Dante’s Inferno: Dante’s Impact.

It has been a while since I have written about poetry. I’m exploring lots of different things at the moment. I am working on a few different projects that I will be able to mention soon so I have not been watching or reading certain things as frequently as I used to. 

I’m thinking about following a less structured approach and writing about what I gravitate towards rather than feeling like I have to watch something or read something specific. 

I will still discuss movies, books, plays, poems, and short stories, but I also want to discuss writers, writing styles, picturebooks, music and so much more so I feel like I’m going to choose my topics more spontaneously for a while. 

I have been to London and I am just home from Italy, as you will know if you keep up to date on my Instagram page @katelovesliterature

In London I went to Shakespeare’s Globe and I bought some beautiful books, so lately I’ve been reading lots of Shakespeare and I would love to discuss his works in more detail. Stay tuned for that. 

In Italy, we went to Florence and we visited the House of Dante. If you have not read my piece all about the trip then you should and you can if you click the link below. 

https://katelovesliterature.com/

That link will take you to my piece entitled Italy 2022 –  Four Cities, Six Days. 

In that piece, I spoke about our entire trip to Italy, including the day we spent in Florence. 

My boyfriend and I both love Dante. We’ve both studied his work at different times in our lives so going to visit the House of Dante was a stop that we were both really looking forward to. 

I would highly recommend it. I believe the entry fee was €8 each. It was beautiful. We really enjoyed walking around the house and seeing all of the history being displayed. Dante’s life and his contribution to literature was being celebrated. 

Dante was one of the most influential poets. His work The Divine Comedy is an epic poem and it is considered to be one of the greatest and most important pieces in the Italian language. 

Dante’s work was influential in many ways. Dante’s depictions of Heaven and Hell in The Divine Comedy have had a huge impact on how society today pictures Heaven and Hell because his work heavily influenced Western art. Dante’s work has been interpreted countless times. 

It truly is amazing when you think about how Dante wrote this poem in the 14th century and yet the poem’s themes will always be relevant. The work asks questions such as what is evil? 

I think about this question often in 2022. What is evil? One could look at the news and come up with a hundred different answers or more. People have clashing opinions about what is and is not evil. 

I take this question, a question that Dante put forward in the 14th century, and I bring it into context in 2022, and I think about what literature does with that question today. I feel that this question has been expanded. Now, we don’t just ask what is evil? We ask how does something or someone become evil? We ask, is evil born or is it made? We think about concepts like nature vs nurture. 

The questions and themes that exist in Dante’s work may have changed and evolved over time but the questions still stand. Dante could easily be studied alongside a contemporary work as I think it would be really interesting to examine how works from extremely different times tackle very similar questions. 

Dante is also highly influential because he insisted on writing his works in Italian rather than in Latin. While The Divine Comedy is indeed an epic poem that tackles complex questions and portrays a man’s physical and emotional journey to Hell before he finds divine love, the poem is written in an easy-to-understand style. When Dante was writing this work, Italian was the language of the people. At this time, most poetry was written in Latin, however only the most educated readers would be able to read Latin and Dante wanted his work to be more accessible so he wrote in Italian and by doing so, he established using vernacular and colloquialisms. He even uses cheeky, dirty humour in his poems. 

I think this is brilliant because even today, the arts being accessible to all is still a relevant topic. Tickets can be very expensive, academic journals can require a subscription, sometimes things are written in a style that is just too complex which means that not everyone can follow. Places are not always accessible to everyone. Being able to afford experiences and being able to attend these experiences is really important. 

It is so important to acknowledge history. There was a time when only the rich could read. 

Thankfully, over time, things continue to evolve. I have written about how I really loved the fact that theatre was live streamed during the pandemic so that theatre could be enjoyed from home and while I am delighted to be able to attend shows again, it is important to remember that not everyone can and we should not abandon other options just because we can be in an audience again. The arts being accessible is really important and shows were just one example of this. 

I think it is pretty cool that we see things written in easy, straightforward, everyday language, we can nod to Dante because he felt that was important all the way back in the 14th century and it just demonstrates the impact that someone can have. 

In the House of Dante, I bought a beautiful illustrated edition of Inferno. 

I think my plan is to read it and then write about it in sections as it is a big work. 

I look forward to writing more about it. 

Have you read any of Dante’s works? Let me know. 

Kate xo.

Italy 2022 – Four Cities, Six Days.

