Archive for July 20th, 2009

Not quite Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels

20 July 2009

By Lisa-Marie Griffith

Gulliver's Travels promotional posterIf you have been reading this blog in any regular fashion you will have noticed that I tend to try and sell the eighteenth century. As a period I have studied for years I find it fascinating and one of the Irish figures that intrigues me most, like most people who study this period, is Jonathan Swift. I was pleasantly surprised to come across Max Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels (1939) on Sunday afternoon (thank you Film 4). I have never heard of this classic before and thoroughly enjoyed it. The film was released by Fleischer studios to compete with the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and was nominated for a an Academy Award. It bears all the traits of a late 1930’s cartoon and the influences of Snow White can are clear but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Considering how often Gulliver’s Travels gets adapted this is an enjoyable children’s version and a really good introduction to a classic. Ok- it’s not quite Swift’s version and it deals only with the Lilliputians but for most children the idea of Swift’s little people is the most enchanting part of his tale. The copy right on Gulliver’s Travels has lapsed, it is in the public domain and can be watched online.

PhD Diary: Tomás Irish

20 July 2009

Contributed by Tomás Irish

booksDo you consider your PhD to be a job or a vocation?

It’s a vocation  which I try to treat like a job.

In 20 words or less, tell us why you decided to do a PhD:

I’ll try to do so in one hyphenated word: self-indulgence.

Tomás’s Diary:

A PhD is a bit like a chugger; it’s always there, and it is occasionally very annoying. There is no escape. You can put in your eight or nine hours a day and still find it tugging at your sleeve when you go to bed. There are – amazingly – times when I do not want to think about history or anything even tangentially linked to it. Unlike in many jobs (I suspect), there is no real ‘off’ switch when it comes to academic work; not in the evenings, not at the weekends. This was – for me – probably the single most difficult thing to get to grips with. If you spend all of your day thinking about a very specific period and aspect of history, it tends to get stuck in your brain. This can be an irritant when all you want to do is watch Masterchef. Read More