Thursday, 24 July 2014


Jane Austen began writing when still quite young; her first productions date from when she was around 12, and she began her first important novel, Pride and Prejudice,  when she was only 22. However, none of the works appeared in print until 1811, when Sense and Sensibility was published. Her books were well-received, even royalty were fans, but she was always modest about her work. 
Jane Austen occupies a curious position between the 18th  and 19th centuries. Her favourite writer was Dr. Johnson, the great exemplar of 18th-century classicism and reason, and her plots, which often feature a character moving through the social hierarchy, have something in common with 18th-century novels like Pamela. However, her novels are aligned with Romanticism considering the ways in which they investigate hidden mechanisms of psychic and affective life. In their awareness of the conditions of modernity and city life and the consequences for family structure and individual character, they also anticipate much Victorian literature, above all in Mansfield Park  with its melancholy characters, scandal-filled newspapers, and rounds of parties. 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


South African novelist and political activist Nadine Gordimer, aged 90,  died in her home in Johannesburg last Sunday. 
Her family confirmed the sad news, saying that Nadine passed away after a brief illness. 
In 1991 she won the Nobel prize for Literature for her novels and short stories exploring the drama of racial segregation and white-minority rule in South Africa before anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela took office in 1994.
Nadine Gordimer was a member of the African National Congress at a time when it was illegal and she was one of the first people Nelson Mandela asked to see when he was released from prison in 1990.
"She cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people and its on-going struggle to realise its new democracy," the family statement said.

Monday, 14 July 2014


Today Malala Yousafzai, an international youth supporter for the education and advancement of women,  turns another year older and completes another year of school – that’s what the terrorists never wanted to happen.

She was born on 14 July 1997 in Swat, Pakistan. As the daughter of a schoolteacher, she treasured and continued her education regardless of threats from the Taliban. In 2012, a masked gunman entered her school bus and shot to murder her. The gunman failed to kill Malala as well as her cause.
Evidently, Malala Day is a significant day to raise awareness and to help girls around the world realize their right to an education. 
“My birthday wish this year is that we all raise our voices for those under oppression, to show our own power and courage is stronger than their campaign of fear,” says Malala.

Sunday, 13 July 2014


Sonnet 130 is Shakespeare's realistic tribute to his unattractive mistress, commonly referred to as "the dark lady" because of her dun complexion; nevertheless the poet ends the sonnet by proclaiming his love for his mistress despite her lack of adornment.
Click here to find a detailed analysis of this sonnet.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Friday, 4 July 2014


Click here to read about the tradition of Independence Day in the United States.
Here you can read about the Declaration of Independence which was signed on July 4th, 1776.

The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation. 
Woodrow Wilson

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, 3 July 2014


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. 

Today let's watch the BBC TV four-part dramatisation of the novel.  You can read The Guardian review here.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


I guess it’s better late than never, but I have only recently discovered  Sherlock  and I must confess I simply love it! This much-admired British television crime drama presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's  Sherlock Holmes detective stories. Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson

Tuesday, 1 July 2014


Answer July—
Where is the Bee—
Where is the Blush—
Where is the Hay?

Ah, said July—
Where is the Seed—
Where is the Bud—
Where is the May—
Answer Thee—Me—

Nay—said the May—
Show me the Snow—
Show me the Bells—
Show me the Jay!

Quibbled the Jay—
Where be the Maize—
Where be the Haze—
Where be the Bur?
Here—said the Year—