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Jane Eyre: The role of women

What does Jane Eyre tell us about the role of women in 19th century England? Charlotte Bronte's best-known character is, according to Professor John Bowen, an 'assertive heroine ... who speaks the truth'. How does this distinguish her from other women of her time, especially those who serve as governesses? This clip from ...

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Wuthering Heights: Landscape

The moorland near the West Yorkshire town of Haworth in northern England shapes the characters, settings and events in Emily Bronte's novel, Wuthering Heights. Professor John Bowen reflects on the significance of the moor and the importance of setting to Emily Bronte and her sisters, Charlotte and Anne. This clip is one ...

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Wuthering Heights: Violence and cruelty

Why might Emily Bronte have included numerous instances of cruelty in Wuthering Heights? Listen as John Bowen, Professor of Nineteeth-century Literature, considers the reasons behind the brutality in the novel. This clip is one in a series of four from the British Library.

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Wuthering Heights: Who is Heathcliff?

Heathcliff is one of the main characters in Emily Bronte's classic novel, Wuthering Heights. As Professor John Bowen from the University of York notes, we know very little about this mysterious character and his apparent contradictions. Ms Bronte offers suggestions about Heathcliff's background but provides few details ...

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Wuthering Heights: Fantasy and realism

Do you think Wuthering Heights is a fantasy novel? Or is it all too realistic in its descriptions of hardship, cruelty and human frailty? John Bowen, Professor of Literature at York University notes, 'Gothic elements ... haunt the edges of the book.' Yet they never compromise the authenticity of the story. In this clip, ...

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First Tuesday Book Club: The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale' is a dystopian novel set in the fictional Republic of Gilead. What are some hallmarks of dystopian novels? What are some similarities and differences between this novel and another dystopian novel mentioned in this video, Orwell's '1984'?

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Journey to the west - part 1

This is the first part of a Chinese folk story called Journey to the west: the adventures of Monkey, which dates back 1,300 years. The story is about a monkey that gets magical powers. In the second part of the story the monkey becomes a companion of a monk on a dangerous journey. The resource is 15 web pages in length ...

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Stories: journey to the west

This is a two-part presentation of slides, telling and illustrating the Chinese Buddhist legend of 'Journey to the west'. 'Part 1: the adventures of Monkey' introduces the main character, Monkey, and the folk story outlines how his character evolves, becoming boastful and mischievous. 'Part 2: preparing for the great journey' ...

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Digging into the Stanza Stones

Imagine having your poetry carved in stone. What would you write? British artist Pip Hall carved six poems by Simon Armitage in rocks found in 'quiet, poetic corners of the landscape' between the towns of Marsden and Ilkley in northern England. Listen as Mr Armitage describes this unique project, known as Stanza Stones.

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Writing wild places

How do you write about a place that is disobedient?' Four of Britain's prominent writers consider the emotions that wild places evoke. In this clip, Robert Macfarlane, Simon Armitage, Sara Maitland and Owen Sheers consider the qualities of wildness: silence; escape; beauty; threat; and a sense of being both lost and found.

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Heywire: Woolly holiday

For Genevieve Wright, the first day of school holidays means heading to the shearing shed to spend a day of back-breaking work! As you listen to her Heywire audio story, explore Genevieve's characterisation of herself. How does she reflect her personality through the descriptions of her actions and environment?<br /><br ...

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Writing London: Discovery and rebirth

How do writers respond to, and write about, the great city of London. Listen as some of London's greatest writers, including Andrea Levy, Jeremy Reed, Ian McEwan and Bernard Kops, reflect on the experience of writing in and about London. Consider what Bernard Kops means when he asks, 'Where was I born after I was born?'

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Heywire: Digging for diprotodons

Ever dreamed of finding buried treasure in your own backyard? For Natasha Camp, this is a reality. Her 'treasure' is not gold or silver, but the bones of ancient Australian megafauna. In this Heywire photo story, Natasha describes the latest dig at Floraville Station, Queensland, her family's property. It was on this dig ...

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First Tuesday Book Club: Navigating 'The Secret River'

Kate Grenville's multiple-award-winning novel 'The Secret River' explores an earlier period of Australian history. What is it that makes this novel so compelling and troubling for its many Australian readers? As you watch this clip, consider how this book encourages readers to re-evaluate their beliefs and values.

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Heywire: Bikes, cameras and cystic fibrosis

What does it take to remain active and optimistic despite having a serious physical condition? Michael McMahon's photo story shows us that cystic fibrosis hasn't stopped him doing what he loves best. A proud resident of Warrnambool in Victoria, and with a strong family network around him, he is living life to the fullest. ...

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Representing Sydney's suburbs, 1965

In this clip from the mid-60s, explore how words and images can be combined to encourage particular interpretations and influence audience response. Explore how some of the inner suburbs of Sydney have been represented in history.

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The Book Club: Class and gender roles in 'Wuthering Heights'

'Wuthering Heights' is considered by many to be a great romance novel. Jeanette Winterson, however, thinks it is anything but. What does she think the book is about? Do you agree?

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George Orwell’s '1984'

1984 is a novel by British author George Orwell, published in 1949. How has that period - the late 1940s - shaped the novel? What world event and its consequences led to Orwell writing such a dystopian novel? Professor Bowen claims the Senate House, formerly Ministry of Information, is the basis for the novel's Ministry ...

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Heywire: Country towns: all drop bears and skate rats?

Why might you use humour when presenting your local community to a national audience? In this Heywire clip, an 'ex-bushranger and survival expert' (in reality Hayden Laube) introduces us to the wilds of Port Pirie. After several adventures including fighting off ferocious wildlife, he reflects on the value of life in a ...

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Heywire: When I'm riding, I don't think about my Asperger's

Jordan Gyss, who was born with Asperger's syndrome, says he found life before cycling 'one giant pain'. In this Heywire audio story, he describes how competitive cycling helps him manage his condition while providing a source of excitement and challenge. Could you write or record a similar story about yourself and/or your ...