When I started planning my trip to Italy, I did not envision visiting four cities in six days; however that is exactly what happened. It was one of the best holidays, I did so much, and I fell in love with Italy.

I’m going to talk about each place we visited. I am going to share snaps so keep an eye on my Instagram grid @katelovesliterature.

Italy is a beautiful place and the cities that we visited are filled with so much history, art, and literature so it was a pleasure to explore.

I already know that I want to visit Italy again and perhaps even go on a longer trip because there are places that I’d love to return to and there are places that we did not get to see this time that I would love to see in the future.

Overall, I feel very lucky that I was able to go on such a lovely holiday. It has been a stressful few weeks, filled with changes, and I have a really busy year ahead however I know that I am doing exactly what I should be doing because putting all the stress to one side, I love what I do so I am very excited to see what this next year brings.

Let’s dive into Italy, 2022.

Naples.

I have to be honest. When we first decided to go to Naples, I was happy with the decision, but as time went on and as more people gave me their two cents, I grew a little bit anxious about this choice as I had heard mixed reviews about the city.

I have anxiety, I don’t discuss it on Katelovesliterature.com because it is unrelated to literature, but I do have anxiety and this trip was going to be my longest trip away from home after two years. I was not travelling with family this time, so I was already a little apprehensive as I really wanted the trip to go well.

I was never happier to be wrong. All of the nerves that I had were quickly put to rest when we arrived. I loved Naples, and I would 100% go back to Naples as we only had two days there which in the end just was not enough time.

It does not matter where you go, every city has some great and some not so great. You have to be careful and you have to have a head on your shoulders no matter where you go. Naples is a bustling city. It is called the city of chaos and it is easy to see why it has such a title. It is busy, it is loud, it is hot, and yes there is a lot of graffiti however, I could say the same about Dublin, aside from maybe the hot part because we all know that Irish weather is temperamental.

Naples is full of life. It was unbelievable how one street could seem busy and unremarkable, but then you would turn a corner and be faced with a sight of beauty. The buildings were beautiful, some of the architecture, and some of the statues were just incredible. The artwork that you would just stumble upon was something else and we had the best time just exploring.

We stayed in the historical district and I absolutely would stay there again. My favourite part of our brief stay in Naples was when we found a lovely little restaurant directly across from the university. It was a perfect night. It was hot, we were relaxed. We sat outside and drank wine and ate the most delicious pizza – We’ve decided that Naples did have the best pizza although I liked how crispy the pizzas are in Rome.

The university was lit up at night, the waiters were so kind, the atmosphere was incredibly relaxed. Everyone was happy to just eat, drink and relax. We sat in that square until the restaurant closed at midnight and then we stopped at a bar for a final drink before we went back to our room. The city was busy, even at night, so I did not feel in any way unsafe while we were walking back so late. I was and still am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed being in Naples.

It was a lesson for me – do not let others get in your head about where you are going. Their experience is not your experience and you have to be careful no matter where you go.

If you’re considering going to Naples and like me, you have heard many mixed opinions, I would say that you should go and see for yourself what you think.

Naples is filled with a bustling charm, it’s busy and it is indeed chaotic, but it is definitely a city that I will be visiting again and for longer next time.

Pompeii.

I am a history lover so I could not be only a short train ride away from Pompeii and not visit the ruins. From Napoli station, we got a train to the city of Pompeii and it was incredible.

It was hot, so hot that I went and bought a big straw hat because I am very fair and when you’re exploring the ruins there is very little coverage from the sun so if you’re going to explore then it is vital to have a hat, sunglasses, sun cream, and make sure to carry a bottle of water or two with you.

We landed in Naples on Sunday and the very next day we went to Pompeii for the day so we were still adapting to the heat and the fact that we were on our holidays. I had my first little cup of gelato in Pompeii. It was delicious. I opted for strawberry so it was more like a sorbet but I still really enjoyed it and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the shade and cooling off for a bit.

Walking around the ruins of Pompeii was something I’ll never forget. It was beautiful, but it was hard at times because it was so hot and the terrain is not exactly smooth. We did come close to twisting our ankles a few times so if you’re going to the ruins be sure to wear comfortable shoes. I had runners on with my little sundress and I was increasingly happy with that decision as I could not imagine doing that walk in sandals.

