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Historical and biographical #reflectread

April 10, 2015
Reflections of Cutty Sark and the Greenwich foot tunnel (Sue Applegate)

Reflections of Cutty Sark and the Greenwich foot tunnel (Sue Applegate)

Reflection – a mirror image or a distortion or a calm reappraisal of a person or event.

War and Words is Surrey Libraries’ reflection of World War One for its One hundredth centenary.

Our War plays include Oh What a lovely war (1963) which reflect its own times too. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo reflects the ordinary man and his friendship with a horse.  Audience emotion triggered by the plight of horses, innocents at war

Reflecting 100 years after the war, hidden stories can be seen. The injured: Wounded by Emily Mayhew and Shell shocked Britain by Suzie Grogan the dead: Remembered by Julie Summers  and The role of women  Elsie and Mairi go to war

Further back in history are societies different to our own & yet reflecting the same human needs – Roman soldiers on Hadrian’s wall send home for extra socks.  In Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel the Tudor Court is reflected through Thomas Cromwell’s eyes; in A man for all seasons by Robert Bolt we see the same events from Thomas More’s side.

Biography and autobiography reflect a single person. The multi volumes of a great life, political diaries embargoed until after death, the hagiography of a celebrity.

In the film The imitation game a life crucial to winning World War ll is destroyed by the prejudices of the winners?

The theory of everything celebrates Stephen Hawking’s great mind which would have been trapped without speech technology. Professor Hawking reflects on nature of the universe which we glimpse in the mirror of the Hubble telescope.  The Dark Matter of the quantum universe can’t be reflected. Even conversations about the parallel lives of particles can’t be accurately seen in Copenhagen by Michael Frayn

A tiny musical reflection of many lives can be heard each week on BBC –radio’s Desert Island Discs

The portrait and self portrait reflect the physical body – Rembrandt chronicling his aging, Bonnard’s wife bathingLucien Freud reflects the body unflinchingly and shows the person they will become. Picasso paints the person from multiple angles, the reflection of a broken mirror or are we seeing the whole person revealed?

Now we are all reflecting ourselves in selfies and sharing our images as never before thanks to The social network  Will this record become our problem as in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror ?

Our society reflects us back as we live our lives. We are seen on cameras and monitored by The fifth Estate   Mirror mirror on the wall ………..

Sue Applegate – Surrey Library Service @SurreyLibraries

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