped in stifled near-romance, refused to write love as ruly, predictable, or safe.
An empty bottle for opium tincture

When Doctors Took Opiates To Gain Credibility

Long before today's opioid epidemic, doctors shared stories of their own experiments with the drugs they prescribed their patients.
James Joyce in front of a flowery background

James Joyce’s NSFW Love Letters

The often explicit letters James Joyce wrote to Nora Barnacle contain the same mass of contradictions as his famous literary works, like Ulysses.