Guest Blog: Secret Diary of PorterGirl

In this special guest blog post, Porter Girl – who, when she isn’t blogging about her adventures at Old College, is sharing her experience reading difficult James Joyce novels – tells us about her journey from blogger to published author

Interesting Literature has long been one of my favourite sites, proving to be the most informative and entertaining of literary resources across the whole of the world wide web. Being asked to contribute a small missive for its illustrious readership is indeed a great honour and, handily, coincides nicely with the release of my latest tome, Old College Diaries, the collected works of my PorterGirl series thus far.

I began dabbling with writing as a young girl when, as a spirited primary schooler, my teachers searched desperately for ways to distract me from being disruptive in the classroom. My first great work was a self-illustrated novel aimed at the youngest pupils, designed to help them learn the alphabet. As I remember, the plot revolved around a birthday party to which one of the characters was not invited, so he took revenge by burning down a house. The day was saved by an elephant using his trunk as a hose and the would-be arsonist found himself thrown in jail. Even as a small child, my flair for the dramatic and innate sense of justice was plainly evident.

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A Short Analysis of Aristophanes’ The Frogs

An introduction to a classic play

The Frogs is one of Aristophanes’ most curious plays. It’s the only Greek play which we know for a fact was popular enough to have been given a repeat performance. It’s also notable for its discussion of the nature of theatre – an early version of literary theory and analysis, which Aristotle would help to develop in his Poetics nearly a century later. The 1974 Stephen Sondheim musical version of The Frogs was the first musical ever staged in a swimming pool, which, if nothing else, shows that people are continuing to experiment with this most experimental of plays.

The plot of The Frogs can be summarised easily enough. The god Dionysus – in whose name the City Dionysia, incorporating the ancient Greek theatre festival, was held – goes down into the Underworld to find the tragedian, Euripides, who had died a year earlier. He is looking for Euripides because he believes the recently deceased playwright will be able to save the city of Athens from itself. Disguised as his own altogether more tough and heroic half-brother Heracles, so that spirits won’t be tempted to tangle with him, the rather incompetent Dionysus gets ferried by Charon across the lake leading to the Underworld, debating with a chorus of frogs as he makes his journey.

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A Summary and Analysis of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Lysistrata is the first female lead in a Western comedy, and this alone arguably makes Aristophanes’ play worthy of study and analysis. Lysistrata is the only one of Aristophanes’ plays to be named after one of its characters. First performed in 411 BC, the play is set during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a war that had been raging for two decades by this point.

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Five Fascinating Facts about Aristophanes

Facts about classical literature’s greatest comic writer

1. We have eleven of Aristophanes’ plays, but he is thought to have written more than forty. Aristophanes is the earliest comic playwright, or at least the earliest whose work has survived so that we can read it. We are lucky to have The Knights, The Frogs, The WaspsLysistrata, Wealth, and the six other Aristophanes plays that have survived beyond antiquity, but in fact we have lost a host of others, including Seasons, Storks, Old Age, Centaur, and Merchant Ships, as well as the promisingly named Frying-Pan Men and Women in Tents. We can only guess at their contents (and how funny they were).

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