IMOGEN GODDARD explores the continuing relevance of Chaucer within a modern society obsessed with gossip and an increasing disregard of truth. Chaucer’s most well-known work may well be The Canterbury Tales which is full of hilariously bawdy poems and stories, but his dream-vision poems (written prior to this) tend to have a more serious underlying tone. Take The House of Fame (1379-80) in which he explores the distortion of truth and the dangers of celebrity culture. It remains engaging to the 21st-century reader despite its medieval origin by exploring ideas which are without a doubt of current relevance to us. The renowned House of Fame in the poem is filled with a cacophony of rumour, truth, and lies, all jumbled together and all vying for a position of authority and acceptance. This chaos within the house echoes certain struggles of modern society. Voices speak over one another, people gossip and…Continue Reading

Chaucer and the Distortion of Truth

JASPER NEWPORT explores the decadent party age of the 1920s and its moral implications in Fitzgerald’s literature. The Great Gatsby, perhaps the finest work of F. Scott Fitzgerald, encapsulates the Jazz Age. Immersing the reader in the extreme highs and lows of the time, the novel explores the doomed, tragic-heroic figure of Jay Gatsby as he seeks the love of his past in the decadent world that surrounds him. His story is a reflection of the context that inspired it; America is immersed in the gaudy, outrageous excess of 1922, visible in the rich imagery that catapulted Fitzgerald into literary fame. By examining the chaos of Gatsby’s parties, the extent of the cruel and corruptive wealth of this period is exposed. Readers feel the guilt and damage that decadence exacted on Americans, and understand Gatsby’s futile attempt to be a quiet, noble alternative to these extravagances. Let’s consider the significance…Continue Reading

Gatsby’s Parties: Uproar and Extravagance

NICK FERRIS reviews Yuval Noah Harari’s latest publication 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Nearly a fifth of the way through the 21st century, philosophical and anthropological man of the moment Yuval Noah Harari has come out with a manifesto of thoughts and ideas concerning the world we live in now. Following the largely historically-focused Sapiens and the more broad and existential Homo Deus, 21 Lessons offers 21 chapters on 21 abstract concepts and trigger words. From terrorism and religion to capitalism and artificial intelligence, the distinctions between the concepts become irrelevant as Harari draws everything together to weave a general understanding of the world. Created through an amalgamation of interviews and discussions Harari has had over the years, 21 Lessons’ premise potentially leaves it vulnerable to accusations of it being constructed on a commercial level to appeal to a click-bait-obsessed audience. Indeed, the acknowledgment at the end that it was a…Continue Reading

21 Lessons for the 21st Century