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Photo by Elliott Landy / Magnum Photos

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
A philosophy of sound

From the Big Bang to a heartbeat in utero, sounds are a scaffold for thought when logic and imagery elude us

Christina Rawls

Norman Douglas (right), lounging in Capri in 1949. Photo by Ralph Crane/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Essay/
Sex and sexuality
The case of Norman Douglas

He was a literary lion and an infamous pederast: what might we learn from his life about monstrosity and humanity?

Rachel Hope Cleves

From The History of Madame Roland (1850) by John S C Abbott. Photo courtesy Internet Archive/Public Domain

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
Vive Madame Roland!

She was a French revolutionary and a politician’s wife. But Manon Roland should be remembered for her philosophical writings

Sandrine Bergès

Paul Giamatti as Hamlet in Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of 2013. Photo by Joan Marcus

Essay/
Dance and theatre
Phantasia

Imagination is a powerful tool, a sixth sense, a weapon. We must be careful how we use it, in life as on stage or screen

Paul Giamatti & Stephen T Asma

Montage by Aeon/Alamy Photos

Essay/
Biography and memoir
Not only the stranger

Growing up in the shadow of a serial killer I came to understand that danger within a locked house might exceed that without

Alicia Foster

Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum

Essay/
Neuroscience
Myth and the mind

Saturated with rites and symbols, psychology feeds a deep human need once nourished by mythology

Rami Gabriel

An almost deserted village square at Hilibotodane on southern Nias c1906. Anonymous. Photo courtesy Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, Netherlands

Essay/
Anthropology
Longhouse lockdown

On a regular cycle, the Nias islanders of Indonesia would retreat into enforced seclusion. What can we learn from them?

Andrew Beatty

Hexensabbat in Trier (‘witches’ sabbath’, 1593), by Pastor H H Lauen, Germany. Courtesy the Witchcraft Collection, Cornell University.

Essay/
History
Rich witches

How a flawed logic of economic scarcity and social climbing spurred witch hunts in early modern Germany

Johannes Dillinger

Sehnsucht (‘Longing’) by the Nederlands Dans Theater at Sadler’s Wells, London, in 2014. Photo by Leo Mason/Popperfoto/Getty

Essay/
Dance and theatre
To the core

A devastating loss can shatter the façade we put up for others, exposing our deepest, rawest self. A work of art can do the same

Julia F Christensen

A figure with dials around it, representing the oppression of the artist by other children. Detail of a watercolour (undated) by M Bishop. © The Adamson Collection/Wellcome Library

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
The play cure

In a clinical setting, playful activities are not distractions; they take patients deep into trauma – and out the other side

Susanna Crossman

Samuel Beckett on the set of Film in New York during his only visit to the United States in 1964. Photo by I C Rappaport/Getty

Essay/
Stories and literature
The wisdom of surrender

Samuel Beckett turned an obscure 17th-century Christian heresy into an artistic vision and an unusual personal philosophy

Andy Wimbush