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.

International Students in the Netherlands

During the academic year 2016-17 over 112,000 international students studied in Dutch higher education. This is the highest number ever recorded in the Netherlands. 

With almost 2,800 students in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom continued its stable growth (+460 in 2016-17), now taking 5th place.

The recently published report, Update: Incoming student mobility in Dutch higher education 2016-17 by Daan Huberts on behalf of Nuffic (the Netherlands Organisation for Internationalisation in Higher Education) can be found here.

Derek Walcott Dies

File:Derek Walcott.jpg
Derek Walcott (Werkgroep Caraibische Letteren; photographer Bert Nienhuis).

 

Sir Derek Walcott (1930-2017), nobel laureate, died on 17 March.  The Saint Lucian poet felt a special bond to early twentieth-century Irish writers so perhaps it was appropriate that he died on St Patrick’s Day.

The Guardian

 

Intersectionality and American Universities

His talk was shut down by organized chanting in its original venue, and disrupted when it was shifted to a nearby room and livestreamed. When Murray and his faculty interlocutor, Allison Stanger, then left to go to their car, they were surrounded by a mob, which tried to stop them leaving the campus. Someone in the melee grabbed Stanger by the hair and twisted her neck so badly she had to go to the emergency room (she is still suffering from a concussion). After they escaped, their dinner at a local restaurant was crashed by the same mob, and they had to go out of town to eat.

This event, described in The Daily Intelligencer, was clearly more controversial than most of those held in Dutch universities! The Intelligencer article explains the students’ reactions in terms of intersectionality, a theory that focuses on the interconnectedness of forms of discrimination. Although the term and the actions it has inspired are fairly recent, literary theory has for a long time insisted that, for example, feminist analyses of texts should take account of, for example, the interlocking differences of class, colour, and sexuality. A quick internet search will throw up all sorts of pro- and anti-intersectionality opinions, along with links to

See the opinion piece in The New Statesman.

Interview with Kimberlé Crenshaw, who first formulated intersectionality (The New Statesman).

Literature in the News

Jane Austen: blind and perhaps poisoned? (BBC)

The real Ozymandias. Giant statue of Ramesses II discovered. (The Guardian) Thanks to Rocío.

China restricts foreign children’s books (The Financial Times).

With the election of President Trump, the sales figures of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four jumped, and journalists reached for predictable comparisons: see The Desert News.

Orwell
Orwell in Burma (from http://therebelkind.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html)

Deaths of the Poets

File:Plath Grave 2.JPG

What is the cost of poetry? Must poets be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive? Or is this just a myth? In our new Book of the Week, Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley – both award winning poets themselves – explore that very question through a series of journeys across Britain, America and Europe.

This BBC Radio 4 series is currently being broadcast in 15 min episodes that are available for 28 days from now.