The man who, among many other achievements, inspired two television programmes, Big Brother and Room 101, and painted a chilling dystopian portrayal of a totalitarian state in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, also unofficially provided the blueprint for many of the pubs in modern Britain.
It’s one of the most famous concepts in fiction: the idea of the dual personality. Robert Louis Stevenson cannot take the credit for inventing it – Edgar Allan Poe and Dostoyevsky had both written tales about ‘the double’ in the 1840s, some forty years before Stevenson put pen to paper – but he can certainly be applauded for giving us the definitive literary ‘type’. Whenever we talk about someone leading a dual life, we reach for ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ as an illustrative literary shorthand.
The shortest play in the world is probably by Samuel Beckett. ‘Breath’ is a 1969 work that was specially written for the theatrical revue Oh! Calcutta! The revue was organised by theatre critic Kenneth Tynan and brought together a host of famous people, including John Lennon and Sam Shepard.
Start with the basics: there is a world of difference between Mary Shelley’s original 1818 novel Frankenstein and the countless films that have been inspired by it. Even Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 adaptation, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, adds much to Shelley’s original vision and in doing so takes much away. Its title may signal fidelity to the … Read more
In which book did Peter Pan first appear, and what was the target readership of the book? Peter Pan, the play for children? Think again. The boy who wouldn’t grow up first appeared, ironically, in a book for adults, a little-known 1902 novel called The Little White Bird.