We opted to explore ourselves rather than go on a tour, this is a choice we made at several places throughout our trip. We chose to explore by ourselves simply because we like to move at our own pace and we had specific places saved that we wanted to see and so we searched for those and doing that allowed us to skip over places that we didn’t mind missing or if there was a place that we explored but then wanted to move on to something else, being by ourselves meant that we could just move on when we were ready to as opposed to having to wait for a guide to move us on. That being said, we did see some tours taking place and we overheard some guides speaking to their groups and everything they said sounded really interesting so if you enjoy tours or you want a more structured experience then there are some great tour options however exploring ourselves is what suits us best.

The ruins are huge. I think we definitely underestimated how big they are and how long we would spend exploring them. We were there for hours and I still don’t think we saw everything but we did see one of the most incredible views.

I found myself overwhelmed quite a few times on this trip. Being in the city of Pompeii was one of those times. There was something so surreal about exploring the ruins and walking around and seeing what was left of a place. There was a still feeling in the air that is very hard to explain. I think that feeling comes from standing in a place that is so steeped in history and the ruins are quite literally moments in time. It is so strange to think about how those ruins were once filled with life. It is almost hard to believe that a place has been there for so long. I would highly recommend exploring Pompeii.

Florence.

From Naples we took the train to Rome, but then we went and spent the day in Florence and because we only had one day in Florence and then a few days in Rome, I’m going to talk about Florence first.

Florence is a charming city. I keep thinking about the entire trip and I go over all the places we visited and while I enjoyed each city, and while I would return to each city, I keep going back and forth between whether my favourite city was Florence or Rome.

I think one of the most stunning sights is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is breath-taking. The gothic architecture is stunning. The level of detail and craftsmanship and art that went into these buildings is unbelievable. It seems as though I am repeating myself. I say stunning, unbelievable, beautiful, a lot but this is because it is true. I found myself lost for words so many times while I was in Italy. I found myself moved to tears more than once because I was just stunned by what I was seeing and at times I was almost in awe of where I was.

The highlight of my day in Florence was visiting the House of Dante. The house is on the sight of Dante’s birthplace and in the house, his work is displayed. For those who may not know, Dante was an Italian poet. He was also a philosopher. Dante is considered the greatest Italian poet. I would argue that his most iconic and most well-known work is his epic poem entitled The Divine Comedy. The poem is considered one of the most important pieces of literary work, and it is considered the greatest work in Italian.

I love Dante. I loved studying his work and so being in the House of Dante was a very special moment. There is a certain verse that always brings tears to my eyes whenever I read it and seeing it displayed in his birthplace brought tears to my eyes again. I never tire of his work. It does not matter how many times I read it. Being there was incredible. Seeing literature respected and remembered and celebrated was incredible. The world was and is filled with talented people and seeing where one of the most influential and important poets was from was really amazing.

Rome.

Rome was a dream. Walking through Rome was like walking through a painting. I loved Florence but I think Rome has to be my favourite. I found myself in awe so often in Rome. I found myself in very thoughtful and reflective moods. I found myself at peace and also incredibly happy.

From the Trevi Fountain to the Pantheon, from the Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican, Rome was a sight to behold.

The night we arrived, we got all dressed up and we had dinner outside, sitting directly across from the Colosseum. It is hard to find a better view than that. We sat there as the sun went down and the Colosseum became lit up. We just sat enjoying our drinks and the incredible surroundings. The food was amazing. I had a delicious ravioli and some really lovely cocktails and then we got a pizza to share. The pizza in Rome is very different to the pizza in Naples. In Naples, it is rich and doughier and the cheese is just falling off the pizza because it is so hot. In Rome, the pizza is thinner and the crust is crispier. Personally, I love a crispy crust so I really enjoyed this; however overall we decided that Naples did have the best pizza.

In Rome, I went on a tiramisu tour. I tried it in nearly every restaurant. It quickly became my favourite dessert. I had never had it before I went to Italy and it was one of the things that I was most looking forward to tasting. I loved it. Nothing beats starry nights, fairy lights, a lovely glass of wine and a plate of tiramisu. It was perfection.

One of my favourite nights was the night we went to the opera in Rome. We saw the three tenors at Saint Paul’s Within The Walls and it was utterly brilliant. The church was the most amazing backdrop. It was stunning. The high ceilings meant that the sound travelled in the most amazing way. The singers did not even need microphones. They just projected into the church. The pianist was fantastic, the other musicians played beautifully. The three tenors themselves had incredible, strong, beautiful voices and they were accompanied by the most lovely and graceful ballerina.

