Marcus Aurelius in Love: The Future Stoic Philosopher and Roman Emperor’s Passionate Teenage Love Letters to His Tutor

“Those who love less should be helped out and lavished with more.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love,” a trio of psychologists wrote in their wonderful inquiry into limbic revision and how love rewires the brain. But whom we love equally depends on who we are and who we want to become. Love, like time, is as much a function of us as we are a function of it. An especially striking illustration of this equivalence, both for its intensity and its unexpectedness, comes from the adolescent love letters the future … Continue reading Marcus Aurelius in Love: The Future Stoic Philosopher and Roman Emperor’s Passionate Teenage Love Letters to His Tutor

Vive la révolution!

Must radical political change generate uncontainable violence? The French Revolution is both a cautionary and inspiring tale Jeremy Popkin is William T Bryan Chair Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky. His books include A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution (2012), From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography (2015) and A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution (2020). Edited by Sam Haselby If the French Revolution of 1789 was such an important event, visitors to France’s capital city of Paris often wonder, why can’t they find any trace of the Bastille, the medieval fortress whose storming … Continue reading Vive la révolution!

Africa, in its fullness

The West focuses only on slavery, but the history of Africa is so much more than a footnote to European imperialism Toby Green teaches Lusophone African history and culture at King’s College London. His latest book, A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution (2019), was awarded the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding and will be published in paperback in January 2020. Edited by Sam Haselby To understand the complexity and significance of West African history, there is no better thing to do than to go to Freetown. Sierra Leone’s capital is sited … Continue reading Africa, in its fullness

Why George Orwell matters today and why he will continue to matter

By Suresh Menon The sale of George Orwell’s 1984 went up by 9,500 percent when Donald Trump took office. There is no figure available for India post 2014. Orwell saw the novel as a warning rather than a prophecy, but prophecies come true when warnings aren’t heeded. Who controls the present, he wrote, controls the past. Orwell is in the news again, 70 years after his death, as the man who – in the words of Christopher Hitchens – “faced the despotisms of his day with little more than a battered typewriter and a stubborn personality.” Orwell didn’t change history, … Continue reading Why George Orwell matters today and why he will continue to matter

William Gibson on writing sci-fi as the world takes a dystopian dive

By SUMIT PAUL-CHOUDHURY In the “stub” inhabited by Agency’s protagonist, Americans didn’t vote Trump into office and Brits didn’t vote for Brexit. It’s not without its troubles, though: nuclear tensions in the Middle East are threatening to set off a global conflagration Is ours the darkest timeline? William Gibson thinks it might be. Gibson’s last book, The Peripheral, introduced the “Jackpot”, a cascade of global catastrophes that wipes out much of the human race, along with an ingenious take on time travel that allows digital communication – including telepresence – across alternate timelines. Its central character, Wilf, lives in post-Jackpot London: he becomes … Continue reading William Gibson on writing sci-fi as the world takes a dystopian dive

Did Walt Disney Influence Stanley Kubrick’s 2001?

Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) offers some of the most realistic space photography in cinema history. To mention Kubrick’s manic attention to detail to every component of filmmaking is nothing new, but I’ve come across a 1955 TV program that might prove to be the most influential to the look and feel of his sci-fi stunner. It is often noted that the two films that inspired Kubrick during the preproduction of 2001 were the National Film Board of Canada’s 1960 animated documentary Universe (1960) and the 1964 New York World’s Fair movie To the Moon and Beyond. Douglas Trumbull was … Continue reading Did Walt Disney Influence Stanley Kubrick’s 2001?

Riot acts

History shows that tumult is a companion to democracy and when ordinary politics fails, the people must take to the streets Antonia Malchik writes essays and articles on science, travel and other topics for a variety of publications. Her first book is A Walking Life (2019). She lives in northwest Montana. Edited by Pam Weintraub One evening in 1992, my parents, younger sister and I sat on the fold-out futon on the living room floor, petting our cats and watching fires consume buildings in Los Angeles. The images that spilled from the screen are only vague memories now: a dark night, broken windows, … Continue reading Riot acts