Left-Wing Populism and the Arts

All art is political. As Toni Morrison put it in a 2008 interview with Poets and Writers (issue 36.6): All of that art-for-art’s-sake stuff is BS […] What are these people talking about? Are you really telling me that Shakespeare and Aeschylus weren’t writing about kings? All good art is political! There is none that isn’t. And the ones … Read more

ITV’s Victoria is Neo-Victorian Fiction at its Purest

‘I’m afraid the truth is vastly overrated’ – Lord Melbourne, ‘Doll 123’ (Victoria, episode 1) After a busy summer, I’ve spent the last few weeks catching up on all the reading and viewing I had on hold. Last week, a scathing review by James Delingpole sent ITV’s Victoria to the top of my must-watch list. The show, he wrote, is ‘silly, facile … Read more

The Musical Monsters of Steampunk

A few weeks ago I introduced you to ‘Lady Got Bustle’, a steampunk rendering of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1992 hit ‘Baby Got Back’. This video was just a bit of fan-made fun, but steampunk is a musical genre in its own right. Happily for my research, it’s chock full of monsters and strange creatures. There’s actually not as much ‘punk’ … Read more

All Penny Dreadful Season Three Reviews Now Online

In case you missed my original post on the subject, I’ve been writing regular recaps of Penny Dreadful for the Victorianist, a researcher blog with the British Association for Victorian Studies. After each episode, I talked readers through what we’d seen, reflected on what previous episodes and seasons had brought, and speculated on what was to come … Read more

Cultural Afterlives of Frankenstein

The following post was originally delivered as part of a Cardiff BookTalk screening of James Whale’s Frankenstein (1931). After watching the film, three academics (including myself) delivered short presentations on the story’s cultural contexts. A report of the event will be available shortly, but you can find the contents of my presentation reproduced below, with … Read more

Salvagepunk

Salvagepunk is an idea and framework I’ve been toying with for a couple of weeks, and which I borrow loosely from Evan Calder Williams’ Combined and Uneven Apocalypse (2011). In this book, Calder Williams looks at the way apocalyptic fantasies function in late capitalist culture. Salvagepunk is a useful way to approach other modes of cultural production as well, … Read more

Bustle Envy (Steampunk Meets Sir Mix-a-Lot)

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the world. You deserve something light and playful to take your mind off it all. Further to my recent post on poetry and cultural appropriation, I though I would gift you with one of the most bizarre and wonderful things I have seen this month – Katherine Stewart’s ‘Lady Got … Read more

Anonymity and the Privilege of Uncreative Writing

On on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Seven months later, on March 13, 2015, American poet Kenneth Goldsmith sparked an internet controversy when he performed a remixed version of Michael Brown’s autopsy report at the ‘Interrupt 3’ event at Brown University. Recordings of the reading were never … Read more

The Good, the Bad, and the Book Trailers (Vol. II: Fun With Mashup)

Earlier this year I posted a selection of book trailers for monster mashup titles in honour of World Book Day (…in the UK and Ireland). This week I’ve been doing some research into several YouTube productions, and thought I’d take the opportunity to do a second instalment. This time, instead of trailers for actual books, I’ve … Read more

Now Reviewing Penny Dreadful for the Victorianist

This post is a teaser for my weekly review series on Penny Dreadful season 3, starting this Friday (6 May) and featured over at the Victorianist. [UPDATE: You can now find my first review in all its glory at this link.] When the first season of Penny Dreadful was announced in 2013, we were unsure what to expect. Initially, it … Read more