The songs were all in Italian naturally, but that didn’t matter because it was just so beautiful. I love a night filled with beautiful music and it was actually just incredible to hear these arias sung and performed in Italian. I had the best night.

One of my favourite finds was a lovely rooftop bar that was about a ten minute walk from where we stayed. It was beautiful. There is nothing better than looking out over a beautiful city that is all lit up and taking in the views with a cocktail in hand. I was overwhelmed when I was in the city on that terrace that was filled with candles, flowers, lamps and fairy lights. We had a perfect seat, right at the edge of the railings so we were overlooking the entire Piazza Navona. I had a cosmopolitan in hand and I was just admiring the views and I got utterly lost in thought and being there on that rooftop was one of my favourite moments. I was so happy and I was aware of how happy I was and I think that feeling is why I have to say that Rome was my favourite. I loved each moment of the trip and I had a brilliant time in each place we visited, but Rome gave me this incredible feeling that I don’t think I’ll forget for a long time. It was very special so that is why Rome, the eternal city, is absolutely my favourite.

That was my trip. Naples, Pompeii, Florence, and Rome. Four cities, six days, and memories that I will keep forever.

Kate xo.

Singing In The Rain.

Singing In The Rain is a show that is not to be missed. It was one of the most fun, upbeat nights I’ve had in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. 

I’m a big fan of the movie, it was one of my grandmother’s favourites so I watched it a lot when I was younger and seeing it on the stage was fantastic. 

The plot is focused on the transition from silent film to talking pictures so the musical is filled with the spectacle, glitz, and glamour of old Hollywood. Don Lockwood, a famous silent movie actor must face the fact that he will have to do more than just mime if he wants to keep making movies in this new age. The switch from silence to speaking is not an issue for the talented and charming Mr. Lockwood, however his co-star, Lina Lamont, who is not as talented or as charming, struggles with the new requirements. While Don is exploring new career prospects, he is also exploring his growing feelings for the lovely and talented, but still unknown Kathy Seldon. The pair work together with Don’s best friend Cosmo to save Don’s latest film from being a disaster, but they have to be careful because a jealous Lina is doing anything and everything to get her way. 

The score is joyful. It is so upbeat, so fun, it makes you want to get up and dance. There is also a lovely, old Hollywood charm to the score in my opinion. I don’t think you hear too many songs like Would You? Musicals are changing and they are evolving and so the kind of song you hear in musicals now is very different, and that’s okay. It’s amazing actually. Times change, styles change, and I think it’s great that musicals are always evolving, but I think there is something really lovely about this score. 

My favourite song is You Are My Lucky Star. I think it’s beautiful. It’s light and airy, and there is a simplicity to it that I think is just gorgeous. It is a song that contains lovely long, extended notes that the actress gets to sustain, and there are moments where the voice can bounce. It is so charming, and so graceful, and so lovely. I think it is such a lovely sentiment. You are my lucky star, it is such a lovely compliment. It is a beautiful song, and I was very happy to hear it sung live.

The musical is a tap lover’s dream. I thoroughly enjoyed the dancing that was showcased on the stage. Every single member of the cast did a fantastic job. I love big, fun, loud, dance numbers. I love when members of the ensemble get to show off their skills. I love long dance breaks. I really enjoyed this old school style of show. The title number, Singing In The Rain is just amazing. The song is lively, and the joy is contagious. The number is iconic actually, I think everyone knows about that shot of Gene Kelly swinging around that lamp post. I hate to give anything away, but seeing it absolutely lash rain on the Bord Gáis stage was brilliant. I would see the show again tonight if I could. 

I never have a bad time at the theatre, but Singing In The Rain was an exceptionally good time. 

Have you seen this show? Have you seen the movie? 

Let me know. 

Kate xo. 

*The following pictures were taken by myself, on my own phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*

My programme.

A shot of the stage before act one started.

Matilda The Musical!

It’s true, sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty. Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre is a show that I cannot recommend enough. It is joyful. It is upbeat. It is fun. The stage is bursting with life, but in Matilda, a very touching, and very important story is told. 

