Five underrated classics

1.Cane, Jean Toomer (1923) – Harlem Renaissance author Toomer beautifully interweaves lyric, prose and drama in this series of vignettes written about the cultural history and experiences of African Americans in the United States. These stories are often pervaded by nauseating violence, such as cruel ostracisation in “Becky” or sexual violence in the “Box Seat”, […]

Continue Reading

The magic of children’s literature

Children’s fiction contains a Wonderland of possibilities: dragons, mermaids and animal croquet (partially replicated on Oxford’s quads in Trinity). From the enchanting halls of Hogwarts to the battered old tent in Horrid Henry’s back garden, we all have memories – hopefully endearing – of reading as a child. Yet it wasn’t until I arrived at […]

Continue Reading

Books that Helped Me Through Freshers’ Week

Dear Freshers, Mammoth reading lists govern the life of most Oxford students’ lives. They dictate your evening plans, your library adventures and your closest friends will inevitably be those whose reading lists are comparable to yours. However, I’m asking you right now to do the unthinkable – forget these all-powerful lists for a while, because […]

Continue Reading

Reading List Discrimination

Of course there are much bigger problems in the world for feminism than reading lists. No one’s disputing that. But a lot of people cannot see that there is really any problem with reading lists. They argue that it’s important to study the best writers, and if those writers tend to be white and male, […]

Continue Reading

Maud – A Preview

“Come into the garden, Maud, For the black bat, night, has flown, Come into the garden, Maud, I am here at the gate alone; And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad, And the musk of the rose is blown.” So goes an eerie stanza from Alfred Tennyson’s poem ‘Maud’- a dark story of a crazed […]

Continue Reading

Up from the ASHes

On Wednesday evening last week, I decided to do something brave. I went to a poetry reading. Attending poetry readings does inevitably feel brave (people are often very honest, and that can be unnerving), but that courage can pay off. This wasn’t just any reading: Wednesday, 6th February was the launch of the Oxford Poetry […]

Continue Reading