Tuesday, 31 March 2015

COMMEMORATING CHARLOTTE BRONTË


Charlotte Brontë, the last surviving child of her family, died aged 38 and pregnant on 31 March 1855 (Easter Saturday) in Haworth.
Click here to read her most famous novel, Jane Eyre, online. 



Sunday, 29 March 2015

WHEN YOU ARE OLD ...




Click here  and here to find useful analyses of this poem by W.B.Yeats, based on Pierre de Ronsard's Quand Vous Serez Bien Vieille (1578).

Thursday, 19 March 2015

SHAKESPEARE WEEK


Shakespeare Week is a national annual celebration giving primary school children a great first encounter with Shakespeare. Read here.

Friday, 13 March 2015

BEOWULF


Here you can find a very detailed analysis of this Anglo-Saxon epic poem. Click here to download a PDF presentation to revise it.



Thursday, 12 March 2015

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON


Robert Louis Stevenson is best known as the author of the children’s classic Treasure Island (1883), and the mystery story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) which deals with the theme of man torn between good and evil forces in his  soul.
The only son of a wealthy civil engineer, he was born in Edinburgh in 1850. He belonged to a very conservative, authoritarian and Calvinist household and was destined to follow his father's career. At the age of 17 he rebelled against the family and entered university to study law, led a Bohemian way of life, became an atheist and took up a critical attitude to the hypocrisy of bourgeois respectability. At the age of 23 he started to travel to attempt to recover from a respiratory illness. In 1876 he met and fell in love with an American divorced  lady, followed her to America  and married her in 1880. In the same year he reconciled with his father, went back to Scotland and began writing stories. He soon had to move to milder climates to cure his bad health. In 1887 he went to America again and then to Samoa where he spent his last years. Native Samoans called him Tusitala, which means storyteller. On  3 December 1894, at forty-four years of age, Stevenson died of a cerebral haemorrhage.
Here you can read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,  which is considered "one of the best guidebooks of the Victorian era" because of its piercing description of the fundamental dichotomy of the 19th century "outward respectability and inward lust (=concupiscence, self-indulgence and moral corruption)" as that period had a tendency for social hypocrisy and self-possession (=reliance on one's own abilities, decisions).

Sunday, 1 March 2015

MARCH


"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees."
Robert Frost, A Prayer in Spring