On his recent visit to England Barack Obama chose to tour Shakespeare’s Globe, on Bankside; and in the last days of his Presidency, interviewed about his reading habits, he spoke touchingly and revealingly of his admiration for Shakespeare’s tragedies, and of what they had taught him. ‘I took this wonderful Shakespeare class in college’, he said, ‘where I just started to read the tragedies and dig into them.
It’s almost that time of year again, when families, friends and acquaintances get together to host a Burns supper, and celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns. Variously known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire or the Ploughman Poet, Burns is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and indeed celebrated worldwide.
Only a few years after the death of Robert Burns in 1796, local enthusiasts began to hold celebrations on or about his birthday, on 25 January, called Burn’s Night. These have continued ever since, spreading from Scotland across the world. From the earliest occasions, a focal point of the Burns supper was, of course, the haggis.
In Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Titus’s daughter Lavinia is brutally raped by Demetrius and Chiron. They prevent her from denouncing them by cutting out her tongue, and cutting off her hands. But as we see in the passage below, Lavinia nevertheless communicates their crime by pointing to a passage of Ovid’s Metamorphoses describing Tereus’s rape of Philomela.
Youthful Bertie Wells was understandably depressed in the depths of winter in early 1888. He had escaped the drudgery of being a draper’s apprentice with a scholarship, only to flunk his second-year university exams and lose his funding to the Normal School of Science in Kensington.
The eleventh of January marks the 130th anniversary of the birth of conservationist, ecologist, and writer Aldo Leopold. As one of Leopold’s biographers, I have become accustomed over the years to marking these milepost dates. They tend to bring forth a strong pulse of articles, commentaries, and editorials. Some are celebratory, perhaps built around a choice bit of Leopold prose
The MLA convention is swiftly approaching and our OUP staff members, eagerly waiting, dream of magic gardens, colonial architecture, cheesesteaks, and, of course, lots and lots of books! To share our excitement for the Modern Language Association conference, we’ve asked three OUP attendees-our philosophy veteran, UK counterpart, and newcomer.
Maybe you’ve read War and Peace; maybe you haven’t. Maybe you got part of the way through its 1,392 pages and lost the will to continue. (It happens to the best of us!) If you’re in one of the latter two camps, Brian E. Denton is here to change your mind. A freelance writer based in Queens, New York, Brian has read War and Peace seven times already and has no plans to stop there. I talked to Brian to find out what makes War and Peace so special
How are you spending New Year’s Day this year? If your mind has turned to resolutions and plans for the coming months, or even if you’ve got a touch of the January blues, then you’re in good company. To mark the start of 2017, we’ve taken a snapshot of poems, novels, and letters from famed historical and literary figures, all composed on January 1st.
Do you need some inspiration for your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re in a resolution rut and feeling some of that winter gloom, then you’re not alone. To help you on your way to an exciting start to 2017, we’ve enlisted the help of some of history’s greatest literary and philosophical figures–on their own resolutions, and inspiring thoughts for the New Year.
What do Jane Austen, William Makepeace Thackeray, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells, James Joyce, Salman Rushdie, and Hanan Al-Shaykh have in common?
In fiction, an unreliable narrator is a narrator whose credibility is in doubt – in other words, a proper reading of a narrative with an unreliable narrator requires that the audience question the accuracy of the narrator’s representation of the story, and take seriously the idea that what actually happens in the story – what is fictionally true in the narrative – is different from what is being said or shown to them.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we brought you a new theme every month throughout 2016. From Women to Race and from Money to the Supernatural, we delved into complex subjects surrounding his life and works, exploring their relevance for a modern audience. With specially commissioned videos, articles, and interactive content from a host of Shakespearean experts, Illuminating Shakespeare presented the very best Shakespeare resources from across Oxford University Press. Take a look at some of our favourites from this anniversary year…
Charles Dickens is one of the most famous novelists of all time. The energy which surges through his writing brings the Victorian world to life, and his lively ensemble of characters has seeped from his pages, deep into popular culture. There are roughly two thousand named characters in his novels, and many more unnamed. In the playlists below, we imagine what some of his most famous characters would listen to if they had access to our modern musical offerings.
When the description “Victorian” is brought up, the image of corseted and bustled women in flouncing petticoats comes to mind. Familiarized through film culture and popular imagination, many representations of the era are preserved through the literature of that period. Countless remakes and references to Victorian novels have been made throughout the centuries, making their authors household names.
With Christmas in less than two weeks, there is no better way to get in the holiday spirit than by revisiting one of our favorite Christmas scenes from classic literature.