Long Reads

On Kanye, Beyoncé, Beck, and Artistry

When Kanye West momentarily took to the stage as Beck was handed the award for Album of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammys, his quick grin and ready departure suggested that this was but a joke: a lighthearted reference to his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, upon Swift being selected for Best Female…

Joyce, Nabokov, and Dirty Books: The Publications of Ulysses, Haveth Childers Everywhere, and Lolita

With Ezra Pound acting as intermediary, from the spring of 1918 until the close of 1920, James Joyce published the emerging episodes of Ulysses in The Little Review – the American avant-garde literary magazine founded by Margaret Anderson in 1914, and edited by Anderson and Jane Heap. Having made The Little Review his outlet of choice across 1917, becoming its foreign editor,…

Clotted Hinderparts and Privy Drains: Game of Thrones and a History of Death on the Toilet

Clotted Hinderparts and Privy Drains: Game of Thrones and a History of Death on the Toilet

The twentieth century saw an abundance of famous toilet-related deaths. Elvis died in 1977 at just forty-two years old, found on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, apparently having fallen from the toilet seat. Obese, and struggling with glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, and an enlarged colon, the cause of his death was given as cardiac…

The World Cup in Wider Culture

While on the field, the 2014 World Cup saw the rise of new superstars, the decline of footballing philosophies, the interplay between varying formations, and appeared to demonstrate the narrowing of traditional power gaps in the international game – in the knockout stages, from the round of sixteen through to the final, only three of fifteen matches were won by a…

English Translations of Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘Funes the Memorious’

The impetus for Jorge Luis Borges attaining widespread international recognition came when, in May 1961, at 61 years of age, he was awarded the first Prix International alongside Samuel Beckett. The Prix International was an international award for literary merit, established by six publishing houses – Seix Barral of Barcelona, Gallimard of Paris, Einaudi of Turin, Grove Press of New York,…

A Brief History of Ukraine

A Brief History of Ukraine

With the situation in Crimea apparently determined, at least for the time being, attention is turning to other sites in Ukraine and beyond. The withdrawal of Ukrainian forces at the beginning of this week – after Russian troops seized the Belbek airbase and Feodosia naval base – marked the interim Ukrainian government’s tacit acceptance that Crimea has been lost. Russian military…

Crimea: A Literary Perspective

Crimea: A Literary Perspective

The situation in Crimea continues to develop agallop. Following events in Kiev, unidentified Russian troops have taken control of Crimea’s airports, public buildings, military installations, and ports. Amid claim and counterclaim – the apparent defection of the chief of the Ukrainian Navy, the claimed defection of thousands of Ukrainian armed forces, and allegations that the human rights of UN envoys…

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Stravinsky and Roerich

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) – the third ballet which Stravinsky composed for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, after The Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911) – was written for the 1913 Paris season, and premiered just over a hundred years ago, on 29 May, in the newly-opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The centenary of this most notorious…