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English literature

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  • 13 Dec 2023
    Alan Manford

    Life’s Little Ironies

    This illustration appeared at the start of the serialisation of Thomas Hardy’s “A Few Crusted Characters” (then called “Wessex Folk”); afterwards collected into the volume of Life’s Little Ironies.  It shows a main street in Dorchester (Hardy’s Casterbridge) and gives an impression of the life of its people.  Using words, Hardy does something similar, but […]

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  • 8 Dec 2023
    Jennifer A. Lorden

    The Complicated Feelings of Early English Writing

    The Middle Ages is a story modernity tells about itself. Ideas of rebirth, or of an “enlightened” modern age, or of a supposed rejection of primitive superstition in favor of rational thinking, often depend on the idea of a cruder past that a more glorious present can be contrasted against—and often overstate the achievements of […]

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  • 5 Dec 2023
    AMY LIDSTER

    Wartime Shakespeare

    What comes to mind if you think about the use of Shakespeare during wartime? Perhaps it is Laurence Olivier’s famous 1944 cinematic adaptation of Henry V, prominently dedicated to the troops of Great Britain. But what is often overlooked is just how embedded Shakespeare has been in wartime culture, in Britain and globally, since at […]

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  • 23 Nov 2023
    Philip Smallwood

    Criteria of the Heart: Dr. Johnson at the Travelodge

    In the summer of 1968 at the age of eighteen, I received my undergraduate first year reading list from my tutor at Lincoln College. Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, the little two-volume hardback World’s Classics edition now out of print, instantly drew my eye. My Cheshire town had no bookshop, but a branch of W.H. […]

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  • 23 Nov 2023
    John Claiborne Isbell

    Staël, Romanticism and Revolution: The Life and Times of the First European

    The story goes that when Napoleon met Staël, he told her he didn’t like women talking politics. And she replied that in a period when women are beheaded, it is natural for them to want to know why. Daughter of Necker, prime minister of France as the Bastille fell, friend of Jefferson and Tsar Alexander, […]

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  • 9 Nov 2023
    Victoria Bladen, Sarah Hatchuel, Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin

    Shakespeare on Screen: Romeo and Juliet

    The wait is over! We are very excited to announce the publication of the latest edited volume in the Cambridge University Press Shakespeare on Screen series, focusing on Romeo and Juliet! (Previous volumes in the series include Shakespeare on Screen: Othello; Shakespeare on Screen: The Tempest and Late Romances; and Shakespeare on Screen: King Lear.) […]

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  • 3 Nov 2023
    Ankhi Mukherjee, Ato Quayson

    Decolonizing the Literary Curriculum

    The word curriculum is derived from the Latin verb “currere,” meaning run, trot, gallop, hasten, speed, travel, or rapidly flow. The concept of the curriculum is a unique, almost self-cancelling aggregate of dynamism and stasis in that the running, trotting, galloping, speeding, and flowing of its root word happen along fixed pathways or ruts. The […]

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  • 31 Oct 2023
    Lorna Hutson

    England’s Insular Imagining: The Elizabethan Erasure of Scotland

    We say – and rightly – that we need to learn our histories. ‘Not knowing each other’s stories’, as David Olusoga has recently said in the Guardian, is a ‘weakness’ in Britain, not least in terms of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom. But what if the dominant ‘history’ of the Union […]

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