Christmas Classics: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Marley was dead to begin with
‘Marley was dead, to begin with.’

‘Marley was dead, to begin with.’As opening lines go, this has to be one of my favourites. Last Christmas a thirteen-year-old I work with remarked that she didn’t understand why movie adaptations of ‘A Christmas Carol’ were considered appropriate fare for children, when the story is actually pretty creepy. I told her she was absolutely right: ‘A Christmas Carol’ is not a story for children. Continue reading “Christmas Classics: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol”

Author Profile: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

It would be inaccurate to call Jane Austen one of the greatest female novelists in the English language: she is, quite simply, one of the greatest novelists, male or female, in the history of English literature. Her work marks a period of transition between the highly-stylised novels of ‘sensibility’, which focussed on evoking an emotional response in the reader and had previously dominated the nascent world of the English novel, and the realism which would come to fruition in the work of writers like Dickens. Continue reading “Author Profile: Jane Austen (1775-1817)”

The Really Simple Guide To Modern Art Styles

Modern art. There are probably few terms which provoke a stronger reaction, usually along the lines of either a) “my kid could draw that”, b) “that’s indecent and should be banned”, or c) “huh?” But behold, I share with you this handy-dandy guide to identifying the various styles of modern art, explained with a giraffe. Continue reading “The Really Simple Guide To Modern Art Styles”

Poet Profile: James K. Baxter

Alone we are born
And die alone;
Yet see the red-gold cirrus
Over snow mountain shine.

Upon the upland road
Ride easy, stranger:
Surrender to the sky
Your heart of anger.

James K. Baxter, ‘High Country Weather’

Continue reading “Poet Profile: James K. Baxter”

Christianity, culture and Culture

It is sometimes difficult in our modern, secularised world to remember just how big a part religion has played in most people’s lives throughout history. By today’s standards I’m something of an oddball: a 30-something female who regularly goes to church, reads her Bible, and believes that Jesus Christ is the one true Son of God, the giver of salvation and eternal life. Continue reading “Christianity, culture and Culture”

Author Profile: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Why read Dickens? Sure he was popular in his day – the most popular author of the Victorian era, it is often said – but that was well over a hundred years ago now. Why, in the 21st century, should we still care about what this moralising freelance reporter has to say? Continue reading “Author Profile: Charles Dickens (1812-1870)”