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Dig Deeper: Villanova Theatre Presents The Revolutionists

By Jenna Renaud

“I write plays that I like to describe as having endings with hard hope…It makes the characters and hopefully the audience want to keep fighting, keep going, keep living, and keep learning at the end of the play.”
Lauren Gunderson 

The Revolutionists: A Villanova Theatre Production

Villanova Theatre is back for the spring semester with its newest comedy production, The Revolutionists. The show runs Feb. 1020 in the Court Theatre housed in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. The show is written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Valerie Joyce. 

The Cincinnati Inquirer describes The Revolutionists as follows: In the shadow of an overworked guillotine, four badass women collide and collude in Paris during the Reign of Terror: fugitive queen Marie Antoinette, idealist assassin Charlotte Corday, Caribbean spy Marianne Angelle, and beleaguered playwright Olympe de Gouges (who just wants to make the plot work out). Lauren Gunderson’s breakneck comedy of ideas is a fiercely funny fever dream as well as a timely rumination on the role of violence in the quest for change, a “sassy, hold-on-to-your-seats theatrical adventure.” 

Dig Deeper into The Revolutionists 

Women and the French Revolution 

Photo provided by Kimberly Reilly & Villanova Theatre

The French Revolution took place from May 1789 to November 1799 and is considered one of the largest and bloodiest upheavals in European history. French citizens eliminated the absolute monarchy and feudal system and created an entirely new political and social framework. Following the death of the King, a radical group called the Jacobins took over, ushering France into what would be later known as “The Reign of Terror.” During that time, they murdered over 17,000 people. In 1795, a new, relatively moderate constitution was adopted and opposition was stopped through the use of the French army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte. Political corruption and unrest continued until 1799 when Napoleon staged a coup to declare himself France’s “first consul.”

During the time of the French Revolution, women began to speak up and fought for their own rights. Following the storming of the Bastille in 1789, women began to join in riots, demonstrate for their rights, and attend the political clubs of men. Although there was no major change regarding the rights of women following the Revolution, they made their presence known and are depicted in the majority of revolutionary art for being symbols of revolutionary values. 

Dig Deeper into Women and the French Revolution 


Jenna Renaud is a Graduate Assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a Graduate Student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: Crying in the Stax

By Ethan Shea

"tear falling from eye"

In this New York Times article by Wesley Morris, the many implications of crying, from tears shed in courtrooms to movie theaters, are thoroughly analyzed. I figured this text would give me a solid opportunity to point out some books and movies at Falvey that, for better or worse, could encourage everyone to shed a few tears. Depending on how your Valentine’s Day went, that may or may not be easy to do.

The scope of the aforementioned article is far too broad to sum up in a sentence or two, but a couple particular points stuck with me. For one, the piece recognizes that crying is a uniquely human experience. Tears are what separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom, which makes crying all the more necessary. A good cry can help us learn things about ourselves that we never could have known otherwise because, in spite of the humanity of crying, it “arouses the animal in us” (Morris).

If you feel inclined to take part in the humanizing experience of shedding tears, here are a few books and movies you can find at Falvey that encourage a bit of crying.

"Flowers for Algernon Book Cover"Flowers for Algernon

This novel by Daniel Keyes is widely known as one of the most tear-inducing stories of any library’s stacks. The story follows a man who undergoes a science experiment with the goal of increasing his intelligence, but he soon realizes that the operation is not as glorious as he had imagined. The experiment had recently been performed on a lab mouse named Algernon, which the protagonist becomes attached to. In spite of the heavy topics the book covers, it is sure to be a powerful read that can definitely make you cry.

 

"Call Me By Your Name Book Cover"Call Me By Your Name

Both the book and the cinematic adaptation of this story by André Aciman are housed here at Falvey. The movie is even available to stream on our website whenever you please. This love story taking place by the beach in Italy has become incredibly popular over the past few years, and especially since Timothée Chalamet made waves with the big screen version of the book, almost everyone knows about this story and its ability to bring its viewers to tears.

 

 

"Moonlight Film Cover"Moonlight

This Academy Award winning film is extremely heavy, heart-wrenching and beautiful all at once. Moonlight actually beat my favorite film, La La Land, for Best Picture (in a very memorable announcement blunder), but I can’t even be mad about it. A story like Moonlight deserves all the praise it has received, and anyone with a heart would be moved by it. Not to mention that it is one of the most stunningly shot movies I’ve ever seen with cinematography that is simply unmatched.

