All posts by John Flood

John Flood lectures in the Department of English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Studying and Reading Aloud

A recent paper suggests that the best way to remember the information that you’re reading is to read it aloud. This fits with the findings of previous research. Merely reading is the least effective method of studying material you wish to remember.

In discussing these results, the researchers used the term “the production effect”. This describes the memory advantage one obtains if you say things aloud instead of just hearing the information. The production effect is likely caused through the combined advantage of three factors. First, reading things aloud involves motor processing, making it a more active process. Second, when students read words, it requires an element of visual processing, which may lead to deeper learning rather than just listening. Third, reading aloud is self-referential (i.e. “I said it”), which can make the information more salient.

from https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/11/30/why-youre-more-likely-to-remember-something-that-you-read-to-yourself-out-loud/

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A New Odyssey

During the age when The Odyssey took form, near the end of the eighth century b.c., the Greeks were voyaging into the world once again after a period of dark decline. They were setting up colonies and resuming the trade that had been interrupted by whatever cataclysmic forces—invasions, rebellions, pestilence, natural disasters—brought down the Bronze Age civilizations of Minoa and Mycenae. Yet the spirit of the second Homeric epic is wary. Unlike The Iliad, which sings of the glorious feats of godlike warriors in a legendary heroic age, The Odyssey tells of a weary man’s fight for survival in the face of threatening Others who can never share his view of the world or take his interests to heart. This besieged sense of a realm seething with social hostilities and deep divisions, in which the very possibility of dialogue seems out of reach, may well strike a chord.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/the-odyssey-and-the-other/544110/

Julius Caesar + music in Groningen

In deze muzikale Shakespeare delen vijf topacteurs van Orkater het podium met vijf koperblazers van K.O.Brass!, bekend van Kyteman Orchestra. ‘Julius Caesar’ is een tragedie die zich afspeelt in het Romeinse rijk [note: I think that ‘rijk’ isn’t really accurate], waar het politieke spel op het scherp van de snede wordt gespeeld. Wanneer de Romeinse heerser de absolute macht in handen dreigt te krijgen, wordt Brutus op de proef gesteld. Wat weegt zwaarder: zijn vriendschap met Caesar of het voortbestaan van de democratie? Regisseur Michiel de Regt laat muziek, taal en beeld samensmelten in een voorstelling die haarfijn blootlegt hoe kleine mensen in staat zijn tot daden met grote gevolgen.

25 November 2017

More details here.

Attending Shakespeare Lectures May be Traumatic

File:"Titus Andronicus" foto de Paula Nogueira.jpg

Image: Paula Nogueira

While no Groningen student has been stressed by their lectures on Shakespeare, things are different elsewhere. Some day Shakespeare may even be bard from university syllabuses.

Shakespeare contains gore and violence that might “upset” you, Cambridge University students have been warned. The “trigger warnings” – red triangles with an exclamation mark – appeared on their English lecture timetables. Lectures including Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus contain “discussion of sexual violence, sexual assault”. BBC

See full article here. 

Booker Prize for Lincoln Novel

Image result for lincoln in the bardoThe Man Booker Prize, which is worth £50,000,  has been won by George Saunders for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo. This is the first novel from an American writer who previously published short stories. The novel is based around the funeral of Abraham Lincoln’s eleven year old son.

‘The form and style of this utterly original novel, reveals a witty, intelligent, and deeply moving narrative. This tale of the haunting and haunted souls in the afterlife of Abraham Lincoln’s young son paradoxically creates a vivid and lively evocation of the characters that populate this other world. Lincoln in the Bardo is both rooted in, and plays with history, and explores the meaning and experience of empathy.’ – Baroness Young, chair of the judging panel.

See http://themanbookerprize.com/fiction

 

Staff Publication: Joyce and Law

Dr Tekla Mecsnober’s chapter on Joyce and law has just been published in a volume from The Florida James Joyce series.

Making the case that legal issues are central to James Joyce’s life and work, international experts in law and literature offer new insights into Joyce’s most important texts. They analyze Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Giacomo Joyce, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake in light of the legal contexts of Joyce’s day.   (Publisher’s Description).