Create & Learn

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'Becoming Manfred': Tchaikovsky and Byron

by David Perkins Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s festival overture, The Year 1812, (popularly known as the 1812 Overture), is probably one of his most famous works. Tchaikovsky didn’t think much of it as it was a commission piece to open the All-Russian Arts and Industry Exhibition. “It is impossible to set about without repugnance music that […]

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'The Albatross': From Rime to opera

by Sinéad O’Neill Melville was right when he wrote, of the Albatross, ‘that white phantom sails in all imaginations.’ It sailed then, and it sails still. Coleridge’s poem on the same subject also haunts the collective imagination. It has certainly caught my fancy, enough to make me want to create an opera. Even people unfamiliar […]

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Wordsworth in Leicestershire

by Jeanne Rae Coleorton is an unremarkable village in North West Leicestershire, where the landscape was defined for almost 500 years by a coal industry that’s long since gone. The old colliery site has been planted over by the National Forest and Coleorton Hall, a Grade II listed building that once hosted a buzzing hive […]

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Fictionalising 1816: The death of Harriet Shelley

by Lynn Shepherd The Shelleys and their circle have inspired hundreds of books, plays and films over the last two centuries, and there have been many accounts of that famous summer they spent together in 1816, when Frankenstein was conceived. But all the same there remain many inexplicable gaps and strange silences, where the biographers […]

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Fictionalising 1816: The suicide of Fanny Imlay

by Lynn Shepherd I write literary mysteries. Taking the classic literature of the 19th century as the inspiration for new stories that inhabit the same world. I’ve worked with novels like Mansfield Park, Bleak House, and Dracula, and in my third book, I did the same with two of the century’s most remarkable literary figures: […]

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Film review: Bright Star

By Carla Ferreira “Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art— / Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night [. . . .]” The opening lines of John Keats’s ethereal poem are splendid enough to make even the staunchest modernist swoon. Despite my deep-rooted allegiances to Whitman—a secret Keats fan himself—and later poets, […]

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Film review: Pandaemonium

by Esther Rutter Anyone who is even faintly familiar with the major events in the lives of Wordsworth and Coleridge will have a field day watching Julian Temple’s quasi-biopic Pandaemonium. I recommend inviting your literary-inclined friends round for an evening of riotous entertainment, watching the film whilst taking part in the following themed drinking game […]

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Frankenstein in Hollywood

by Barry Forshaw ‘It’s alive! It’s alive!’ gasps the English actor Colin Clive, working himself into a paroxysm over the twitching, scarred body of the patchwork corpse he has reanimated in Frankenstein (1931). It’s a seismic moment in several senses, freezing the derisory laugher it might prompt in an age of more subtle performances. An […]

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