Much ado about the Bard’s birth-day

by Rashmee

Posted on April 25, 2021


/ TRAVELS IN MY MIND April 23 was Shakespeare’s birthday. Allegedly. No one really knows because there aren’t any records of his birth. However, the Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon apparently records his baptism on April 26, 1564. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust says this means a birthday no later than April 23 because “captisms typically took … Continue reading “Much ado about the Bard’s birth-day”

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Immersive theatre Vs the real thing

by Rashmee

Posted on March 20, 2021


/FAITH, HOPE… An interesting experiment comes to an end today (March 20). The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) ‘Dream’, live immersive theatre on television screens in your living room, wraps up its high-tech stuff. So the virtual curtain comes down on a week of performances in which gaming technology and VR was used to allow audiences … Continue reading “Immersive theatre Vs the real thing”

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Hubris and humility: Remembering Ozymandias, ‘that colossal wreck’

by Rashmee

Posted on January 21, 2021


Just the other day Donald Trump was likened to Ozymandias, the Greek name for the legendary Egyptian pharaoh, at least in the sense that Mr Trump’s sketchy legacy was obviously crumbling in his last weeks in office. The Economist said its cover was meant to convey as much, even as it mentioned Ozymandias and Mr … Continue reading “Hubris and humility: Remembering Ozymandias, ‘that colossal wreck’”

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Unmasking President Trump’s fatal ignorance throughout the plague year

by Rashmee

Posted on December 29, 2020


I don’t subscribe to The New Yorker so can’t help but be grateful for the Axios story on how the nearly 100-year-old magazine is looking back on the plague year in an eponymous issue, which is almost entirely about America’s unmoored response to the pandemic. Axios says Lawrence Wright offers a 40-page account (paywall). I’ve written before about … Continue reading “Unmasking President Trump’s fatal ignorance throughout the plague year”

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On National Poetry Day, here’s a sonnet that’s like rap, a protest poem for racial justice

by Rashmee

Posted on October 1, 2020


Today is National Poetry Day in Britain and I’ve been thinking a great deal about a poem from across the waters. It’s by Terrance Hayes, 48. He describes himself in interviews as a “jock” writing sonnets but don’t let the self-deprecation fool you. Hayes clothes and unclothes ideas with ease and grace and passion. The … Continue reading “On National Poetry Day, here’s a sonnet that’s like rap, a protest poem for racial justice”

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Back to the culture wars then

by Rashmee

Posted on September 14, 2020


The gains from the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement were many. It proved to be a great investment for the Arabs. Not only did they create a vibrant environment of intellectual enquiry, they were able to use their very appetite for Hellenic knowledge as a cultural cudgel against their rivals next door, the Christian Byzantines. Interestingly, Muslim … Continue reading “Back to the culture wars then”

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What was the logic of the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 13, 2020


Why did the second Abbasid Caliph Al Mansur (r.754-775) initiate the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement? He was no scholar but there was a very particular reason to lay claim to the fruits of Hellenic thinking. Al Mansur had an interest in astrology and may have been keen to form a dynastic ideology. This was to be … Continue reading “What was the logic of the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement?”

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Don’t despair over the culture wars. They’re benign compared to 8th and 9th centuries

by Rashmee

Posted on September 10, 2020


Not too long ago, British sociologist Frank Furedi wrote a piece on the culture wars in the US and UK. He asserted that the culture war was historically “set in motion in Western societies by a powerful impulse to detach the present from the past, which emerged at the turn of the 20th century”. He … Continue reading “Don’t despair over the culture wars. They’re benign compared to 8th and 9th centuries”

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The account of Garden Marcus had echoes of Chance, the hero of Jerzy Kosinski’s satire ‘Being There’

by Rashmee

Posted on August 19, 2020


Reading a rather breathless account about Marcus Bridgewater (Garden Marcus on TikTok) and his philosophy of gardening, self-care and life, made me think of Chance, the main protagonist in Jerzy Kosinski’s 1970 novel ‘Being There’. Mr Bridgewater, 33, lives in Texas, loves to garden and has 653,000 TikTok followers.  The New York Times describes him … Continue reading “The account of Garden Marcus had echoes of Chance, the hero of Jerzy Kosinski’s satire ‘Being There’”

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Is it a liberation to give George Eliot back her real name?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 15, 2020


The ‘Reclaim Her Name’ library has reissued 25 novels written by women using male pen names. This time, they’ve used the woman writer’s real name. So George Eliot’s ‘Middlemarch’ has been reissued bearing the author’s real name, Mary Ann Evans. So too George Sand’s ‘Indiana’. If you’re bent on acquiring this version (free downloads available), … Continue reading “Is it a liberation to give George Eliot back her real name?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK