Essays

Every two weeks we publish a new long-form essay which seeks to offer insight and reflection upon public domain works and the oft overlooked histories which surround them. You’ll find pieces on a wide and eclectic range of subjects – from a history of the smile in portraiture to the case of the woman who claimed to give birth to rabbits. Our contributors are drawn from an equally varied pool, from leading writers and scholars – such as Julian Barnes and Jack Zipes – to history and literature PhD students working with fascinating material and seeking an outlet for their more unusual finds. If you’d like to submit (or if you simply have an idea for a good subject) then please visit our submissions page, we’d love to hear from you.

Want the essays off the screen and onto your bookshelf? Then look no further than our “Selected Essays” series.
See here for more info.

Picturing Don Quixote

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, author of one of the best-loved and most frequently illustrated books in the history of l…more

Divine Comedy: Lucian Versus The Gods

With the twenty-six short comic dialogues that made up Dialogues of the Gods, the 2nd-century writer Lucian of Samosata took the popular images of the Greek gods an…more

Robert Greene, the First Bohemian

Known for his debauched lifestyle, his flirtations with criminality, and the sheer volume of his literary output, the Elizabethan writer Robert Greene was a fascina…more

On Oscar Wilde and Plagiarism

Celebrated for his innovative wit, Oscar Wilde and the notion of originality are common bedfellows. The pairing, however, is not without its complications. Joseph B…more

Notes on the Fourth Dimension

Hyperspace, ghosts, and colourful cubes – Jon Crabb on the work of Charles Howard Hinton and the cultural history of higher dimensions….more

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll

The author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which sees its 150th anniversary this year, remains to this day an enigmatic figure. Jenny Woolf explores the joys a…more

A Bestiary of Sir Thomas Browne

Hugh Aldersey-Williams takes a tour through Thomas Browne’s Pseudodoxia Epidemica, a work which sees one of the 17th-century’s greatest writers stylishly debunk all…more