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

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Reviews

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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“Becoming” First Lady

in Reviews

by Ľubomíra Tomášová

Throughout the history, there were myriad of biographies written about First Ladies of United States and a number of memoirs written by them. In each case the story was unique and different mirroring both their backgrounds and eras in which they served. At the end of the 2018, Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming was published and soon it became the best-selling book of 2018 in the United States. This memoir is an account of the 44th First Lady of the United States and at the same time the first African American First Lady, which makes the author even more unique and relatable to her readers. Obama writes very authentically about her childhood struggles as an African American, finding herself as a young woman, wife and mother, navigating her life and finding her own voice as a First Lady and even after this part of her life being over, still continuing to be an inspiration for many.

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Towards Inclusive Heritage: Thoughts on Wain, a collection of LGBT themed poetry by Rachel Plummer

in Current Issue/Reviews/Views
Courtesy of The Emma Press, art by Helene Boppert

by Tereza Walsbergerová

Agender and gender-queer creatures, bisexual mermaids, homosexual warriors, asexual goddesses, non-binary elves, and transgender seal folk. All this and more awaits you in Rachel Plummer’s 2019 LGBT themed retellings of Scottish mythology – Wain: LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folklore. As the book was commissioned by an organisation dedicated to the inclusion of queer children and youth in Scottish society, this article questions the educational potential of story-telling, the possibility of inclusive heritage, the use and “abuse” of mythology, and the universal character of mythical meanings.

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Stoker: A Tale of Female Maturescence with a Tinge of Hitchcock

in Reviews

By Sandra Hrášková

Park Chan-wook, Marie Claire Korea, YouTube, CC BY 4.0.

 

Stoker, a 2013 psychological thriller drama film, is the English-language debut of South Korean film director, screenwriter and producer Park Chan-wook. The narrative depicts the unsettling coming of age story of a young woman repressed by her dysfunctional family. Chan-wook is praised as one of the most renowned and favoured filmmakers in South Korea and has also been gradually gaining popularity worldwide. In interviews, he lists both Western and Asian filmmakers as his figures of influence, for instance the Korean producer Ki-duk Kim and the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. As Kurt Osenlund discovered when interviewing Chan-wook, Stoker was influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of Doubt.

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Ponti: On Female Strengths and Burdensome Social Roles

in Reviews
The cover of Ponti published by Simon & Schuster, photo credit: Simon & Schuster. Picture courtesy of Sharlene Teo.

By Sandra Hrášková

Sharlene Teo is a Singaporean novelist based in the United Kingdom whose fictional pieces have appeared in publications such as Esquire UK, Magma Poetry, and Eunoia Review.  She has an LLB in Law from the University of Warwick and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, where she is currently completing her PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. Aside from being the recipient of the 2013 David T.K. Wong Creative Writing Fellowship and the 2014 Sozopol Fiction Fellowship, Teo is the winner of the inaugural Deborah Rogers Writers’ Award for her debut novel Ponti. Keep Reading

The Unbearable Lightness of Being: Between the Book and the Movie

in Reviews

By Patricija Fašalek

If you try and search Milan Kundera in relation to America in Google, the same paragraph repeats itself in different articles. What originates in writings of New York Times and seems to be widely agreed upon: “In the 1980’s, Milan Kundera has done for his native Czechoslovakia what Gabriel Garcia Marquez did for Latin America in the 1960’s and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn did for Russia in the 1970’s. He has brought Eastern Europe to the attention of the Western reading public, and he has done so with insights that are universal in their appeal.” Most American newspapers praise the author’s writing and are deeply intrigued by his approach to story-telling in his novels. However, since his book The Unbearable Lightness of Being was published in English, his appeal to US readers led to what could be described as a natural consequence of consecutive events: they decided to adapt his book into a movie.

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The Heavier the Borscht, the Lighter the Burden: Inaccuracies in Czech Representation on American Screens

in Reviews

By Tereza Walsbergerová

The United States is above all a country of immigrants, which is why it is desirable for American producers and filmmakers to include immigrant and foreign narratives in their stories. While the representation of the larger foreign-born populations in the US (e.g. Mexican, Chinese or Indian) has been constantly improving due to pressure from these communities, the misrepresentation of smaller populations (e.g. Polish or Czech) has not been considered such an issue. However, due to globalization and services such as Netflix bringing American films and TV shows to the rest of the world, producers may soon find themselves under pressure from even these smaller groups. When it comes to the representation of Czech characters and narratives on American screens, it is apparent that producers often do little research, if any, which results in depictions that are often stereotypical or inaccurate. This article offers an overview of inaccuracies in Czech representations on American television with special focus on Jane the Virgin (2014–) and its depiction of the character of Petra Solano.

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