THALA MOUAWAD surveys the different versions of A Star is Born and their place in the history of Hollywood. Since its release in 1937, William Wellman’s romance A Star is Born has been re-interpreted three times. The premise for each rendition has remained constant: an aspiring female entertainer is discovered by a tortured musician who helps her skyrocket to fame. Meanwhile, his own career nosedives because of his alcoholism. Despite a formulaic plot, the four films are more than a stereotypical love story. In fact, each one of these adaptations reflects important aspects of the period in which it was produced. The 1930s marked the starting point of one of the most prolific eras of Hollywood. Despite a period of recession that began in 1929, the film industry reached new heights with the advent of technicolour imaging and talking pictures. The financial slump actually helped the film trade. Demand for…Continue Reading

(Re)making history since 1937

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

A poem by SOPHIA WALLS. I stumbled then fell, the water’s surface a door closing everything behind me. I banged, pulled, slammed, thudded, dialling numbers, numbers, numbers. But the surface was fading away. Answer, answer, answer, answer, please. Hannah, Amanda, Peter, Fred. Who would answer? Someone get me out of here, get me out: Drown out these voices drowning out me. Who will accept me into the world above? Bring me back to the surface? Who? Who? Who? Let me out. Beeps and ‘’sorry your call is not available right now’’. Why should anyone answer my desperate cries for acceptance when these worlds of mine, will not? Name after name and number and loud speaker and red, unhopeful hang-ups, glaring all the hope out of me. Where was my existence? Where the was it? Get me out of here so I can find it amidst the long, long chats, the…Continue Reading

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