The Vampire: A New History [EPUB]
31 October 2018, 04:59
2018 | EPUB | 26.5MB
An authoritative new history of the vampire, two hundred years after it first appeared on the literary scene
Published to mark the bicentenary of John Polidori’s publication of The Vampyre, Nick Groom’s detailed new account illuminates the complex history of the iconic creature. The vampire first came to public prominence in the early eighteenth century, when Enlightenment science collided with Eastern European folklore and apparently verified outbreaks of vampirism, capturing the attention of medical researchers, political commentators, social theorists, theologians, and philosophers. Groom accordingly traces the vampire from its role as a monster embodying humankind’s fears, to that of an unlikely hero for the marginalized and excluded in the twenty-first century.
Drawing on literary and artistic representations, as well as medical, forensic, empirical, and sociopolitical perspectives, this rich and eerie history presents the vampire as a strikingly complex being that has been used to express the traumas and contradictions of the human condition.
How History Gets Things Wrong: The Neuroscience of our Addiction to Stories [EPUB]
31 October 2018, 04:58
2018 | EPUB | 13.86MB
Why we learn the wrong things from narrative history, and how our love for stories is hard-wired.
To understand something, you need to know its history. Right? Wrong, says Alex Rosenberg in How History Gets Things Wrong. Feeling especially well-informed after reading a book of popular history on the best-seller list? Don't. Narrative history is always, always wrong. It's not just incomplete or inaccurate but deeply wrong, as wrong as Ptolemaic astronomy. We no longer believe that the earth is the center of the universe. Why do we still believe in historical narrative? Our attachment to history as a vehicle for understanding has a long Darwinian pedigree and a genetic basis. Our love of stories is hard-wired. Neuroscience reveals that human evolution shaped a tool useful for survival into a defective theory of human nature.
Stories historians tell, Rosenberg continues, are not only wrong but harmful. Israel and Palestine, for example, have dueling narratives of dispossession that prevent one side from compromising with the other. Henry Kissinger applied lessons drawn from the Congress of Vienna to American foreign policy with disastrous results. Human evolution improved primate mind reading―the ability to anticipate the behavior of others, whether predators, prey, or cooperators―to get us to the top of the African food chain. Now, however, this hard-wired capacity makes us think we can understand history―what the Kaiser was thinking in 1914, why Hitler declared war on the United States―by uncovering the narratives of what happened and why. In fact, Rosenberg argues, we will only understand history if we don't make it into a story.
Et Tu, Brute?: The Deaths of the Roman Emperors [EPUB]
31 October 2018, 04:57
2018 | EPUB | 50.26MB
A cartoonist’s wry and bloody romp through Roman history.
A work of cartoon history with a touch of Edward Gorey’s dark wit, Et Tu, Brute? is an irreverent, illustrated compendium of the deaths of all the Roman emperors, from Augustus to Romulus Augustulus. Here in all their glory are Nero (stabbing himself in the throat), Tiberius (smothered in his sleep by his successor), Caligula (killed by his own praetorian guard), Claudius (fed poisonous mushrooms by his wife), Commodus (strangled by his wrestling partner), Antoninus (died of a surfeit of cheese), and many more.