Canada

On Canadian literature and its survival complex

When Canadian author Margaret Atwood first published her study “Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature” in 1972, it drew a lot of attention. A research aimed at a non-academic audience, it highlighted a few basic elements in Canadian literature, also posing the question on the identity or (supposedly) the existence of a Canadian literature.…

secretgarden

A short history of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s real secret garden

Upon its first publication in “The American Magazine” in 1910, readers first got to picture the garden at Misselthwaite Manor. A beautiful garden, a secret place locked away and left overgrown. Its description, however, is not solely based on Frances Hodges Burnett’s imagination: “The Secret Garden” was in fact inspired by a real garden, one the…

princess

The good, the bad and the obsolete: rediscovering the Princess of Clèves

Recognised as the first modern novel in history, “La Princesse de Clèves” has ridden a rollercoaster in terms of popularity and fame ever since its first publication in anonymous form in March 1678. Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, countess of La Fayette, simply known as Madame de La Fayette was a 28 year-old married woman when…

donkey

When Robert Louis Stevenson travelled with a donkey in the Cévennes

Long before Scottish writer and poet Robert Louis Stevenson published his popular novella “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” and shortly before his rise to fame with the release of “Treasure Island“, the Scottish writer successfully experimented with another genre in literature: the travelogue. Actually, his first book was an account based…

contemporaryrussian

Beyond yesterday’s perspective: Russia and contemporary literature

I hear that “The Master and Margarita” is a brilliant novel, that Dostoyevsky’s works are widely appreciated in Universities and that Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” is an all-time classic of Russian literature. All true. Then, how come new authors from Russia are barely mentioned in the English language? There is a contemporary literature in Russia. One…