Arts

Arts give us a way to explore our lives and the lives of others, whether it's on canvas, on-stage or on a page.

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Irony is one of those things that everybody seems know about but few seem able to precisely define. To make matters more complicated still, there are different kinds of irony (cosmic irony, dramatic irony, verbal irony and so forth).

By Zach Taras

Something that makes the "Harry Potter" books fun to read for adults — not just kids — is author J. K. Rowling's use of wordplay. Names are often literary references or jokes, and many of the "Harry Potter" spells provide a clear hint at their function for anyone familiar with Latin or Greek.

By Sascha Bos

When discussing the longest book in the world, various criteria can determine the titleholder: the word count, the number of pages or even the character count (characters meaning letters, not personalities).

By Katherine Millar

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Looking for a special trick to understanding what colors make brown? HowStuffWorks breaks down color combinations to help you get the perfect shade of brown.

By Yara Simón

When a book lands on The New York Times Best Sellers list, it's a boon for the author and publisher. But does that really mean it's a best seller?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

Grudge matches can be found in every corner of the world, including the art world. Here are five rivalries that continued for years, involving famous painters like Van Gogh, Gaugin, Degas, Picasso and Banksy.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

Both William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer are known for using iambic pentameter in their famed works of literature. But what is iambic pentameter and how can you spot it?

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

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The author of many beloved children's classics, Roald Dahl was also a World War II flying ace and a spy. And his books are being altered to remove potentially offensive words and phrases. Learn more about this controversial figure.

By Kate Morgan

The bright yellow hue used to great effect by van Gogh and other painters was eventually outlawed, as it was made of urine from dehydrated cows.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

In 1926, famed crime novelist Agatha Christie went missing for 11 days under very strange circumstances. Even today, questions linger about why she did it and a recent biography has a new explanation.

By Melanie Radzicki McManus

The stories these memoirs told were gripping, shocking – and ultimately untrue. Were you taken in by any of these literary hoaxes?

By Dave Roos

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It's not an easy question to answer but we've made an educated guess.

By Talon Homer

The most recent U.S. poet laureate, Joy Harjo, was the first Native American to fill the role and she passed the baton to Limón in July 2022.

By Amy Cannon

"City," the much-anticipated, 50-year-long project by artist Michael Heizer, has opened in the desert of Nevada. But don't expect to be able to see it anytime soon.

By Jesslyn Shields

Beloved of preteen Boomers, this subversively stupid magazine set the tone for everything that came after it, from "Saturday Night Live" to "The Daily Show."

By Dave Roos

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Every April, the villagers of Inakadate, Japan, meet and decide what image to plant for the year. By summer, a rice paddy masterpiece will be born.

By Laurie L. Dove

Plains Indian men kept historical records of their tribes in art. First with petroglyphs and pictographs and then on buffalo hides. When the white man came, they moved their art to ledger books.

By Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

The exhibit "Gordon Parks in Pittsburgh, 1944/1946," on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art, tells the gritty story of industrial life in America during WWII, shot by one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century.

By Patrick J. Kiger

The Venice Biennale, the oldest biennial art exhibition in the world, is a showcase of all that is new in the world of art, attracting over 500,000 people during its 7-month run.

By Patty Rasmussen

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Guilty of buying books you never have time to read? We get it. And there's a name for that.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Dostoevsky created some of the greatest novels ever written, full of psychological and religious insight. Here are five quotes that will stay with you, even if you've never finished one of his books.

By Dave Roos

Some books come out hot right out of the gate with iconic openers. How many of these literary works can you correctly guess based only on the opening line?

By Alia Hoyt

They seem to be all around us — immersive exhibits that enfold the viewer, moving us into the art instead of keeping us at viewing distance. So, why are they suddenly so popular?

By Patty Rasmussen

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Flyting, which was essentially a verbal contest of poetic abuse, was public entertainment in the 15th and 16th centuries. Think of it as the rap battle of medieval times.

By Kristen Hall-Geisler

Nearly 400 bird species are in danger of extinction by the end of this century and The Audubon Mural Project intends to depict every one of them.

By Carrie Tatro