no
Arts & Humanities Archives | OUPblog

Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Arts & Humanities

OWC Reading Group

Before Bram: a timeline of vampire literature

There were many books on vampires before Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Early anthropologists wrote accounts of the folkloric vampire — a stumbling, bloated peasant, never venturing far from home, and easily neutralized with a sexton’s spade and a box of matches. The literary vampire became a highly mobile, svelte aristocratic rake with the appearance of the short tale The Vampyre in 1819.

Read More
Grove-Art-logo

Who was Leonardo da Vinci? [quiz]

On 15 April, nations around the globe will be celebrating World Art Day, which is also Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday. A creative mastermind and one of the top pioneers of the Italian Renaissance period, his artistic visions fused science and nature producing most notably the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

Read More
OBO Oxford Bibliographies NEW 2012

Boko Haram and religious exclusivism

How do violent Muslim groups justify, at least to themselves, their violence against fellow Muslims? One answer comes from Nigeria’s Boko Haram, which targets the state as well as both Muslim and Christian civilians. Boko Haram is infamous for holding two ideological stances: rejection of secular government and opposition to Western-style education.

Read More
9780199988419

The top sci five classical receptions on screen

Recently, a number of prominent publications have featured a growing body of work on classical receptions in science fiction and fantasy, including Mélanie Bost-Fiévet’s and Sandra Provini’s collection L’Antiquité dans l’imaginaire contemporain (Garniers Classiques 2014), a special issue of the journal Foundation on “Fantastika and the Greek and Roman Worlds” (Autumn 2014), and our own collection, Classical Traditions in Science Fiction (OUP 2015). This focus on science fiction, now an important part of popular culture, reveals much about how ancient classics are being received by modern audiences, particularly when it comes to the silver screen.

Read More
9780190211561

“Under the influence of rock’n’roll”

Rock’n’Roll music has defied its critics. When it debuted in the 1950s, many adults ridiculed the phenomenon. Elvis, Chuck Berry, and their peers would soon be forgotten, another passing fancy in the cavalcade of youth-induced fads. The brash conceit, “Rock’n’roll is here to stay,” however, proved astute. Why were American adults and, for that matter, their Soviet counterparts frightened of rock’n’roll?

Read More
9781561592630 oxford grove music online logo

Iconic trumpet players who defined jazz history

Since emerging at the beginning of the 20th century, jazz music has been a staple in American culture. Historians are not clear on when exactly jazz was born or who first started playing it, but it can be agreed upon that New Orleans, Louisiana is the First City of Jazz.

Read More
9780198703297

Who was the first great Shakespearean actress?

The first female Juliet appears to have been Mary Saunderson, to Henry Harris’s Romeo in 1662 when her future husband, Thomas Betterton, played Mercutio. Later she acted admirably as Ophelia and Lady Macbeth but nothing I have read characterizes her as great. Elizabeth Barry (c.1658–1713) succeeded her as Betterton’s leading lady, excelling in pathetic roles and achieving her greatest successes in the heroic tragedies of her own time.

Read More
Pelczar - Sensorama

The world as hypertext

We all have experiences as of physical things, and it is possible to interpret these experiences as perceptions of objects and events belonging to a single universe. In Leibniz’s famous image, our experiences are like a collection of different perspective drawings of the same landscape. They are, as we might say, worldlike. Ordinarily, we refer the worldlike quality of our experiences to the fact that we all inhabit the same world, encounter objects in a common space, and witness events in a common time.

Read More
9780190202361

Animal Mother, Mother of Animals, Guardian of the Road to the Land of the Dead

We were working in Baga Oigor II when I heard my husband yelling from above, “Esther, get up here, fast!” Thinking he had seen some wild animal on a high ridge, I scrambled up the slope. There, at the back of a protected terrace marked by old stone mounds was a huge boulder covered with hundreds of images. Within that maze of elements I could distinguish a hunting scene and several square patterns suggesting the outlines of dwellings.

Read More
9780198700852_450

Whig literary culture and the canon: the legacy of the Tonsons

Jacob Tonson the elder (1656-1736) was, as has long been recognized, one of the most influential and pioneering booksellers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and, as such, is the subject of four major biographies of the past hundred years. The leading publisher of his day, Tonson published writers such as Joseph Addison, Aphra Behn, William Congreve, John Dryden, Laurence Echard, John Gay, John Oldmixon, Alexander Pope, Matthew Prior, Nicholas Rowe, Richard Steele, George Stepney, and John Vanbrugh.

Read More

Anthony Trollope: not as safe as we thought he was?

Anthony Trollope. Safe, stodgy, hyper-Victorian Anthony Trollope, the comfort reading of the middle classes. As his rival and admirer Henry James said after his death ‘With Trollope we were always safe’. But was he really the most respectable of Victorian novelists?

Read More
Peter Acton

A great precedent for freelancing

In a recent survey, 87% of UK graduates with first or second class degrees saw freelancing as highly attractive. 85% believe freelancing will become the norm. In the US, as reported in Forbes in August 2013, 60% of millennials stay less than three years in a job and 45% would prefer more flexibility to more pay.

Read More
9780199399895

Nicolas Nabokov: a life in pictures

Composer, cosmopolite, cultural force, Nicolas Nabokov (1903-1978), first cousin of Vladimir Nabokov (the author of Lolita), came to prominence in Paris in the late 1920s with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. He then emigrated to America, returning to Europe in postwar Germany and subsequently as head of the Congress Cultural Freedom, for which he organized groundbreaking festivals. A tireless promoter of international cultural exchange, he was also remarkable for the range of his friendships, from Balanchine to Stravinsky and from Auden to Oppenheimer.

Read More
OUP Philosophy Creast

Can you match the quote to the philosopher? [quiz]

Philosophy is one of the oldest fields of study in the world, branching out to various areas. How well do you know the writings of the most influential philosophers? Do you know the difference between sayings from Kant, Nietzsche, and Locke? Take the quiz below to see how well read you are in philosophy.

Read More
OWC Reading Group

The birth of the vampyre: Dracula and mythology in Early Modern Europe

Although occultists like the antiquarian Montague Summers would like to claim that the belief in vampires is global and transhistorical (and therefore probably true), the vampire is a thoroughly modern being. Like the Gothic genre itself, stories of vampires emerge in the Age of Enlightenment, as instances of primitive superstition that help define the rational scepticism of northern, Protestant Europe.

Read More
9780190230913

Religion in and beyond A Love Supreme

John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, which the famed saxophonist performed live only once, has the distinction of being one of jazz’s most widely celebrated yet imperfectly understood recordings. At its half-century, the devotional piece is seen as the culmination of Coltrane’s “dark night of the soul,” the sound of his heroic overcoming, and his personal entreaty to the divine.

Read More