Author: Sarah Thomson

Cross-Dressing Toads and Practical Petticoats: Clothing as Politics in Edwardian Children’s Fiction

Arguably the “golden age” of British children’s literature, and the period which brought us beloved classics including Peter Pan (1904 and 1911), The Wizard of Oz (1900) and The Secret Garden (1911) among many others, writing of the Edwardian era is permeated by the social and political concerns of the decade. Children’s novels are no exception. Carefully examining how authors chose to clothe their central characters provides a novel method of illuminating some of these concerns. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908) and Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children (1905-6) offer vivid character descriptions, which allow the novels’...

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“A senseless fight”?: ‘Miss Saigon’ and the legacy of the Vietnam War

“They drafted me and shipped me out to wind up in that senseless fight. There, in a shambles of a war, I found what I was looking for”. Chris, the hero of Schönberg and Boublil’s critically acclaimed musical Miss Saigon, is a young, disillusioned American GI serving in the Vietnam War. A reimagining of the opera Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon takes place against the backdrop of the final days of the conflict. The tragic love story premiered in London in 1989, and after a period of closure was “revived” in 2014. In the words of Cameron MacKintosh, the show’s...

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Man Booker Prize 2017: Emily Fridlund’s ‘History of Wolves’ and the Modern Coming-of-Age Novel

Recently shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Emily Fridlund’s debut novel History of Wolves is a chilling and sombre coming-of age story. Fourteen-year-old Linda tells us from the offset, “winter collapsed down on us that year. It knelt down, exhausted, and stayed”.[1] This succinctly sets the tone for the rest of the novel, in which warmth, energy, and love are all distinctly lacking. Raised by well-intentioned but often absent parents in the austere climate of northern Minnesota, Linda’s story revolves around two parallel narratives. More prominent is that of her relationship with a neighbouring family whose children she babysits,...

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