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…

latin

Can’t repeat the past: on the Latin language and its unlikely revival

When you start learning a new language you picture yourself understanding that language, you learn how to interact with it and without a doubt you project yourself into a future where this new language gives access to new and exciting possibilities. But Latin looks backwards. And any learner of Latin is forced to look at…

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…