The Head of a Dog or Horn of a Rhino: Meaning, Milton, and Me

[H]e reproaches me with want of beauty and loss of sight: “A monster huge and hideous, void of sight.” … [B]ut he immediately corrects himself, and says, “though not indeed huge, for there cannot be a more spare, shrivelled and bloodless form.” It is of no moment to say any thing of personal appearance, yet…

Life, Death and Grief in the Garden: Some Literary Roots

Avril Tynan // In Plant Dreaming Deep, May Sarton’s journal of her life in rural New Hampshire, the author describes her decision to buy a house in the USA following the deaths of her parents. The home(s) she once knew in Europe—in England, France, Belgium and Switzerland—no longer felt like home and, in the marriage…

How to Talk to a Doctor (as a woman)

Tianyuan Huang // Reviewing recommendations on how to see a doctor from a women’s health journal in 1911, this essay explores physician-patient communication and what the distribution of responsibilities and powers tells us about a health culture in its fast evolving historical context.

Health on the (newspaper) margins

Madeleine Mant and Johanna Cole // The recent conservation and digitization of prison admission records from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP) and its predecessor, the courthouse jail, have made available a rich dataset for historical, sociological, and anthropological research regarding crime and punishment in the long 19th century in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Our research…

Gay Men and Lesbians, Alcohol Addiction, and the 1970s

John A. Carranza // In 2018, I wrote a piece on Oliver Sipple, the gay man who foiled an assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford. In the aftermath of that attempt, Sipple’s life, including his sexuality, became public. In the years since he stopped the assassination his drinking had increased, which exacerbated some of the…

The Road Not Taken: Thinking Beyond Vaccines

Tianyuan Huang// Truth be told, I did not see this coming. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would have been conducting dissertation research in Tokyo for nearly half a year by now; but I am still in New York City awaiting the lifting of travel bans, having already rescheduled flight tickets for the third…

Seasonal Time, Variant Time: Pandemic Futurity

Julia Dauer // Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have speculated about whether cases will ebb and flow in seasonal patterns.  Just this week, NPR released a podcast episode about the anticipated intersections of flu and COVID-19 in the U.S. this winter.  The episode encapsulates the collision between two conflicting ways of conceptualizing illness: seasonal time…

His Wife (No. 8847)

Jonathan Chou // His Wife (No. 8847) History from wife. The water came in through painted rain pipes. It was not paint but a daub of lard on his wife’s dress. She didn’t remove it after all.1 Things didn’t go smoothly. Furniture had to be wiped off. Elix. Iron Phos. Quin. & Strych. Smash the…