Author: michaelgriffith1

I am a university teacher in Sydney Australia. I am passionate about using blogging and internet technologies to stimulate creative responses in my students towards the literature they are studying.

Best Nineteenth Century Literature ePortfolio/ Blogs

Hi All, the top four ePortfolios were produced by the following students. Click on their name to see their amazing contributions to the topic of how the literature of the Nineteenth Century (Romanticism and Victorianism) still contributes to our lives in the 21st Century. A round of applause for: Felicity McManus Joey O’Reilly Jessica Welford…

“Awakening the Sacred: through Literature, the Arts and the Arts of Meditation” Conference July 7/8 2017

Please click on this link to read the latest article on this amazing conference with Laurence Freeman OSB and Miriam-Rose Ungenmerr and a link to the registration page: http://www.eremos.org.au/events/27_May/awakening-the-sacred-conference

Shakespeare’s The Tempest

This is Shakespeare’s most imaginative and meaningful piece of theatre.  Today we began watching the Globe Theatre’s amazing recent production starring Roger Allam. This production takes you into the heart of the Globe Theatre and presents the play as close as one can imagine to how it would have appeared in Shakespeare’s own time. See…

12th Night and Shakespeare’s Sonnets

What a wonderful gift to have Professor Barry Spurr gracing us with his extraordinarily insightful lecture on Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Barry provided a rich intellectual context for seeing how Shakespeare’s sonnets (and plays), emanating from an author with a middle-class background, were deeply subversive of the hierarchy in England and also of the Italian influence. It…

Ben Jonson, Thomas More, Roger Ascham, Thomas Hoby (Castiglione), Philip Sidney, Mary Wroth, Francis Bacon: Humanism…

What a wail of a day we have had coursing through this amazing gallery of Renaissance delights! Ben Jonson’s wonderful poems about his dinner table and the reading he supplies for his guests- and then his savage poem about eating too much “On Guts” : Gut eats all day, and lechers all the night…. Lust…

King Lear- Final

Reading Shakespeare’s King Lear in the context of Erasmus’ amazing Praise of Folly brings the depth of this play into focus. Erasmus, writing about the state of the world in the 16th Century, could be writing about the world today and Shakespeare really seems to pick up on these insights: “ Now, what else is the whole…

Renaissance Art (at the NSW Gallery), The Shakespeare Room & Shakespeare Resources at Sydney’s State Library

The high point of our “outing” yesterday was seeing “in the flesh” the original first folio edition of Shakespeare’s works. There was a stillness and expectancy in the room as this $5,000,000 treasure was unveiled and positioned on a pillow. With gloves the first pages were turned until we arrived at the wonderful celebratory poem…

The Historical and Poetic Contexts of Richard III

For this week we explored the world of Elizabeth 1st, Edmund Spenser’s The Fairie Queene,  and Christopher Marlowe’s Faustus together with Thomas More’s incendiary damnation of Richard III (from which Shakespeare borrowed furiously in order to keep in good with his reigning monarch!). What an amazing world this was: a time of hysterical misogyny where women were…

Richard III: Bell Shakespeare- Sydney Opera House

What an amazing performance of Richard III with Kate Mulvany in the lead role. The extraordinary relevance of her presence as Richard was amplified by her physical condition, mirroring Richard’s own adolescent idiopathic scoliosis or curvature of the spine. This is the condition that Kate felt helped to shape Richard’s response to the world in which…

Shakespeare Plus 2017

Hello All, we now begin our Shakespeare Blogs for 2017. We have had a wonderful launch into a Shakespearean autumn with Bell Shakespeare’s  Richard III awaiting us on Wednesday 15th March. As a preamble to that we have explored the context of the European Renaissance and 16th Century England. What a time that was with…

Francis Webb Seminar 2: Aquinas Academy

This week we explored the theme suggested by Herbert Read in his introduction to the first edition of Francis Webb’s Collected Poems: “the so tender voyaging line of truth”. This line appears in the poem “Self-Portrait”, part of Webb’s praise of the artist Anthony Sandys (1806-1883) which appears in Webb’s Around Costessey series. Here are some…

Best Blogs from New York

Hello All, We have now finished marking the blogs from our amazing trip to New York, studying the literature and drama of that extraordinary city. All our students had to do daily blogs (on literature and drama… and some chose to blog also on other key events). For nearly all students the most memorable event…

Francis Webb Seminar 1- Aquinas Academy07/02/2017

Today’s session explored the complex background to Francis Webb’s powerful creative imagination. We looked first at “On First Hearing a Cuckoo”, partly inspired by Frederick Delius’ On Hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring.  Here is a reading of the poem and the conversation that ensued:  The seminar then moved on to explore two of Webb’s early poems…

Updated URLS for New York Team

We are all finally leaving NY and we got a beautiful send off: strong snow falls. Thank you all and goodbye to a great city! URLS for NEW YORK-  Anita: https://akeigaldie.wordpress.com/ Anne-Marie: https://annemariedimarco.wordpress.com/ Audrey Bowles: https://barefootfairy42.wordpress.com/ Caitlin: https://caitlyntuckerman.wordpress.com Carly: https://carlysliteratureblog.wordpress.com/category/new-york/ Christina: https://christinarujicica.wordpress.com/ Claire: https://aclairetale.wordpress.com/ Darby: https://darbyelisee.wordpress.com Helen: https://hparminterblog.wordpress.com/ Jade Chambers: https://jadechambers.wordpress.com Jessica: https://therunaboutblog.wordpress.com Kirsten: https://kfed94.wordpress.com Maddison: https://unitedstatesofmaddison.wordpress.com Madeleine: https://maddydoesbroadway.wordpress.com/…

Harlem

Today was one of the richest engagements with American culture. It began with a Gospel service at the Canaan Baptist Church which was one of the most moving experiences I have ever witnessed. The preacher spoke about the difficulties of our own times and invited to the stage one of the leaders of the New…

The Met Breuer: Exhibition of African American artist Kerry James Marshall

After Central Park I strolled across to this wonderful exhibition of one of the most celebrated African American artists who was born in 1955. You can read all about his connections with the Harlem Renaissance here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerry_James_Marshall Deeply educated in classical European art, he has imposed black figures onto traditional painting subjects. This gave a powerful…

Day 4: Part 1- The MET

The MET began with an introduction to American Art through the iconic work of the early 20th Century Artist Thomas Benton whose amazing panoramic America Today fills a whole room. The painting captures America at the start of the Great Depression, shortly after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. America was in the throes of questioning/celebrating…

Day Three- MOMA

Our day began with a wonderful short introduction to the literary landscape of New York from the perspective of New Yorker Professor Nicholas Birns, an actual American specialist in Australian Literature and author of Contemporary Australian Literature: A World Not Yet Dead Sydney University Press.Nicholas is now on the academic staff of NYU New York University. Nicholas has…

Literary Tours through Greenwich and East Village New York: what an amazing day!

Introduction by our friendly, highly experienced tour guide! Washington Square was our first port of call. This is the place where Henry James was born, where he lived and from which he composed an early masterpiece which we are studying Washington Square. It is a wonderful novel that champions women’s intelligence and shows the poverty of…

New York, New York

We are off to New York very soon to study the Literature and Drama of New York: 30 students + 3 staff: what a blast! We have been working all week on the poetry, fiction and drama of New York and will arrive at JFK thoroughly soaked in the language and experience of those who…