Bob Dylan caused controversy this week after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In a piece for the Huffington Post, I argue that it was a good decision to give Dylan the Nobel. It acknowledges that lyrics are literature, and points towards the central role that songs can play in political discourse. The full... Continue Reading →
My essay on Strindberg & 'The Woman Question' is now available from BBC Radio 3. I'm discussing why Strindberg got arrested for blasphemy in 1884, and what relevance that has to Swedish politics today. I also touch on why Strindberg injected morphine into Berlin fruit trees... The talk will be broadcast on Thursday 6th October... Continue Reading →
Happy International Translation Day! My Top Ten Nordic novels in translation that aren't Nordic Noir has just been published on HuffPost UK. Featuring authors such as Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Hjalmar Söderberg, the full article is available here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/leah-broad/nordic-noir_b_12263662.html
My appearances for Radio 3 Free Thinking are now available to download from the BBC website. Ahead of the re-release of Peter Watkins' 1974 biography of the artist Edvard Munch, I looked at how Munch's biography relates to his art (and why Strindberg threatened to kill him). You can hear my thoughts here, or alternatively... Continue Reading →
I gave an interview for the AHRC on my research - the full version can be found below. We're discussing theatre music, Scandinavian modernism, and the future of academia. http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/research/readwatchlisten/features/interview-leah-broad/
I'm absolutely thrilled to have been selected as one of the BBC/AHRC's New Generation Thinkers 2016. I'll be working with the BBC throughout the year to develop my research in to radio and tv programmes. More information about the scheme is available from the BBC's press release, and my first appearance as a New Generation... Continue Reading →
Review of a stage adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘Master & Margarita’
Adapting Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margaritafor the stage is, by any account, an ambitious undertaking. The novel is notorious for the multiplicity of interpretations it allows, simultaneously presenting satire, socio-political critique, philosophical allegory, and theological musing. Beyond this, Bulgakov’s prose is stylistically mercurial as he jumps between 1930s Moscow and Pontius Pilate’s Jerusalem, incorporating elements of magical realism along the way. Despite these obstacles, Magnolia Productions’interpretation is the latest in a whole host of dramatic adaptations, from Edward Kemp’s 2004 stage rendition to the BBC’s radio play broadcast earlier this year. It seems that there is something irresistible about the dramatic challenge of staging Bulgakov’s book.
Magnolia Productions opted for an outdoor setting, in the gardens of St John’s College. In many ways, this was an inspired choice —the uplit trees created fantastical shapes and shadows across the moonlit lawns (reminding me of the shadow puppets…
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My review of Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet, currently playing at the Barbican theatre
Benedict Cumberbatch’s appearance as Hamlet has reached unbelievable levels of hype. It has become the fastest selling play in British history, and fans have flown from overseas and queued for days outside the Barbican on the off chance of securing tickets. Critics have responded with no less hysteria than audiences, with Hamlet remaining front-page news in recent weeks. Both denounced as ‘Shakespeare for kids’ and hailed as ‘surprisingly challenging’, it seemed that this production was doomed to be subsumed by the furore that surrounded it. How could it possibly live up to the expectations placed upon it?
I needn’t have worried. The entire cast and production team rose to the challenge, delivering a Hamlet of such surprising depth and subtlety that I was too lost in the performance to consider anybody else’s opinion of it. Director Lyndsey Turner has navigated deftly through one of the most…
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Review of ‘Brief Interviews with Hideous Men’ by David Foster Wallace, adapted for the stage.
In 1997, David Foster Wallace wrote a scathingly piercing review of John Updike’s Midpoint for The New York Observer. Entitled, in characteristically unapologetic style, ‘John Updike, Champion Literary Phallocrat, Drops One; Is This Finally the End for Magnificent Narcissists?’, Wallace attacked the “Great Male Narcissists” of post-war fiction. The characters written into existence by Updike, Mailer, and Roth, he argued, are ‘always incorrigibly narcissistic, philandering, self-contemptuous, self-pitying and deeply alone, alone the way only a solipsist can be alone. They never belong to any sort of larger unit or community or cause. Though usually family men, they never really love anybody — and, though always heterosexual to the point of satyriasis, they especially don’t love women. The very world around them … seems to exist for them only insofar as it evokes impressions and associations and emotions inside the self.’
There could not be a better description of the characters…
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