Wednesday, 6 April 2022

THE WAR POETS - RUPERT BROOKE, SIGFRIED SASSOON & WILFRED OWEN




One of the greatest tragedies the world has ever experienced was the First World War. With absolute determination, nations dedicated every ounce of human talent, energy and resources to the destruction of human life. Millions were killed; millions were disabled by hideous wounds, mental breakdown, bereavement. Life was worsened throughout Europe and the effects were long-lasting.  The so-called Age of Anxiety started, which still goes on. The age of wars.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

STUDYING & WATCHING NORTH AND SOUTH BY ELIZABETH GASKELL (1855)

 THE STORY

When Margaret Hale arrives in Milton - in the industrial northern district of England - she is so disappointed by the bleak, smoky, noisy, grey atmosphere of the place. Her father has left the Church and decided to uproot his family from Helstone , in the beautiful countryside of the South of England. Margaret is greatly prejudiced against the people from the North and their rather direct, almost wild manners. So she starts idealizing the South

Mr Bell, one of Mr Hale’s former university mates, suggested them to settle in Milton where he owns a cotton mill run by his tenant, Mr John Thornton. Mr Thornton helps the Hales to find accomodation and becomes Mr Hale’s friend and pupil. He is handsome and smart, self-confident and successful in his job, greatly appreciated in Milton both as an entepreneur and a magistrate.

Monday, 21 February 2022

DICKENS AND THE INDUSTRIAL NOVEL: HARD TIMES (1854)

THE PLOT


BBC Hard Times - 1994

Thomas Gradgrind is an educator and a riter on political questions. He has founded a school where his education theories are put into practice: children are taught nothing but facts, and he educates his own children, Louisa and Tom, in the same way, neglecting their imagination and their affections. He also adopts Sissy Jupe, whose father worked  in a circus.
Mr Gradgrind suggests his daughter should marry Josiah Bounderby, a  rich factory owner and banker of the city some thirty years older than she is. Louisa, desiring to help her brother Tom in his career, consents to the marriage, which naturally proves to be very unhappy.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT, JANE AUSTEN AND PROTOFEMINISM



Protofeminism is a concept that anticipates modern feminism in eras when the feminist concept as such was still unknown. So we can correctly say that Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen were protofeminist writers.

Friday, 17 December 2021

18 DECEMBER 2021: INTERNATIONAL MIGRANTS DAY

 


International Migrants Day (18 December) this year falls almost exactly 70 years after the Brussels conference that led to the establishment of the organization that, in 1989, was renamed the International Organization for Migration. A broad range of factors continue to determine the movement of people. They are either voluntary or forced movements as a result of the increased magnitude and frequency of disasters, economic challenges and extreme poverty or conflict. Approximately 281 million people were international migrants in 2020, representing 3.6 per cent of the global population. 

Monday, 6 December 2021

READ AND WATCH: JANE AUSTEN'S SENSE AND SENSIBILITY



Introduction

Sense and Sensibility was the first published of Jane Austen's novels. Composition was begun perhaps as early as 1795 (some authorities suggest a year or two later). What is certain is that the novel was published in November 1811, on commission (that is, the author paying for the production costs, in return for a larger  share of profit) by the London publisher Thomas Egerton. Austen began negotiations with Egerton (with her brother Henry as her intermediary) in 1810. While the manuscript was still in her hands, she made some updating references (to Scott's being a popular poet, for example). The first edition of Sense and Sensibility was obviously successful, a second edition appearing in November 1813.

Friday, 3 December 2021

BYRON, KEATS & SHELLEY - ETERNITY

Byron, Keats and Shelley lived short lives, but the radical way they lived them would change the world. At 19, Shelley wrote The Necessity of Atheism - it was banned and burned, but it freed the Romantics from religion. Through their search for meaning in a world without God, they pioneered the notions of free love, celebrity and secular idolatry that are at the centre of modern Western culture.

For them poetry became the new religion, a way of reaching eternity. Their words are brought to life by Nicholas Shaw, Blake Ritson and Joseph Millson.

Monday, 15 November 2021

ROMEO AND JULIET: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

A) COMPARE THE SCENE OF ROMEO AND JULIET'S FIRST KISS IN THE FOLLOWING MOVIE ADAPTATION OF THE PLAY  

1) ROMEO AND JULIET (Franco Zeffirelli, 1968)

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

WALTER SCOTT AT 250: SO MUCH MORE THAN A GREAT HISTORICAL NOVELIST


Ulmus Media/Shutterstock


Daniel Cook, University of Dundee

Wander through Edinburgh and you will find glimpses of Scotland’s most famous novelist, Walter Scott, everywhere: pubs named after characters or places in his books, his walking cane and slippers in The Writers’ Museum, and snippets of his work adorning the walkways of Waverley train station – named after his first and most famous novel. And just outside, towering over Princes Street Gardens, his statue stands beneath an elaborate monument affectionately dubbed the “Gothic Rocket”.

