Altered States: Sex, Drugs, and Transcendence in the Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library at Harvard’s Houghton Library explores the human desire to escape the ordinary.
For viewers accustomed to looking at paintings on canvas and panel, manuscripts are a different beast.
Today, as the art of handwritten notes gradually fades, one common way to court someone is to slide into his or her DMs.
Considered the “people’s literature” in the 17th century, broadside ballads were sold for a penny or halfpenny, their pairing of a comic or satiric song alongside a woodblock illustration making them popular bawdy amusement across classes.
When Milton was writing Paradise Lost in the 17th century, a comet grazed through the sky, inspiring the English poet to describe how Satan “stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn’d.”
The story of how a boy from Providence, Rhode Island, became “the most wonderful tattooed man ever known in the civilized world” involves menacing sailors and voyages across the sea, and was recently digitized so that we can all read this tale of the 19th century.