How an 18th-century bachelor enlisted Rousseau’s teachings in Frankensteining his better-ever half.
“What Winston Churchill once said of architecture — “First we shape our buildings, and then they shape us” — might also be said of cooking. First we cooked our food, and then our food cooked us.”
Essential reading: Michael Pollan on reclaiming cooking as social glue and anti-corporate activism
“Mouse dung, applied as a liniment, was a favorite anti-aphrodisiac. So was rue boiled with rose oil and aloes. Drinking wine in which a mullet fish had drowned and sipping male urine in which a lizard had expired both had their loyal adherents.”
Fascinating excerpt on ancient aphrodisiacs and anti-aphrodisiacs
“Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain.”
Frida Kahlo’s passionate handwritten love letters to Diego Rivera:
“… unrefined, menacing to some, and occasionally violent, but full of the raw energy of day-to-day human existence.”
Fascinating anatomy of European street life in 1900:
Fascinating read on the difference between curiosity and wonder:
“She had little patience for studying … she passed the time in math class by writing flirtatious notes to boys.”
Anne Sexton’s report card:
“Permit two egg yolks to recline.”
A lavish 350-page vintage tome, illustrated with 19th-century engravings and original drawings by Marcel Duchamp, Robert Osborn, and Alexandre Istrati. Originally published in 1961, it features 220 recipes and 30 courses by 55 painters, 61 novelists, 15 sculptors, and 19 poets, including such luminaries as Man Ray, John Keats, Marcel Duchamp, Lawrence Durrell, Robert Graves, Harper Lee, Irving Stone, William Styron, and Georges Simenon.
Long before the age of data and hacking and involuntary transparency, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Willa Cather was a fierce custodian of her own privacy. Despite being a prolific letter-writer, she burned much of her correspondence and, in a will written during the final and rather dark years of her life, forbad the posthumous publication of the remainder. Now, more than sixty-five years after her death, her correspondence is at last revealed – including the only surviving letter to her partner, Edith Lewis:
“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.”
Jackson Pollock, in a rare interview shortly before his death, on art and morality:
T. S. Eliot’s whimsical vintage verses, on which the famed Broadway musical Cats was based, illustrated and signed by the great Edward Gorey
“The germ of a story is a new and simple element introduced into an existing situation or mood.”
The great Malcolm Cowley on the four stages of writing:
“Abraham Maslow … once asked himself in his journal how he would define the [humanistic psychology] movement in one sentence. … It is, he wrote, ‘a move away from knowledge of things and lifeless objects as basis for all philosophy, economics, science, politics, etc. (because this has failed to help with the basic human problem) toward a centering upon human needs & fulfillment & aspirations as the fundamental basis from which to derive all social institutions, philosophy, ethics, etc. I might use also for more sophisticated & hep people that it is a resacralizing of science, society, the person, etc.”
How Abraham Maslow and his humanistic psychology shaped the modern self.
“He might ask you … whether you think a computer could ever enjoy strawberries and cream or could make you fall in love with it.”
An uncommon portrait of Alan Turing, godfather of modern computing.
“Our overblown intellectual faculties seem to be telling us both that we are eternal and that we are not.”
Fascinating read on the mortality paradox