Friday, 14 May 2021

THE THREE TRENDS IN EARLY ROMANTIC POETRY - NOTES

John Constable

In the second half of the 18th century the new  trends in poetry  had bonds to the Augustan tradition but proposed new ideas and feelings which paved the way to the Romantic generations of poets.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

KNIGHTHOOD & CHIVALRY: THE INSPIRATION OF DON QUIXOTE

Don Quijote y Sancho Panza by Pablo Picasso 

 As a Spanish gentleman living a quiet life of retirement and enjoying his favorite pastime of reading medieval romances about knights and their ladies, Don Quixote one day feels inspired to emulate the knights of old and restore the ideals of chivalry, honor, truth, courtesy, and service that his own age has relegated to the past.

Because the modern man of the sixteenth century has revolutionized the nature of warfare by the invention of gunpowder, the institution of knighthood has declined and disappeared. Jousts, armor, and lances are obsolete in the new world called “The Iron Age.”

As the military practice of knighthood has become outdated, the virtues of the knight have also become relics of the past.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

BUILDING A CATHEDRAL - THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH



THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by KEN FOLLETT (1989)

In a time of civil war, famine and religious strife, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against this backdrop, lives entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. A sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age.

The Historical Context (The Anarchy or The 19-year Winter 1135-1154)

Empress Matilda (c. 7 February 1102 – 10 September 1167), also known as Matilda of England or Maude, was the daughter and heir of King Henry I of England. Matilda and her younger brother, William Adelin, were the only legitimate children of King Henry to survive to adulthood. The death of her brother in the White ship disaster in 1120 made Matilda the last heir from the paternal line of her grandfather William the Conqueror.
As a child, Matilda was betrothed to and later married Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor, acquiring the title Empress. The couple had no known children. After being widowed for a few years, she was married to Geoffrey count of Anjou, with whom she had three sons, the eldest of whom became King Henry II of England.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

THE GLOBAL GOALS OF AGENDA 2030

Agenda 2030 is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

LITERATURE, FAITH AND PANDEMICS



Agnes Mueller, Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina, wrote an interesting article introducing the literary works she taught in  her course “Pandemics in Literature” and reflecting on the role of faith and religion in a time of uncertainty such as a pandemic.

Read her article HERE,  then take the reading comprehension test HERE


Saturday, 16 May 2020

CAMELOT - THE ARTHURIAN LEGEND IN A TV SERIES




In this series , CAMELOT (2011) they investigate how the legend may have come to be. They imagine  young Arthur, just in his teens,  torn away from his comfortable environment and from his foster parents by Merlin. He is suddenly thrown into the middle of a violent world in which he has to survive and to become a man and a king.

None of the characters is the mythical figure of the tradition. They are complex, conflicting human beings, totally different from their iconic counterparts. 

Saturday, 9 May 2020

THE AGE OF THE KNIGHT: THE LEGEND OF KING ARTHUR. NOTES & ACTIVITIES.


Minstrels and Knights

Up to the Norman conquest scops composed poems and performed them, usually with the accompaniment of a harp. Later, however, they were replaced by minstrels. Minstrels were a kind of professional entertainer: they would wander from court to court or had a fix abode at the court of a noble. They sang and recited lyrics and narratives, including ballads and romances.

Minstrels sang about romances whose main character was the knight, a central figure in the Middle Ages. This figure grew in importance as a result of the prosperity achieved by the courts, particularly in France, where the nobles wanted to hear stories about heroes, adventures and chivalry.

The knight was an idealised figure in literature. He was expected to uphold a code of chivalry which was usually associated with ideals of honour, courtly love and virtue. He was expected to be loyal to his king or lord, fight for him in battle and, if necessary, sacrifing himself for honour. 

Another knightly phenomenon was courtly love, a love relationship between a knight and his lady, in which the knight served his beloved with the same loyalty he had for his king or lord. 

The duties of a knight also included a Christian element: faith in God and commitment to fight against evil.  The knight was also expected to protect the weak and the poor, to be humble before others, merciful to his enemies and gentle to the noble ladies.