Threat of excommunication to thieves of books in the library of the University of Salamanca

Book Thieves Take the Story and Run with It

Book theft: the books may be rare, but the crime is not.
The cover of the Song Cave edition of Valley of the Many-Colored Grasses by Ronald Johnson

Lines of Poetry, Rows of Trees

Ronald Johnson’s Valley of the Many-Colored Grasses, newly re-issued, offers entry into the work of a pioneering master collagist.
A spread from a yearbook featuring a collage of black and white photographs of students around campus and Portland

Keep Portland Yearbook Photos Weird

Across thousands of images, Portland State University's yearbooks captured both society's upheaval and the city's cultural metamorphosis.
The cover of "First They Killed My Father" by Loung Ung

Should Readers Trust “Inaccuracy” in Memoirs about Genocide?

To what extent do errors undermine life writing? The question is an urgent one when that writing is testimony to the genocidal actions of the Khmer Rouge.

The Blu’s Hanging Controversy

Some have argued that the 1997 novel Blu's Hanging perpetuates East Asian racism against Filipinos while undermining criticism through violent sexuality.
From the cover of American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, 2006

The Caricature Who Couldn’t Appear on American Born Chinese

The television adaptation of Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel called for significant changes to the character of Chin-Kee.
An Illustration from Leila; or, The Island

What if Robinson Crusoe was a Girl?

In nineteenth-century England, stranding a (fictitious) girl on an island made a good argument for imperialism.
From the cover of the 1977 paperback release of Bear by Marian Engel.

Canada’s Most Controversial Novel

Marian Engel's 1976 novel Bear is famous for its embrace of bestiality, but it also offers a commentary on humans' relationship with the natural world.
Julian Hawthorne and Margaret Fuller

A Literary Hit Job: Julian Hawthorne Takes Down Margaret Fuller

Fuller’s works, and works about her, sold very well until Hawthorne cast her as a “fallen woman” in his biography of his parents.
Sir Walter Raleigh, English explorer of the Americas smokes a pipe of the tobacco he has brought back from his expedition, while his servant, thinking he is on fire, hurries towards him with a jug of water, circa 1580

How Books Taught Europeans to Smoke

The printed word helped spread the inhaling habit across the continent.