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From The Well of Loneliness to Exciting Times: LGBTQ+ Narratives, Ninety Years Apart

with uproar, leading to the book being banned under the Obscene Publications Act . This was because Hall had chosen to write from the perspective of a lesbian protagonist, Stephen. Stephen is assigned female at birth but given a traditionally masculine name due to their parents’ desire for a male child; this begins a life of identity conflict. The depiction of Stephen’s complicated relationship with their sexuality and gender speaks to Hall’s lived experience with gender dysphoria. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says that Hall believed that they were “a man trapped in a woman’s body”. Like the young Stephen, who likes to be called Nelson, Hall adopted a male pseudonym to write under, Radclyffe. A portrait of Hall painted in 1918bears a striking resemblance to Stephen in their later years, which suggests that what makes The Well of Loneliness so heartrending is that the emotional anguish comes from the heart of the author. Hall’s experience as someone who did not identify as the gender assigned to them at birth, is such an important narrative to read and understand – and to have been writing this story as early as 1928 marks out Hall as a revolutionary. Continue reading From The Well of Loneliness to Exciting Times: LGBTQ+ Narratives, Ninety Years Apart

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How Important is it to Change Your Diet to Support Environmental Causes?

Are you feeling gut wrenchingly guilty after watching Netflix’s Seaspiracy? Created by the same team responsible for Cowspirarcy, the 2014 eco-film that helped usher in veganism as en vogue, Seaspiracy holds a shocking mirror to the impact our fishing industry is having on the environment. Your favourite California roll is probably looking less appetising, and rightly so. The film has pushed many to consider changing … Continue reading How Important is it to Change Your Diet to Support Environmental Causes?

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Reading Corner: To Imagination: Reflecting on Emily Brontë’s Poetry

Most of us turn to Wuthering Heights when we think of one of our most esteemed writers – Emily Brontë, and understandably so. Her first and only novel (owing to her premature death), is a work of genius which laces together desire, grief, and the inner workings of the human psyche with the gothic setting of the vast Yorkshire Moors. I first read Wuthering Heights … Continue reading Reading Corner: To Imagination: Reflecting on Emily Brontë’s Poetry

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Reading Corner: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Is it weird to read Love in the Time of Cholera in the middle of a global pandemic? Maybe not, but it is becoming a bit of a cliché. Gabriel García Márquez’s novel has had a resurgence in readership since the start of COVID-19, even inspiring the title of a TV show: Love in the Time of Corona. But is the book a comfort during times of illness, or an exploration of what happens when love goes too far? Continue reading Reading Corner: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Bleed Greener: Cli-Fi, a Genre to Save Us All?

This year, I have been thinking a great deal about the role of the arts and humanities in the fight against climate change. While I have heard anecdotes about interdisciplinary projects that aim to tackle the ongoing environmental crisis from a range of different scholarly perspectives, it is troubling that the input of the humanities scholars is often reportedly neglected in favour of the data produced by the scientists and geographers. Undoubtedly, there is a sound rationale behind such a decision: we need data to assess the extent of the problem, and to develop practical recommendations for change. However, I strongly believe that the arts and humanities have serious untapped potential for helping to divert our course away from environmental catastrophe. Continue reading Bleed Greener: Cli-Fi, a Genre to Save Us All?

Poetry and Politics

As the striking young woman in the vibrant yellow coat approached the podium at the presidential inauguration earlier this year the world held its breath. Amanda Gorman represents the voice of a new political era, an embodiment of hope and a testament to the potential for change. Her words were not the empty promises of populist leaders but were enthusiastic declarations of joy and purpose. … Continue reading Poetry and Politics

Rewriting the ‘Bodice Ripper’

Racing heartbeats, open shirts and heaving bosoms; I’m sure we can all picture those tacky and titillating cover illustrations that make the Bodice Ripper so infamous within the realm of romance fiction. Popularised in the 1970s, the genre is commonly associated with patriarchal ideals of dominant men fighting for the heart of the passive woman, where the hero’s rape of the virginal heroine acts as a catalyst for her undying love. Increasingly formulaic in their historical settings and adventure orientated romances, publishers of the 1970s and 1980s knew what seemed to work for their female readership. Continue reading Rewriting the ‘Bodice Ripper’

Steamy Scandals: Literary Representations of Sex

Given we all have more spare time because of lockdown, I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I’ve been reading some books with a few spicy scenes. Especially with the likes of Bridgerton being released on Netflix in January, a lot of the popular books have a steamy romance at the heart of their narrative. The intimate parts of any novel always walk a … Continue reading Steamy Scandals: Literary Representations of Sex

Black Feminist Books That Should be on Your Bookshelf

Feminist literature is a category that takes up a huge amount of space on my bookcase. It is one of my primary interests when reading for pleasure or when picking modules within my degree. Considering the importance of intersectional feminism and inclusivity in what we read and how we educate ourselves, it is extremely important to diversify our bookshelves. As there are simply too many amazing Black feminist writers to mention in this article, including Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Zora Neale Hurston, Claudia Rankine and Warsan Shire to name a few, I have instead decided to list three of my favourite Black feminist writers to get you started. The first being one of my favourite authors who I believe to be a fantastic starting point in your reading, the second is a recent read that I loved, and the final recommendation is the next book that I am planning on reading that I have heard amazing things about. Continue reading Black Feminist Books That Should be on Your Bookshelf