In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter and a literary phenomenon was born. Millions of readers have followed Harry to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he discovers his heritage, encounters new plants and animals, and perfects his magical abilities. Although a fantasy story, the magic in the Harry Potter books is partially based on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Incorporating the work of several 15th- and 16th-century thinkers, the seven-part series examines important ethical topics such as the desire for knowledge, the effects of prejudice, and the responsibility that comes with power.
This exhibition, using materials from the National Library of Medicine, explores Harry Potter’s world, its roots in Renaissance science, and the ethical questions that affected not only the wizards of Harry Potter, but also the historical thinkers featured in the series.
Harry Potter’s World is currently on view at the Dana Medical Library, University of Vermont and will remain until December 14th, 2012.
Bittersweet House, at the corner of Main and South Prospect, is home to UVM’s Environmental Program, but it may also be the home of a campus ghost. In Green Mountains, Dark Tales, Joe Citro records a UVM staff member’s encounter with a shadowy woman dressed in the style of the early 1900s. Others have reported seeing a shadowy grey shape in the Bittersweet halls. Some have suggested that the ghost is Margaret “Daisy” Smith, who bought the building in 1928 and ran a tearoom there for many years. Citro describes her as blind, poor, and tragically lonely.
Historic Preservation graduate student Christine Prevolos conducted exhaustive research that provides a rather different picture of Smith. She relied heavily on four books published by Margaret Smith in her late 70s and early 80s: Bittersweet Branches (1946), Beautiful Burlington (1948), Bittersweet Berries (1951), and Bittersweet Blessings (1952). Read Prevolos’s story about the business woman, traveler, author and peace activist here, and visit Special Collections to read Smith’s books or to learn more about other campus ghosts.
It’s always been my opinion that when it comes to politicians, what they say, what they intend to do and what they will actually accomplish are never the same thing. Can you really trust someone whose convictions are not to stand for their own beliefs but to represent the views of the nation? And in a nation so divided in their beliefs, how can they even pull off embodying all perspectives on how to run a nation, what is their own agenda in getting the positions that they chase? The 2011 film The Ides of March best embodies my view of politics and is definitely one of the better dramatic thrillers to be put out in the last ten years, although I do use the word thriller very lightly, don’t expect to get your heart racing from this film.
The film stars a fantastic acting duo of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling, although we don’t see too much of Clooney in the film since he also directs. This is the fourth film Mr. Clooney has had the pleasure of being both in front of the camera and behind the lense. I would consider it his second best film so far, right under his masterpiece Good Night and Good Luck. The film’s plot revolves around the relationship between a young speechwriter (Gosling) who discovers the dirty aspects of politics while working on the campaign of a politician who may have a few skeletons in his closet (Clooney). The major flaw with the film is its pacing – the beginning starts off very slow but then picks up with an intense velocity once it hits you with the main conflict a third of the way through. So if you’re at first bored, be patient because the film really pays off with a fantastic second act. Clooney gets great work from the rising star Gosling, while Clooney himself has a scene of top-grade acting that is most likely to be the most sinister portrayal he has ever embodied (you’ll know what scene I mean). There are also great side performances from respected actors such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright and Evan Rachel Wood. The film relies heavily on a well-crafted script and the deliveries of the actors, so don’t expect it to be very visually stimulating with its bland cinematography. Enjoying the film doesn’t require an interest in politics but it would enhance it. Fans of good drama and conflict should find all they need with a plot centering around truth, ambition, power, control and loyalty.
If you like this film check out other politically centered dramas such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Clayton, All the President’s Men, Dr. Strangelove, and Emir Kusturica’s Underground. So as the Presidential election approaches, be sure to go and contribute your grain of sand that will make up the beach that is the voting polls. Pick the lesser of two evils; never forget that politicians wear two faces and power is the opiate of the corrupt.
