On This Day…

…in 1918, the so-called ‘Spanish influenza’ broke out in America, when 107 soldiers became sick at Fort Riley in Kansas.

Around one quarter of the US population became ill from the virus, resulting in half a million deaths. Worldwide, the death-toll had reached approximately 22 million by the end of 1920. After the pain and suffering of four long years at war, this outbreak must have been devastating.



Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 2

The anxious discourse on female mobilisation during the war also concerned the perceived necessity of protecting the femininity of these women. Gender distinctions rest largely on appearance, thus “these trouser-clad androgynies destabilised the polarisation upon which gendered identity normally rested”[1]. … Continue reading

Review: Joyce’s War

Verdict: A fascinating slice of history told from a unique point of view; Joyce’s War perfectly captures a wartime experience that is both alien yet strangely familiar to us. Though you will be left desperate to know more (Joyce introduces … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 1

Categories of social difference are identified by how they juxtapose each other. Women are women because they are not men; masculine is masculine because it is not feminine. Gender is perceived in binary terms and this relationship is highlighted in … Continue reading

On This Day…

… in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published a pamphlet called The Communist Manifesto. It advocated the abolition of private property and emphasised that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

Arguably one of the most influential works ever, the Manifesto influenced everything from literary theory to politics – notably being adopted (and, quickly, distorted) during the Russian Revolution and under Stalin’s rule in the early twentieth century.



Ancient Greek Tragedies, The RMS Titanic and Cultural Immortality

Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, c. 429BC, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King was first performed at the Athenian Dionysia. Audiences listened with morbid fascination as a messenger revealed the awful suicide of Oedipus’ wife and mother, Jocasta, and … Continue reading

Do You Hear The People Sing? The History Behind Les Miserables

This week, my boyfriend took me to see Les Miserables at the West End. Despite being a huge fan of the film adaptation and having sung all the songs in my high school choir, I had never been able to see the show on stage. It didn’t disappoint. But, before this turns into a review of the musical or – worse – a lengthy love letter to the musical that is Les Mis, I wanted to look into the history behind the story – and the tragic events that inspired the novel it’s based on.


Continue reading

Winter Landscapes For A Wintry Day

It’s freezing outside (and inside – did I mention I’m in a super old, steel boat?) so I thought I’d share some of my favourite winter landscapes from the late 18th Century to help make the cold weather feel a bit more beautiful and a bit less brutal.

Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898) - Winter

Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898) – Winter

Continue reading