I’m a huge fan of Roald Dahl and I loved Matilda when I was little, and as an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the story even more. As with a lot of Dahl’s stories, there is a darkness to Matilda. It is a story about a little girl who is neglected at home. She is not appreciated, she is not shown the care, love, or attention that she deserves. Matilda goes on to face more bullies at school, and this story is one that highlights how adults can abuse their positions of power. Sadly, there are people in this world who bully children, and they think that because they are bigger, and because they are older, they can do whatever they please. There are people who do not respect children, and I find that these people tend to forget that they were once a child themselves. Matilda is an intelligent, imaginative, kind little girl and she stands up for herself and for others when she thinks that something is not right or not fair, and by doing so, she is able to help others around her. 

I love the musical’s score. The music and lyrics are by Tim Minchin, who is of course known for his comedic musical style. The lyrics are a perfect mix of fun, and witty, yet I found myself emotional as some of the songs are rather poignant. 

I think my favourite song has to be When I Grow Up, because I think that this song is the perfect example of the mix of fun and poignant that I just mentioned. The stage is bursting with life, there are kids everywhere, there are slides and swings and it’s just glorious. It’s a song about children who are looking forward to growing up and they are singing about what they think growing up is. They sing about staying up late and watching tv until their eyes go square, and it’s brilliant. It is brilliant because I think this song captures what you think being a grown up is when you are little. It seems so freeing. You think you can do whatever you want, and to an extent you can, but when you are little you don’t think about jobs or bills or relationships or any of the less fun things that come with growing up. I remember this. I remember being little and just wanting to wear my Mam’s perfume and I couldn’t wait to be older because then I could have my own. The line that pulls on my heartstrings, the part that I think is very poignant is when the kids sing about how they will be braver when they grow up. They will be bigger, and braver, and stronger, and able to fight the creatures beneath the bed. This part gets me, because when you are a child, you’re dependent on the adults in your life and they are supposed to keep you safe, but sometimes we grow up and there are different creatures to face, they’re just not always under the bed. 

Matilda and Miss Honey are my favourite characters. They always have been. I find Miss Honey’s arc to be particularly touching because Miss Honey was that neglected, mistreated child. She didn’t have anyone to speak up for her when she could not do it for herself. Her monsters followed her into adulthood, and it is only when she meets Matilda, when she wants to help Matilda, that she is able to fight her creatures. I find this really emotional because I think that is a very layered moment. When Miss Honey helps Matilda, when she stands up for Matilda, I feel she is also standing up for herself, and more importantly, she is standing up for the little girl she used to be, and she does for Matilda what no one did for her. Together, Miss Honey and Matilda are able to be surrounded by people who love and appreciate them, and they stand up to their bullies together, because they’ve found strength in each other and it’s a really lovely arc. 

I have to take a moment to say that the entire cast was incredible, but I was blown away by the kids on that stage. Each and every one of them were fantastic. I love seeing talented young people getting to thrive on the stage and I am sure that all of these kids will grow up to do great things. The singing, the dancing, the timing was just amazing. It is a hard show, it is not watered down, they are on stage a lot, they’re an essential part of the show and I can’t applaud them enough. 

I hope Matilda The Musical tours again at some point in the future because I’d love to see it in Dublin. I would see it again in a heartbeat. It was just fantastic. It was a brilliant night out. 

Have you read or seen Matilda? Have you seen Matilda The Musical? Are you a fan of Roald Dahl and if so, which one of his works is your favourite? I’d love to know.

Kate xo.

* The following pictures were taken by myself, with my phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*

My programme

The amazing stage.

I caught one of the paper airplanes that the kids throw into the audience during the final number.

There’s No Place Like London.

There’s no place like London. If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you already know that I spent a few amazing days in London. 

I’ve been sharing snaps on my Instagram grid & I will be sharing snaps for a while because I fit so much into a few days. I saw so many things & I took loads of pictures that I am excited to share. 

From St. Paul’s to Big Ben, from the London Eye to Tower Bridge, from Fleet Street to Shakespeare’s Globe, I had a blast. It was an amazing trip. The weather was lovely, and it was so great to see so much life everywhere. Some of the buildings are absolutely stunning. I ate, I drank, I explored, and I went to the theatre. 

There is so much to do & see in London. It is such a bustling city, I’m already thinking about when I can go again because there are things that I still want to do. 

I think the highlight of my trip was going to see Matilda The Musical in the beautiful Cambridge Theatre. Stay tuned because I will be publishing a #theatretrip discussion all about this brilliant show. 

I’m sharing some snaps below as I did take many, many pictures.

 
*The pictures below are pictures that I took myself, on my own phone, and they may not be shared without my permission.*

St.Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Mary-le-Bow Church.

St. Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street.

