Tag Archives: Russia

Nationalism Vs the true meaning of National Independence Day in Poland

By Anna Sikora, Gale Ambassador at NUI Galway*
Anna Sikora was recently a tutor, part-time teacher, and final year PhD student in the Discipline of English at the National University of Galway, Ireland. She examined the works of John Wyndham, author of over 60 short stories and 12 novels, including the famous The Day of The Triffids (1951)and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). For her full bio, please see previous posts by Anna Sikora on The Gale Review.

In 2017, thousands took part in far-right marches on National Independence Day in Poland. My Irish friend asked me how worried we should be about the rise of far-right nationalism in Poland, my home country. He had seen newspaper headlines describing millions of Polish people, including school children and families, celebrating November 11 as “unsavoury.” I was shocked and disappointed; disappointed by hooligans disrupting the Independence Day marches, and shocked by the foreign media using images of these hooligans to represent the whole nation. This year has also seen heightened tensions, with attempts to ban far-right rallies and pleas from President Andrzej Duda for marchers to “come only with red-and-white flags,” rather than the nationalist banners and flags of far-right parties seen previously.

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Soviet agricultural experiments, hibernation, the bomb, and other curious facts behind Science Fiction stories

By Anna Sikora, Gale Ambassador at NUI Galway
Anna Sikora is a tutor, part-time teacher, and final year PhD student in the Discipline of English, National University of Galway, Ireland. She is examining the works of John Wyndham, author of over 60 short stories and 12 novels, including the famous The Day of The Triffids (1951) and The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). Anna is interested to see when and why science fiction authors began to show an awareness of environmental issues, and how this was demonstrated in their work. She is adopting some of the concepts of environmental criticism (ecocriticism) to ask how environmental concerns are articulated in fiction, and whether literature can, and should, influence our daily environmental choices or the ways in which we interact with the environment.

The Science Fiction American-Canadian author Judith Merril (1923–1997) wrote her short story “That Only a Mother” (1948) about widespread infantile mutations after reading an article dispelling the rumours of infanticide in Japan after the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings. Later, in an interview, Merril recalls how this short newspaper piece caused her mind to race, and her initial reaction was “Oh my God. […] There are mutations by the millions and people are killing the babies” (What If? A Film about Judith Merril). Merril’s reaction is fascinating as it shows how authors transform everyday reality into literary fiction, and not necessarily just science fiction. The double lesson we immediately draw (or at least should draw!) here as students, critics, tutors and lecturers of literature is this: yes, literary stories are often inspired by real events or people; and no, literary text are not historical documents.

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Soviets and the Spanish Civil War

By Rory Herbert, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
I am a third-year History student and President of the History Society at the University of Portsmouth. I enjoy trying to grapple with the vastness and complexity of this subject, and the challenges it can present. On the rare occasions that I have free time, I can be found playing hockey or researching historical facts and events.

Rafael Merry del Val (1865-1930) remarked in his manuscript on the Spanish Situation, written for Chatham House and accessed via Gale’s online archive, that Lenin viewed Spain as imperative to the eventual success of the Bolshevik revolution [1]. It should come as no surprise then that both prior to and following the outbreak of the civil war, the Soviet Union maintained a great interest in the outcome of this nation.

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Collection Highlights – State Papers Online Eighteenth Century, Part IV: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey

State Papers Online Eighteenth Century, Part IV: Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Turkey is now available. The final part in the State Papers Online Eighteenth Century programme, Part IV rounds out the State Papers collection of 1714-1782 with series from Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Saxony, Prussia, Russia, Turkey and the Barbary States, as well as volumes of Treaties, papers sent to the British Secretaries of State from foreign ministers in England, and ‘confidential’ and intercepted letters between key figures in international politics. Joining the domestic, military, naval and registers of the Privy Council of Part I to the full scope of the State Papers Foreign offered in Parts II, III and IV, the State Papers Eighteenth Century collection represents the government of Britain at home and abroad in unequalled depth.

Including primary source material spanning decades from some of the most powerful courts in Europe, there is much to be discovered. With such a wealth of material available, where to begin? In this blog post I providea starting point, exploring just some of the highs and lows of Part IV for researchers, scholars and the perennially curious to explore.

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