How many different words are there for “intoxicated”? Quite a lot, as it turns out—writers have been inventing new words to describe inebriation for just about as long as they’ve been drinking. A new book exploring the history of synonyms of wasted reveals the origins of some five hundred years of poggled language....more
Posts Tagged: history
Salon has published an excerpt from Edward E. Baptist’s new book about the relationship between slavery and the development of capitalism in America. In it, he identifies the ways in which the American master narrative has written slavery out of our nation’s history and denied the system of mass murder and suffering on whose back the land of the free was conceived:
It would have to avoid the old platitudes, such as the easy temptation to tell the story as a collection of topics—here a chapter on slave resistance, there one on women and slavery, and so on.
Before he became an acclaimed novelist and political commentator, Gore Vidal was just a guy trying to make ends meet. Under three different pseudonyms, Vidal wrote a romance novel, three mysteries, and a crime thriller. Now, over 50 years later, Thieves Fall Out, a pulp novel set during the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, is being re-issued, this time with Vidal’s name on the cover....more
Before the mid-1970’s, Somalia had no written alphabet to speak of. In 1972, the Somali government introduced a standard written alphabet, and literacy rates climbed from a measly 5% to nearly 60%. Unfortunately, as an effect of the civil war, literacy rates dropped below 30% at the turn of the century....more
Writing and revising can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but imaging being unable to see the words on the page. At The Airship Daily, Tammy Ruggles writes about her life as a visually impaired writer:
Before the computer age, the visually impaired could dictate their words to be set down in print or use a stylus to write in braille and have it transcribed, but today’s accessible technology makes writing so easy that you may not realize I used a screen reader, speech recognition software and a magnification program to write this
What creates a history? Is it the stories we tell, the events we record, the texts we study, the myths that are told and retold? All of this and more, certainly. But sometimes, history resides in the omissions, in the moments we’ve forgotten, in the events we failed to record, in the documents we simply overlooked.
How should we handle digital memories? Do we keep them or erase them from our hard drives?
Facebook is emotionally manipulating you more than your mother.
You aren’t the only one concerned with Frozen’s limitless power over today’s youth....more
Before life on the iPad keypad there was life on the QWERTY computer keypad, and before that, the architecture of the typewriter. Dan Piepenbring reports on the history of the typewriter which was, ah yes, “rife with collaboration, ingenuity, betrayal, setbacks, lucre, acrimony, misguided experimentation, and bickering white men.”...more
Founded in 1986, independent publisher Soho Press has built its reputation on engaging literary novels, a catalog of international authors, and a crime fiction imprint. The press has thrived even through an era of upheaval in the publishing and book retailing industries....more
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City....more
A meteor killing off the dinosaurs was obviously a cop out because the author didn’t know where to take the story.
This was just one of several responses on Reddit’s thread “Assume all of world history is a movie. What are the biggest plot holes?” that are good for a few chuckles....more
Using a series of timelines that represent increasingly large amounts of time, this blog post puts everything in perspective. Everything.
It starts out simple—timelines of the last 24 hours, the last week, and so on—and works its way up through recorded history and human evolution from apes all the way to the existence of the universe....more
In a museum in Havana there are two skulls...more
I suffer from the primary carpet-bagging compulsion of the northern writer living in the South:...more
Here’s a letter written in 1865 by an ex-enslaved man, Jourdan Anderson, in response to his former master’s request that Jourdan return to work on his farm.
“I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars....more
Bulgarian fiction is making waves. Miroslav Penkov moved to the US for college, whereupon he became further interested in illuminating the stories of his country, which was the impetus for writing East of the West.
Stories of the homeland are essential to historical preservation, especially in contemporary Bulgaria where one in eight people live abroad....more
For all the logophiles out there—the Awl published an essay on how wartime words are integrated into our vernacular. Just as technological advances happened in the context of war, language evolved via wartime slang.
War is the context behind “trench coat” and “airminded.” A great history lesson to start your day!...more
“FoundSF is a wiki that invites history buffs, community leaders, and San Francisco citizens of all kinds to share their unique stories, images, and videos from past and present. There are over 1,800 articles here presenting primary sources, essays, and images from history....more
Just to let all discriminating book-buyers know: Rebecca Solnit’s new gorgeously-illustrated and highly-collaborative book, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas is out now at all independent bookstores....more
David Talbot, former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, came into Red Hill Books recently to drop off his latest creation, Devil Dog: The Amazing True Story Of The Man Who Saved America, one of the first installments in the Pulp History series — a series that will blow minds left and right now and in the coming months....more
“Lane’s other invention, alongside the cheap, quality paperback, was the Penguincubator, first installed outside Henderson’s (the ‘Bomb Shop’) at 66 Charing Cross Road, which signaled his intention to take the book beyond the library and the traditional bookstore, into railway stations, chain stores and onto the streets....more
A month ago, I blogged about an attempt by the Christian fundamentalist community in Texas to change the history and social sciences curricula for K-12 textbooks. There’s been a fair amount of reporting on the story since then, most recently in the NY Times, and the changes that have been pushed through so far are disturbing....more