Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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A Very Short Film competition

By Chloe Foster
After more than three months of students carefully planning and creating their entries, the Very Short Film competition has closed and the longlisted submissions have been announced.

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How ardently I admire and love you…

On 28 January 1813, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published. Originally titled ‘First Impressions’, Austen was forced to re-title it with a phrase from Frances Burney’s Cecilia after the publication of Margaret Holford’s First Impressions. We’ve paired an extract from the book with a scene from the most recent dramatization to see how Austen’s words have survived the centuries.

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The Subject is Jazz

The New Year is a time of looking forward to the future and back to the past. Looking back, last year witnessed the death of Dave Brubeck, one of the all time great jazz musicians. Brubeck became famous through his live performances and his recordings, especially the seminal Time Out album released in 1958. But he also became famous through his many appearances on American and international television.

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HFR and The Hobbit: There and Back Again

By Arthur P. Shimamura
Is it the sense of experiencing reality that makes movies so compelling? Technological advances in film, such as sound, color, widescreen, 3-D, and now high frame rate (HFR), have offered ever increasing semblances of realism on the screen. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we are introduced to the world of 48 frames per second (fps), which presents much sharper moving images than what we’ve seen in movies produced at the standard 24 fps.

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Holy Court of Owls, Batman!

By Mark Peters
My name is Mark Peters, and I am a Batman-aholic. I blame Christopher Nolan. Between The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, I felt an insatiable thirst for more Batman than Mr. Nolan was providing. In my desperation, I turned to a childhood addiction: comic books.

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Downton’s Secrets

By Deborah Cohen
Not long now, Downton fans. The beribboned third season wafts ashore in America today, though if the students I teach are any indication, the younger set (fervent Occupiers, some of them — savor the irony!) have already partaken via illegal means.

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A definition of ‘hobbit’ for the OED

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit… What’s a hobbit and how did J.R.R. Tolkien come by this word? Was it invented, adapted, or stolen? To celebrate the release of The Hobbit film and renewed interest in J.R.R Tolkien’s work, we’ve excerpted this passage from The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary by Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall, and Edmund Weiner.

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Love and appetite in Anna Karenina

A timely reminder to act while you still can for New Year’s Eve… A new film adaptation of Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightly and directed by Joe Wright, has opened worldwide, so we wanted to put it to the test. How faithful is the script to the novel? We’ve paired a scene from the film with an excerpt of the work below. One of the greatest novels ever written, Anna Karenina sets the impossible and destructive triangle of Anna, her husband Karenin, and her lover Vronsky against the marriage of Levin and Kitty, thus illuminating the most important questions that face humanity.

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The women of Les Miz

On Christmas Day, the eagerly-awaited movie musical Les Misérables — “A Musical Phenomenon” the advertisement promises — will open across the United States. If it makes half the splash that its Broadway source did in 1987, we’re in for a long ride. The musical ran for 6680 performances, and won Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score. It closed and then re-opened for another 463-performance run in 2006. It continues to tour the US.

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Football, festivity, and music

Sports fans eagerly anticipate television broadcasts of their favorite sports, whether it is baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, boxing, golf, auto racing, or any of the other events aired on the tube. In the USA, the biggest television sports event is undoubtedly (American) professional football: the National Football League. In 2011, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the highest-rated program on American TV.

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You must forget me

How can Anna live without her lover Count Vronsky? One of the greatest novels ever written, Anna Karenina sets the impossible and destructive triangle of Anna, her husband Karenin, and her lover Vronsky against the marriage of Levin and Kitty. We’ve paired an excerpt of the novel with a scene from the film adaptation, starring Keira Knightly and directed by Joe Wright, below. How do Tolstoy and Wright bring that fateful train station to life?

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Jack Kerouac: On and Off the Road

By David Sterritt
Jack Kerouac, the novelist and poet who gave the Beat Generation its name, died 43 years ago on 21 October 1969 at the age of 47. On Friday, the long-delayed movie version of Kerouac’s autobiographical novel about crisscrossing the United States with his hipster friend Neal Cassady in the 1940s, On the Road will be released. When the novel was published in 1957, six years after he finished writing it, Kerouac dreamed up his own screen adaptation, hoping to play himself (called Sal Paradise in the novel) opposite Marlon Brando as Dean Moriarty, the Cassady character.

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The Naming of Hobbits

By Michael Adams
It will be interesting to see how much of J. R. R. Tolkien’s several invented languages will appear in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. In a letter to his American publisher, dated 30 June 1955, Tolkien suspected there were limits to how much invented language readers would ‘stomach’, to use his term. There are certainly limits to how much can be included in a film. American audiences, anyway, are subtitle averse.

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The Day-Lewis Lincoln: (racial) frontiersman

By Jim Cullen
As anyone vaguely familiar with his work knows, Day-Lewis is legendary for the extraordinary variety of characters he has played, and the vertiginous psychological depth with which he has played them. I first became aware of Day-Lewis in early 1985, when, in the space of a week, I watched him portray the priggish Cecil Vyse in the tony Merchant-Ivory film adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Room with a View and then saw him play Johnny, the punk East End homosexual, in Stephen Frears’s brilliantly brash My Beautiful Launderette.

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Seven words that gained fame on TV shows

Television shows have a huge influence on popular culture, and so it is not surprising that many words and phrases have come into common usage through the medium of television. Here are a few of our favourite words and phrases that were popularized through iconic TV shows.

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Music in political ads

Ask most TV viewers about what they think of political ads on TV, and they will say that they hate them. But political TV ads have been shown to be effective in validating voters’ leanings toward or against a particular candidate, or for sowing seeds of doubt about a particular candidate.

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