Category: Classics

Riz Ahmed as Hamlet

Riz Ahmed’s ‘Hamlet’ in Development!

You might know him from Venom, Star Wars: Rogue One, or even as the guy who died a hilarious death on Nightcrawler (an appropriate qualification for his upcoming role), but Riz Ahmed is now on his way to becoming the iconic Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

Variety reports that while promoting Englistan, his new BBC series, Ahmed also confirmed that his adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy is currently in development.

The project originally began with Ahmed and writer Mike Lesslie (Macbeth, Assassins Creed). The two had met during their college years.

 

Image via ThoughtCo

 

The adaptation is expected to be a contemporary retelling, and will be set in modern-day London against the backdrop of England’s economic and political uncertainty. The story will still follow the play’s classic themes of familial honor, moral duty, and dynastic corruption. And Hamlet will likely still die.

Ahmed, also known for his activism (essay in The Good Immigrant and speech at the English Parliament), aims to use this project to bring stories and roles with social impact to the forefront.

Netflix is set to finance and distribute the film according to Deadline.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Independent

Beloved Children’s Author Tomi Ungerer, Dies at 87

If you’re like me, an anxious contradiction suffering from a hint of narcissism induced by a lingering quarter-life crisis, then you may often feel like time is running out. It’s not, we know that; we just figured we’d accomplish everything we ever dreamed of before the age of thirty…

The one thing that calms us and brings us together, the thing we can always take solace in, is the power of stories.

This begins when we’re young; reading stories like Peter Rabbit, The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood, perhaps even more subversive stories like The Light PrincessThe Princess and The Goblin, Zeralda’s Ogre, or Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear. Later some of us move on to comic books about superheroes achieving the impossible, defying limitations. Now we read denser things, fiction that aims to dissect the human condition. In the end, nothing beats the didactic nature of a child’s tale. The purpose of these disjointed introductory paragraphs is to bring to you the unfortunate news of legendary artist, Tomi Ungerer‘s death—a man who understood Imagination’s ability to eliminate fear.

 Image Via Culto.latercera.com

An article on The Guardian‘s website, written in 2012, discusses the legendary, yet under-appreciated children’s book innovator, refering to how Ungerer’s humor could be described as “crazy” how his work contains “surprising” and “inexplicable” details created by a sometimes controversial, and truly wacky soul. The author of the article describes the man as apologetic for his nature upon meeting him; spouting countless aphorisms, and energy propelled by the type of insecurities that plague the wisest of men. Ungerer describes his approach to children’s literature:

“Curiosity is vital. The finest gift you can give your children is a magnifying glass, so with a little effort they can make their own discoveries.” To make it too easy is to curb the instinct to explore.

The French author and artist seemed to epitomized the expression “tongue in cheek.” He was aware of himself and of the world, he understood the power of language and visuals. His work subverts genre expectations, particularly in regard to his children ‘s books, as his stories convey their own brand of social satire. What would appear to be simple, relatable stories carry layered messages that pull your soul in the right direction.

Image Via Amazon.com

Whether it be his story Moon Man, about an alien who just wants to be accepted by humanity or The Three Robbers, about a girl who turns greed on its head, the books are charming and relatable, entertaining to both old and young. He was one of the pioneer’s of the age-defying child’s narrative, the type of stories parents can read with their children. The types of stories that remind adults that maybe they don’t have to grow up in the traditional sense; that wonderment and political naivety of a child may be relevant in the most excruciating of times…

His lengthy and unmatched career has resulted in the publication of over 140 books (in German, English, and French), various political posters, and some erotic stuff that doesn’t really make sense to mention in the context of this article…(but riveting and a true testament to his diversity). The range and depth of Ungerer’s skills appeared to never cease—a well that was dug through the bottom of the earth, reaching eternity. At one point he even designed the poster for the classic comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Image Via Imdb.com

Tomi Ungerer became the first ever Ambassador for Childhood and Education for the Council of Europe and has a museum dedicated to him in Strasbourg: a first for a French artist. His experiences as a child living in German-occupied France inspired the book Tomi: A Childhood Under the Nazis and shed a light on the perspective of a man who hated only a couple things in this life: intolerance and discrimination. In 1976, Ungerer moved to Ireland with his wife and recently died in Goleen, Co Cork at the age of eighty-seven.

Tomi Ungerer vor seinen Zeichnungen bei einer Ausstellung in Straßburg 2010.

Image Via Berliner-zeitung.de

People have reacted to his passing on Twitter, honoring Ungerer:

It was a tweet I found on Tomi Ungerer’s personal Twitter page that moves me the most; the following video contains an interview with Ungerer, where he expresses one of the most optimistic and inspiring outlooks on death I think I’ve ever had the great pleasure of hearing. Ungerer’s legacy was sculpted by a man full of life, a life unaffected by superficial things like time and age: he was a painter, writer, intellectual, folk hero, legend, a god damn superhero with the power of imagination.

 

 

Featured Image Via Instagram.com

 

10 Charles Dickens Quotes to Brighten Your Bleakest Days

The guy’s work may have been a buzzkill to read while trying to enjoy high school, but he did indeed have some facts of life to spit. (It’s pretty cool that A Tale of Two Cities was the narrative foundation for The Dark Knight Rises). Yet even as the bleakest of writers, Charles Dickens believed you could find lighter moments in darker times. Here are some quotes from the literary icon… aside from “please, sir, I want some more.”

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dickens.

