" Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children. "
George Bernard Shaw

Back in the day


Hugh Capet Crowned King of France

Capet, son of Hugh the Great, was king of France from 987 to 996. He was the first of the Capetians, the royal house that ruled France until 1328. After the death of the Carolingian king of France, the nobles and prelates rejected the Carolingian claimant, Charles I of Lower Lorraine, and elected Capet king. In order to ensure the line of succession, Capet immediately crowned his son Robert. Today, members of the Capetian dynasty are heads of state in what countries?



The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich manuscript, which likely dates to the late 15th or early 16th century, is a mysterious illustrated book written by an unknown author in an unidentified script and language. Although its meaning has eluded even expert cryptographers, giving weight to the theory that the book is simply an elaborate hoax, the text follows patterns similar to those of natural languages, and the book thus remains the subject of intense study. What are some theories about its origins and meaning?

Born on a day like today


Franz Kafka

Despite the fact that he published only a few short works during his lifetime, Kafka is regarded as one of the most influential 20th-century writers. In prose remarkable for its clarity and precision, Kafka presents a world that is at once real and dreamlike and in which individuals burdened with guilt, isolation, and anxiety make a futile search for personal salvation. What virtually insurmountable difficulties do translators face when converting Kafka's works from German into English?

Last updated on Friday, 3rd July 2009

More sponsors