Stephen Matthias

Stephen Matthias

Graduate student of English at UVA with a love of all things ancient and medieval.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    3

    The Popularity of Ruffians and Outlaws

    In both film and literature, there is an immortalization and sometimes a glorification of those who go against the law. Whether it be Michael Corleone and his mafia empire, Robin Hood and his crusade of justice against the Sheriff of Nottingham, or William Wallace in his brutal guerilla war against the English. What makes these seemingly heroic characters, albeit felonious, so popular?

    • I love the idea of criminal heroics. It makes me think of the D&D alignments, "Chaotic Good" in particular. There's a lot of examples in other anime, too, like Lelouch from Code Geass and Light from Death Note. I think it has to do with the "good and justice at all costs" standpoint. – ChristelleMarie Chua 4 years ago
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    • I think it has to do with the allure and fascination that men feel towards what is somehow rebel and insurgent, for our attraction to what is also dangerous and against obligations and rules but that can, eventually, also turn out to be good - Robin Hood, William Wallace, are all good examples for this. – Susanna Princivalle 4 years ago
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    • There is a definite connection to the troupe of the "underdog" with these characters. They are usually facing an opponent with much greater resources than themselves, and they have to use a combination of wit and luck to overcome these odds. The appeal of the underdog character is that they are easy to relate to--everyone has had a moment in their life where they feel like they are up against the world. When we add in the criminal aspects to this character, it is not so much criminal as instead a deviation from social norms. By breaking these social norms they reveal their ingenuity that there are actually other paths for people to take. Coming from American culture that idealizes individuality, their deviation would glorify those characters. – AliciaKochis 4 years ago
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    The Rise of the Antihero: A Modern Fascination

    Over the last few decades, television has seen a rise in antiheroes as the main characters. Whether it be Tony Soprano in "The Sopranos," Walter White in "Breaking Bad," or Nucky Thompson in "Boardwalk Empire," it appears that many of the most talked-about television series star protagonists whom the audience could find just as repulsive as they are relatable. Are a character’s flaws the measure of how relatable he/she will be to the viewer?

    • Ooo this is interesting. I would also like to consider gender here--especially because all the characters you specifically listed are men. Are female anti-heroes different than men? How do expectations of the audience play into gender (i.e., is it more acceptable for men to behave "repulsively")? – cray0309 5 years ago
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    • OBAMA PRESIDENT ATTACK TODAY AND ADMIT IN HOSPITAL CNN NEWS REPORT BY http://ADVANCE.PK – tazatareen 5 years ago
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    Things Carnal and Bloody: The Appeal of the "Lower Pleasures"

    It seems that in many television series produced for mature audiences, there is an abundance of explicitness, whether it be in gory violence or raunchy romance. Especially in HBO shows such as Game of Thrones, True Detective, and Rome, all of these rather "carnal" appeals almost dominate the shows. It is almost as if these themes are what define these series. What is it about such adult themes that makes these shows popular? Do they take away from the show’s overall message? Are there shows that don’t even seem to have a message beyond explicitness for entertainment?

    • For other possible examples, Spartacus is another show with a large amount of explicit violence and sex. – Emily Deibler 5 years ago
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    • It may also be worth noting the background for those examples you have noted, such as Game of Thrones being based from the books, and observe other elements that indicate where the interest from the audience has been focused. – N.D. Storlid 5 years ago
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    The Popularity of Prose and Poetry: A Disparity

    There is great unbalance between the popularity of works of prose and works of poetry in today’s world. Everyone and their mother has read a novel or two, and you might even hear them recommend one. Poetry, on the other hand, seems to be something hidden from mainstream conversation and even recognition. I can go on naming celebrated contemporary authors and novelists, while the only poet I can think of as being worthy of "celebrity" status is Billy Collins. That is not to say that there are not skilled or renowned poets today, but it seems that neither they nor their work are nearly as recognized. Why might this be?

    • I'm curious about this too. I'm an English major, and I regularly read novels for fun, but I almost never do that with poetry. I don't know if it's because poetry is just plain harder to read than novels (and has that always been a thing? or is it just a modern development?), but maybe also because of one being seen as more "academic." Most people's first introduction to a novel is something fun like Magic Treehouse, but most people first introduction to poetry is probably like analyzing sonnets in high school English class. I actually hadn't even read anything by Billy Collins until this summer - and that was because I had a friend give me a collection of his poems, and I just decided to read it for fun. It probably also has something to do with the fact that novels 'feel' more accessible because they're more similar to film and other modes of storytelling, but also because poetry isn't even really concerned with storytelling a lot of the time? – thekellyfornian 5 years ago
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    • This is awesome, I love this topic. It is extremely unbalanced in todays world, and I frequently hear people saying they don't write or read poetry because it is "too difficult", or they think it's silly. I see a lack of appreciation in some readers and even writers. I am sad to see it is not being recognized in contemporary culture, so I would be interested to see where someone takes this. – emilyinmannyc 5 years ago
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    • it is because of strong and rich prose fiction of your culture. novels, short stories, and drama they have really strong annals but in my country poetry is so strong and rich all of the people know about poets and poetry even though the ancient ones.they memorize poems but they know less about prose. as I know ancient cultures have rich poetry history. it will be more amazing, if you consider these points that I have mentioned. – Elahe Almasi 5 years ago
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    • This really, really needs to be addressed!! – Tessnoonan 5 years ago
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    • Poetry tends to be difficult to understand. It requires more patience than prose. Social media has shrunk our attention spans, making it less likely that people will read anything, let alone poetry, which typically must be read several times to fully appreciate it. – JLaurenceCohen 5 years ago
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    • Good topic! I would like to think about "reading poetry" under the influence of interpretation. How the interpretation (poetry critique, texts trying to explain poems...) can ruin or help our interest on poetry? – laricouto 5 years ago
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    • It is confusing....If social media has shrunk our attention spans, I would think that poetry (rather than novels) would fit that medium. It just isn't taken seriously.MUSIC is.Poetry has become more of personal expression, rather than a storytelling medium as someone else mentioned. That could have something to do with it. – Candice Evenson 5 years ago
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    • Poetry in books and on the page may not still have the popularity they used to, but I think the rise of slam poetry is something worth noting. – MichelleAjodah 5 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Stephen Matthias

    What a fascinating article! I hope we can expect more to come!

    Painters Who Challenged the Conventional Female Nude
    Stephen Matthias

    Yes, and the reason it is used that way in Beowulf is because the poem is heavily influenced by the Norse. It does, after all, take place in Scandinavia.

    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons
    Stephen Matthias

    I don’t think he had just one figure in mind when he created Gandalf, but several.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandalf#Concept_and_creation

    “In a letter of 1946 Tolkien stated that he thought of Gandalf as an “Odinic wanderer”.[23] Other commentators have also compared Gandalf to the Norse god Odin in his “Wanderer” guiseā€”an old man with one eye, a long white beard, a wide brimmed hat, and a staff.[24]”

    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons
    Stephen Matthias

    Thank you! If you get a chance to read the full poem, I recommend it!

    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons
    Stephen Matthias

    I am glad you thought so! Thank you!

    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons
    Stephen Matthias

    Thank you! I am glad it pleased!

    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons
    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons
    Stephen Matthias

    I couldn’t agree more with the enhanced appreciation of LOTR in adulthood. I am glad you enjoyed the read!

    The Origins of Middle-Earth: Gods, Poems, and Dragons