Literature

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Portrait of Miriam Tlali as part of Adrian Steirn’s 21 Icons South Africa project. Date: 15.10.2014. Adrian Steirn/Courtesy of 21 Icons South Africa

Under the influence of … the Black Consciousness novel ‘Amandla’

A South African novel, published in 1980 and dealing with the Soweto student uprising four years earlier, still provides lessons for students today.
The global South has more in common than just proximity – our cultural heritage links our literature. Chris Goldberg

Reading three great southern lands: from the outback to the pampa and the karoo

Seasons, stars, settler colonialism: the nations of the south – Australia, Argentina and South Africa – have much in common. And the 2003 Nobel laureate for literature, JM Coetzee, is helping reframe Australian writing within this southern context.
With our attention diverted, we’re no longer in the moment. 'Concert' via www.shutterstock.com

What’s lost when we photograph life instead of experiencing it?

Whether it’s through Facebook or Snapchat, images and videos are changing how we communicate. But as words become more trivial, our attention, our creativity, and even our empathy may be at stake.
Both Hamlet and ‘True Detective’’s Rust Cohle make audiences wonder whether they’re deserving of sympathy or blame. Nick Lehr/The Conversation

In today’s most popular shows, Shakespeare’s iconic characters live on

The psychological complexity of Shakespeare's characters has rendered them timeless. Today, we see The Bard's influence in shows like 'Breaking Bad' and 'True Detective.'
‘All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost’ - ancient Elvish verse of prophecy. Shutterstock/Serhii Bobyk

How to invent a Tolkien-style language

Quenya, Sindarin, Klingon and Dothraki – there's an art to making up languages.
EL James: the infamous ‘Fifty Shades’ author. REUTERS/Neil Hall

What makes a book ‘good’?

A poor review doesn't make for a bad book. But a good one doesn't make for a good one either.
Let’s critique the literary canon, but we shouldn’t throw the Brontës out with the bathwater. The Brontë Sisters, by Patrick Branwell Brontë, circa 1834.

Friday essay: the literary canon is exhilarating and disturbing and we need to read it

Like it or not, the literary canon is part of the cultural capital of the West. Universities that choose not to teach it – or refuse to critically engage with it – are actually disempowering students.
Discworld is a wildly inventive literary creation that sprawls over dozens of books. David Skinner

A beginner’s guide to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

This Saturday it will be a year since Alzheimer's stole Terry Pratchett from the world. We mark the occasion with a beginner's guide to his most enduring creation, the 41-book Discworld series.
In the current publishing climate culture is always subsumed to business. Daniel Wehner

Publishing should be more about culture than book sales

The perception of publishing as a business, even a creative one, means that the question of book sales dominates our conversations about it. But publishing offers far more to our culture than that.
Jane Austen horror has burgeoned into a distinctive subgenre of adaptations. Kevin Harber

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: it’s the Jane Austen horror show

England’s green and pleasant land will be beset by a plague of the living dead, corpses will dig their way out of graves ... Jane Austen horror is now a distinctive subgenre of Austen adaptations.

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