The Bikini


The modern swimsuit, however, was first introduced to the press on 5 July 1946 as automotive designer and lingerie factory owner Louis Réard’s riposte to Jacques Heim’s two-piece ‘atome’ swimsuit Réard set out to go smaller – enough to pass through a wedding ring, as he put it This he christened the ‘bikini’ in reference to the first peace-time atmospheric atomic tests, which had begun on Bikini...

Rewriting the Classics


In the wake of Wilson’s groundbreaking translation, there has been much buzz about how women have been making the Greek and Roman classics their own in recent years Today, however, her Aeneid ( Les Quatre premiers livres des Eneydes du treselegant poete Virgile, Traduictz de Latin en prose Françoyse , 1541) is little known and less read (only three manuscripts are known to survive), despite...

How Original Was Shakespeare?


Nonetheless, contemporaries, such as Christopher Marlowe – government spy, suspected religious dissident, murdered in a bar room brawl – and Walter Ralegh – soldier, buccaneer, paramour of Elizabeth I – led more remarkable lives According to Paul Franssen, this tradition has emerged from a singular impulse: ‘[The] desire to speak with the dead … underlies many stories, playlets, prologues and...

The Grapes of Roth


The late, great American novelist performed an important, but little-known, cultural role during the Cold War Much has been written about the life and work of the American novelist Philip Roth since his death on 22 May Like many great artists (Shakespeare, Beethoven, Rembrandt), he had a vigorous, uncompromising ‘late’ period, during which his writing took on an unmistakable style and inimitable...

Who Were The Phoenicians?


An authoritative and engaging new study questions whether this Eastern Mediterranean culture had a homogeneous language or cultural heritage However, the Phoenicians’ lack of recognisable territory, homogeneous language or shared cultural heritage means that, despite being one of the most influential Mediterranean peoples of the first millennium bc, their identity has long remained shrouded in...

Private Lives? Leave Me Out


This made it relatively easy to determine when and whether one’s private boundaries had been breached New technologies and social practices, as well as new ideas about personal borders, changed privacy from a propertied concept into one equally concerned with ephemeral matters of personality In the early 20th century, techniques for documenting individual lives, such as birth certificates...

You Say Ragner, I Say Ragnar


The unlikely links between an obscure English saint and a Viking warrior History has many byways: paths which lead, by winding routes, to unexpected destinations It says that Ragner died alongside him and was therefore a martyr and saint, though no other source mentions this or gives Edmund a relation of this name This rather touching story involves a series of visions revealed to a simple but...

Making a Monster


They describe fire-breathing dog-headed people ( cynocephali ), dog-sized ants that mine gold and gigantic lake monsters Crucially, although they are physical aberrations, these monsters seem content to live away from man (and far from Northern Europe) and those that are potentially dangerous only become violent when people encroach on their territory or try to capture them Indeed, some will even...

A History of Pizza


Some three billion pizzas are sold each year in the United States alone, an average of 46 slices per person Always rushing about in search of work, they needed food that was cheap and easy to eat Though similar in some respects to Virgil’s flatbreads, they were now defined by inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients with plenty of flavour Only recently introduced from the Americas, these were still...

Consumptive Chic: When Tuberculosis was the Height of Fashion


During the late 18th century the physical effects of tuberculosis became the ideals of beauty for the fashionable woman The idea of disease as fashionable, or at least as something to be emulated, remains a familiar one: think of the heroin chic of the 1990s or the underground Pro Ana movement, which glorifies anorexia The idea, however, that tuberculosis – a disease characterised by wasting...

Recent Posts

Recent Comments