Magazine created by students of the Department of English and American Studies at Masaryk University.

“Every day is a new experience”: Interview with the Honorary Consul of Australia Ms Jana Kvasnicová

in Current Issue/Interviews

By Kristína Šefčíková and Markéta Šonková

Photo kindly provided by Austrade, used with permission.

 

Interviewing Ms Kvasnicová was special in at least two ways: for the first time in the history of the magazine, we had the honour of talking to an honorary consul – one of only two such representatives of major English speaking countries based in the Czech Republic. Ms Kvasnicová is also a graduate of our very own Department of English and American Studies, which made the interview all the more special for both sides involved. The fruitful discussion delved into the history of Czech-Australian ties, current developments of said ties heading towards closer cooperation, the role of the European Union in these processes, but also football teams, career advice, and of course, fond memories of the consul’s times at the Department.

This year, we commemorate 100 years since the foundation of diplomatic relations between the former Czechoslovak Republic and the Commonwealth of Australia, as it was exactly 100 years ago when the first Czech diplomatic representation in Australia, the still present Consulate in Sydney, was opened. Yet, the ties go well beyond diplomacy, trade, and numerous bilateral agreements. For example, earlier this year, Prague Zoo raised 20 million CZK to help the Australian fauna after the bushfires that swept across the continent. So, there indeed seems to be quite a palpable sense of solidarity between our nations. How do you personally perceive the relationship between the two countries?

The relationship between the Czech Republic and Australia is very strong. There is keen interest from both governments to engage, and although we can’t travel to and from each other’s countries at the moment, government to government interaction is on-going. We both stand for free and open global markets and we greatly appreciate the support from the Czech Government.

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The Old, the New, and the Queerly Magical World of Dickinson

in Current Issue/Reviews

By Tereza Walsbergerová

Due to the specific blend of genres, styles, and themes it chooses to highlight – all wrapped up in a wildly anachronistic package – Alena Smith’s Apple TV+ historical comedy-drama Dickinson (2019–) will never have the same mainstream appeal as the likes of Downton Abbey, Outlander, or The Crown. That said, there probably has not been a better time for shows that explore the tumultuous past of the West (be it Britain, Canada, or America) through contemporary optics, least of all the optic of a young woman. Similar to Moira Walley-Beckett’s coming-of-age period drama adaptation of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne with an E , Dickinson offers a view of the old world through the eyes of a young woman so ahead of her time it seems only natural that her opinions be blended with today’s perspectives.  Keep Reading

Future for the Females?

in Current Issue/Reviews

by Jana Záhoráková

The Power, a science fiction novel by British novelist Naomi Alderman, was published in 2016. It won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2017 and amongst other prestigious praise, it was one of the books former president Barrack Obama listed as his favourites of that year. The novel consists of several stories of mostly young women who struggle to control and use their newly acquired super-powers which emit electricity. These stories are presented as a historical novel written by a man in a distant future world, dominated by women. The source of this power is regarded to be a mysterious liquid called “Guardian Angel” which was a medication developed during the Second World War that prevents people from dying after being exposed to toxic gas (Alderman 123). It was poured into the water reservoir to protect people from enemies. However, it had an unexpected side effect on the generations of females to come. 

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Tracing the Figure of Snow-White in the Works of Neil Gaiman

in Current Issue/Views
ANDREW GUSTAR, FLICKR, CC BY-ND 2.0

By Alena Gašparovičová

Fairy tales are an important part of our cultural heritage. Although these stories were originally primarily aimed at the adult audience, in time they came to be considered children’s literature. Since the genre of folk tales is popular across all kinds of audiences, it has been subject to rewritings by numbers of authors. The idea of adapting fairy tales to make them more appealing to a modern audience is not a new one. Already well-known fairy tale collectors like Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm or the French collector Charles Perrault adapted fairy tales in their collections to make them more appealing to the intended audience. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that contemporary authors would do the same and rewrite fairy tales to make them more appealing for modern audiences.  Keep Reading

#StayWoke Because #BlackLivesMatter: From the Tweets to the Streets

in Current Issue/Views
Vitaly Vlasov, CC BY 4.0, pexels.com

by Lucie Tomaňová

 

Since its emergence, social media has been the target of criticism from older generations as well as an unexplainable fascination for the younger generations. Through a very short time, it has transformed society and created significant differences between those who can use it and those who cannot. The ability to immediately share anything worldwide has created opportunities to share news as it is happening and to make content go viral and seen around the globe. Moreover, the use of hashtags as active links to posts with a similar topic has made it easy to navigate the sites to find specific content.

