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As the military practice of knighthood has become outdated, the virtues of the knight have also become relics of the past.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

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

COLERIDGE'S PERCEPTION OF NATURE & MODERN ECOLOGICAL STUDIES




The modern environmental view of nature holds that nature is a dynamic balance stemmed from a long period of geological and natural evolution between animals and plants, organic substance and inorganic matter, the earth and other planets. It is a physical existence and a vigorous organic substance as well (Xun, 1994, pp.218-219).
Despite of humans’ superior competence and specialties to other species, it does not mean that they have the exclusive privilege to willfully manipulate, enslave, abuse, invade, or deprive the rights of other species to live free.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, MICHAEL

In this video Professors Simon Bainbridge and Sally Bushell discuss Wordsworth’s longer poem, ‘Michael’, first published in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads, 1800.
Professor Bainbridge and Professor Bushell go to a particular site in the Lake District, Greenhead Gill (a gill or ghyll is a mountain stream). This site provides both the setting and inspiration for the poem as well as the place in which it is written. They consider the ways in which Wordsworth builds a sense of place into the poem ‘Michael’.

Friday, 25 October 2019

SHAKESPEARE, SONNET 116: LET ME NOT TO THE MARRIAGE OF TRUE MINDS


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Friday, 4 October 2019

BE THE BEST OF WHATEVER YOU ARE


Douglas Malloch (1877-1938) was an American poet, short story writer, and associate editor of American Lumberman, an adventure magazine connected with Edgar Rice Burroughs. Some have commented that his philosophy was one of "contentment." Some of his often cited comments echo with wisdom today and reflect that life philosophy of contentment, being satisfied with one's lot in life: "The biggest liar in the world is They say," which comments hugely on the "unnamed source" and "experts" mentioned in the daily news today, and "Courage is to feel the daily daggers of relentless steel and keep on living," which reflects the simple advice, "persevere." His wife, Helen Miller Malloch, was a newswoman who gained fame in her own right as founder of the National Association of Presswomen.

Monday, 30 September 2019

INTRINSIC VS EXTRINSIC GOALS


Are You Pursuing the WRONG Goals? 

Unless you’re some enlightened human being, it’s fair to say that you are trying to achieve certain goals in your future.
Maybe you’re trying to get a promotion at your job or you’re looking to get a better job altogether. Maybe you’d like to start your own business. Maybe you want to lose weight or gain muscle mass. Maybe you want to travel to the Himalayas and maybe you want to just be happy.
Whatever the case, you are going after some goals – that’s human nature, we are teleological, aka goal-oriented beings.
But what if you’re going after the WRONG kinds of goals? What if you are unknowingly chasing goals that lower your performance, make you mentally unstable, cause anxiety, lead to depression, and even hinder you from ever being truly happy? Go on reading the article at https://www.njlifehacks.com/intrinsic-goals-vs-extrinsic-goals/

Friday, 27 September 2019

MARTIN EDEN

Image from the Italian movie Martin Eden (2019)

Martin Eden is a 1909 novel by American author Jack London about a young proletarian autodidact struggling to become a writer. It was first serialized in The Pacific Monthly magazine from September 1908 to September 1909 and published in book form by Macmillan in September 1909. 

The Plot

Martin Eden is an impoverished sailor who pursues, obsessively and aggressively, dreams of education and literary fame.
He educates himself feverishly and becomes a writer, hoping to acquire the respectability sought by his society-girl sweetheart. She spurns him, however, when his writing is rejected by several magazines and even more so when he is falsely accused of being a socialist. After he achieves fame, she tries to win him back but Martin realizes her love is false. Financially successful and robbed of connection to his own class, aware that his quest for bourgeois respectability was hollow, Eden travels to the Pacific as a sailor again.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

TEENAGE ACTIVISTS THAT PROVE GRETA THUNBERG IS NOT ALONE






Known for being hormonal, moody and apathetic, teenagers don’t always get the best reputation.

But the recent rise to prominence of 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg has smashed all such stereotypes and made people of all ages take notice of what she has to say.

But she is far from the first teenager to prove that young people can make huge changes to the world.

Malala Yousafzai was only 14 when she was shot for speaking out about the lack of education for girls in Pakistan, where she grew up.
Nine months after the attack she gave a speech at the UN, and she continued to campaign tirelessly for fair education for girls.
Aged 17, she became in the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
Young people like Thunberg and Yousafzai are inspirational for everything they’ve accomplished at by such a young age, but they’re not alone.
More and more teenagers are standing up for their beliefs and trying to create a fairer world that aligns with their beliefs. Here are a few of the most influential.
It seems like the future generation may be able to solve the world after all.