Scenes from the Means (of Production)

The movies we consume, that become “the great movies” of whatever canon we subscribe to, are little more than stand-ins for all the unmade movies we never get to see. Illiterate fantasies projected onto the mind’s eye, horror scripts hidden in the cracks of prison walls, indie classics composed by solipsistic minds, confidently plotted out scene by scene and stored safely in memory palaces.

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Stefan Zweig: The Journeys of a European

The conditions that led to Zweig’s departure from Vienna and eventually Europe all too closely resemble the current climate. The amalgamation of rising xenophobia, Brexit, the rising popularity of the mildly-labelled “alt-right” in France, The Netherlands, Italy, and particularly in Poland and Hungary, would surely inspire the same feeling of despair in Zweig if he were living today.

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Sex Education is the Show We Need in the #MeToo Era

The new Netflix show Sex Education might seem like just another teenage dramedy. It has a John Hughes-inspired soundtrack, features an awkward teenage virgin boy protagonist, and a wardrobe with an 80s nod, which the show’s warm lighting casts in a vintage-y, golden hue. But the strength of the show lies in its portrayal of gender, toxic masculinity, and sexuality.

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Anneloes Jager
The Man From Earth: How the Self is Constructed

The construction of the Self is historically situated and is a conscious re-creation of what Nietzsche calls our “second nature” making us “poets of our lives”. The focal point of The Man From Earth is John Oldman, a university professor who claims to be 14,000 years old and has stopped ageing after 35. He has met the Buddha, sailed with Christopher Columbus and been a dear friend of Van Gogh. How is such a Self constructed?

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FilmSnigdha Budhiraja
A Novel Soundtrack: Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves

Rachel Malik’s debut novel Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves, shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2018, explores the relationship of the titular characters in a story of hardship, love, and friendship. This playlist curated by the author is an evocative companion to the book, building on its moods and characters.

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LiteratureRachel Malik
BoJack Horseman: What Are You Doing Here?

When BoJack Horseman dropped its first season on Netflix it was noted for its quick paced humour featuring animal puns and linguistic dexterity. Soon though, it stood out from the crowd as a show that tackles in a direct and poignant way themes of depression, self-loathing, nihilism, and existential angst. How has it developed in the last four years to become one of the most successful animated shows around?

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On Olivia Laing's Crudo: Who is Kathy Acker?

After having published carefully researched and masterfully written books on drinking, writing, and loneliness, Olivia Laing put out Crudo last week. A fictional story set in a very non-fictional moment in time, Crudo is in essence an attempt to capture, and make sense of, the experience of living through the summer of 2017, and going through that experience one moment at a time.

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BooksPlaton Poulas
God and Mammon Go to the Movies

The conflict between the competing demands of the market economy and religion is unmistakable in three much lauded films of the last decade, There Will Be BloodHail, Caesar!, and The Birth of a Nation, in which characters negotiate the underlying contradictions between a get-rich-quick economy and a money-is-the-root-of-all-evil faith.

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Essay IdeaKen Hines
Novelising a Song: Samantha Harvey's Dear Thief and Leonard Cohen

Dear Thief is not merely inspired by “Famous Blue Raincoat” – it is not an adaptation or a cover of that one song, but it’s a literary expression of several Leonard Cohen songs that dominate Harvey’s language from time to time but are always there as a thematic undercurrent that carries the entire book.

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Zadie Smith and M. Nourbese Philip: Narratives And Mythologies On Identity, Gender, And Language

Contemporary postcolonial literature is a wide and fruitful field of writing which engages in discourses of cultural identity. Often, these discourses are associated to other themes, such as language and gender. How do Zadie Smith and M. Nourbese Philip, two extraordinary contemporary women writers, position themselves in this field?

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A Very Brief History Of Metamodernism

One recent revelation in the world of vague, amorphous philosophical concepts is that of Metamodernism, an attempted follow-up to Postmodernism. Metamodernism, much like working public transport, wooden clogs, and blacking up for Christmas, was thought up by the Dutch. 

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Essay IdeaSam Ha
A Novel Soundtrack: Our Endless Numbered Days

I listen to music while I write, finding a play list that suits the tone of the book I’m writing, and I’ll play that list over and over for two years until I no longer hear any lyrics, but the mood seeps into what I’m writing. With Our Endless Numbered Days I listened to 150 tracks by Iron and Wine...

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BooksClaire Fuller