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November/December 2009

In This Issue
November/December 2009

Portrait of Emperor Kangxi in Court Dress

Imperial Scrolls of China

Monumental paintings from the Qing dynasty document the power of its emperors.

By Meredith Hindley

Volume 30, Issue 6

Detail from the Kangxi Emperor’s Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Three: Ji’nan to Mount Tai, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), 1698 Wang Hui (Chinese, 1632–1717) and assistants; Handscroll; ink and color on silk; 26 ¾ x 548 ½ in. (67.8 x 1393.8 cm).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Purchase, the Dillon Fund Gift, 1979 (1975.5a–d). Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • Features

    Charlton Heston playing Ben-Hur

    Ben-Hur: The Book that Shook the World

    The Book That Shook the World

    By Amy Lifson
    Tracing of Louisa May Alcott's hand

    Little Woman

    The devilish, dutiful daughter Louisa May Alcott.

    By John Matteson
    Fellow WPA writers in 1930s Oklahoma City: Paskavan, L’Amour, Thompson

    Soul of a Writer

    Jim Thompson found the makings of a new and gritty style working on the Oklahoma State Guide.

    By David Geffner
    Brian Balough

    The American History Guys' Backstory

    The humanities version of Car Talk.

    By Courteney Stuart
  • Departments


    Brass Hip Ornament

    Within the culture of the Benin Empire, which thrived from the fifteenth through the nineteenth century in what is now southern Nigeria, only the oba, or sacred monarch, had the authority to

    By James Williford

    Public Art in the Bronx

    Two images from Public Art in the Bronx, an NEH-supported website launched by the Lehman College Art Gallery (

    By Steve Moyer

    Snake Jug

    This nineteenth-century ceramic Snake Jug was designed by brothers Cornwall and Wallace Kirkpatrick, the founders of Anna Pottery in Anna, IL.

    By Steve Moyer

    Chaste Beowulf

    From Making Sense: Constructing Meaning in Early English, a selection of papers on Anglo-Saxon and other medieval texts edited by Antonette diPaolo Healey and Kevin Kiernan and published

    Simple Things

    Oregon Humanities magazine’s summer ’09 issue provokes much thought on the matter of things, possessions, or, as the editors call it, “stuff.” The issue is stuffed with stuff on stuff, includ

    By David Skinner

    Go West, Young Trickster

    From Coyote Country: Fictions of the Canadian West, wherein Duke research professor in Canadian studies Arnold E.

    By Steve Moyer


    The Gentleman from Iowa

    NEH Chairman Jim Leach takes us from his high-school wrestling days through the stages of his political career to his thoughts on the challenges facing humanity--and the humanities--in the twenty-first century.

    Impertinent Questions

    Impertinent Questions with Marguerite Rippy

    On the creative life of Orson Welles.

    Executive Function

    Vermont's Peter Gilbert

    Peter Gilbert recruits top scholars to Vermont's monthly gatherings.

    By Sarah Stewart Taylor


    Editor's Note, November/December 2009

    “Bridging cultures” is the watchword here at NEH since the appointment of Jim Leach to the chairman’s office.

    By David Skinner