This is the house at the end of the narrowest alley in Fleet Street, Hen & Chicken Court. This is supposedly the house of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the real life Sweeney Todd.

Big Ben looking glorious in the sunshine.
The fabulous Cambridge Theatre.

The incredible Matilda stage.

Shakespeare’s Globe.

These are just a few of the pictures that I took. It was an amazing trip. Memories were made, and I loved every second.

If you’ve been, I’d love to hear where your favourite spot in London is & I can add it to my list for next time.

Kate xo.

Blade Runner Live.

Hello everyone. I have been one lucky lady lately as I have been doing so much and I’ve been getting the opportunity to enjoy the arts more and more. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you know that I am just back from London. I had an amazing trip. I did so much. I did lots of sightseeing and I ate lovely food and drank fabulous drinks and I went to see Matilda the musical and I had the best time exploring Fleet Street. I have already shared a few pictures on Instagram, but I will be sharing more so keep an eye out for that, and I will be writing a much more in depth discussion about my trip as it was filled with things that made my literature loving heart very happy. 

There will be a #theatretrip post coming up soon about the brilliant Matilda the musical. 

For now, I am back in Dublin and I am very busy. I do have some exciting news that I am just waiting on permission to share so stay tuned. 

I was at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Sunday evening to see Blade Runner Live. 

It was an amazing evening. I absolutely love hearing an orchestra play live, I don’t think there is anything quite like it. I also think it is brilliant to see the musicians on stage as this doesn’t always happen in musicals, the musicians are very often in the orchestra pit so while we hear the beautiful music, we don’t always get to see the talented people who are playing. 

Blade Runner is a brilliant movie. We saw the director’s cut version starring Harrison Ford. 

The movie is based on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I studied this text in my first year of my BA which feels like such a long time ago now, even though it really isn’t, but I was not expecting to like this text as much as I did and I really loved the movie. 

If you are not aware of the plot, the central idea is that there are humans and replicants and Rick Deckard is tasked with hunting and killing the “non-human” replicants. The replicants are designed to look like humans, however they are deemed to not feel the way that humans feel, however as one watches the movie, this idea can be debated. 

I think the key theme of this movie revolves around the idea of questioning what makes one human? What makes me the person that I am? Am I made up of experiences and memories? 

I also think that the story highlights the importance of having empathy in society. 

I don’t wish to give away any spoilers, but there are moments in this movie where the supposedly unfeeling replicants show more empathy than the human characters. There is one specific scene that I think of when I say this, if you’ve seen the movie then you likely know which scene I am alluding to, and if you have not seen the movie then I suggest watching it, and it should become clear which moment I am talking about. 

The movie has a beautiful score and it was amazing to hear it played live by the orchestra. 

I have a few more exciting theatre trips coming up and I will be writing about all of them. 

Have you seen Blade Runner? 

Kate xo.

Epigraph.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to #theorythursday.

Today I am going to talk about what an epigraph is.

Let’s dive in.

What is an epigraph?

Have you ever opened a book to find a phrase or a quote at the beginning of the story?

Most people have probably read many epigraphs without realising that there is a term for that quote that was at the beginning of a book.

That quote at the start of the book wasn’t just a quote, it was an epigraph.

An epigraph is a quote, phrase, or sometimes even a paragraph, found at the beginning of a book, article, or document.

Why do authors include epigraphs?

An epigraph can set the tone for what the text is about. Usually an epigraph can help establish the theme and tone of a text, and sometimes the epigraph can even help to contextualise the work.

Why is this important?

I personally love when a text has an epigraph, particularly if the author has used a quote at the beginning of their work because in my opinion, this gives readers some insights into the author. When we see that an author has chosen to quote someone, this tells me that this quote has resonated with the author somehow, enough that they chose to use it in their own work. There is something about seeing who someone chooses to quote that can tell us a lot about them, it tells us what kind of writers that the author admires, and it can also give hints about what the style of the work might be like, or whose style of writing the author enjoys.

I think that knowing the term epigraph simply expands one’s knowledge of literary terms.

If you are ever at a pub quiz, and one of the questions asks, “What is the quote at the beginning of a novel called?”, now you know the answer. You’d be amazed by what might come up in a pub quiz, the last time I participated in one, the theme was horror and my knowledge of gothic literature certainly got us a few points.

One of my favourite epigraphs can be found in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Gaiman begins his novel with a quote from G.K. Chesterton.

