Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Search Term: fox

Is it a dog’s world?

By Steven Heine
Like a number of other traditional East Asian cultural phenomenon, such as kabuki, kimono, kimchee, and kung fu—just sticking to terms that start with the letter “k”—the koan as the main form of literature in Zen Buddhist monastic training has been widely disseminated and popularized in modern American society.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

What about Henry Hudson?

By Roger M. McCoy
Henry Hudson envisioned that he would be the first explorer to find the elusive western passage through North America to the Orient. He persisted in this westward looking vision although his financier, the Dutch East India Company, insisted that he search eastward through the ice-bound sea north of Russia. Hudson had previously tried this northeastern route as well as a northerly route directly over the North Pole. Both had failed due to impassable ice.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The trouble with Libor

By Richard S. Grossman
The public has been so fatigued by the flood of appalling economic news during the past five years that it can be excused for ignoring a scandal involving an interest rate that most people have never heard of. In fact, the Libor scandal is potentially a bigger threat to capitalism than the stories that have dominated the financial headlines.

Read More

Alphabet soup, part 1: V and Z

By Anatoly Liberman
It is common knowledge that an average page of an English dictionary contains at least twice as many borrowed as native words, even though come, go, see, sit, stand, do, make, man, woman, in, on, and other similar heavy duty words go back to Old English.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Blaxploitation, from Shaft to Django

What do you get when you combine Hollywood, African American actors, gritty urban settings, sex, and a whole lot of action? Some would simply call it a recipe for box office success, but since the early 1970s, most people have known this filmmaking formula by the name “Blaxploitation.” Blaxploitation cinema occupies a fascinating place in the landscape of American pop culture.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Henry Moseley and a tale of seven elements

By Eric Scerri
This year marks the 100th anniversary of a remarkable discovery by an equally remarkable scientist. He is Henry Moseley, whose working career lasted a mere four years before he was killed in World War I shortly before his 26th birthday. Born in 1887 in England, Moseley came from a distinguished scientific family. 

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Female characters in the Narnia series

What can the reader expect of the Chronicles of Narnia series to reveal about Christianity? According to Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Narnia series serves as a refreshing take on what it means to experience the divine in daily life. Christianity is portrayed in a more humanizing light through C.S. Lewis’s imaginative interpretation of Christian doctrine. In the following excerpt from The Lion’s World: A Journey into the Heart of Narnia, Williams examines the portrayal of female characters in the Narnia series.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The Academy Awards (as seen from the other Academy)

By Lucy Fischer
During my childhood, there were only two “award” shows that I watched religiously. One was the Miss America Pageant (I am, after all, “of a certain age”) and the other was the Oscars. I abandoned the former long before its demise (as a card-carrying feminist) but the latter has remained on my viewing schedule.  In fact, it is often one of the few programs I still watch “live” given that my TV viewing is entirely DVR-dependent.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The bombing of Monte Cassino

On the 15th of February 1944, Allied planes bombed the abbey at Monte Cassino as part of an extended campaign against the Axis. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. Over four months, the Battle of Monte Cassino would inflict some 200,000 causalities and rank as one of the most horrific battles of World War II. This excerpt from Peter Caddick-Adams’s Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell, recounts the bombing.

Read More

‘Guests’ and ‘hosts’

By Anatoly Liberman
The questions people ask about word origins usually concern slang, family names, and idioms. I cannot remember being ever asked about the etymology of house, fox, or sun. These are such common words that we take them for granted, and yet their history is often complicated and instructive. In this blog, I usually stay away from them, but I sometimes let my Indo-European sympathies run away with me. Today’s subject is of this type.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

The dog: How did it become man’s best friend?

The 11th February marks the opening of Westminster Kennel Club’s 137th Annual All Breed Dog Show. First held in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second-longest continuously held sporting event, behind only the Kentucky Derby. The Westminster Dog Show epitomizes our long-standing tradition of domestication of dogs, but how did we arrive at such a moment in human and dog relations? The Encyclopedia of Mammals, edited by David MacDonald, offers some explanation as to how this species went from being wild prey-hunters to “best in show”, and from defending territories to defending last year’s titles.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

Growing up going to bed with The Tonight Show

By Krin Gabbard
If you remember a time when there was no Tonight Show, then you probably remember a time when there was no American television industry. In 1954, NBC took Steve Allen’s local New York TV show, broadcast it nationally five days a week, and called it Tonight. The show did not become an institution until Johnny Carson became its host exactly fifty years ago in October 2012.

Read More
Book thumbnail image

A fresh look at the work of Robert Burns

By Robert P. Irvine
As we sit down to enjoy our Burns Suppers on Friday, it is worth pausing to ask ourselves just how well we know some of the songs and poems that are a feature of the occasion. Editing and presenting a selection of his texts in the order in which they were published, taking as my copy-text the version of the poem or song published on that occasion, has given me many new insights into the original contexts of Burns’s work.

Read More