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  • Arts & Humanities

Illuminating Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s dramatic music

Whenever a public event requires a speech from Shakespeare to articulate the profundity of human experience, or to illustrate the cultural achievements of humankind (or perhaps Britain), there is a very good chance that someone will turn to Caliban.

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Does my death harm me?

Some people fear flying; some fear buttons; and many, many people fear their own death. We might try to argue a friend out of their fear of flying or their fear of buttons by showing them that the fear is irrational.

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Getting to know Aviva LeShaw, Marketing Intern

From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into our offices around the globe. This week, we are excited to bring you an interview with Aviva LeShaw, a Marketing Intern in the Humanities Department of our New York office. What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? Before I speak to anyone or do anything, I have a big cup of coffee. Strong. With half & half.

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Illuminating Shakespeare

Supernatural Shakespeare

How do you make fairytales into realism? Everyone agrees that doing this work means supplying them with material forms. This is not, however, a novelist’s novelty. Shakespeare’s fairies are small plant flowers and seeds, and his monster knows how to dig pignuts.

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Making the big decisions

This post is about how we make major life decisions, such as whether or not to start a family, whether to leave your home country and start a life elsewhere, or whether to join a revolution and fight for a cause.

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The Paradoxical Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali’s funeral and memorial service brought together a seemingly incongruous cast of characters, once again spotlighting the many contradictions that have made it so difficult for commentators and biographers to extract a realistic assessment of his life. Even with a staggering amount written about him, Ali leaves behind a contested image largely characterized by misinterpretation.

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Romance's Rival

What makes Mr. Darcy desirable?

Here’s my simple question: when did we come to believe that Darcy was sexy? The popular image of Jane Austen’s Fitzwilliam Darcy today is Colin Firth, with his wet clinging shirt, later immortalized by a giant statue. In 1940 we had Laurence Olivier, with his dapper coat, gleaming eyes, and smoldering charm.

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How well do you know Bertrand Russell? [quiz]

This June, the OUP Philosophy team honors Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872 – February 2, 1970) as their Philosopher of the Month. Considered among the most distinguished philosophers of the 20th century, Russell’s style, wit, and contributions to a wide range of philosophical fields made him an influential figure in both academic and popular philosophy.

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Books are for everyone at this outdoor reading room

The first thing you need to know about the Bryant Park Reading Room is that it isn’t a room. Located behind the New York Public Library in Manhattan, this open-air Reading Room sits under a leafy canopy of plane trees at the 42nd Street entrance to Bryant Park.

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Songs of exile: a playlist for Psalm 137

Psalm 137 begins with one of the more lyrical lines in the Hebrew Bible: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” It ends eight lines later with one of the thorniest: “Happy shall he be, who taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” Partly because it deals with music—another famous verse asks, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”—the psalm has been like poetic catnip, a siren song luring musicians and composers.

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History, philosophy, and political hope

Politics in general is all about how to develop, sustain, and revise institutions, practices, and policies that bind individuals together productively and that point toward more fulfilling individual and joint futures for them. Debates about how best to do this are natural. Should the US become yet more aggressively libertarian-individualist, or should a substantial social compact that enforces terms of fair cooperation via significant redistributions be instituted?

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Uber in Europe: back to the future

Where will Uber stop? After the news that the Saudi’s have decided to invest $3.5bn in the company, came details of a further $2bn Uber wants to raise from financial markets using tecniques never deployed before by a start-up.

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Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics

The Broadway song that nominated a president

The astounding success of Hamilton, its capacity to engage audiences from third graders to the president and first lady, reminds us that Broadway musicals have a healthy tradition of mining political history. From 1776 to Evita, songwriters have been fascinated by political power. What drives people to become leaders? How do they rally supporters around them? What reservations do they have about their failures and successes?

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10 facts about the maracas

The simple design and intuitive process of the maracas have made it a familiar favorite around the world, but may often lead to an underestimation of its value in creating variety of rhythmic expression.

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The value of humanism

World Humanist Day is celebrated on 21 June, providing an opportunity for humanists and humanist organizations to promote the positive principles of Humanism. Celebration of the day began in the 1980s and support for it has grown ever since. This post explores some of the values of Humanism, specifically truth and realism.

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Blessings of Business

7 things you may not know about conservative Christian businesses

Corporations became places for evangelical activity and expression and businessmen—sometimes working individually, sometimes collaboratively—shaped what we think of today as conservative “Christian” culture and politics. Here are 7 facts you may not know about the culture and history of Christian business.

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