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

G.K. Chesterton.

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it.

If you were writing a novel, what would your epigraph be? I’d love to know.

Kate xo.

Through the Looking-Glass.

Hello everyone. I am publishing my March’s Book Of The Month discussion later than intended, but let’s dive right in.

Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass takes place months after the events of Alice in Wonderland.

In this book, readers follow Alice to another magical world as this time she takes a step through her mirror (the looking glass) to a world where everything is inverted. If Alice wants to get somewhere, she must walk away from it rather than towards, left is right, etc.

The novel is also written in the third-person, and once again Carroll’s writing is very direct. This novel is filled with poems all about the passage of time and the loss of youth and some of them are rather poignant. This novel includes the famous verse entitled Jabberwocky, which I will be talking about in a discussion all on it’s own because it is one of my favourite poems. I absolutely love the use of nonsense verse, and I will be discussing nonsense writing and its importance at a later date. I think this book is more challenging to read, for example at times the text is backwards. This use of placement on the pages is interesting. Alice must read backwards, therefore the text is backwards, so readers have the same struggle as Alice. When we must read backwards, our actions mirror Alice’s, who has stepped through a mirror so the idea and the symbolism of the mirror becomes really interesting and in my opinion, quite complex.

There is the idea that literature mirrors reality. I talk about this a lot, as after all so much art reflects life. Alice steps through a mirror into a world where everything is backwards, yet the injustice and pointlessness and the cruelties that Alice must contend with can be argued to mirror the injustices that one must face when they grow up, because adulthood and reality is unfortunately filled with things that are not fair. Cruelty exists, inequality exists, lack of control over our own choices exist. So it is very interesting that this nonsensical world mirrors the injustices of the real world and then at times our actions while reading mirror Alice’s so the whole reading experience is very immersive.

I think that Through the Looking-Glass is darker than Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know if this was Carroll’s intention. I think sometimes that Carroll intended to write a nonsensical fantasy novel about a curious girl and her curious nature is celebrated, and ever since readers and scholars have analysed this work and created interpretation after interpretation because the nonsense and the wondrous nature of the book has inspired curiosity. The fact that this is a book that celebrates wonder and in fact lends itself to endless interpretations is quite funny, and perhaps that was the intention, perhaps Carroll wanted people to endlessly question. So while the intentions of Carroll are impossible to know, I do think that his works can be discussed at great length, and I think that some of the discussions can be quite complex.

I love the idea of fate in Through the Looking-Glass. I love the idea of the chess board. I think that the chess board is very symbolic. I think the chess board by itself could be the heart of many discussions and interpretations. I see the chess board as a metaphor for how in life, each move we make determines our next one. This can be negative or positive depending on how you view it. One can question Alice’s choice. If she was always meant to play this game of chess, then did she have any control over the moves she made or did she do what she was always destined to do?

Spoiler below:

I think that Alice’s journey is quite an empowering one, because she plays the game of chess but she moves from pawn to Queen. This, in my opinion, demonstrates her journey from child to adult. She has matured, she is more sure of herself, she has learned a lot and she is using her newfound knowledge to improve her next move.

I think that Alice in Wonderland will always be my favourite work by Lewis Carroll. I loved it when I was young. I love the movie adaptations. I love the text. I always go back to it, it is surrounded in nostalgia, so the conclusion that I have come to is that Alice in Wonderland will always be one of my beloved childhood texts but I think that Kate in her twenties prefers Through the Looking-Glass.

Read Through the Looking-Glass if you haven’t already and then tell me which text you prefer.

Kate xo.

Alice in Wonderland.

Hello everyone. I am sharing discussions that I have written a while ago now, but I have not been publishing discussions regularly in a while. Things have been extremely busy, and I am attempting to find a new schedule that works for me, as for a while now the things that I love have been put on the back burner.

February’s Book Of The Month was Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and I have had this discussion written in part for a while, but I am finally publishing it now. This discussion will be followed by a discussion about Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass as that was March’s Book Of The Month.

I will be back on track for April, and my next book discussion will be published at the end of the month as usual.

Let’s dive into Wonderland.

In this novel, readers go on a journey with Alice down the rabbit hole to a strange world where logic and wonder seems quite absurd, and all of the characters we meet seem quite peculiar. Alice must navigate her way through this strange place, in order to find her way home again.

