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Hannah Arendt, 1944

The Trial of Hannah Arendt

She caused a furor when she coined “the banality of evil” to describe mindless acts of Nazi horror.

Detail of La Mulata, a painting attributed to Velázquez.

Hannah, Andrew Jackson’s Slave

A favorite of Old Hickory, she made him seem kinder than he was. Why?

An ink caricature of Bernard Malamud by Joe Ciardiello

The Otherworldly Malamud

The master of the short story infused his work with myth and magic, but not fairytale endings.

Illustration of a waitress with serving tray

The American Language

A historical database of English in the U.S.

illustration of Solomon Northup by Gary Kelley

From American Playhouse to 12 Years a Slave

From American Playhouse to 12 Years a Slave, two films give different views of the same story.

Folding screen.

New Money in New Spain

Colonial opulence had to be displayed behind closed doors.

Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche

Culture War

Hitler's propagandists co-opted key intellectual figures in the Western canon to suit their political agenda.

Photo of E. B. White at his typewriter

The White Pages

America's greatest personal essayist was more than a little shy and intensely self-conscious

John Adams portrait by Gianni Dagli Orti

Paper Trail

On letters, diaries, and other records of the American story at the Massachusetts Historical Society

Hamlet pondering Yorick's skull

To Be or Not to Be

In a digital archive of Hamlet quartos, classic Shakespearean words come and go.