 

 

"Toy Story 3 Film Cover"Toy Story 3

On a lighter note, don’t ask me why this movie absolutely guts me, but it just does. Having grown up watching the Toy Story films and aging with Andy, seeing him mature and leave for college around the same time I did was more than I could handle. The ending is not even terribly sad, but that almost makes it harder to stomach. You just have to accept the changes maturity brings and continue living. This film doesn’t say growing up is bad, but realizing you’ll never be a kid again is painful. Toy Story 3 forced me to accept it.

 


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: Defining Meta

By Ethan Shea

"Inception spinning top"

 

On Thursday, Oct. 28, Mark Zuckerberg made a big announcement. As part of a massive rebranding project, his multibillion dollar company, Facebook, has replaced its ubiquitous name with a new corporate title, Meta. As significant as this may seem, to be honest, I’m not very concerned about the odd names billionaires like Zuckerberg come up with (I’m looking at you too Mr. Musk).

Rather, for this week’s “Cat in the Stax,” I’m going to talk about something just as meta but, in my humble opinion, much more interesting. Today I want to define what it means to be meta by exploring some markedly meta books and movies.

With regard to storytelling, in most cases, audiences are meant to be immersed in the book, movie, or song they’re enjoying. But when something is meta, audiences become aware of the fact that they’re watching or listening to something, and the world of the page or screen reveals itself to be separate from the audience’s world. In summation, art that’s meta is self-referential and examines its own meaning as a work of art.

"The Lost Children Archive"Lost Children Archive

I’m actually in the middle of reading this novel by Valeria Luiselli right now, and I can’t help but notice the metafiction present throughout the text. The story describes the life of a family traveling from New York City to Arizona to conduct research in the midst of injustices continuously being carried out against child refugees at the southern border of the United States. Throughout the journey, each family member receives a box, their own personal archive, and fills it with items gathered during the voyage or deemed important beforehand.

This is where things get meta. The book itself is separated not only into chapters but boxes. Instead of turning to chapter two as one may do in a more traditional text, readers of Lost Children Archive will encounter “Box 2.” This formative archival work leads readers to contemplate how they and the book itself construct their own archives as well as the implications of going through someone else’s belongings. Although the contents of the archives can technically be watered down to a list of items, the parallels between chapters and boxes prove there’s a lot more to be written about them than a few words.

Inception"Inception Movie Poster"

Christopher Nolan’s film Inception (2010) is a remarkably meta movie. The very premise of its story alludes to its meta status, as much of the film’s plot subtly calls attention to the fact that it’s taking place within a film. Throughout the movie, the goal of the protagonists is to complete “inception,” which is the act of planting an idea into someone’s mind through complex layers of dreams. In order to do this, a group of dream-building-experts enter the mind of their target and get to work.

The construction of the dream, the setting, actors, and events, must all be perfect so the victim doesn’t realize they’re in a dream, just as movies must be crafted so audiences forget what they’re watching isn’t real. This is why Inception is one of the most meta films in recent memory.

"We Are in a Book!"Elephant & Piggie: We Are in a Book!

For something to be meta, it doesn’t have to be as complex as Inception. In fact, the children’s story Elephant & Piggie: We Are In A Book is extremely meta because the story’s characters, Elephant and Piggie, become conscious of their existence within a book. At first Elephant doesn’t understand how they’re being “read,” but before long, the pair becomes excited about life between the pages. To entertain themselves, Elephant and Piggie make the reader say a funny word… “banana.” Before the inevitable ending of the book, Elephant starts to worry about how their story will conclude, so in a last-ditch effort to extend the time they’re being read, Piggy asks the reader to read the book again.

This children’s story is meta because its entire premise is made possible by calling attention to its form. Here, in a fun and simple way, young readers can begin to understand what it means to be meta and how stories continue to live in the present through the act of reading.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Happy World Book Day and Shakespeare Day

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Happy World Book Day and Shakespeare Day! To celebrate the Bard’s many contributions to culture and language, we wanted to share this striking edition that is contained in our physical collection. While the collection indeed contains several of Shakespeare’s first folios, rest assured, friends, they are but mere facsimiles: valued for research, but not nearly as valuable!


