Thursday, 21 July 2016


Jane Eyre was Charlotte Brontë’s second novel, but the first to be published. The first, The Professor, was rejected several times  by the publishers and was published posthumously. Jane Eyre, on the other hand, was accepted at once, favourably reviewed and recognised as something new in English fiction  -  it used traditional conventions in a very personal way. The strong autobiographical element is what typifies all her work and this novel in particular. In fact, Charlotte Brontë’s  fiction is best understood in the light of her personal background, as it is essentially  the expression of her passionate  temper and the imaginary world  in which  she lived.  The first-person  narrator, who in 18th-century fiction was used to add the realism of narration, is used by Charlotte Brontë  to convey  personal feelings  in order that the narrator becomes directly identified with the author. This accounts  for the emotional use of language and reveals the strength of Charlotte Brontë’s feelings and her interest in the nature  of human relationships. She also employed Gothic conventions in a personal way, not just for the sake of arousing  a sense  of horror, but as a means of evoking feelings. The handling of nature  serves the same purpose.  The emotional use of  language, the symbolic handling of nature and the projection of personal feelings are features typical of Romantic poetry, but they appear  for the first time in serious  fiction  in the novels of  Charlotte Brontë. The Romantic aspect is also evident in the male protagonist of Jane Eyre  -  Rochester is a typical Byronic hero. Despite his stern manner and not particularly handsome appearance, he is very attractive to women, but restless and moody and with something mysterious about his past. 
You can read The Guardian review here.
Here you can read the novel.

"Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags." 
Charlotte Brontë

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Monday, 18 July 2016


Jane Austen died on 18 July 1817, after a long illness. She spent the last weeks of her life in Winchester and is buried in the cathedral there.

Here you can read a lovely post about a visit to Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire … unfortunately I still haven’t had the chance of going there!  Maybe some day …
Here you can find another interesting post about Jane Austen in Winchester.

Sunday, 10 July 2016


Here you can read an article about the circumstances surrounding the writing of the novel. 
Click here to read and listen to  "1984" audio-book.

Friday, 1 July 2016


"To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie  -
True Poems flee"
Emily Dickinson

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Today I recommend watching The Importance of Being Earnest here, the 2002  British-American romantic comedy-drama film based on Oscar Wilde's classic comedy of manners play of the same name.
This play is funny all the time, actually there is nothing earnest about it, at least on the surface! It is a satire of the Victorian era, when a complicated code of behaviour governed everything from communication to sexuality. Regarded by many as Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece, it offers a brilliant commentary on class, money, marriage and morals.
Click here to read the whole play.
Here and here you can find a detailed analysis of the play (plot, characters, themes).

Friday, 24 June 2016


Yesterday Britain voted to leave the European Union  by 52 per cent to 48 per cent.
What happens now? No one really knows,  since no nation has ever departed from the EU before. 
Read here about "the Brexit question".
One thing is for sure, the United Kingdom appears to be a country divided, and may not be a country for long. Read here.
Today British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had campaigned vigorously for a "Remain" vote,  appeared outside 10 Downing Street to announce his plans to leave government in three months.


Maturità 2016 Liceo Linguistico, seconda prova online

Yesterday my students of  5^C Liceo Linguistico took an English test on the day of their II Prova Scritta.
It included a text analysis and a composition, but they could choose among four different articles. All of them were very interesting but slightly complicated.
You can download them here.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Born on June 21, 1948, in Aldershot, England, Ian McEwan earned notice for his short stories before his 1978 debut novel The Cement Garden. Many other long-form works have followed over the years, including the Booker Prize-winning AmsterdamAtonementSaturday and Sweet Tooth. Several of his works have been adapted into film and McEwan has worked as a screenwriter on projects like The Good Son.
Continue reading here.

Thursday, 16 June 2016


Bloomsday is a celebration that takes place both in Dublin and around the world. It celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, which is the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Ulysses. The novel follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of other characters – real and fictional – from 8am on 16 June 1904 through to the early hours of the following morning.
Celebrations often include dressing up like characters from the book and in clothes that would have been the style of the era. One of the hallmark fancy dress items of Bloomsday is the straw boater hat. Celebrations come in many different forms like readings, performances and visiting the places and establishments that are referenced in the book. The Bloomsday Breakfast is another common celebration, which involves eating the same breakfast as Leopold Bloom consumes on the morning of 16 June. This includes liver and kidneys alongside the typical ingredients of an Irish fried breakfast. Continue reading here.

Friday, 10 June 2016


It is a 2014 American historical thriller film directed by  Morten Tyldum, with a screenplay  based on the biography  "Alan Turing: The Enigma"  by  Andrew Hodges.  

During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of 'gross indecency', an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality - little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing.  As a matter of fact, Alan Turing had decrypted German intelligence codes for the British government during World War II.

Read  the article “The Imitation Game” Dramatizes the Story of Alan Turing here.
Here you can read an interesting review of this inspiring and sad movie.
Benedict Cumberbatch's excellent performance gives added complexity to a fine account of the life of codebreaker Alan Turing. Continue reading here