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Civilization and Its Discontents  

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), who trained as a neurologist and general psychologist, pioneered psychoanalysis, the technique of encouraging free association. From his practice he developed the ... More

A Discourse on the Method  

Renee Descartes

René Descartes (1596–1650) has been called the Father of Modern Philosophy because of his work in philosophy, metaphysics, theology, and mathematics. Perhaps best known for the ... More

The Irish Crisis  

Sir Charles Trevelyan

Sir Charles Trevelyan (1807–1886) spent fifteen years as a British colonial officer in India, where he pursued reform of living conditions; when he was recalled to England, he worked to ... More

Journal of the Plague Year  

Daniel Defoe

Although most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, Defoe (c.1660–1731) was also a prolific pamphleteer and journalist, focusing on issues such as English religious intolerance between ... More

Letter to Don Benedetto Castelli  

Gallileo Galilei

An Italian astronomer, physicist, and mathematician, Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) made many significant contributions to science—such as improvements to the telescope and work with ... More

Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina de’ Medici  

Galileo Galilei

This famous letter is often cited as an early sign of Galileo’s inevitable conflict with church authorities over the Copernican system of planetary motion—and the theory’s theological, as ... More

Letters from the Levant  

Mary Wortley Montagu

Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762), who was born into the British aristocracy, sought out an acquaintance with the leading literary and scientific figures of her day, and traveled with her ... More

“On Extinct Quadrupeds,” Principles of Geology  

Charles Lyell

Sir Charles Lyell (1797–1875), a friend of Charles Darwin, was a Scottish geologist who was so notable that to this day, in his honor, a crater on the moon and a type of armored fish both ... More

“On Sociability,” The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, 1871  

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809–1882), a British naturalist, propounded the theory of evolution in his famous work On the Origin of Species (1859). With this theory, Darwin launched a massive debate ... More

On the Black Death in Florence  

Marchione di Coppio Stefani

The Black Death was an outbreak of the bubonic plague in Europe, beginning in 1347. Although there had been outbreaks before, the plague had not been present in Europe in centuries. The ... More

The Origin of Species  

Charles Darwin

The name of Charles Darwin (1809–1882) is inextricably linked to the earth-shattering and (even today) controversial theory he proposed in 1859. However, it is also important to remember ... More

The Principles of Scientific management  

Frederick Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856–1915) was a mechanical engineer (and champion tennis player) who aimed to increase industrial efficiency by training laborers to work with minimal movement ... More

Qibla Map  


This qibla map (qibla roughly translates as “sacred direction” in Arabic) is centered on the holiest place in Islam—the Ka’ba in Mecca. The obligation to pray in the direction of Mecca is ... More

Reed Chart from the Marshall Islands, South Pacific  


Traditional Micronesian and Polynesian maps of the Pacific, such as this example from the Marshall Islands, from about 1880, show sea lanes across the ocean in the form of reeds that link ... More

Upside Down World Map  


This “upside down” map is oriented so that south is up, north is down, east is on the left, and west is on the right. The Southern Hemisphere is thus at the top of the map, instead of at ... More

“What Educated Women Can Do”  

Indira Gandhi

The only child of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi served in turn as prime minister between 1966 and 1977 and again from 1980 until her assassination in ... More