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Flick or Flip: Little Women

By Allie Reczek

Flick or Flip banner

Welcome to Falvey’s Flick or Flip? My name is Allie Reczek, and I am a sophomore undergrad at Villanova. For this blog, I will pick a book that has been turned into a movie, and argue which I thought was better.

In this week’s edition of Flick or Flip, I am discussing Little Women. The book, written by Louisa May Alcott, was originally published in 1868 and 1869 in two separate parts. It follows the lives of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy as they navigate adolescence and growing up in Reconstruction Era America. The first part takes place in the girls’ youth, and then the second part begins several years after the first concludes, opening with Meg’s wedding day. 

This timeline was possibly the greatest difference between the film and the book. Instead of being told over one continuous stretch of time, the movie jumps between the childhood and young-adult scenes to show parallels and how the girls’ life has changed over time.

Because this book is typically intended for younger audiences, I didn’t find the childhood section of the novel compelling, due to the repetitive lessons that the girls learn and then quickly forget. These moral lessons were mostly eliminated from the film adaptation (which I appreciated), leaving only the important plot points and a much more captivating story for adults (who presumably no longer need to learn lessons about greed and jealousy). 

In part two of the novel, Amy travels to Europe, Jo spends time in New York, Meg raises her twins, and Beth catches a fatal illness. While all of these major events occur in the movie, their order is scattered around and many details are left out. Of course, not everything from the book could be kept in the adaptation. However, it felt like there were different motivations for the girls’ actions because of the changes in the movie adaptation.

Overall, I loved both versions of Little Women. Yet, I found the movie to be more relatable to people my age and more engaging. Director Greta Gerwig did an Oscar-worthy job of making this beloved story into a piece that shows the struggles and joys of life in the late 1800s through the eyes of bright female minds. She brought themes of feminism into the twenty-first century and created something that I believe women of any age can find very relevant and approachable. Of course, I highly recommend both reading and viewing Little Women, but being able to see these classic characters develop and become successful individuals in their own ways makes the movie stand out. 

So, Flick or Flip?

FLICK


Hi! My name is Allie Reczek, and I am a sophomore Psychology Major. I work as a Marketing and Communication Assistant in Falvey. Hope you enjoy this blog! Have any flips or flicks I should debate in the future? Message @villanovalibrary on Instagram or tweet us @FalveyLibrary!


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Library Lovers: Join Book Club!

 

I’m Daniella Snyder, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Hey, Wildcats! I have great (and nerdy) news to report to all the Falvey fans:

A Villanova University book club has started and meetings will take place right here, in the Library!

Kayla Smith, graduate student in the Political Science Department, has lots of reasons to take over as President of book club. She’s a lifelong avid reader, lover of the Library, and a Falvey student worker! While book clubs have existed on campus (and in the Library) over the course of the last few years, Smith wants to “breathe some life” into her book club.

In order to do this, Smith wants new members to join book club. She admits: “I know reading for pleasure is hard to fit in during college, so a bit of structure and a place to express how they feel about what they’re reading would be super beneficial to a lot of people,” even if they’ve never been to book club, and especially even if they’re not an English major.

Book club will meet monthly, which will allow readers to read at a slower pace due to hectic college schedules. Additionally, if a movie adaptation of the book exists, Smith will show it following the discussion of the book.

What’s this month’s pick?

Source: wikipedia.org.

The Body Snatchers is a 1955 science fiction novel by American author Jack Finney. It describes the fictional California town “Santa Mira” as it gets invaded by seeds from space.

You’ve probably heard of this book, but maybe by its movie title: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The book was adapted into a movie four times, first in 1956, then in 1978, 1993, and 2007.

Book club will meet this Sunday, October 27 at 6:30 P.M. in VR3 (Viewing Room 3) in the basement of Falvey, and the movie screening will start around 8:30 P.M. 

Email vubookclub@gmail.com with any questions!


Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder wants to know what books you want to see on Villanova Book Club’s reading list. Tag @villanovalibrary on Instagram or @FalveyLibrary on Twitter and tell us your favorites!


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Last Modified: October 23, 2019