… Among several other things, the UK lockdown has drastically changed the way in which we consume media, including literature. Historically, periods of major political and social upheaval have shaped literature, with literary movements reflecting and reacting to times of societal and economic stress and change. … Though it may take several years before we are able to clearly see how this global crisis will spark and influence literary movements, three prominent threads have already emerged from our pandemic reading that may hint at trends we can anticipate over the next few decades…
Madison Pollack| 11 November 2019
Seven books, a wind chime, assorted ticket stubs left over from trains and shows, movies and museums. … Lydia Davis’ initially cold calculation of how much a love affair costs (in dollars but, then, in more than dollars) in her story “Break It Down” ends with the following sentence: “So I’m just thinking about it, how you can go in with $600, more like $1000, and how you can come out with an old shirt.”
By Conor Kavanagh|The Immigration Advice Service| 28 October 2019
… Britain’s publishing industries are some of the world’s most prominent – from Penguin Random House to Bloomsbury – and help contribute a significant part of the £87 billion a year that the creative industry brings to the UK. However due to a rise in xenophobia, the stricter migration laws and the economic changes Brexit will bring, foreign authors and the British publishing industry are at risk. … Edward Said, a Palestinian-American writer, in his 1979 book ‘Orientalism’, helped expose how our ‘knowledge’ of different peoples and countries was often shaped and written by those who were not a part of them. …
Emanuela Militello | 28 May 2019
I am going to focus on the portrayal of women as supernatural characters in two ballads by notable German poets: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Die Lorelei’ and J.W von Goethe’s ‘Der Fischer’, in order to give an insight into how their characterisation of women is influenced by Greek mythology.
In both ballads, women use their voice to entice the man – in a manner reminiscent of the power of sirens in the Odyssey, where sirens are infamous for luring sailors with their voices and for their uncanny appearance. The unfortunate ones who listen to their seductive singing, shipwreck against the rocks of the sirens’ island and meet a horrible death.
Eva Dieteren | 29 April 2019
As a fan of period dramas, I was ready to sit back and enjoy what one can typically expect from a big-budget period drama: beautiful cinematography and gorgeous costumes accompanied by dramatic music. And whilst the film certainly ticks all the boxes, its depiction of female sexuality provides a new – and literal – perspective on the term period drama.
Elise Walter | 18 March 2019
What one learns by spending time on planes is what it means to be human. Human in every sense of the word: the visceral, disgusting, smelly, kind, loud, and secret truth of personhood.
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.
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?
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.
Sini Eikonsalo | May 31, 2018
Philip Roth, a canonical American writer, died recently at the age of 85, leaving behind a vast array of novels, the most popular probably being his Pulitzer-winning American Pastoral (1997). However, it is The Plot Against America (2004) that has been in the public interest for the past couple of years and now with the news of Roth’s death.