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Essay/
Stories and literature
Lost in migration

When Walter Benjamin fled France in 1940, he took a heavy black suitcase. Did it contain a typescript? Where is it now?

Giorgio van Straten

Essay/
Stories and literature
Queering Shakespeare

So many arguments are given against Shakespeare being gay – yet his sonnets contain their own message, that love is love

Sandra Newman

Essay/
Stories and literature
Islam after Salman

The Satanic Verses would not be written or published today. What’s changed since Salman Rushdie’s notorious novel?

Bruce Fudge

Essay/
Language and linguistics
Words as feelings

A special class of vivid, textural words defies linguistic theory: could ‘ideophones’ unlock the secrets of humans’ first utterances?

David Robson

Essay/
Stories and literature
As Xenophon saw it

Brilliant leader, kind horseman and friend of Socrates: Xenophon’s writings inspire a humane, practical approach to life

Eve Browning

Essay/
Biography and memoir
The lost children

The adults who joined Bhagwan’s ashram sought freedom, love and light. Many of their children found darkness instead

Lily Dunn

Essay/
Rituals and celebrations
The scents of heaven

Frankincense and myrrh have long links to the sacred. Why has Christianity viewed them with both fascination and suspicion?

Timothy Carroll

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Film and television
SpaceXX

Space exploration in film is overwhelmingly male, metallic and hard-edged. Could we get further with more women on board?

Margaret Wertheim

Essay/
Stories and literature
What War of the Worlds did

The uncanny realism of Orson Welles’s radio play crystallised a fear of communication technology that haunts us today

Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey

Essay/
Stories and literature
The great disillusionist

In an age when so many people are at a loss to give life meaning and direction, Giacomo Leopardi is essential reading

Tim Parks