Cultural Studies

“A gradual succession of triumphs”: Achieving the domestic ideal with Mrs Beeton
11 October 2019

Over one hundred and fifty years since its first appearance in print, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management remains an archetypal text in the field of domestic and culinary arts, not simply for its extensive recipes and household management tips, but also for its creation of a persona of domestic excellence that persists, albeit in different guises, to this day. Included within Adam Matthew’s newly released resource, Food and Drink in History: Module I, is a near-complete run of the monthly instalments in which this famed text first appeared.

International Spies and French Royalty: 'The Mystique of the Orient Express'
03 October 2019

On the 4th October 1883, the Orient Express embarked on its inaugural journey from Paris to Constantinople. I have taken this opportunity to delve into Leisure, Travel & Mass Culture to explore the fascinating stories and experiences that surround this train.

 

The Long and Winding Road for Customs Officers: The Beatles Gold Disc Scandal
27 September 2019

To mark the 50th anniversary of the last-recorded album of The Beatles, Abbey Road, take a look into Popular Culture in Britain and America 1950-1975. Read how one case of The Beatles “gold records” was confiscated by customs officials following unpaid import duty in 1964. Discussions on whether to sell or destroy these awards continued within the department, and with the bands management company, for the next four years.

From the Great Exhibition to London Design Festival
20 September 2019

This week sees the opening of London Design Festival, an annual event ‘held to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world and as the gateway to the international creative community.’

Melodies floating on the wind: musical recordings from across the globe
10 September 2019

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings which published last month is Adam Matthew’s first predominantly audio collection; produced in collaboration with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and featuring materials from University of Washington’s Ethnomusicology Archive.

The resource includes hundreds of field recordings from all over the world; from Brooklyn hip hop, to European religious music, to Javanese gamelan. It’s been an exciting 18 months working on this project and getting to listen to music from around the globe.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake up a Treat with Adam Matthew Digital
29 August 2019

Allow me to make something clear: I will find any excuse to treat myself to baked goods, and the return of the Great British Bake Off to our TV screens this week was as good an excuse as any to tuck in.

Short snorters: Write on the money
23 August 2019

What on earth is a 'short snorter'? Assessing material for our newly released resource America in World War Two several years ago, I found myself faced with the archival catalogue of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans and this very question.

Best Foot Forward
02 August 2019

I am continually losing socks. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I don’t think I can even blame the washing machine because occasionally I will notice in the evening that, while I may have started my day with two socks on, I am now definitely only wearing one.

The Moon Always Shines on TV: 50 years after the Moon Landing
18 July 2019

It has been 50 years since the words “that’s one small step..." were broadcast live to the masses, and the world knew that man had landed on the moon. The Apollo 11 mission had finally given the US the upper hand in the Space Race, more than a decade after the Soviet Union declared its intention to launch a satellite.

Plastic Free July: Selling Plastic
05 July 2019

In line with recent pleas to cut down on our consumption of single-use plastics, this month marks Plastic Free July. Anybody who’s been to the supermarket recently or tried to figure out recycling will realise how ingrained this material now is in our lives, as we shop for our plastic covered fruit and vegetables and try and figure out if we can recycle our yoghurt pots.

The Toxin of Chernobyl
19 June 2019

Chernobyl, HBO’s latest hit mini-series, has thrust the catastrophic events of the infamous nuclear accident back into the public consciousness, prompting new discussions about how the disaster unfolded and who was ultimately accountable. Watching the series over the past few weeks, we here at Adam Matthew were reminded of a Soviet-made documentary we had seen in the online resource, Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda.

The Real Life Dumbo
23 May 2019

After a recent cinema trip to see Disney’s live-action retelling of the original 1941 film Dumbo, I was intrigued to find out more about the origins of the film and the circuses that rose to popularity in the nineteenth century, and what better place to look than our fascinating Victorian Popular Culture resource. 

Playing God: Richard Brinsley Peake and the Fate of Frankenstein on stage
26 April 2019

Last year marked 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a novel that has since become one of the premiere titles of Gothic fiction. Rivalled only by Bram Stokers Dracula, it has been adapted for film, television, radio, opera and the theatre.The first of these adaptations (at least those recorded) however, is perhaps just as influential as the novel which spawned it. Richard Brinsley Peake’s Presumption: Or the Fate of Frankenstein, is a three act play first performed in 1823 and is included in our Victorian Popular Culture collection. What is so astounding about this version however is that it features several elements not included in the novel which have reappeared consistently in subsequent adaptations.

 

Bear ahoy! 6 Moments of Soviet Kitsch
05 April 2019

This week Culture & Society, the third and final module of Socialism on Film, launches. Comprising documentaries produced in states such as the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and Vietnam, it touches on themes including the arts, sport, everyday life, youth and education, providing Western audiences an unparalleled insight into life behind the Iron Curtain. Rigorous and informative documentaries focussing on healthcare, women’s work, environmentalism and politics can also be found in this collection, but today, we hope you’ll forgive us a few moments of glorious kitsch.

Half a Century of Sport: Soviet sport on film
03 April 2019

Sport has many powers. It gives people purpose. It keeps us fit and healthy. It can unite a population and create waves of nationalism. And it can also be the answer to the question: how can a country as large as the Soviet Union raise its life expectancy from thirty-two years to nearly seventy within fifty years? According to the Soviet film Half a Century of Sport, credit for this remarkable achievement belongs to the sports program that was part of everyday life for millions of Soviet citizens.

A special guest blog by Dr Erin Redihan, Worcester State University.

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