Posted inCulture

Books from the Library of the Brothers Grimm Discovered in Poland May Provide Clues to their Method of Selecting Fairy Tales

The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are known for their fairy tales, which have entered the literary canon. However, they spent almost their entire lives developing Germanic philology. New discoveries of previously lost books from their private library may help in investigating their work. Twenty-seven books, believed to have been lost after World War II, […]

Posted inModern Era

The Story of the Cullinan, the World’s Largest Diamond, whose Discovery was Anticipated by Jules Verne in his Novel ‘The Southern Star’

Jules Verne had an extraordinary visionary ability. “From the Earth to the Moon” anticipated the arrival on our satellite, while “Robur the Conqueror” prophesied Man’s conquest of the air, and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” depicted the electric submarine, among other astonishing literary prophecies. The one narrated in L’Étoile du sud (“The Southern Star” or […]

Posted inAncient Greece, Culture

Jørgensen’s Law or Why Mortal Characters in the Homeric Poems Cannot Distinguish Which Gods Intervene in Their Lives

Anyone who hasn’t read the Odyssey and the Iliad, the two great Greek epics attributed to Homer that form the basis of Western literature, doesn’t know what they’re missing out on. And those who have read them may have missed, undoubtedly, a curious detail: despite the constant interference of the gods in the characters’ lives, […]

Posted inAncient Rome, Culture, Middle Ages

When the Codex Overtook the Scroll as the Format for Books

Recently, following the article we published about the origins of the books in the Library of Alexandria, a somewhat finicky (and indeed quite mistaken) reader confronted us on a social media platform, asserting that those were not books but rather handwritten scrolls. What he evidently didn’t know is that scrolls are simply one form of […]

Posted inCulture

5 literary works, lost in the last 5 centuries, which could have been exceptional

In many articles we have mentioned lost works of antiquity, only known today by the fragments cited by later authors. This is the case of the works of Onesycritus, Megasthenes or Euhemerus of Messina, but also some works of Aristotle, Diodorus of Sicily, Archimedes, Julius Caesar, Eratosthenes, Titus Livius, Pliny the Elder or Suetonius, among […]

Posted inMiddle Ages

Christine de Pizan, the first professional female writer in the Late Middle Ages and a forerunner of feminism

The honor of being a pioneer, of paving the way to something, is usually much disputed. Today we are going to see a female case, that of the considered first female professional writer in the western world, an honour that tradition bestows on the Venetian Christine de Pizan. Her legacy would have a considerable influence […]