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What Did They do to Bestsellers?

in Views

by Patricija Fašalek

gurkan.ozsoy, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Not that long ago, the term ‘best-seller’ was used for a book which sold better than others, such as works of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Jane Austen, and it was reserved for fiction only. Later on, the term was applied to nonfiction also, including the very popular genre of self-help books, and gradually the word acquired a negative connotation since it was mostly associated with books of low literary value. As in, “there are great works of literature, and then there are…bestsellers.”  Nowadays the reliable source of information which restores some dignity to best-sellers would be the major bestsellers lists, published in Washington PostWall Street JournalUSATODAYNew York Times or Publisher’s Weekly, and, more recently, on Amazon where the term Amazon Bestseller is given to the books that manage to get on the Amazon bestsellers list – and this list is composed of hundreds or thousands of books. Keep Reading

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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Shakespeare Retold for the 21st Century

in Current Issue/Views

by Jana Záhoráková

Shakespeare’s ideas explored by new generations of artists. By nblythe30. CC BY 4.0, pixabay.com.

In almost all of his works, Shakespeare himself made use of similar plotlines and stock characters in his plays, so it would probably not surprise him that we are still recycling his material today. Particular emphasis is placed on anything that can achieve the unappealing task of bringing his work closer to teenagers. In the quest to do this, the first step is often to get rid of the archaic language, which is a pity, since it was Shakespeare’s extraordinary use of language that made him stand out from the rest of his peers (Craig 62). Nonetheless people that create movies, plays and other forms of art often opt for keeping the plot, which is the least original part of the plays. This article will look more closely at some ways, in which writers have tried to bring the Bard closer to us all so far in this century. Keep Reading

“Mr. Fox”: A Tale of Lifesaving Curiosity

in Current Issue/Views

by Alena Gašparovičová

An illustration of Bluebeard and his wife by Gustave Doré.

Fairy tales are an innate part of human culture. Originally, many of the well-known “fairy tales were written explicitly for adults” (Zipes 16), and it was only “from 1830 to 1900, during the rise of the middle classes, that the fairy tale came into its own for children” (Zipes 20) which is when the genre came to be associated with children rather than adults. Fairy tales serve not only as entertainment for children, but also as a way to influence them during their upbringing. As the feminist scholar Marcia Lieberman explains in her article “‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’: Female Acculturation through the Fairy Tale”, children learn the “behavioral patterns and associational patterns, value systems, and how to predict the consequences of specific acts or circumstances” (384) through fairy tales. This influence which fairy tales have on children, has become a much-debated issue with the rise of feminism, especially the effect fairy tales have on young girls.

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Mad Max: Fury Road and the Changing Roles of Women in Action Movies

in Current Issue/Views

by Jana Záhoráková

In 2015, a movie that was supposed to be just another action-packed summer blockbuster, Mad Max: Fury Road, turned out to be, especially for women, a lot more than that. This article will analyse the film’s female characters and discuss the different decisions director George Miller made in order to make his film stand out from other action movies.

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Miranda July: It’s Kind of a Wild Time

in Views

By Patricija Fašalek

About two years ago I met an American who told me I bear a resemblance to Miranda July. At that time I did not know who she was so I asked him about her, thinking her label would be something like: a writer, a filmmaker, a politician etc. He seemed quite surprised by my lack of knowledge about the woman in question, and he quickly went on: “She’s a feminist artist”.

I started to wonder, what does it mean to be a “feminist artist” in our age? Does this imply that they have to call out gender issues in their work? Does not mentioning gender issues make other female (or male) authors non-feminist? Do they have to be some kind of a spokespeople for women’s rights in the media? Is it about the female representation in their work? What the guy probably meant was “she’s a feminist and an artist”. But usually people would just say “she’s an artist”, unless a person is known for their activism. So who is Miranda July?

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Breaking Through Into the Light: Junot Díaz and His Way to the Minds of the Masses

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By Anna Rybníčková

The urge to be heard is an old struggle, especially for minorities. With the rise of the importance of cinema, contemporary TV and producers such as Netflix or HBO, a necessary space has been provided for people of various ethnicities to be heard and seen. And yet, how many classic Hollywood movies can you name which portray Black, Hispanic, Asian or a gay person as the main character? Black Panther is a notable exception. But why is that the case, when 12.4% of the US population is black (that is 39 million people) and the Hispanic community is even larger – 17.6%, (over 55 million people)? This article focuses on those 55 million and tries to explore the impact one of its literary representatives – Junot Díaz, has had on the Latino community and on the US population in general. Keep Reading

Czech-Moravian Heritage in Texas

in Views

By Clinton Machann

Before retiring as a professor of English at Texas A&M University in 2017, my principal academic interest was in the field of nineteenth-century British literature and culture, but my interest in the history of Czech – primarily Moravian – immigration to Texas and the Czech-Moravian community there is longstanding. It goes back to the days of my professional training in English literary studies. In fact, I had just completed my PhD in English at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1970s when I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to visit what was then Communist Czechoslovakia. Although unimpressed with Communist ideology and institutions in my journeys to the “old country” in 1976 and 1977, I did become fascinated by the possibility of studying the origins of the Czech-Moravian heritage of Texas, and I organized a symposium that was held in Temple, Texas in 1976. Temple is, among other things, the home of the Texas Czech fraternal organization SPJST (Slovanská podporující jednota státu Texas). Included in the symposium papers that were collected and published in 1979 was Robert Janak’s groundbreaking “Tombstone Inscriptions as a Source of Geographic Origins,” (1) which led to his own expanded work on that topic and which serves as one of the sources for Eva Eckert’s Stones on the Prairie: Acculturation in America (2). Also included were other essays which are related to the study of Czech-Moravian heritage in Texas: Rev. Alois J. Morkovsky, “The Church and the Czechs in Texas,” and Richard Michalek, “The Ambivalence of Ethnoreligion.” Another symposium relevant to the preservation of Czech-Moravian culture in Texas was entitled “Czech Music in Texas: A Sesquicentennial Symposium” (1986) and once again there was a published collection of papers, including one by Josef Škvorecký (3).

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