From Features

‘Frankenstein’: A Celebration of 200 Years of Thrilling Horror

Written by Daniel Sharp On 1 January 1818, the first edition of Mary Shelley’s horror novel Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus was published. The two hundredth anniversary of its publication is coming up very soon, and in celebration of this, the Keats-Shelley Association of America has launched the ‘Frankenreads’ project. This project encourages people to commemorate the anniversary by hosting events related to the book this Halloween, and it will culminate next Halloween with an international set of readings of the novel. As such, it seems an appropriate moment to commemorate this historic work in the pages of Retrospect. Frankenstein…

Trump, Brexit and the return of the ‘Country Party’

Written by Travis Aaroe   What forces drove Britain to vote to leave the European Union, and for American voters to elect the political outsider Donald Trump? The rhetoric used by both campaigns strongly echoes that of an earlier political tradition, known as the ‘Country Party’ or the ‘Country Persuasion’. The Country Party began in…

The Origins and Evolution of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago

Written by Candice Maharaj Carnival is a festival that is celebrated annually during the weeks leading up to Lent. It is a period of celebration that involves music, costumes, processions, feasting and a lot of alcohol. Traditionally, during Lent people had to abstain from any festivities and rich foods such as meat, alcohol, and fats;…

Napoleonic Prisoners and Edinburgh Castle: A Brief Examination

Written by Daniel Sharp Edinburgh Castle stands on high, overlooking Scotland’s capital. It is an impressive sight – it may be small, yet it is also beautiful, especially when lit up at night, and provides a scene that many photographers love to snap. It is a famous tourist spot, its deep history drawing in visitors…

Second Hand Time

Written by Eleanor Hemming Often when we recount the eras of Russian history, we think first of the Tsarist era, followed by the Soviet Union, and then the arrival of Putin’s Russia. Little thought is given to what happened in between the collapse of the USSR and the year 2000: the all-important tumult of the 1990s, which shook both Russia and many other former Soviet states which found themselves suddenly independent and alone in a fiercely competitive world. The result was violence, dislocation and a loss of identity affecting millions of people across Europe and Central Asia. Second Hand Time…

A Roman Russia

Written by Travis Aaroe The fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 finally brought an end to Byzantium, the Christian successor state to the Ancient Roman Empire. After the holy city’s capture, Orthodox Christendom was thrown into a state of panic and confusion, and seemed to be teetering on the edge of oblivion. The…

The Long March Home

Written by Daniel Sharp  I am writing this on some ripped scraps; sitting on a rock at night; several feet away there is the light from the camp fire, my only illumination. Other men are packed around the fire. There is no space. So I sit here, on my rock. The fire may as well…

Boris Johnson and Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Mandalay’: How should we remember prejudiced authors and their literature?

  Written by Carissa Chew In recent news, footage has been released showing UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reciting part of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘Mandalay’ (1892) whilst he was touring the Shwedagon Pagoda during an official visit to Myanmar in January 2017. Andrew Patrick, the British Ambassador to Burma, hastily informs Johnson that this reference…

Longwood

by RETROSPECT JOURNAL Written by Gordon Thomson The westerly gale buffeted Longwood House, chilled and wet from its uninterrupted passage of nearly three thousand kilometres from South American coast. Standing alone as it did on a windswept plain on Saint Helena, with little to shelter it from the ferocity of the elements, the house was cold, damp and unhealthy, and Napoleon could not help but shiver. God, but it is cold. He clenched his arms to his ribcage, pulling his grey riding coat tight to his body, and that at least seemed to warm him a little. Napoleon let his…

Restoration of the Chimney Map

The Restoration of the Chimney Map

Written by Emma Marriott. In the heart of Edinburgh, our University and the National Library of Scotland (NLS) have been working in collaboration to research the mystery that is known as the restoration on the ‘Chimney Map’. Fifteen years ago a rare antique map was deposited into the NLS after having been found in a…

The Illusive Window: Insights into an Irish Tale

Written by Deana Davis. The extent to which written sources can be relied upon has constantly plagued historians in their attempt to recreate and “see” the past. In Ireland’s case, its unique plethora of cycles, or tales, contain pseudo-historical stories that have been fertile ground for such recreation. One such collection of tales, the Ulster…

My Year Abroad

My Year Abroad: Studying History in France

Written by Martin Greenacre. In Britain, we have an absurd fixation with university league tables. In the absence of a similar system in France, I knew little of what to expect when I arrived in Dijon for my year abroad studying history at the Université de Bourgogne. The titles of the courses were not even…