The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House Shirley Jackson had already written two masterpieces of psychological horror, The Bird’s Nest (1954) and The Sundial (1954), when she took on what would become generally regarded as her finest work, The Haunting of Hill House (1959). According to Jackson herself, the inspiration came from an article she read concerning […]

The Queen of Air and Darkness

The Queen of Air and Darkness  by Poul Anderson (1971) In this story, the planet Roland has been settled for many years, but large portions of its interior have never been mapped let alone visited. There have been persistent rumors of sightings of unusual, nonhuman lifeforms called the Outlings, but there is no objective evidence […]

Kiss Me Deadly

Kiss Me Deadly Frank Morrison “Mickey” Spillane had already established himself as a comic book and pulp writer (he helped develop the characters of Captain Marvel and Captain America) when he created his most celebrated (and notorious) character, detective Mike Hammer in I, the Jury in 1947. Ten more Hammer adventures followed, the cycle ending […]

Porgy Novel

Porgy Novel The novel Porgy (1925), by the white Charlestonian DuBose Heyward, was the first major southern novel to portray African Americans in an honest,  straightforwardway, rather than hew to the nineteenthcentury stereotypes of shiftless darkies or faithful servitors. The novel caused a sensation in the South, where many readers reacted negatively to Heyward’s progressive […]

Neo-Kantian Ethics

Neo-Kantian Ethics Neo-Kantian ethics refers to any philosophical work that derives from the work of Immanuel Kant. Contemporary scholars in this area seek to advance key insights of Kant with the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy while at the same time avoiding difficulties that may be found in some of Kant’s original arguments. Such work […]

Logical Positivism

Logical Positivism Logical positivism is a school of philosophy, originating in Vienna during the 1920s and 1930s, that claimed that “real” knowledge is based on logical consistency and empirical verifiability. If either condition is contravened, the claim to knowledge is spurious or “nonsense.” But if both conditions are met, truth is guaranteed.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) Swiss-born philosopher, author, political scientist, musicologist and one of the most influential minds in the so-called Age of Enlightenment. In the field of education, his novel Emile, ou l’Education (1762) was one of the most influential documents in 18th- and 19th-century education, offering a new theory of education based on the principles […]

Plurality of Worlds

Plurality of Worlds The term historically used for the concept of other worlds, possibly inhabited, beyond the earth. The concept had its origin with the ancient Greek atomists Leucippus (fl. 5th century B.C.E.), Democritus (fl. late 5th century. B.C.E.), and Epicurus (341–270 B.C.E.), who held that an infinite number of kosmoi existed, while Aristotle (384–322 […]

Early Humanism

Early Humanism David Hume’s The Natural History of Religion (1757) is the most influential eighteenth-centuryhumanistic theory of religion. In composing a “nat-ural history” of religion, Hume brings religiousphenomena within the purview of science. As part of his larger project to create a science of humannature, Hume seeks both to isolate the causes ofreligion in human […]

Dialogues of Plato

Plato Plato (428–347 B.C.E.), born in Athens, was a philosopher and founder of a school, the Academy. He was a student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. Apart from a few letters, Plato’s writing consists entirely of dialogues. These philosophical dramas display a mastery of composition, character, and action that rank him among the […]