You don’t need to follow the news too closely to know that 2015 has been a roller coaster of a year. Last week we announced our longlist for Place of the Year 2015, but since then some of you have been asking, “why is x included?”, or “why is y worth our attention?”
We live in a globalized world, but mobility is nothing new. Set on a huge continental stage, By Steppe, Desert and Ocean tells the story how human society evolved across the Eurasian continent from Europe to China.
William Shakespeare was undoubtedly a literary mastermind, yet several allusions and quotations in his works suggest that he gathered ideas from other texts. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, for example, was alluded to more than any other classical text, and the Bishop’s and Geneva Bibles were quoted numerous times in his works. Shakespeare’s reliance on source material from external literature was a common practice of the time period.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are considered kindred religions–holding ancestral heritages and monotheistic belief in common–but there are definitive distinctions between these “Abrahamic” peoples. The early exchanges of Jews, Christians, and Muslims were dominated by debates over the meanings of certain stories sacred to all three groups.
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.
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.
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.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a children’s story that has captivated the world since its publication in the 1860s. The book is celebrated each year on 4th July, which is also known as “Alice’s Day”, because this is the date that Charles Dodgson (known under the pen name of Lewis Carroll) took 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating trip in Oxford, and told the story that later evolved into the book that is much-loved across the world.
Congratulations to City University’s Charlotte Bellamy and Raphael Gray, who gave an exceptionally polished and professional performance and won the Oxford University Press (OUP) and BPP National Mooting Competition 2014-2015 on 25 June 2015. His Honour Judge Charles Gratwicke of Chelmsford Crown Court presided over the final and praised the hard work and depth of knowledge the students demonstrated. Indeed, it was the the closest final in years.
Venetian courtesan Veronica Franco (1546-1591) describes the perils of her profession in one of her Familiar Letters, which she published in 1580: “To give oneself as prey to so many men, with the risk of being stripped, robbed or killed, that in one single day everything you have acquired over so much time may be taken from you, with so many other perils of injuries and horrible contagious diseases; to drink with another’s mouth, sleep with another’s eyes, move according to another’s desires, always running the clear risk of shipwreck of one’s faculties and life, what could be a greater misery?”
Green fluorescent proteins, or GFPs for short, are visibly advancing research in biology and medicine. By using GFPs to illuminate proteins otherwise undetectable under the microscope, scientists have learned a great deal about processes that take place within our cells.
What would it be like driving overland from London — East of Suez and over the Khyber Pass — to India ? Day by day and mile by mile, we found out, recording our impressions and experiences of people, landscape and encounters as we drove a 107″ wheel base Land Rover from London to Jaipur.
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.
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.
Why did the US State Department sponsor international dance tours during the Cold War? An official government narrative was sanctioned and framed by the US State Department and its partner organization, the United States Information Agency (USIA—and USIS abroad). However, the tours countered that narrative.