Congrats to the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project (VTDNP) for helping the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC) reach a new milestone in their joint project, Chronicling America. Through the efforts of 32 state partners, the project has posted five million pages. Chronicling America is a free, searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers that provides enhanced and permanent access to significant content published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. The Vermont newspaper content, which consists of more than 100,000 pages can be found here.
These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.
From Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate and author of Night, a charged, deeply moving novel about the legacy of the Holocaust in today’s troubled world and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Impassioned, provocative and insistently humane, Hostage is both a masterly thriller and a profoundly wise meditation on the power of memory to connect us to the past and our shared need for resolution.
With eloquence and immediacy, Annan writes about the highs and lows of his years at the United Nations: from shuttle-diplomacy during crises such as Kosovo, Lebanon and Israel-Palestine to the wrenching battles over the Iraq War to the creation of the landmark Responsibility to Protect doctrine.
In an era of extremist politics, Gil Troy argues, moderation and moderate leaders are needed more than ever. Challenges like managing the debt, preserving the environment, fighting terrorism, improving education—in short, protecting America today and building toward tomorrow—require the kind of consensus that can only come from leaders who seek the center.
Navigating the vast world of research materials can be challenging for students at all levels. Come learn about ideas for creating short assignments and in-class exercises that can build your students’ information literacy and help them become better researchers.
The UVM Libraries now subscribes to a large selection of streaming videos. Come and find out about these exciting new collections and chat with colleagues about best practices for teaching with video. We will show you how to create clips and playlists, and to embed the video content into Blackboard.
Pusher is a precautionary tale of the risks of ambition and the descent from power. The film focuses on a drug-dealer named Frank whose life is in complete disarray when he botches a deal and owes his supplier an enormous amount of money. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, with possible mortal consequences for Frank. This subtitled film was the first of a trilogy, shot on a low budget in Denmark and was released in 1996.
This is the first film directed by Nicholas Winding Refn who also co-wrote the screenplay. If the name sounds familiar then you may have seen a little movie called “Drive” last year. This was the newest film by the director that met moderate success and a small cult following. Since then Refn and “Drive’s” star, Ryan Gosling, have finished another film not yet released called “Only God Forgives” and another Refn/Gosling collaboration is in the talk of making a remake of the 1976 film “Logan’s Run”. I’m a really huge fan of this director and see him as a great talent on the rise that may someday have the respect as a director comparable to Stanley Kubrick or Martin Scorsese as he gets deeper into his career. If you liked “Drive” and also dug up this older work by him then check out other great films he has under his belt such as “Valhalla Rising” and “Bronson”. All of these films hit hard with graphic brutality and can be gritty but have fantastic drama and characters that are great contributions to the spectacle of cinema.
This film shows the world of drugs without glorifying or romanticizing it (don’t expect a film like Blow with Johnny Depp). It captures the dangerous and grizzly aspects of addictive substances and has a lot of similarities to “Requiem for a Dream” in how its character falls prey to substance and his own ambition, and then we watch his life collapse. The film has a kind of grainy low budget look to it; but that just feeds into the grittiness of the world that Refn builds, where the surroundings are just as dark and brutal as the thugs and low-lifes that inhabit it. The language is extremely vulgar and the violence can make you grind your teeth but it all has purpose in making a great tragedy about an anti-hero protagonist.
So if you liked “Drive”, see the roots where it’s great director emerged from, and look into the rest of his work. If you like “Pusher” and want more street-romping, teeth-shattering urban-excursions, check out films like Snatch (2000), Layer Cake (2004) and La Haine (1995).
Fleming Museum curator Aimee Marcereau DeGalan selected four books from UVM Special Collections to include in the museum’s current focus exhibition, Outcasts and Rebels: Prints by William Blake and Leonard Baskin. The books, all from Baskin’s Gehenna Press, include Blake’s Auguries of Innocence , A Letter from William Blake, Caprices and Grotesques, and Demons, Imps and Fiends.
The exhibit can be seen in the Fleming Museum’s East Gallery Annex from September 25-December 14, 2012.