Literature

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The Dust That Measures All Our Time

The Dust That Measures All Our Time

From the mythical Sandman, who participates in dream and vision, to an irritating...

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Lithographs from M. E. Descourtilz’s *Atlas des Champignons* (1827)

Lithographs from M. E. Descourtilz’s *Atlas des Champignons*...

Set of prints which sort mushrooms found in France and elsewhere into three classes:...

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*The Ascent of Mont-Blanc* (ca. 1855)

*The Ascent of Mont-Blanc* (ca. 1855)

John MacGregor’s four “views” of Mont Blanc, printed in color by George Baxter,...

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A Monster in the Heart: Edward May’s *A Most Certaine and True Relation* (1639)

A Monster in the Heart: Edward May’s *A Most Certaine and...

This 17th-century medical treatise still puzzles researchers centuries after it...

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Adolf Schmidt’s *Atlas der Diatomaceenkunde* (1890)

Adolf Schmidt’s *Atlas der Diatomaceenkunde* (1890)

A 19th-century catalogue dedicated to showcasing diatoms (a type of unicellular...

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Mermaids and Tritons in the Age of Reason

Mermaids and Tritons in the Age of Reason

For much of the eighteenth century, Western intellectuals chased after tritons and...

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A Modest Apology for the Man in the Bottle (1749)

A Modest Apology for the Man in the Bottle (1749)

A confession from the supposed man who caused a riot at the Haymarket Theatre in...

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The Human Voice (1921)

The Human Voice (1921)

Educational film from Bray studios all about that “marvellous sound producing instrument,...

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Circassian Beauty in the American Sideshow

Circassian Beauty in the American Sideshow

Among the “human curiosities” in P. T. Barnum’s American Museum was a supposed escapee...

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700 Years of Dante’s *Divine Comedy* in Art

700 Years of Dante’s *Divine Comedy* in Art

To celebrate Dante's 700th anniversary, a look at how illustrators have tackled...

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Figure/Ground: Alphonse Allais’ *April Fools Album* (1897)

Figure/Ground: Alphonse Allais’ *April Fools Album* (1897)

Long before Rauchenberg, Cage, or Malevich, Allais anticipated many of the innovations...

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*A Treatise on Artificial Limbs* (1899)

*A Treatise on Artificial Limbs* (1899)

An attempt to parallel every possible case of amputation, allowing individuals to...

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The Spiralist

The Spiralist

Why do helical seashells resemble spiraling galaxies and the human heart? Kevin...

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Festooned: Martin Gerlach’s Decorative Groupings (1897)

Festooned: Martin Gerlach’s Decorative Groupings (1897)

Martin Gerlach’s quintessential “book of examples” was a reference manual meant...

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Porch Memories

Porch Memories

In this affecting photo-essay, Federica Soletta invites us to sit with her awhile...

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Astronomia Playing Cards (1829)

Astronomia Playing Cards (1829)

Transcending the earthly concerns of betting and regal motifs, this pack of cards...

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Albert Millican’s *Travels and Adventures of an Orchid Hunter* (1891)

Albert Millican’s *Travels and Adventures of an Orchid...

Millican's memoir of travels and exploits in the budding flower industry.

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Picturing Scent: The Tale of a Beached Whale

Picturing Scent: The Tale of a Beached Whale

What can visual art teach us about scent, stench, and the mysterious substance known...

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John Singleton Copley's *Watson and the Shark* (1778)

John Singleton Copley's *Watson and the Shark* (1778)

American-born Copley made a splash at London’s Royal Academy with this depiction...

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Solid Objects: 16th-Century Geometric and Perspective Drawings

Solid Objects: 16th-Century Geometric and Perspective Drawings

These complex geometrical figures and perspective drawings are preserved in a little-known...

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