When the Black Lives Matter campaign emerged in 2013, it was social media like Twitter and Facebook that helped the movement grow from a one-city affair into a nation-wide network of collaborators and representatives of the issues of racism and social justice. Sharing of news, videos, and details about demonstrations, marches, and happenings has made the Black Lives Matter movement an unprecedented sensation. An online community of “social warriors” has built a network that the authorities have been unable to take down. Keep Reading

Language of the Future as Imagined by British Novelists

in Current Issue/Views

by Jana Záhoráková

Many novelists resort to creating dialects and languages to enrich the worlds that they make up. Probably the most famous instance of this was J.R.R. Tolkien with his detailed languages and whole cultures in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and more recently George R. R. Martin in Game of Thrones. It adds another dimension to the characters and their history. This article, however, concentrates on British novelists who do not create a new language, but rather envision the world in the future and invent ways in which present-day English might develop. They usually choose dystopian futures and with said use of the English language highlight the impact of totalitarian would-be eras. The novels discussed below are George Orwell’s 1984, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas Keep Reading

Vegans’ Milky Way: The Rise of Dairy Substitutes in UK Context

in Current Issue/Views

by Linda Krajčovičová

Dietary restrictions in today’s world are partly a result of advanced medical knowledge of numerous food intolerances, and partly a result of people’s interest in trying out different lifestyles. The popularity of various diets is largely a result of the great availability of resources, such as substitutes like tofu or gluten-free bakery products. Dietary restrictions nowadays are primarily concerned with omitting animal products, either completely, or to some degree. The concept of veganism has slowly become a stable conversation topic in recent years and has influenced many people since its origin. This article focuses on the most common vegan food eaten by both vegans and non-vegans i.e. plant-based milk, and provides a brief characterisation of the most accessible types. Keep Reading

BTS and Parasite, or How Korea is Going Far

in Current Issue/Views

by Mariia Minaeva

Korean popular culture has always been very distinct from what can be seen in the US or Europe. Korean music and TV shows were considered childish, and not taken seriously by Western viewers as they were too different. So why are Korean songs now topping the international charts? And how is it that American TV shows are desperate to have Korean groups as guests? Why do their clips on YouTube get millions of views in less than a day? What is this emerging Korean phenomenon? And more significantly, why is it so important for humanity?

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A Corona Diary from Denmark: Two perspectives

in Current Issue/Views
On our way to a Covid-19 test site.

by Anna Jílková and Michaela Medveďová

 

The early months of 2020 saw the start of the global pandemic and caused an unexpected halt on life as we knew it, locking people in their homes for a good portion of the spring. But for us, the lockdown took place in our home away from home – Denmark, where we both moved to do our Master’s degrees. Both Danish society and the education process were impacted. So, how has the land of the Vikings handled 2020 so far? Keep Reading

“What we are trying to do now is create another bilateral high point”: Interview with Her Majesty’s Ambassador Nick Archer MVO

in Current Issue/Interviews

By Markéta Šonková, Kristína Šefčíková, and Anna Formánková

Talking to an ambassador is always fascinating, as one can find out so much about the different cultures and many intersections between cultures. Talking to a British ambassador, whose professional CV runs across several countries and high offices, during a turbulent time in UK politics and a worldwide pandemic, makes the debate even more captivating. However, the discussion with Her Majesty’s Ambassador Nick Archer, who has resided in Prague since January 2018, examined not only Brexit or the past of the Czech-British ties, and the stepping stones the two countries can use to build their future ties, but also the many things we share in our everyday lives, the importance of nurturing these common values, seeing and working with the bigger picture, and inevitably also the Queen. Keep Reading

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