Historical Fiction

Dame Hilary Mantel is roughly half way through her Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4.  Best known for her Tudor novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies (both of which won the Man Booker Prize) Mantel reflects on the nature of historical fiction and whether the genre requires special defense.

The podcasts of the lectures and their transcripts can be found here. Students will be unsuprised to learn that this talented author has Irish roots.

Image result for hilary mantel wolf hall

Critical Thinking

Thinking like a scientist is really hard, even for scientists. It requires putting aside your own prior beliefs, evaluating the quality and meaning of the evidence before you, and weighing it in the context of earlier findings. But parking your own agenda and staying objective is not the human way.

Link: 5 Reasons It’s So Hard To Think Like A Scientist

One of the things that this article warns about is the seduction of anecdotal evidence. I’ll give some of that now.

It seems to me that some students treat simple texts as if they were simplistic and obvious. A text that offers a quick interpretation is often more poorly analysed than an obviously challenging one. Parts of courses (or instructions) that seem clear are often ignored.

5 Reasons It’s So Hard To Think Like A Scientist

Lilian Tabois: York Scholarship

Lilian Tabois, one of our graduates (MA, 2011), but better known to current students for having taught as a docent for part of this academic year, will leave for the University of York in the summer. She has been awarded a PhD scholarship for a dissertation on historiography and travel in British women’s  writing between 1780 and 1845. We wish her the best of luck in returning to full-time study.

GUTS: The Deep Blue Sea

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, ocean, sky, text, outdoor and water

The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan

Der Aa Theater, 22-24 June

TICKETS | €7 for students, €9 for non-students

Trailer: https://youtu.be/4isLyvO8y5k

GUTS brings Terence Rattigan’s heart-wrenching and most-celebrated play to the Groningen stage. The Deep Blue Sea, set in England in the 1950s, highlights the struggles and despair of a failed marriage, of infidelity and in particular the question of identity with brutal and raw honesty.

The cast & crew include several current or past members of the English department. Cast: Pleun van Engelen (Hester Collyer), James Robert Lyon (Freddie Page), Emmet Godfrey (William Collyer), Elsemiek Hes (Mrs Elton), Johan Stapert (Mr Miller), Aubrey Williams (Philip Welch), Femke Nagelhout (Ann Welch), and Samuel Stevens (Jackie Jackson). Crew: Melissa Rolink, Jan Hein Dikkers, Marjon Vosmeijer, and Berber Aardema.

www.facebook.com/gutsdeepbluesea

Bob Dylan and Homer

Bob Dylan has delivered his Nobel Prize speech just in time to collect the prize money. He has conveniently (for our first year course on literary contexts) demonstrated the ongoing influence of Classical literature in his references to The Odyssey. He also refers to Moby Dick and John Donne.

For coverage of links to a text file or an audio file of the speech see www.nobelprize.org

Ulysses 2nd cent BC
Ulysses

 

Globe 2017

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A photo of Shakespeare’s Globe (with some barely discernable students) from the recent ‘Shakespeare at Stratford’ course run by Dr Jansen. Participants saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and a specially commissioned new play, Vice Versa (inspired by Roman comedy) at Stratford-Upon-Avon, before travelling to London to see Twelfth Night at the Globe.

Book Sales up

Total sales of print and digital books and journals climbed 7% to £4.8bn last year, the largest growth since 2007 when digital sales were first included.

Looking purely at the book market total sales rose 6% to £3.5bn, as an 8% rise in print sales outweighed the 3% decline in ebook sales.

Overall digital sales grew 6% to £1.7bn, with academic, professional and educational journals outstripping the fall in ebooks, to account for 35% of total revenues.

Link to The Guardian for full story

Thanks to Brian for pointing this out.

Conceptualizing the Enemy in Early Northwest Europe

Friday saw the launch at the department of Karin Olsen’s Conceptualizing the Enemy in Early Northwest Europe: Metaphors of Conflict and Alterity in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Early Irish Poetry (Brepols).

This volume provides the first comparative analysis to explore conceptions of conflict and otherness in the literary and cultural contexts of the early North Sea world by investigating the use of metaphor in Old English, Old Norse, and Early Irish poetry. Applying Conceptual Metaphor Theory together with literary and anthropological analysis, the study examines metaphors of conflict and alterity in a range of (pseudo-)mythological, heroic, and occasional poetry, including Beowulf, Old Norse skaldic and eddic verse, and poems from the celebrated ‘Ulster Cycle’. (Publisher)

Shakespeare in Groningen

In the Stadsschouwburg in Groningen there are two Dutch language Shakespeare plays coming up. For details see http://www.de-oosterpoort.nl

25 April: Twelfth Night

Met ‘Driekoningenavond’ zet De Theatertroep vol plezier een hele berg maatschappelijke waarden op de kop, met de boodschap dat het verstand en de zotheid tweelingen zijn. En dat in komedie, onder alle grappen en grillen, de poëzie van de ware tragedie schuilt.
In deze Shakespeare-bewerking moeten zowel personages als acteurs overleven in een web van misverstanden. De rijken worden arm en de armen rijk, de machtigen worden machteloos en omgekeerd, vrouwen worden mannen of vrouwen spelen mannen die vrouwen spelen.

10 May: King Lear

‘Lear’ begint als een realitysoap, live gefilmd op het toneel. Overal camera’s, nergens privacy. Lear, oud en moe, verdeelt zijn rijk onder zijn drie dochters. De dochter die haar liefde het beste toont, krijgt het grootste deel. Maar de jongste dochter Cordelia weigert, zij kapt met de schijnwereld waarin zij al haar hele jeugd leeft. Lear verstoot haar en verdeelt zijn rijk onder zijn twee andere dochters. Pas als het filmdoek valt en de camera’s uitstaan, ziet hij hoe hij zich heeft laten verblinden en zijn kinderen heeft opgeofferd aan egoïsme en zelfoverschatting.


Obviously, it would be better were there to be English language performances, but seeing Shakespeare staged is an enormous benefit to students, especially those taking the Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature course in second year.