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

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“Becoming” First Lady

in Current Issue/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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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

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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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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Report from the 58th International Short Film Festival Brno 16

in Reviews

By Barbara Ocsovayová

Brno16, or B16, in Czech “Brněnská šestnáctka”, is an international festival of short films. In the beginning, the festival only featured films with a 16mm format but now includes other formats as well. The filmmakers range from professionals to students. The topic for this year’s festival was “We Are Family”. Keep Reading

Arbitrary Humanity: The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

in Reviews

By Michaela Medveďová

A crew comprised of four different species, the universe governed by a galactic government, a wormhole-making spaceship travelling light years away to an unknown world. The setting for Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet  provides a seemingly perfect opportunity for a breathtaking space adventure, filled with chases and advanced weapons. It is very easy to be tempted to take this road and join the ranks of recently super-popular action-packed sci-fi films that are the uncrowned cultural kings of the last three decades. However, the 2015 book does not quite jump onto this bandwagon. Instead, it opts for the often underrated contemplativeness of the likes of Phillip K. Dick. Keep Reading

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