Fantasy, Narrative, and The Origin of Species by Nino Ricci

Alex Fratarcangeli, the protagonist of Nino Ricci's The Origin of Species, works on a Ph.D. proposal that could change literary academics: he chooses to analyze literary texts in the light of Darwinism. As its title suggests, the novel is about Alex's relationship to the life of Darwin and his seminal The Origin of Species. On …

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Are Tolkien’s Ideas Still Alive in Our Postmodern Twenty-First Century?

J.R.R Tolkien, born this day in 1892, would be 122 if he were alive today, one of the oldest people in the world. Alas, his physical body perished 2 September 1973, even though his textual body lives on, with much thanks to the continued labours of Christopher Tolkien, his son and editor. I would love …

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King Arthur Conqueror of the Arctic? Historical Fantasy and Early British Imperialism

John Dee was Queen Elizabeth I's court astrologer, mathematician, and geographer--and he might have become the first lord of the North American territory we now call Canada. Dee is known as a "Renaissance man" for the breadth of his knowledge and for his tendency towards the occult. On a trip to the Continent, he supposedly …

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Vegetables of the Romantic Period

Here are simply a few humorous pictures I drew last semester for The Veg magazine, a McGill student literary magazine (not actually vegetable-themed, but that's kind of a running joke...) You will recognize that the vegetables are all based on Romantic poets. Worth a laugh, I think. Kinda fits too--weren't the Romantics nature poets? Now …

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Behind Guy Fawkes: the History of Catholic Conspiracies

“But as a nation—continued he in his reveries—these Spaniards are all an odd set; the very word Spaniard has a curious, conspirator, Guy-Fawkish twang to it.” -Herman Melville, "Benito Cereno." “The imaginary is part of history.” -Michel de Certeau, The Possession at Loudun. “[A] good case could be made that the last unchallenged and most …

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Behind Guy Fawkes II: The Gunpowder Plot

"But 'The Gunpowder Plot'--there was a get-penny! I have presented that to an eighteen- or twenty-pence audience nine times in an afternoon. Your home-born projects prover ever the best; they are so easy and familiar. They put too much learning i'their things nowadays, and that, I fear, will be the spoil o' this." -Leatherhead, Bartholomew …

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