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The Best of 2013 (ORbits)

Last year, the Oxonian Review‘s ORbits went from strength to strength. To celebrate the hard work of our writers, the ORbits editors from the last year have each chosen their three favorite pieces.

Judyta Frodyma:

1. ‘Seeing Moonrise’, 16 January, 2013

Claire Anderson casts an incisive look on the preponderance of glasses in Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom (2012), which dramatizes a romance between two prodigious twelve-year-old runaways on a remote New England island.

2. ‘Grammar or Gripes’, 31 January 2013

Gabriel Roberts considers the merits of two modern turns of phrase: the use of a comma before an ‘and’ in cases which don’t involve a list; and the use of ‘reference’ as a verb. Whilst conceding that the popularity of the ‘to reference’ construction may reflect the hyper-referentiality of contemporary art, he underlines the importance of related verbs, such as ‘allude’, ‘quote’, ‘evoke’, and ‘borrow’.

3. ‘Inspirations at Tricycle Theatre’, 4 February 2013

Rosie Lavan reported on a fundraising event for English PEN at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, at which Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage spoke about some of their favourite passages of literature and introduced performances of them by the actors Charles Dance and Jenny Jules.

Dominic Davies:

1. ‘A Writer of the World‘, 21 May 2013

Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, Elleke Boehmer, remembers the life and work of Chinua Achebe, the ‘founding father’ of postcolonial African literatures in English—from his well-known and paradigm-shifting novel, Things Fall Apart, to his lesser known but equally powerful other novels and memoirs and his time as an editor of the influential African Writers Series.

2. ‘Lights, Glitz, Fireworks, Parted-Lips… Action!‘, 28 May 2013

Octavia Cox reflects, both appreciatively and critically, on Baz Luhrmann’s jazzy film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Carey Mulligan.

3. ‘Writing Revolution‘, 18 June 2013

Nico Hobhouse reviews a panel discussion hosted by Oxford Student PEN to help launch the publication of a new edited collection, Writing Revolution: The Voices from Tunis to Damascus, that draws together the responses of different though all inspiring individuals from across the Arab world. Hobhouse is celebratory of, but also realistic in, his analysis of the political impact that such a collection will have.

Gabriel Roberts:

1. ‘Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art’, 24 October 2013

Judyta Frodyma casts a critical eye on the British Museum’s headline-grabbing exhibition of Japanese erotic art and questions whether the search for sexual explicitness in other cultures is a unreflective means of celebrating the supposed sexual tolerance of modern western culture.

2. ‘Daumier at the Royal Academy’, 21 November 2013

Fergus McGhree praises the achievements of the nineteenth-century French artist Honoré Daumier, whose lithographs of pre-Revolution Paris influenced the work of Degas, Rodin, Manet, Picasso, and Giacometti.

3. ‘Adele’s Blue Period’, 26 November 2013

Emma Simpson reviews Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013) by the Tunisian-French director Abdellatif Kechiche and considers its fifteen-minute lesbian sex scene in the context of rumours that Kechiche had mistreated the film’s leading actors Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.