Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Monday, 16 October 2017
Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin on 16 October 1854. He became involved in the Aesthetic Movement while studying at Magdalen College in Oxford, and went on to become one of the century’s most brilliant poets, playwrights and essayists.
He transgressed the oppressive boundaries of Victorian society and lived a full life, even after his reputation was ruined when his sexual orientation came to light. Read here.
Saturday, 14 October 2017
The Renaissance was a period in European history, from the 14th to the 17th century, regarded as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe, marking the beginning of the Early Modern Age.
Friday, 6 October 2017
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
"The heart is the only true source of art, the language of a pure, child-like soul. Any creation not sprung from this origin can only be artifice. Every true work of art is conceived in a hallowed hour and born in a happy one, from an impulse in the artist's heart, often without his knowledge."
Caspar David Friedrich
Romanticism (also known as the Romantic period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the period from 1800 to 1850. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalisation of nature.
Here you can find my previous posts about Romanticism.
Saturday, 30 September 2017
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on September 30, 1924, Truman Capote went on to become a professional writer, making waves with his debut novel Other Voices, Other Rooms. His novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) was adapted into a popular film, and his book In Cold Blood (1966) was a pioneering form of narrative non-fiction. Capote spent his later years pursuing celebrity and struggled with drug addiction. He died in 1984 in Los Angeles, California. Read here.
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Do and Make are two verbs which frequently confuse students. In order to learn about the difference between them and when to use each one, make sure that you read here and do some exercises here!
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
On September 19 1985 Italo Calvino died at his home in Tuscany of a cerebral haemorrhage. Many Italians felt they had lost a literary friend; messages of condolence came from the Vatican and the President of the Republic, while Umberto Eco’s front-page obituary in the Corriere della Sera almost overshadowed news of the Mexican earthquake. In the same paper, John Updike lamented that “world literature had been deprived of its most refined and civil voice”. Reportedly, Italo Calvino had planned to write 14 more books; he was only 62. Read here.
Here you can read the translation of a famous article in which Italo Calvino explains why it is important to read the classics.
During the last quarter century Italo Calvino has advanced far beyond his American and English contemporaries. As they continue to look for the place where the spiders make their nests, Calvino has not only found this special place but learned how himself to make fantastic webs of prose to which all things adhere.
Monday, 18 September 2017
William Hogarth's Gin Lane is one of his best-known works of engraved art. Along with its companion, Beer Street, Gin Lane addressed a serious problem in mid-18th century England - the abuse of spirits (= strong alcoholic drinks such as whiskey and gin) by the working classes and the poor. In the right foreground a skeletal ballad singer has just died. His left hand still clutches his bottle. A drunken woman is taking her snuff while her neglected baby falls to his death in front of the Gin Royal Tavern. Behind the wall a man and his dog fight for a bone. Further back, a man pawns his coat and saw and his wife her kitchen tools for some more drinks. The pawn broker is properly named, "S. Gripe" (= complaint, affliction). Both his comfortable home and rich clothes stand in contrast to the devastation around. Only pawn brokers, coffin makers and distillers profit in such a society. Continue to read here.
Friday, 15 September 2017
The novel is an extended work of prose fiction. It derives from the Italian novella (“little new thing”), which was a short piece of prose. The novel has become a popular form of fiction since the early 18th century, even if prose narratives were written long before then. The term refers to a prose narrative about characters and their actions in what is recognisably everyday life. This differentiates it from its immediate predecessor, the romance, which describes unrealistic adventures of supernatural heroes. The novel has developed various sub-genres. Read here and here.
You can also read this post about the various genres of fiction.
Monday, 11 September 2017
Friday, 8 September 2017
He is best remembered for his angry and compassionate poems of the First World War, which brought him public and critical praise. Refusing the sentimentality and patriotism of other war poets, he wrote of the horror and cruelty of trench warfare and scornfully ridiculed generals, politicians, and churchmen for their incompetence and blind support of the war.