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Micromégas by Voltaire (1752)

Early sci-fi short story by Voltaire recounting a visit to Earth by Micromégas, an inhabitant of a distant planet which circles the star Sirius, and his companion …more

The Athenian Oracle (1820)

A sort of 17th-century version of Quora, in which readers could ask a panel of experts any question at all, from why do horses neigh, to what death is….more

17 Numbered Lists from History

17 Numbered Lists from History (or, 17 numbered lists that will restore your faith in humanity, specifically in its ability to make numbered lists)….more

A Meditation upon a Broomstick (1711)

A classic piece of parody from the great Anglo-Irish satirist and author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift. The particular butt of Swift’s sharp pen in this ins…more

Life and Death Contrasted (ca.1770)

A striking image from the British engraver and publisher Valentine Green, illustrating the idea that life, with all its frivolity and distractions (symbolised by th…more

The Little Book of Love

A Valentine’s gift to top all Valentine’s gifts – the Petit Livre d’Amour (Little Book of Love) was an ornate bespoke book given by the 16th-century Lyon-born poe…more

George Wither’s Emblem Book (1635)

The emblem book of English poet, pamphleteer, and satirist George Wither (1588 – 1667). Wither was employed by a London publisher called Henry Taunton to write Engl…more