Given the evolutionary origin of religion among humans, it is no surprise that symbolism would also be attributed to sweet foods. Across many cultures, sweetness prevails as a positive symbol, representing joyous occasions and victories. In recognition of these sweet symbols, we’ve compiled our favorites from The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets into a gallery we hope you’ll enjoy perusing as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Myths have been applied to the arts and sciences for thousands of years and been used in seminal works by prominent figures such as Sigmund Freud, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Roland Barthes. How much do you know about the history of myth? Test your knowledge in the following quiz, based on Robert Segal’s Myth: A Very Short Introduction.
Much mystery surrounds Elizabeth I, the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. It’s said that the beloved Queen, for centuries immortalized in private letters and state papers, portraits and poetry, remains more myth than memory in the canon of British history. How, then, can we begin to uncover the personal and political dimensions that made up Elizabeth’s life? And what is it like—as writers, students, and scholars of history—to attempt to understand a legend of the royal kind?
Our Oxford World’s Classics reading group, in its third season, has chosen Dickens’s Great Expectations for discussion. In addition to analyzing that a work for its literary depth, it is just as important to consider an author’s life and the context in which the work was written.
On 6 August 2015, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) will be turning 50 years old. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson approved this groundbreaking legislation to eliminate discriminatory barriers to voting. The Civil Rights Movement played a notable role in pushing the VRA to become law. In honor of the law’s birthday, Oxford University Press has put together a quiz to test how much you know about its background, including a major factor in its success, Section 5.
In the late eighteenth century, against a troubled background of violent change on the continent and rising challenges to the Establishment at home, botanists were discovering strange creatures that defied the categories of ‘animal, vegetable, and mineral’.
Which Nordic state had sovereignty over Iceland until 1918? Which state was allowed to discriminate against a transgender woman by annulling her marriage? Who disputed ownership of Eastern Greenland before the Permanent Court of International Justice? In preparation for the European Society of International Law’s 11th annual conference, this year held in Oslo, test your knowledge of Nordic countries in international law with our quiz.
Is the “sweet tooth” real? The answer may surprise you. Humans vary in their preference towards sweet things; some of us dislike them while others may as well be addicted. But for those of us who have a tendency towards sweetness, why do we like what we like? We are hardly limited by type; our preference spans across both food and drinks, including candy, desserts, fruits, sodas, and even alcoholic beverages.
NASA’s New Horizons probe swept past Pluto and its moons at 17 km per second on 14 July. Even from the few close up images yet beamed back we can say that Pluto’s landscape is amazing. Charon, Pluto’s largest moon, is quite a sight too, and I’m glad that I delayed publication of my forthcoming Very Short Introduction to Moons so that I could include it.
The idea of social networks is not new, nor is their range of importance: from shared intimacy, to commercial nicety, to revolutionary provocation. At no time do we see more of their range and variety and importance than in the letters of Colonial and Revolutionary America. Letters connected families and friends, facilitated commerce and legal disputes, and turned all of these into a porridge of political transformation. Not only can we read history as part of everyday life, we can see it expressed in language of considerable beauty, grace and virtue.
In the current geopolitical context, the International Criminal Court has managed to stand its ground as a well-accepted international organization. Since its creation in 1998, the ICC has seen four countries refer situations on their own territory and adopted the Rome Statute which solidified the Court’s role in international criminal law. Is the ICC sufficiently funded, how is the money spent, and what does this look like when compared to other international organisations?
This July, we’re featuring Jacques Derrida as our Philosopher of the Month. Derrida was a French philosopher known for his work on deconstruction and postmodern philosophy and literature. A controversial figure, he received criticism from many analytic philosophers. Derrida passed way in 2004, but his works has had a lasting impact on philosophers and literary theorists today. Take our quiz to see how well you know the life and studies of Derrida.
The creation of the OUPblog in 2005 marked our first foray into the world of social media. A decade later, more than 8,000 articles have been published and we’ve evolved into one of the most widely-read academic blogs today, offering daily commentary from authors, staff, and friends of Oxford University Press on everything from data privacy to the science of love. While eagerly anticipating our next chapter, we would be remiss in not taking a moment to reflect on our own story.
From our first tweet in 1587 to Oxford Fortune Cookie by signal flag, social media is part of the long history and tradition of Oxford University Press.
War. Of all human endeavours, perhaps none demonstrates the extremes of ingenuity and barbarity of which humanity is capable. The 21st century may be the century in which the threat of perpetual war is realised. Although many innovations have been brought about as a bi-product of the challenges war presents, the psychological and physical trauma wrought on the human body may prove too high a cost.
Sugar has had an important hand in many facets of history, not all of it fun and games (but certainly not all of it dreary, either). Did you know fudge played a huge part in American women’s college education? or that slavery in sugar plantations was rampant? We asked Darra Goldstein a number of questions on sugar and its history, unearthing the good, the bad, and everything in between.