‘What it means to be a human being’

Gabriel Smith | 11 February, 2018
Upon entering a bookshop, the canny reader/consumer (a heart-breaking slash) becomes aware that critics’ praise now adorns the cover of every newly released book, and therefore no book can be chosen on the basis of what critics are saying on its dustjacket. A massively inflationary adjectival market has rendered superlatives valueless.

Read Article →

Shakespeare vs. Pushkin – On Not Reading National Poets, or: A Tragedy in Two Acts

Anne Liebig | 4 February, 2019
To be or not to be – who has not heard, used, or abused this phrase, written down over 400 years ago? Who cannot conjure up a spontaneous image of the Bard, or name at least one of his plays? Shakespeare has performed a feat that few other writers have achieved across the globe: he has been elevated to a symbol of national culture. But when did you last stop and ask yourself what the point of having a so-called national poet really was?

Read Article →

Ladybird: Reclaiming the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Eva Dieteren | 28 January, 2019
When I heard that Greta Gerwig directed a film starring Saoirse Ronan, there was an immediate sense of excitement followed by me convincing everyone I know to come and see it with me. When I saw the poster, however, I hesitated. It showed the character of Ladybird and what particularly stood out for me was her pink hair. It is not that I do not like pink hair, but the moment that I saw Ladybird I thought: please no, not another Manic Pixie Dream Girl film.

Read Article →

Of Music Videos and Museums

Uttara Rangarajan | 21 January
Art museums have long been an elite space, subsumed within hierarchies of colour and class while displaying work made for the rich and powerful. Western art has traditionally worked from within the colonial gaze to present whiteness as the norm, to invisibilise or stereotype people of other ethnicities. In the modern era, as people from around the world strive to break free of these categories, one of the most powerful challenges to western iconography has emerged from music videos which reinvent and undermine the Eurocentricism of western art.

Read Article →

Being an Older Youngest

Katherine Carlman | 14 January, 2019
“I’m very good at math,” the boy said as I passed. He was five or six years old and made this declaration not to me, but to the adult who belonged with him. With his mop of long curls and declaration of brilliance, he had more self-confidence than I’ve ever had. How could a child have more self-assurance than a fifty-year-old woman? He must be an only child, I reasoned – maybe an oldest child, but certainly not the youngest.

Read Article →

Decoding the linguistic jiggery-pockery of Brexit

Chris Jardine | 10 December, 2018
It has been two and a half years since the United Kingdom’s referendum on EU membership. While this decision has dominated the political landscape ever since, less attention has been paid to the linguistic innovations, reincarnations and clichés this event has had on and within the English language. Given that the wider Brexit debate has been hijacked by a failed Tory leadership candidate, whose choice in language has been met with disdain by even his allies, and a bizarre anachronism from North East Somerset, a linguistic decoding of some of the key terminology is long overdue.

Read Article →

Ophelia and Pink in the Bathtub

Devika | 26 November, 2018
It was Edgar Allan Poe who said “the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world”. Poe’s misogynist statement is an accurate summary of the way the figure of Ophelia has been treated for centuries. Appropriated and rendered in multiple art forms, from paintings to dramatic representations, Ophelia is one of Shakespeare’s most iconic female figures. Besides drama, novelists, artists, painters and even pop stars have found inspiration from the dead, floating woman.

Read Article →

Altered Carbon: On living forever

Have you ever wondered if you could have eternal life? Netflix’s dystopian science fiction TV series, Altered Carbon, tells us that immortality is possible in a way if our consciousness can be stored digitally and be implanted into a new body. But if we pay heed to the epigraph in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, we will find that immortality may not necessarily be a good thing.

Read Article →

AN ANGRY WOMAN READS AUSTEN

Elise Walter | October 12, 2018
I left Washington DC with relief and regret.
Relief to escape the relentless, oppressive landscape of a new political reality, and regret that I was running away from a fight. The rights and dignity of so many people were–are–being stripped away, day by day. I was and remain furious. How could I justify abandoning my work to study literature, when everything else was burning? What good does reading Jane Austen do?

Read Article →