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Featured Article: Midden
A midden, also known as a kitchen midden or a shell heap, are terms used by archaeologists for a dump for domestic waste. One of the universal signs of human settlements, middens vary from convenient, single-use pits created by nomadic groups or, as in more modern times, long-term, designated dumps used by sedentary communities that accumulate over several generations.
Middens have been discovered dating back to prehistoric times in locations all around the world. Their contents include food remains, tools, and pottery, all of which provide valuable, sometimes the only, information available regarding past human societies. The study of middens thus greatly enriches our understanding of humankind in history, and also raise awareness of how contemporary societies may be viewed in the future when the landfills of today remain as part of our legacy.
Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright who, along with Alfred Lord Tennyson is perhaps one of the most well-remembered poets of the Victorian era. Browning lived in a time of transition in British poetry; the great sweep of Romanticism had reached its end, and it would be some decades well after Browning's death before the new excitement of the modern would burst onto the poetic scene. This period of interregnum in English literature would become dominated by poets attempting to transmute the wild energy of the Romantic age into new and tempered forms. Despite this reputation, much of the great advances and revolutions in poetic thinking that would sweep the world beginning in the twentieth century had their genesis in the Victorian era, and one of the greatest poets of this age was Browning.
Portrait of Robert Browning
Browning was influenced strongly by Percy Bysshe Shelley, and in particular Shelley's lengthier dramatic poems such as Prometheus Unbound, which inspired him to the dramatic poetry which would ultimately cement his own reputation. Browning was an accomplished lyric poet, but he would be famous (and, for a time, notorious) for his insistence on vast forms.