Recently on the Blog
- Weekly Reading: Medieval Spell Books and Mark Swain The first and last publication of one Mark Swain, a medieval spell book, and Renaissance cheese fraud.
- The Emperor's Turkey
- Weekly Reading: Love Telegrams, Field Notes, and Bronze Age Wine
- A Nuclear Blast at 30,000 Feet, 1962
- Inside the Cosmonaut Survival Kit
Initially, we meant this to be a ‘blank’ issue, one in which we didn’t tie the content together with a theme. But when the articles started coming in, a more natural theme developed: one concerned with a geography of absence and hidden traces. By going off existing maps, we create new ones.
Letter from the Editors
The Aymara see the past before them, and the future behind. The Appendix follows their example this issue and goes ‘Off the Map.’
Letters to The Appendix
Pub talk, panther versus bear, gas-bags, a Prime Minister’s hats, and President Jimmy Carter’s mash-note to the universe: letters to the editors get lost.
Mapping Babel: A Sixteenth-Century Indigenous Map from Mexico
By Barbara E Mundy
Sometime in the late sixteenth century, an indigenous painter in Mexico put brush to paper and brought his world, a region named Cempoala, to life. The map, part of a relación geográfica made for the king of Spain, became one of the most important sources for regional history in the sixteenth-century New World. Barbara Mundy explains why.
Cropped Out: Environmental History Through a Car Window
By Emily Brownell
For a freshy minted professor of history, Greeley, Colorado smells of environmental history: beets, labor, the meat-packing industry, and the Russian, Mexican and Somali labor that made them.
Off the Record
By Mattias Fibiger
Kissinger speaks, the President listens, and a 28-year-old White House photographer records in it all. But who records him? SNAP. SNAP. SNAP.
Death of a Sailor: Chapter 3: The Locked Room
By Christopher Heaney
Chapter Three of Appendix co-founder Christopher Heaney’s serialized narrative history, Death of a Sailor. 1835. A convicted murderer and a journalist sit together in a locked prison cell in New York. The murderer's identity was false. The journalist had hoaxed the world. Can we trust the story they began to unfold?
By Maya Koretzky
Concrete, ashes, twilight, skin. Maya Koretzky wanders St. Petersburg, layers of Russian history and language bunching up beneath her feet.
Indelible Ink: The Deep History of Tattoo Removal
By Mairin Odle
Humans have regretted their tattoos long before laser removal existed. Mairin Odle explores the history of tattoo removal in the early modern world, when the wrong ink could get you tortured.
The Politics of the Turtle Feast
By India Mandelkern
Class conflict in a half shell. India Mandelkern explores the controversy of eighteenth century England’s turtle feasts, in which aristocrats dined on three hundred-pound tropical sea turtles.
By Katherine Noble
In 1393 the young French king Charles VI demands his courtiers dance as wild men with torches; four catch fire and die. Affected by the story, Keene Prize-winning poet Katherine Noble contributes a poem of dance, death, and attention paid.
Jackson Unchained: Reclaiming a Fugitive Landscape
By Susanna Ashton and Jonathan D. Hepworth
In 1846, John Andrew Jackson fled the South Carolina plantation where he was enslaved. He fooled his former owners, made it to Boston, and harbored hopes of finding his wife and daughter—and buying property near the land of his enslavement. In fleeing violence, can you reclaim it?
Proto-Spam: Spanish Prisoners and Confidence Games
By Robert Whitaker
Dearest Manti Te’o, you are not alone. Bob Whitaker traces the pre-history of one of the oldest cons in the book: The Spanish Prisoner Scheme.
Made in Taiwan?: An Eighteenth-Century Frenchman’s Fictional Formosa
By Benjamin Breen
He was young, blonde and said he was from Taiwan. Appendix editor Ben Breen unmasks George Psalmanazar, an eighteenth-century hoaxer who created his own identity and shocked London with tales of viper blood, infant sacrifice, and opium addiction.
The Curse of Coherence: Cold War CIA Funding for Oulipo’s Confidence-Man
By Roy Scranton
Roy Scranton discovered a CIA-funded avante-garde French translation of Melville’s Confidence-Man. Or did he? Literary trickery and parafiction simmer.
Voice Hero: The Inventor of Karaoke Speaks
By Daisuke Inoue and Robert Scott
Daisuke Inoue never learned to read music but he changed our musical lives forever when he invented the karaoke machine. He shares the charming, humble, thoughtful story of his life with The Appendix.
The Golden Likeness
By Ariel Ron
Coming December 9, 2013
The Silence of Our Friends
By Hannah Carney
Coming December 11, 2013
Feet First: Walking in Houston
By Kyle Shelton
Coming December 17, 2013
Excerpt: March, Book One
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
John Lewis would become one of the youngest heroes of America’s Civil Rights Movement, leading marches in the face of racist and authoritarian abuse. In this excerpt of his graphic memoir, however, he was an eighteen-year-old seminary student—about to meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the very first time.
March: Interview with Nate Powell and Andrew Aydin
By Christopher Heaney
In 1965 civil rights activist John Lewis helped lead the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Lewis and his fellow activists were beaten, but President Johnson sent the Voting Rights Act to Congress shortly after. Nearly forty years later, Lewis—now a US Congressman—has co-written a graphic novel about his lifetime of fighting for equality. His collaborators talk to The Appendix about that process.
The Appendix, Appendixed.
By Kevin Cannon
Dane Peter Freuchen and half-Inuit Knud Rasmussen go searching in 1912 for a lost explorer in this issue’s The Appendix, Appendixed—a cartographic chronicle by cartoonist Kevin Cannon. Snowblindness and harpoons in legs quickly follow.