I’m amputating you

It was when she joined the Mexican Communist Party in 1927 that Frida Kahlo first met Diego Rivera, a fellow artist 21 years Kahlo’s senior who soon became her mentor and husband. Kahlo’s life up until then had been a struggle due to polio as a child and a serious traffic accident as a young

Do not remain nameless to yourself

In 1966, nine years after gaining his Ph.D. with a dissertation titled The Self-Energy of the Scalar Nucleon, physicist Koichi Mano wrote a congratulatory letter to Richard Feynman, the man who had originally taught him at the California Institute of Technology and, more recently, joint-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work

Make your soul grow

In 2006, a group of students at Xavier High School in New York City were given an assignment by their English teacher, Ms. Lockwood, that was to test their persuasive writing skills: they were asked to write to their favourite author and ask him or her to visit the school. It’s a measure of his

Arkell v. Pressdram

“Messrs Jeffrey Benson and Michael Isaacs of Tracing Services Ltd, currently on bail on charges of conspiracy to create a public mischief, appear to have lost most of the work collecting debts and tracing absconders for the Granada group, to the considerable regret of Mr James Arkell, Granada’s retail credit manager. Ever since last June,

This, sir, is my resignation

On December 5th of 1921, future-Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner landed a job as a University of Mississippi postmaster. Despite numerous reports of his writing novels on the job, losing and occasionally throwing away mail, ignoring colleagues and customers, playing bridge during opening hours, and regularly turning up late only to leave early, Faulkner somehow

Why Explore Space?

In 1970, a Zambia-based nun named Sister Mary Jucunda wrote to Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, then-associate director of science at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in response to his ongoing research into a piloted mission to Mars. Specifically, she asked how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on such a project at a time when so many children were starving on

I have no ancestors of that gifted people

In 1938, some months after the initial publication of The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien and his British publisher, Stanley Unwin, opened talks with Rütten & Loening, a Berlin-based publishing house who were keen to translate the novel for the German market. All was going well until, in July, they wrote to Tolkien and asked for proof of

To My Old Master

In 1864, after 32 long years in the service of his master, Jourdon Anderson and his wife, Amanda, escaped a life of slavery when Union Army soldiers freed them from the plantation on which they had been working so tirelessly. They grasped the opportunity with vigour, quickly moved to Ohio where Jourdon could find paid

Immortal Beloved

After his death in 1827, the following love letter was found amongst the personal papers of Ludwig van Beethoven, penned by the composer over the course of two days in July of 1812 while staying in Teplice. The letter’s unnamed recipient — Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved” — remains a mystery, and continues to generate debate. Below are images of the

The most beautiful death

Brave New World novelist Aldous Huxley was diagnosed with cancer in 1960, at which point his health slowly began to deteriorate. On his deathbed in November of 1963, just as he was passing away, Aldous — a man who for many years had been fascinated with the effects of psychedelic drugs since being introduced to mescaline