Poetry in trees, the cult stardom of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, WIFI free zones – we’re covering it all in our favorite humanities finds of the week.
Leah Nahmias, director of programs and community engagement:
- Every day, English professor Sylvia Baer hangs poems from the branches of a cherry tree in her front yard; the public are invited to take one, read it and share it with someone they love. Her inspiration? She feels there’s too much sadness in the world and poetry can remind us how alike we are, spreading joy, comfort and whimsy.
- I’m new to the delights of Public Domain Review, which features fascinating historic documents and illustrations in the public domain. The Huexotzinco Codex of 1531, made on amatl (a pre-European paper from Mesoamerica) is part of the testimony made by Nahua Indians in Mexico against the Spanish colonial government. It has wonderful illustrations and offers a native voice to a period where they’re often missing from the written record.
- Have archaeologists uncovered evidence to verify claims made by Plato and other writers in antiquity that the ancient Greeks practiced human sacrifice? Possibly! I love these stories of times when the humanities—we with our written words—run up against material evidence and new scholarship unfolds.
Mattie, administrative intern:
- If you’ve ever found yourself searching for a particularly musically-inclined library, look no further than the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library in Topeka, Kansas. The team put together a great Taylor Swift parody video for National Library Week last year titled “Check it Out.”
Bronwen, executive assistant and program associate:
- The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington is “shipping” a couple of literary greats in a new exhibition, and I’m HIGHLY amused. Will & Jane: Shakespeare, Austen, and the Cult of Celebrity explores the pop stardom of both Jane Austen and William Shakespeare and showcases a variety of artifacts from the authors’ long tenure as fan favorites. From bobbleheads to band-aids, fans of both the Bard and Austen can see similarities in the ways popular culture has idolized the two literary icons. And I will add, that “The Shirt” worn by none other than Colin Firth (aka Mr. Darcy) will be in the house, people.
- Here’s a little inspiration for you to pick up a book this weekend! This New York Times article is about a study that reportedly shows that people who read for half an hour a day or more tend to live longer. I’d better start working my way through that stack of books on my nightstand…
Claire, communications intern:
- I know I’m guilty of reading book reviews online while shopping for my next read. These London book shops are preserving the experience of shopping for a good book by breaking trends and creating “WIFI free zones.” Check out the story!
Kristen Fuhs Wells, director of communications and development:
- Are you compassionate and curious? Do you appreciate the value of stories and how they contribute to our understanding of “home” and community”? If you answered “yes” to all of the above then you might make a great volunteer for a partnership to collect stories about home for a Spirit & Place Festival project. Learn more about how you contribute.
- Our friends at the National Endowment for the Humanities just announced a new grant program to fund 28 colleges and universities (none in Indiana, but several neighboring states) in an effort to better connect PhD students with resources to work in the “real world.” If you’re interested in a humanities degree, but don’t want to be in the academy, you might want to take a look at this.
Keira Amstutz, president and CEO:
- Our colleagues at Maine Humanities posted this spectacular collection of beautiful libraries from all 50 states. The newly renovated Hesberg Library at Notre Dame is noted as a must see in Indiana.
- The New York Public Library recently launched an app called SimplyE. It features 300,000 books that you can download – all you need to access it is your library card. There’s a similar opportunity for e-access in our state! Make sure to check out the Indianapolis-Marion County Public library’s amazing collection of books available electronically.
Jacqueline Cromleigh, communications and community relations manager:
- As you may have detected in previous Friday Faves, I have an obsession with the written word. Letter writing is an intimate and soulful experience, and I’m glad to see that the Smithsonian Archives of American Art is capturing this lost art in its latest book, Putting Pen to Paper: Artists Handwritten Letters.
Do you have any humanities highlights from your week? We would love to hear from you in the comment section below.