history of hogsheads, kegs and puncheons

Beer, whiskey, wine, grain, tobacco, molasses, cement, fish, coins: The barrel is far from a simple idea…
Beer, whiskey, wine, grain, tobacco, molasses, cement, fish, coins: The barrel is far from a simple idea… [More]

History of Drunkenness

Alcohol, death, and the devil. In the 17th century, booze was rumored to turn men into swine, to expose their bodies to Satan’s touch…
Alcohol, death, and the devil. In the 17th century, booze was rumored to turn men into swine, to expose their bodies to Satan’s touch… [More]

History of Fairy Tale

It’s said that fairy tales at are the roots of fiction. Probably so. But scholars can’t even agree on what constitutes a fairy tale…
It’s said that fairy tales at are the roots of fiction. Probably so. But scholars can’t even agree on what constitutes a fairy tale… [More]

History of trolls

Magnificently grotesque, vicious, or perhaps comic, the troll is a resilient character. Why we need trolls…
Magnificently grotesque, vicious, or perhaps comic, the troll is a resilient character. Why we need trolls… [More]

Sympathy for censorship

East German censors saw their role as enabling literature, not suppressing it. That’s not to say, of course, that texts weren’t rejected as “late bourgeois”…
East German censors saw their role as enabling literature, not suppressing it. That’s not to say, of course, that texts weren’t rejected as “late bourgeois”… [More]

Lucky Jim

The narrowing of history. Ever more scholars shed light on an ever more obscure past. When did historiography become an esoteric art?…
The narrowing of history. Ever more scholars shed light on an ever more obscure past. When did historiography become an esoteric art?… [More]

History of slang

How to build a taxonomy of slang: Create categories for “drink or drugs,” “sex and related body parts,” and “insults denoting misfits” and you’re on your way…
How to build a taxonomy of slang: Create categories for “drink or drugs,” “sex and related body parts,” and “insults denoting misfits” and you’re on your way… [More]

The Chapter: A History

Chapters: They organize our books and provide a metaphor for our lives. Where did they come from? A befuddled 15th-century scholar…
Chapters: They organize our books and provide a metaphor for our lives. Where did they come from? A befuddled 15th-century scholar… [More]

History of beer

Babylonians, shamans, monks, farmers, patriots, industrialists: Brewers are an ancient and odd bunch. Every beer tells a story…
Babylonians, shamans, monks, farmers, patriots, industrialists: Brewers are an ancient and odd bunch. Every beer tells a story… [More]

Herodotus and the past

Hearsay at the roots of history: In his time, Herodotus was known as a storytelling tourist. But the attacks on his reputation didn’t let up…
Hearsay at the roots of history: In his time, Herodotus was known as a storytelling tourist. But the attacks on his reputation didn’t let up… [More]