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January/February 2011

In This Issue
January/February 2011

Young Union soldier with bayoneted musket, knife, and revolver.

"Daybreak Gray and Dim"

How the Civil War changed Walt Whitman's poetry.

By Randall Fuller

Volume 32, Issue 1

Unidentified young soldier in a New York Zouave uniform. North and South had Zouave regiments, which took their name and inspiration from the dashing native North African troops employed by the French Army as fighters and mercenaries.

Liljenquist Family Collection, Library of Congress

  • Features

    Chinese novelist Mo Yan

    Mo Yan 101

    Sometime in the late 1960s or early seventies, a neighbor told Guan Moye about a writer he knew whose work was so popular that he could afford to eat jiaozi—“those tasty little pork dumplings

    By James Williford
    The Oval by G. Noble Wagner

    A Sculptured Landscape

    Fifty-five outdoor sculptures define a modern sensibility at tiny Ursinus College.

    By Steve Moyer
    Building the Panama Canal

    Digging Across Panama

    The Americans triumphed over yellow fever, landslides, and worker strikes to change the earth's landscape.

    By Edward Tenner
    Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress Exposition

    Enchanting Reality

    World's fairs during the Depression.

    By Benjamin Forgey
    The Desire and the Satisfaction, 1893, by Jan Theodore Toorop

    The Confessional Culture

    In search of healing, we've said goodbye to privacy.

    By Christine Rosen
    photo of metal maze, inscribed with philosopher names and branches of philosophy

    A Homepage for Philosophy

    A free online encyclopedia written and edited by experts.

    By Liam Julian
    Sir Isaac Newton, by Samuel Freeman, (1773–1857)

    Newton, The Last Magician

    The great man of science had more than a passing interest in alchemy.

    By Sam Kean
  • Departments


    A Fish Story

    California finds its own history in a documentary about the punk/funk/ska band Fishbone.

    By Amy Lifson

    Southern Exposure

    Eudora Welty's photographs reveal new stories in Alabama.

    By Laura Wolff Scanlan

    A Very Hungry Reader

    Massachusetts focuses on the food imagery in Eric Carle's illustrations.

    By Sarah Auerbach

    After Shock

    Maine holds a conference relating war trauma to classical literature in Washington, D.C.

    By Beth Baker


    Akhmatova’s Boswell

    Recording and observing the words and actions of a cultural icon for posterity

    By Steve Moyer

    Bedtime Stories

    By Amy Lifson

    Ties That Bind

    Iowa's web-like network of tracks made transcontinental railroad feasible.

    By Steve Moyer

    Medical Assurance

    Gallup polls consistently rank nurses as among the most honest and ethical professionals.

    By Steve Moyer

    Wheel of Cogitation

    Oregon Humanities’ Wheel of Cogitation travels about to street fairs with the aim of starting conversations that lead to an exchange of ideas.

    By Steve Moyer

    Brain Booster

    This ingenious handmade apparatus for cranial osteopathy, ca. 1930s, was constructed from pieces of two catchers’ mitts and a belt. Cranial osteopathy, developed by Dr.

    By Steve Moyer


    The Real Mo Yan

    The renowned Chinese novelist talks with NEH Chairman Jim Leach.

    Executive Function

    Montana’s Ken Egan

    Montana native Ken Egan promotes civic dialog across his state.

    By Perri Knize


    Editor's Note, January/February 2011

    Many of us will contemplate the Civil War during the sesquicentennial, and Randall Fuller inaugurates the proceedings with a study of how the war changed the poetry of Walt Whitman.

    By David Skinner