 

charles dickens

Image via The British Library

 

1. “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”

 


 

2. “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

 


 

3. “There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.”

 


 

4. “We forge the chains we wear in life.”

 


 

5. “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”

 


 

6. “We need never be ashamed of our tears.”

 


 

7. “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

 


 

8. “The men who learn endurance, are they who call the whole world, brother.”

 


 

9. “This is a world of action, and not for moping and droning in.”

 


 

10. “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Art UK

George Orwell photograph over green background

70 Years Later, British Council Apologizes for George Orwell Rejection

If you’re into easy little phrases with all the emotional depths of a greeting card condolence, you might’ve heard or used the phrase ‘it’s never too late to apologize.’ Here’s the question: is this truism actually true? Is it really never too late—even if the person’s dead? We’d ask George Orwell whether this widely held assumption applied to a recent apology he received, but he’s not exactly available for commentary.

 

George Orwell

Image Via George Orwell Biography

 

In 1946, the British Council commissioned Orwell to write an essay on the country’s cuisine in an attempt to spread British culture throughout the world (because, apparently, the empire hadn’t already done the job). When Orwell wrote the essay he was paid for, the organization declined the publication. By this point, Orwell was already a novelist of some acclaim, having published Animal Farm the year prior. The man wasn’t J.K. Rowling—no bizarre allegorical theme park—but he was not a man to spurn. Unfortunately for Orwell, there was the matter of the stringent food rations in the U.K. at the time, and the audience was hungry for everything but culinary content. The Council informed Orwell of their concerns… and the rejection:

I am so sorry such a seemingly stupid situation has arisen with your manuscript [due to] doubts on such a treatment of the painful subject of Food in these times. Apart from one or two minor criticisms, I think it is excellent, [but] it would be unfortunate and unwise to publish it for the continental reader.

While the Council may not have had the foresight not to commission the essay, they had the hindsight to issue a formal apology. “Over seventy years later,” began editor Alasdair Donaldson in his official statement, “the British Council is delighted to make amends for its slight on perhaps the UK’s greatest political writer of the 20th century, by reproducing the original essay in full.” You can check it out here or continue reading for the highlights.

 

Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding, for all the Americans imagining a VANILLA SNACK PACK
Image Via BBC

 

The essay includes many of Orwell’s own recipes so that you can live like the artist himself… without the tuberculosis. Of course, just because he’s a literary genius doesn’t mean he’s a genius in the kitchen. (Orwell’s editor said of his orange marmalade: “bad recipe; too much sugar and water!”) After dropping some other recipes for plum cake and pudding, he moves onto what might be some passive-aggression towards the British diet. “British people… combine sugar with meat,” he observes delicately, “in a way that is seldom seen elsewhere.”

Below, we’ve included the infamous marmalade recipe. Try it for yourself to see if Orwell really was a man of taste.

 

Orwell's orange marmalade recipe

Image Via Flickr

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 seville oranges
  • 2 sweet oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 3.6kg of preserving sugar
  • 4.5 litres of water

Wash and dry the fruit. Halve them and squeeze out the juice. Remove some of the pith, then shred the fruit finely. Tie the pips in a muslin bag. Put the strained juice, rind and pips into the water and soak for 48 hours. Place in a large pan and simmer for an hour and a half until the rind is tender. Leave to stand overnight, then add the sugar and let it dissolve before bringing to the boil. Boil rapidly until a little of the mixture will set into a jelly when placed on a cold plate. Pour into jars which have been heated beforehand and cover with paper covers.

 

Featured Image Via School of Life on YouTube

Of mice and men

10 ‘Of Mice and Men’ Quotes to Celebrate Your Epic Friendships

George and Lennie have held the title of ‘greatest bromance’ in literature since 1937. In honor of the classic novella’s publication anniversary, the following Of Mice and Men quotes should help you celebrate your greatest friendships. A couple might be hurtful, but all are said with love.

 

 

of mice and men by john steinbeck

Image via Amazon

 

 

1. “Jesus Christ, Lennie! You can’t remember nothing that happens, but you remember ever’ word I say.” – George

 


 

2. “I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you.” – Lennie

 


 

3. Lennie: “You said I was your cousin!”
George: “That was a lie. If I was a relative of yours, I’d shoot myself.”

 


 

4. “We know what we got, and we don’t care whether you know it or not.” – Candy

 


 

5. Lennie: “I was only foolin’, George. I don’t want no ketchup. I wouldn’t eat no ketchup if it was right here beside me.”

George: “If it was here, you could have some.”

Lennie: “But I wouldn’t eat none, George. I’d leave it all for you. You could cover your beans with it and I wouldn’t touch none of it.”

 


 

6. “‘Course Lennie’s a God damn nuisance most of the time, but you get used to goin’ around with a guy an’ you can’t get rid of him.” – George

 


 

7. “It ain’t no lie. We’re gonna do it. Gonna get a little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’.” – Lennie

 


 

8. “I turns to Lennie and says, ‘Jump in.’ An’ he jumps. Couldn’t swim a stroke. He damn near drowned before we could get him. An’ he was so damn nice to me for pullin’ him out. Clean forgot I told him to jump in. Well, I ain’t done nothing like that no more.” – George

 


 

9. “No, Lennie, I ain’t mad. I never been mad, and I ain’ now. That’s a thing I want ya to know.” – George

 


 

10. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place. . . . With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.” – George

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the ultimate literary bromance, John Steinbeck.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Literary Hub