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Sex and the Founding Fathers

Sex and the Founding Fathers

By tracing how intimacy has figured in popular memory of the Founders from their own lifetimes to the recent past, Sex and the Founding Fathers shows that sex has long been used to define their masculine character and political authority and has always figured in civic and national identity.

“An Unknown Arc into the Future”: An Interview with Daniel Lewis, Curator of Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World

“An Unknown Arc into the Future”: An Interview with Daniel Lewis, Curator of <em>Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World</em>

Megan Gallagher interviews Daniel Lewis, Curator of the Huntington Library’s exhibit, entitled Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World.

Seduction or Assault? Eliza Haywood and the Eighteenth-Century Rape Culture of Today

Seduction or Assault? Eliza Haywood and the Eighteenth-Century Rape Culture of Today

Fantomina: Or, Love in a Maze (1725) is perhaps Eliza Haywood’s most intriguing example of amatory fiction, and it provides a good case study for understanding the similarities between contemporary rape culture and the sexual conventions of the eighteenth century.

Language and Enlightenment

Language and Enlightenment

We might have grown skeptical about our cultural legacy, but it is quite natural for us to assume that our own cognitive theories are the latest word when compared with those of our predecessors. Yet in some areas, the questions we are now asking are not too different from those posed some two-three centuries ago, if not earlier.

Poetry with a Different Purpose: Resurrecting Britain’s Bard

Poetry with a Different Purpose: Resurrecting Britain’s Bard

In September 1792, on the day of the autumnal equinox, a Welshman named Iolo Morganwg met friends on Primrose Hill near what is now Regent’s Park in London. There, they made a circle out of stones. The largest stone was fashioned into an altar. On this altar was placed an unsheathed sword. Standing on these stones and dressed in wildly colored robes, the company recited Welsh history and poetry.

Cultivating Philosophy in the Epicurean Garden

Cultivating Philosophy in the Epicurean Garden

The physical garden was to Sir William Temple and other Epicureans a reflection of one’s mental landscape, and in the best of all possible worlds, one would stay in the garden–a position that Voltaire would later and more famously endorse in Candide. Like seventeenth-century definitions of wit, Temple’s philosophy of the garden expresses a balance of judgment and fancy, those gendered faculties of the mind, and an appropriate blend of reason and passion. The act of gardening for Temple was the practice of freeing the self from the disordered passions, unavoidable but capable of being subdued like wild weeds. One needs only a patch of earth, a shovel, and a life of the mind.

Diagrams of Emotion: Hogarth’s Blush and Maori Tattoos

Diagrams of Emotion: Hogarth’s Blush and Maori Tattoos

Thomas Willis (1621-1675) thought there were two equal and opposite impulses at work when a person blushed, a modest retreat and an aggressive advance. In his book on mimicry, Dazzled and Deceived (2009), Peter Forbes has argued that all systems…

Iceland and Eighteenth-Century Travel and Exploration

Iceland and Eighteenth-Century Travel and Exploration

A small but significant body of English-language writing on Iceland started appearing in the last decades of the eighteenth century and the early years of the nineteenth, much which proclaims itself to be the product of exactly the sort of scientific and philosophical curiosity that…

The University of Woodford Square and the Age of Obama

The University of Woodford Square and the Age of Obama

The non-Western world was the “common” of 18th-century Europe, territory to be gradually colonized—fenced off, walled off, or hedged off—by powers looking to raise the value (and the rents) of their respective empires.

“African” in Early Haiti, or How to Fight Stereotypes

“African” in Early Haiti, or How to Fight Stereotypes

The concept of Africa as a unified region whose inhabitants share a common identity developed alongside the transatlantic slave trade of the eighteenth century.