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Lofty Only in Sound: Crossed Wires and Community in 19th-Century Dreams Apr 5, 2017 Poems & Science & History Alicia Puglionesi explores a curious case of supposed dream telepathy at the end of the US Civil War, in which old ideas about the prophetic nature of dreaming collided with loss, longing, and new possibilities of communication at a distance. On Oscar Wilde and Plagiarism Jan 13, 2016 Books & Poems & Art Celebrated for his innovative wit, Oscar Wilde and the notion of originality are common bedfellows. The pairing, however, is not without its complications. Joseph Bristow and Rebecca N. Mitchell explore the claims of plagiarism that dogged Wilde’s career, particularly as regards his relationship with that other great figure of late-19th-century Decadence, the American painter James McNeill Whistler. Sex and Science in Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora Mar 11, 2015 Books & Poems & Painting & Science & Art Bridal beds, blushing captives, and swollen trunks – Carl Linnaeus’ taxonomy of plants heralded a whole new era in 18th-century Europe of plants being spoken of in sexualised terms. Martin Kemp explores* how this association between the floral and erotic reached its visual zenith in Robert Thornton’s exquisitely illustrated Temple of Flora. Wild Heart Turning White: Georg Trakl and Cocaine Oct 29, 2014 Poems To mark the 100th anniversary of the death by cocaine overdose of Austrian lyric poet Georg Trakl, Richard Millington explores the role the drug played in Trakl’s life and works. Ghostwriter and Ghost: The Strange Case of Pearl Curran & Patience Worth Sep 17, 2014 Books & Poems & Literature & Religion In early 20th-century St. Louis, Pearl Curran claimed to have conjured a long-dead New England puritan named Patience Worth through a Ouija board. Although mostly unknown today, the resulting books, poems, and plays that Worth “dictated” to Curran earned great praise at the time. Ed Simon investigates the curious and nearly forgotten literary fruits of a “ghost” and her ghostwriter. The Strangely Troubled Life of Digby Mackworth Dolben Nov 14, 2012 Books & Poems & Literature In 1911 the soon-to-be poet laureate Robert Bridges published the poems of Digby Mackworth Dolben, a school friend who had drowned to death at the age of 19 almost half a century earlier. Carl Miller looks at Bridges’ lengthy introduction in which he tells of the short and tragic life of the boy with whom fellow poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was reportedly besotted. The Krakatoa Sunsets May 28, 2012 Poems & Literature & Science & Art & History When a volcano erupted on a small island in Indonesia in 1883, the evening skies of the world glowed for months with strange colours. Richard Hamblyn explores a little-known series of letters that the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins sent in to the journal Nature describing the phenomenon – letters that would constitute the majority of the small handful of writings published while he was alive. Phillis Wheatley: an Eighteenth-Century Genius in Bondage Feb 6, 2012 Poems & Literature & History Transported as a slave from West Africa to America when just a child, Phillis Wheatley published in 1773 at the age of twenty her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Vincent Carretta takes a look at the remarkable life of the first ever African-American woman to be published. An Unlikely Lunch: When Maupassant met Swinburne Jan 24, 2012 Poems & Literature & History Julian Barnes on when a young Guy de Maupassant was invited to lunch at the holiday cottage of Algernon Swinburne. A flayed human hand, pornography, the serving of monkey meat, and inordinate amounts of alcohol, all made for a truly strange Anglo-French encounter. Robert Southey’s Dreams Revisited Dec 5, 2011 Poems & Literature As well as being poet laureate for 30 years and a prolific writer of letters, Robert Southey was an avid recorder of his dreams. W.A. Speck, author of Robert Southey: Entire Man of Letters, explores the poet’s dream diary and the importance of dreams in his work. Lewis Carroll and The Hunting of the Snark Feb 22, 2011 Books & Poems & Literature & Art In 1876 Lewis Carroll published by far his longest poem – a fantastical epic tale recounting the adventures of a bizarre troupe of nine tradesmen and a beaver. Carrollian scholar, Edward Wakeling, introduces The Hunting of the Snark. Christopher Smart’s Jubilate Agno Jan 31, 2011 Poems & Literature & Religion The poet Christopher Smart — also known as “Kit Smart”, “Kitty Smart”, “Jack Smart” and, on occasion, “Mrs Mary Midnight” — was a well known figure in 18th-century London. Nowadays he is perhaps best known for considering his cat Jeoffry. Writer and broadcaster Frank Key looks at Smart’s weird and wonderful Jubilate Agno.