Thursday, 25 September 2014


Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first novel; it was written between 1798 and 1803, but  it was published in 1818, after her death. The novel is concerned with the adventures of a seventeen-year-old girl who first discovers  the polite society of Bath, a popular English resort town, with all its balls, dances, shows, fashion, and its gossip, then  Northanger Abbey, the magnificent home of one of the book's wealthiest families. Her travels are full of mischance with new friends and love interests.
Jane Austen was one of the first British female novelists, and became the most celebrated in her time. Her novels  became popular for their penetrating portrayal of the British upper classes using ironic wit to expose their follies as well as for its enjoyable, seemingly romantic plots. Yet she published her novels anonymously, because at the time she wrote, women who became public figures often lost respectability.
Northanger Abbey is a  satire of the Gothic novels that were hugely popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  It contains two elaborate parodies of The Mysteries of Udolpho, a novel by Gothic writer Anne Radcliffe, who was greatly  admired when  Jane Austen wrote her novels. It also satirizes the conduct books of the 1700s, books that informed children and young people how to behave in society. Apart from its historically specific references, the novel is pretty universal. It looks at things like love, friendship, and growing up. Like Jane Austen's later novels, Northanger Abbey humorously focuses on human behavior. This timeless element is a reason why her novels are all still so widely read today.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Sunday, 21 September 2014


The Romantic period was largely a reaction against the ideology of the Enlightenment period that dominated much of European philosophy, politics, and art from the mid-17th century until the close of the 18th century.  Whereas Enlightenment thinkers valued logic, reason, and rationality, Romantics valued emotion, passion, and individuality. Chris Baldick provides the following description: “Rejecting the ordered rationality of the Enlightenment as mechanical, impersonal, and artificial, the Romantics turned to the emotional directness of personal experience and to the boundlessness of individual imagination and aspiration.” Read here.

Friday, 19 September 2014


In the end common sense has prevailed. Certainly the UK as a whole and Scotland itself have a better future together. 
David Cameron has announced that the government would honour the promises made during the referendum campaign to prepare legislation for further devolution to Scotland before the general election. All three main UK parties are broadly agreed on further powers for Scotland.
Read here to discover why the Scottish referendum has left a significant legacy. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014


Today the people of Scotland are voting in a referendum on independence. If they vote Yes, the consequences could be dramatic for Scotland, Britain and Europe.
Anyway, with significant numbers of people still undecided, the result remains impossible to predict.
Although Scotland and England have shared a monarch since 1603, it wasn't until 1707 that they had a political and economic union. Continue reading here.

Click here for an animated explanation of the issues at stake.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J. D. Salinger published in 1951. Originally written for adults, it has become popular with young readers for its themes of teenage anxiety and alienation. It has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages. The novel's protagonist Holden Caulfield has become an icon for teenage rebellion. The novel also deals with complex issues of identity, acceptance, loss, relationship and alienation. 

Click here if you want to read the novel online. Here you can find a thorough analysis of the novel and here a character map.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Here you can download a PDF presentation of Jonathan Swift, the Anglo-Irish novelist and the most famous satirist in English literature.
His best known full-length work,  Gulliver's Travels (1726), which is the story of its hero's encounters with different races and societies in distant countries, mirrors Swift's vision of mankind's ambiguous position between bestiality and rationality. Published seven years after  Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe,  Gulliver's Travels may be read as a systematic negation of Defoe's optimistic account of human capability. 
Click here for an extensive analysis of the themes of the novel.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Immagine correlata

Immagine correlata

Risultati immagini per september 11 memorial

Read here and here two articles about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum situated at the site of the former World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, where the “Twin Towers” were destroyed and more than 2,700 lives were lost. 

Monday, 8 September 2014


Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on Diana Gabaldon's bestselling books. It is the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743  and she is right away thrown into an unknown world where her life is put at risk. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a dashing and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship starts that tears Claire's heart between two  incredibly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Production began on location in Scotland in October 2013.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Called "Gloriana" by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, whose name has become a synonym for the age she dominated (1558-1603), was born on 7 September 1533 to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. At the time of her coronation in 1558, England was a weak, divided kingdom far outside the mainstream of European power and cultural development, however Elizabeth's political skills and strong personality were responsible for putting England on the road to becoming a world economic and political power and restoring the country's lost sense of national pride. She inherited her father's all-powerful view of the monarchy, but showed great wisdom by refusing tarouse hostility in Parliament. She obtained never-ending devotion from her Privy Council, who were constantly confused by her habit of waiting to the last minute to make decisions - a tactic that she used to advantage. She used the various factions, playing one off another until they came to her to solve their disputes. Few English sovereigns enjoyed such great political power, while still maintaining the devotion of the whole of the country.

Here you can download a biography of Elizabeth I. 

Monday, 1 September 2014


Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.
William Wordsworth