Who was Saint Valentine? And why was he beheaded?

Valentine's Day has a surprisingly raunchy history, going back thousands of years.

The supposed skull of St. Valentine as displayed in Rome. Credit: Wikipedia.

Valentine’s Day is named after St. Valentine, who has become known as the patron saint of lovers. He was a rather mercurial figure about whom little is known.

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What's More Violent: Shakespeare or 'Game of Thrones'?

The stories in Shakespeare's plays and 'Game of Thrones' are often bloody, but which are ultimately more violent?

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Plato Would Have Laughed at Our Era's Faith In Rationalism

How did our world come to be ruled by a view of human nature that contradicts the testimony of much of history, and the bulk of the arts, and your daily experience? Mathoholics are to blame. 

Illustration by Julia Suits, The New Yorker cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions

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We didn’t mind Maureen Dowd’s dismantling of (whatever remains of) the mythologizing of Dylan as a hero for/of protest. There was a moment in time when Dylan was hero for protest, but that time has passed mantle to a new moment, one with more lasting power: the one when he’s a hero for poetry. The Times They Are a-Changin once possessed potential to effect change, but as Dylan the Anarchist slips from (most of) our minds, Dylan the Poet remains. Brilliant critics attest, as do brilliant books; still, this latest Dylan “moment” provides a chance for one glimpse at one song. If it weren’t introduced to the world set to music, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue would certainly qualify as a fine poem.

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This is Your Brain on Shakespeare

Why do Shakespeare's plays have such a dramatic impact on readers and audiences? Philip Davis shows how Shakespeare's use of language creates heightened brain activity, or what he calls "a theater of the brain."

The theatre of the brain

Shakespeare's literary career, which spanned a quarter century roughly between the years 1587 and 1612, came at a time when the English language was at a powerful stage of development. The great fluidity of Early Modern English gave Shakespeare an enormous amount of room to innovate. 

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