Articles on Literature

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Carl Rahl’s Orestes Pursued by the Furies (1852). Wikimedia

Guide to the classics: Christina Stead’s The Beauties and Furies

The tale of a married woman who joins her lover in Paris, The Beauties and Furies is a modernist classic. Like Joyce's Ulysses, the action is concentrated in one city, but dreams are nightmarish in this city of night, not light.
Unlike Dr Strangelove, few people learned to love the bomb – but it changed society nonetheless. Columbia Pictures

How Cold War anxieties still shape our world today

Think the Cold War is over? It may be, but its effects still cast a long shadow over society.
We need women to participate equally in science fiction’s conversations about humanity’s future. MsSaraKelly

Friday essay: science fiction’s women problem

Science fiction is a popular and lucrative genre – but most authors are men and relatable female characters are sadly lacking. Given this entrenched sexism, it's time for publishers to take affirmative action.
Portrait of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, by Vasily Perov (1872). Vasily Perov/Wikimedia Commons

How Dostoevsky predicted Trump’s America

When penning his novel 'Demons,' Fyodor Dostoevsky was influenced by political turmoil in Russia. But his impulsive, crass antagonist bears a striking similarity to the GOP's candidate for president.
Icelandic sagas are under-appreciated in the world of European literature. Oscar Wergeland [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Guide to the classics: the Icelandic saga

Family feuds, love affairs, empire writing back to the motherland - the medieval Icelandic saga have it all. Though less known than other classics of European literature they richly deserve a place among the best.
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.'

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