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Listed under:  Language  >  Text types  >  Persuasive texts  >  Literary criticism
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Jane Austen: the novel and social realism

Why did Jane Austen spend so much time detailing the lives of everyday people in her classic novels? Listen as Professor Kathryn Sutherland from the University of Oxford provides valuable insights into the intentions and techniques of one of Britain's best-known authors. This clip from the British Library is one in a series ...

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Is reality TV 'real'?

How real is 'reality TV'? Is what we see on a show like 'Masterchef' or 'The Biggest Loser' reality? Or are these shows using a carefully contrived recipe to make us believe that what we are seeing is real? Discover what really goes on behind the scenes of reality TV and how 'reality' can be changed by careful editing.

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Hugh Howey's 'Wool': interactive publishing

Science fiction as a genre is known for exploring new frontiers. 'Wool' by Hugh Howey achieves this both in the way it was written and in its publication. Learn more about this fascinating story and the implications it might have for the future of novel writing. Jennifer Byrne's panellists from left to right are: China ...

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Judging utopia: using language to evaluate

Have you ever dreamed of living in a perfect world? Many authors have imagined such utopian worlds in their writing. But would we all agree on what makes a perfect world? In this clip, explore how language can reveal people's judgements of others' ideas.

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Can you agree to disagree about a cult book?

Can your feelings about a book be so strong that they influence your relationships with others? In this clip, a panel of authors, literary critics and a publisher discuss how they respond to people who don't share their passion for a cult book. Listen, too, as they discuss whether quality of writing is essential in a cult book.

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The nature of fear

What do you think makes a monster truly frightening? What inhabits your nightmares? In this clip, discover how traditional monsters such as the vampire have evolved over time and what this suggests about our perception of evil.

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Cult books and bestsellers: same or different?

What are some of the essential characteristics of cult books? Must they be treasured by new generations of readers? Can they also be bestsellers? Find out what a panel of writers, literary critics and a publisher consider to be some of the key features of cult books.

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Books that changed the world: Sigmund Freud

How do you discuss the impact of a book on society with your friends or family? In this clip a panel of writers discuss Sigmund Freud's 'The Interpretation of Dreams'. Listen as they present their different opinions and respond to one another's point of view. The panellists also consider the enduring ability of books to ...

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What's the best age to discover a book?

Do you think there is a best age at which you discover a book? Is a book you love as a young adult likely to remain a favourite for the rest of your life? Listen to a panel of authors, literary critics and a publisher discuss when a book is most likely to make a lasting impression on the reader.

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The enduring appeal of 'Frankenstein'

Frankenstein! The very name of Mary Shelley's tale of the iconic scientist and his disastrous creation strikes fear into the heart of many readers. But what is the reason for this story's enduring power? In this clip, explore why this classic Gothic horror novel has remained relevant since its 1818 publication.

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Exploring dystopian fiction

Imagine a future where Australia has been taken over by an invading force and everybody is interned in prison camps, or a world where corporations control our every move. These are scenarios imagined by two Australian authors, John Marsden and Max Barry. In this clip, explore reasons why they believe these situations might ...

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'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest': book to film

Have you read the book or watched the movie 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest'? The movie was very successful, winning five Academy Awards including Best Picture. Listen to the opinions of some leading authors, filmmakers and critics as they discuss their responses to the film adaptation of the book.

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John le Carré: early influences

How do writers of spy novels find inspiration? Where do they learn about the people and places that feature in their books? Listen to acclaimed author John le Carré explain how he draws upon his childhood, family and his work with the British secret service to inspire and inform his novels.

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The power of poetry

Imagine having the power to move and inspire people using carefully chosen words. This is the power wielded by poets who use words, voice and sometimes actions to engage their audiences. In this clip, explore the powerful and innovative work of young British poet Kate Tempest as she performs her original work 'Balance'.

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Objectivity in the media - thinking about Twitter

Imagine a platform where everybody has the opportunity to voice their opinions publicly. That would be pretty democratic, right? This is one of the purposes of Twitter. However, Twitter doesn't always give an accurate indication of public opinion. Explore how this clip encourages viewers to think about Twitter in a particular way.

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Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis': perfect fiction?

Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' is a classic of modernist literature. Explore why this novel continues to fascinate people 100 years after it was published. Jennifer Byrne leads the discussion with critics and writers Andy Griffiths, Toni Jordan, Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger.

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'The Rosie Project' and writing comedy

Do you agree with the view that comedy is the hardest genre to write? The comedy writer must repeatedly create expectations before surprising the reader with unanticipated but viable outcomes. In this clip, listen to members of the First Tuesday Book Club discuss Graham Simsion's romantic comedy novel 'The Rosie Project' ...

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Playing with devices in 'The Rosie Project'

Do you dislike knowing the ending of a story before it begins, or do you skip straight to the end? In this clip, panellists on the First Tuesday Book Club discuss the technique of engaging the reader in a story that has an obvious conclusion. They also discuss how the author of 'The Rosie Project' uses complex literary ...

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Exploring symbolism in Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis'

Since its publication in 1915, Franz Kafka's 'The Metamorphosis' has troubled and delighted readers all over the world. It tells the story of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one morning to find himself mysteriously transformed into a giant insect. What could this all mean? In this clip, a range of responses to this question ...

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Richard Flanagan - being a courageous writer

Whether we realise it or not, we are all storytellers. Every day we compose text messages, write emails or tell stories to friends and family. Yet when we are asked to write a story and share it with others, many of us find the process terrifying. This can sometimes be the case for published authors too. In this clip, discover ...