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Review: The Personal History of David Copperfield

This article was originally published in Cherwell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With his take on The Personal History of David Copperfield, Armando Iannucci seems to relish the opportunity to draw out the inherent absurdism and nearly soap-operatic drama of Dickens’ novels to create a bizarrely funny and riotously entertaining film. To watch David Copperfield is to be made increasingly aware of the novel’s origin as a serialised production, with the transitions between various episodes in the protagonist’s life as exuberantly presented as the events themselves. 

The film is framed around David’s ability to “remember great characters” he encounters, and thanks to the work of a stellar cast, the audience is sure to find them equally memorable. Dev Patel is well-suited to the wide-eyed wonder of the eponymous protagonist, underpinning David’s sense of wonder and infectious zest for life with enough dry wit and genuine pathos to ground the often-convoluted story in real warmth. 

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Books

Changing the course of history

This article was originally published in Cherwell

In his novel The Go-Between, L.P. Hartley wrote that “the past is a different country; they do things differently there.” It’s a statement reflective of the allure and strangeness that comes with a retrospective gaze, reflecting the metamorphic power of time, whether in changing a person from childhood to adulthood, a city from decade to decade, or an ancient civilisation from rise to ruin.

However, obsessed our society may be with the promise of progress, of moving forward and improving, there remains in most of us an unshakeable fascination with the past.Whether in the enduring popularity of historical fiction, or in the constant appeal of nostalgia and re-watching our favourite childhood films, the cultural zeitgeist is constantly affected by a creative fixation with history.

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Books

Pablo Neruda’s subtle patterns show us how to feel

This article was originally published in Cherwell

“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” This kind of understanding of connection, of push-and-pull and cause and effect, is a quality that permeates the body of Pablo Neruda’s poetry.

His poems, originally written in his native Spanish, work to convey nebulous ideas through tangible phrases and concepts. Sensuality and love are turned from vague, intangible feelings into palpable motifs visible in real life. Under Neruda’s pen, the Chilean countryside is inextricably linked to the physicality and emotionality of the Chilean people.

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Books

Childhood’s Clarity in ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’

This article was originally published in Cherwell

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane opens with an epigraph from Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are: “I remember my own childhood vividly… I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew. It would scare them.”

Gaiman is no stranger to adopting a child’s perspective: his novel Coraline has become a macabre modern classic in the sphere of children’s literature, and The Graveyard Book won him the Newberry Medal.

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Literary Blackface

This article was originally published in Cherwell

When the largest book retailer in the United States, Barnes & Noble, launched their so-called Diverse Editions initiative in honour of Black History Month, they probably didn’t guess that backlash to the move would be so widespread and immediate they would end up shelving the campaign a day later. The initiative essentially professed to champion diversity by relaunching several classic novels with covers depicting characters of colour as the protagonists and was lambasted by prominent African American writers such as Roxane Gay and Angie Thomas. And ultimately, it isn’t hard to see why. 

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Hello, Internet!

Hi everyone! My name is Meha, and this is my blog. I’ve attempted to start one a few times in the past, but this time round I’ll try to make it stick — this is where I’m going to review and discuss my thoughts on books mainly, but also films, TV shows and anything else that catches my interest. I hope you’ll all join me for the ride!