Create & Learn

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Five go mad at the Villa Diodati: Ken Russell’s ‘Gothic’

by Andrew Weltch   The creation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a fascinating tale in its own right. In the summer of 1816, Lord Byron invited fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his lover, 18-year-old Mary Godwin, to stay at the Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva, along with Mary’s’stepsister Claire Clairmont, and Byron’s physician friend […]

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Bringing Frankenstein back to life

by Andrew Weltch   Think of the ‘original’ cinematic Frankenstein’s monster, and the image that comes to mind is probably Boris Karloff in James Whale’s 1931 Frankenstein and its sequel Bride of Frankenstein. But you actually have to go back a further two decades for the genuine original and the creature’s first appearance on film […]

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Film reviews: Mary Shelley, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour

by Michael Johnstone   A chief aim of Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Mary Shelley is established in the film’s opening shot: a young Mary Godwin sits on the ground against the gravestone of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, reading a Gothic novel. From there, we will learn that Mary looks like her mother, that William Godwin taught his […]

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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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Sex and Death: Vampires from Coleridge to Hammer

By Barry Forshaw Initially, several Gothic novels were infused with a certain Anglican perspective that (among other things) aligned the sinister influence of the Church of Rome with the locations where Catholicism reigned (notably France, Spain and Italy), concomitantly identified as fertile breeding ground for eldritch evil. A corollary of this was a certain fascination […]

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From stanza to screen: How a Keats poem is inspiring 21st-century film-makers

By Suzie Grogan In the twenty-first century it sometimes seems that only the things that are ‘up to date’ ‘relevant’, or ‘on trend’ matter. Our fast-paced lives leave little time for contemplation and today’s new technology is next year’s museum piece. We have to learn ‘mindfulness’ to appreciate the moment, drink in meaning and appreciate […]

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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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