The Dangers of Patriotic Zeal: Taras Bulba

The 1962 film Taras Bulba focuses on a revolution you might never have heard of if you’re not from eastern Europe. It tells the story of a 17th-century rebellion of the Zaporozhian Cossacks against their Polish overlords by focusing on a fictional family. It’s based on a book by Ukrainian author Nikolai Gogol, originally released as a short story in 1835. The Tsarist Russian authorities condemned that version as being “too Ukrainian.” Gogol later revised and expanded the story into a novel that pleased those in power. Continue reading

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The Russian Revolution

While the Russian Revolution technically began in March 1917,  it comprised two rebellions. The seeds of the revolt had been taking root for decades and to understand how and why it happened, one must take a quick glimpse at Russian history. Continue reading

Let Them Eat Cake: The Real Marie Antoinette

No one is more synonymous with the French Revolution than Marie Antoinette. Notorious spendthrift, Austrian spy, and licentious adulterer, Marie became the focus point for everything the French public despised about the Monarchy and the wider Aristocracy. After all, upon hearing the French peasants could not afford bread, she said “Let them eat cake!” Except she didn’t. A vaguely named “Grand Princess” supposedly uttered that statement before Marie Antoinette’s arrival in France. Is it possible many of Marie’s infamous traits were exaggerations, if not outright slander? If so, who was the real Marie Antoinette and what kind of Queen was she? Continue reading

Music Makers: Joseph Plunkett and the Irish Easter Rising

“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

When Arthur O’Shaughnessy wrote his famous ode to the power of the poet’s imagination in 1873, he had no inkling how prophetic those words would prove. A poet’s imagination and dreams molded and fired the Easter Rising of 1916—the final catalyst of Irish independence, after four centuries of British oppression. That poet was Joseph Mary Plunkett, and 1916 was his last year on earth. Continue reading

Love Can Be a Revolution: Doctor Zhivago

Recreating history has always been a draw for every storytelling medium but this is particularly true of cinema. The events of the past can be inherently dramatic, and nothing encapsulates conflict like a revolution. When a group of people stand up against a powerful government or oppressive regime to achieve better lives, their story can evoke emotions in unique ways. When a piece of fiction uses such a situation as a backdrop for a successful narrative like a love story, the result can be special. Doctor Zhivago is a perfect example. Its scope and intimacy illustrates parallels between history and emotion. Continue reading

July / Aug 2018 Articles

Revolution. The word sends a chill up the most hardened spine. History has seen countless bloody conflicts, most of which resulted in mass losses of life and innocent victims. In this issue, we explore them in all their gruesomeness, to remind ourselves that change never comes without great cost. Check back each Saturday for a new article!

IN THIS ISSUE:

Love Can Be a Revolution: Doctor Zhivago, by Rachel Sexton

Music Makers: Joseph Plunkett and the Irish Easter Rising, by Jessica Prescott

The Origins of a Monster: The Regency Sexual Revolution, by Charity Bishop

Let Them Eat Cake: The Real Marie Antoinette, by Scarlett Grant

The Russian Revolution, by Veronica Leigh

The Dangers of Patriotic Zeal: Taras Bulba, by Rachel Kovaciny

Olympe de Gouges, by Scarlett Grant

Thank you, and please enjoy our historical reflections!

 

Kind Courage: The New Cinderella

“Have courage, and be kind,” our heroine’s mother tells Ella before she passes away.

The theme resonates through the story, as Ella is joyous amid her troubles—when banished to the attic by her wicked stepmother, she rearranges the scraps of furniture and shakes out a dusty blanket, before she tells the mice how much she enjoys solitude. Continue reading

A New Maleficent

Just how do you rework a classic fairy tale, offering something new and different to audiences whilst still maintaining the magic? Maleficent (2014) balances new and old in this wave of live-action adaptations of old animated classics. Interestingly, unlike Cinderella (2015) and Beauty and the Beast (2017), Maleficent is the Wicked-esque version of Sleeping Beauty (1959) where the titular Maleficent receives a rich backstory. This twist on the classic tale has not been used for any other Disney live-action adaptations. Maleficent is unique in not only being able to keep to the bare bones of the original, but also insert some new twists and subversions of fairy tale tropes. Continue reading