Trevor Cribben Merrill | Genealogies Of Modernity | 8th February 2022 | U
On contrast, juxtaposition and comedy as ways of enhancing the beauty of a work of art. Ugliness or silliness are not qualities that are usually assumed to be essential for creating something attractive or worthwhile, but their presence serves to illuminate all else. A lawn shows off a tree, a bad character in a novel reveals the presence of goodness elsewhere, and absurdity suggests seriousness (1,748 words)
Matthew Walther | The Lamp | 8th February 2022 | U
Heresy, especially of the Catholic variety, just isn't what it used to be. Although some believe the Church of Rome to be currently embroiled in the "Great Apostasy foretold in Holy Writ", in fact — this writer argues — the believers of today have merely the "comparatively easy task of rejecting a series of increasingly dreary-sounding vices". Today's heretics have little metaphysical impact (1,121 words)
Penelope J. Corfield | Lapham's Quarterly | 8th February 2022 | U
The Georgians loved to give names to the period of time through which they were living. These terms invented to characterise this 18C period were mostly pessimistic. A selection: the Age of Lead, a Cheating Age, the Age of Mad-Folks, a Depraved Age, Driveling Times, this Irreligious Age and the present Age of Vice. There was even a newspaper called the Spirit of the Age (1,984 words)
Charles Lineweaver | Inference Review | 2nd February 2022 | U
Deft review of a paper exploring the possibility of intelligent life evolving elsewhere in the universe — a philosophical as well as biological conundrum. Although the work under consideration has a sound basis, this expert concludes that the "quirky, contingent, and self-referential nature of biological evolution" does not make it susceptible to being modelled or predicted (2,872 words)
William Davis | The Collation | 5th August 2021 | U
Archive photographer explains how tracking the path of a worm through a 17C letter helped to reveal the folding habits of 17C writers. This missive was sent to the Laird of Craighall, Scotland, in 1647 when it was customary to fold up letters into small packages to keep "grime and gossips" away from the words. Software was used to avoid handling the letter during the investigation (1,991 words)
Podcast: Bricks | Secretly Incredibly Fascinating. Conversation about bricks as both a building material and a vessel for cultural memory and metaphor. Skews American in reference but still worthwhile (58m 40s)
Video: French Horn | YouTube | Wes Lee Music Repair. A badly crumpled brass instrument is miraculously restored to playable condition by a craftsman using only a few rollers and a strong forearm (8m 06s)
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— Claude McKay
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