I think that it goes without saying that one of the most obvious themes in this book is the theme of growing up. Alice experiences many changes in Wonderland, she shrinks, she grows, she must identify herself, and at times she struggles to identify herself for she has changed so much. I think this idea of identifying oneself is very universal, because everyone must grow up and leave childhood behind, and discovering who we are, and what we want to do, and the kind of person we want to be is very challenging.

This novel was written in a time when there was a new importance placed upon the significance and innocence of childhood. Childhood was starting to be viewed as unique and important, because once you lose that childhood innocence, it is almost impossible to recapture it, and in fact many children’s texts focus on this idea of trying to recapture the unadulterated magic of childhood.

Carroll celebrates curiosity and wonder. Alice is a very open and innocent child. She follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole simply because she wants to know about him, he has grasped her attention. Alice questions everything in Wonderland, because the rules and logic confuse her, and at times, things seem unjust. I think that Alice in Wonderland can be talked about in many different ways. I think that Alice’s curiosity can be said to represent the natural curiosity that most, if not all, children possess. Alice’s questioning can reflect how children will question the rules that adults live by, as when you are a child, the rules of adults can be confusing, sometimes they don’t make sense at all, and in fact, sometimes the rules that adults live by can be arbitrary and even pointless. It is important to have rules, but it also important that the rules in place make sense and that they serve a purpose, rather than having rules just to have rules.

Alice’s journey down the rabbit hole could also be interpreted as a metaphor for the quest for knowledge. Alice goes on a physical journey and she learns so much, but sometimes one must go on a mental journey, and undertake a lot of research, and metaphorically take a trip down the rabbit hole in order to expand one’s knowledge.

Sometimes I think the only way to learn is to question, and if you are passionate about something then you will naturally ask more questions. More questions lead to more answers, which then lead to more questions. The more you understand, the more you want to know, which is why I will always strive to be a curious person.

Carroll’s writing style is whimsical and engaging. Carroll’s work showcases the importance of literary nonsense and his work can be very funny. His work is also very interesting to read as it is full of riddles. Carroll has written Alice in Wonderland in the third-person, and I find that most of his sentences are direct and straight to the point. The opening line brings readers directly into the story. The novel opens and Alice is fed up of sitting beside her reading sister, and as she is deciding how to cure her boredom, the White Rabbit runs by her and grabs her attention. The book takes us to Wonderland, a place full of twists and turns, but the writing itself is direct and easy to follow.

I love Alice in Wonderland. I always have. I think I love it because to this day I still love to ask why? I love the fantasy nonsense. I love books that take readers somewhere else. I love the richness and curiousness of Wonderland. I love each strange and eccentric character we meet. I love that Alice’s curious mind is celebrated and I love the sense of wonder that this story inspires.

This is a classic for a reason and I would highly recommend it.

Kate xo.

Word Order.

Hello everyone. Welcome to another #theorythursday discussion.

Last week I talked about acrostics. Check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am going to talk about another aspect of grammar. I am going to talk about word order and why it is important.

Let’s dive in.

What does word order mean?

Word order refers to the way words are traditionally arranged in a sentence.

The most common or standard word order that one will come across in English is Subject, Verb, Object.

You can break this down into letters so that it is easier to remember – S-V-O.

I am going to create a few examples.

The man (subject) parked (verb) his new car (object) in his driveway.

The girl (subject) ran (verb) the race (object) and won.

The subject is what the sentence is about, which is why the subject tends to come first in the word order. The verb usually follows because a verb is a doing word and so it makes sense for the verb to follow the subject because that tells us what the subject is doing.

Here is another example.

The dog (subject) digs (verb) holes (object) in the garden.

Why is word order important?

Word order is important because word order is what leads to a sentence making sense.

You can say “The dog eats dinner at seven”, because grammatically that makes sense. You cannot say “Eats the dog at seven dinner”, because in this order, these words are messy, they don’t make much sense although you can still find meaning in those words.

When the word order is correct, the sentence will make much more sense and it will be easier to read. It will be cleaner. It will be easier for a reader to follow.

It may seem obvious or insignificant or even a little boring, but word order is one of things we naturally learn and sometimes we don’t know there is a name for it. When we learn to speak and when we are in school, we are taught to compose sentences and then when we get older, we do this naturally and we might not even realise that word order is in fact an aspect of grammar, and an important one too. If the word order is changed, then an entire sentence’s meaning can be changed and it is important to be able to recognise this as a reader.

This has been Theory Thursday. Happy Friday Eve.

Kate xo.