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Galería: propuestas concursantes para la portada de Frankenstein.

El Centro Cultural Británico agradece y felicita a los 25 artistas participantes por su dedicación al crear las más de 45 propuestas que concursan por la portada de la novela Frankenstein de Mary Shelley en nuestra colección de clásicos ´Sparrow‘.

Como verán la gran variedad y calidad de las propuestas les han dado un gran trabajo a los jurados, sin embargo les deseamos la mejor de las suertes a todos. El ganador fue anunciado el lunes 10 de junio.

Aquí tienen la galería, no olviden expresar su aprecio por sus favoritas en los comentarios.

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17 May – “The Hobbit”

We began this book club by looking at the life and times of J.R.R. Tolkien and cultural influences that inspired his work. We looked at his background as a professor of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) at Oxford, and heard the epic  poem Beowulf  recited in the original Anglo-Saxon language (together with a translation into modern English!)

We talked about works by other artists which may have had an influence on Tolkien, in particular the huge operatic cycle “The Ring of the Nibelungs” by the German composer Richard Wagner, and listened to  Siegfried’s Death and Funeral Music from the opera Gotterdammerung, the final of the four operas which make up the “Ring” cycle.

We also looked at Runes and the Runic alphabet ;  runes were an ancient Germanic writing system with which Tolkien was familiar, and incorporated into his works. Students read chapters 1, 2 and 3 for homework……An unexpected journey begins!

"Wotan visits Mime and offers him his help." Illustration to Richard Wagner's Siegfried by Arthur Rackham. 1911
“Wotan visits Mime and offers him his help.”
Illustration to Richard Wagner’s Siegfried by Arthur Rackham. 1911

A Clockwork Orange: The End

“Alex presents us with the raw picture of life in a broken down society, in which being “good” can sometimes even turn into a defence mechanism against the gross injustices committed by the government authorities supposed to be supporting their population, and being “bad”, into the only way of expressing individuality and acquiring a status amidst the mechanization of human interactions, all within a thought-provoking debate on free will.”Hillary. Book Club. 27th April 2013

Although it’s true what they say about all great things coming to an end,  we are sure that ‘A Clockwork Orange’ will stay with us for a very long time.

To say goodbye to this Book Club we spent some time playing our own version of the old game Pictionary, using words from the novel. Our book clubbers jumped at the task with their best Nadsat and showed how proficient they have become at using the made-up language of Alex and his droogs. (If you want to become as good as them here’s a full Nadsat glosary).

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We also re-imagined our favourite scenes from the point of view of other characters involved and shared our points of view on the final chapter of the book.

When the book was to be published in the United States, Burgess’ editor in New York decided that the chapter #21 was too bland and left it out of the US version. Since Kubrik’s film was based on the edited version of the book, most people are unfamiliar with the original ending, which has led to some degree of controversy on whether the story is better with or without it.

To finish this Book Club, here’s a 30-minute documentray that follows Kubrik as he brings to life his version of Burgess‘ story. Viddy later!

A Clockwork Orange: A timeline in doodles

“I always wanted to know the meaning of ‘A Clockwork Orange’. Through the book I’ve realised what those words mean… Do you want to be good because you have been taught to do so or because you really feel like being good? This book lets us approach ourselves through the mind of a boy who sees the world differently and  in a way we’re not used to.”

Carolina. Book Club. 13 April 2013

If you’ve also started your journey through ‘A Clockwork Orange’ you’ll enjoy re-living it in your head. Take a look at the first part of this presentation showing the most memorable moments of the book chosen by our dear Book Clubbers. (Navigate with the left and right arrows)

Frankenstein Concurso


Ver galería de obras participantes

El Centro Cultural Británico y la Editorial Germinal tienen el agrado de invitar a artistas costarricenses al concurso de elaboración de la portada del primer libro de su colección Sparrow. Nuestro primer título será Frankenstein, de la autora Mary Shelley (1757-1851), con una introducción por el autor y filósofo costarricense Rafael Ángel Herra.

 Fecha límite: 2 de junio del 2013
Recepción de propuestas:


Crear una imagen alusiva a la novela Frankenstein que irá en la portada. Para ello, se permite cualquier técnica en plástica o diseño bidimensional.


• Requisitos de participación:

1. Ser costarricense o nacionalizado(a) costarricense.

2. Presentar currículum de una página máximo, el cual deberá incluir número de cédula o pasaporte y datos de contacto.

3. Presentar una carta con el nombre de la obra, en la que se afirme que el trabajo presentado es de su autoría. La carta también debe autorizar al Centro Cultural Británico y a la Editorial Germinal el uso de la imagen para el uso, difusión, distribución, exhibición, comunicación pública, divulgación y reproducción de la misma para el proyecto Sparrow.

3.1 En el caso de menores de edad, la carta vendrá firmada por alguno de sus padres o responsables legales.

4. Admisión de la(s) obra(s): Cada concursante podrá presentar un máximo de tres obras en formato digital. El concursante deberá enviar una fotografía, escaneo o copia digital de la obra con las siguientes características:

– Formato: JPG, PNG o PDF
– Tamaño mínimo: carta (8,5 x 11”)
– 150 dpi
– La obra de ser enviada al correo a más tardar el día 2 de junio.

De entre todos los proyectos presentados, un jurado seleccionará un total de 4 obras, de las cuales 1 será la obra ganadora y las otras 3 serán los accésit. Este jurado también podrá declarar desierto en cualquier momento cualquiera de los premios.

Una vez que el jurado haya seleccionado al ganador del concurso y los accésit, se informará a los mismos a través del número de teléfono facilitado en el currículum, así como por correo electrónico. En este momento, el Centro Cultural Británico informará a los ganadores del lugar, fecha y hora en que se les hará entrega del premio.

La simple participación en este concurso supone la aceptación de estas bases en su totalidad.


El jurado estará compuesto por un miembro del Centro Cultural Británico, uno de Editorial Germinal y uno externo.


El resultado será anunciado el 10 de junio del 2013 a través de nuestras redes sociales y en la página web del Centro Cultural Británico.

El arte ganador figurará en la portada de la primera edición de Frankenstein de la Colección Sparrow del Centro Cultural Británico y Editorial Germinal con los respectivos créditos dentro del libro. Además se entregarán al ganador 30 ejemplares del libro impreso, un certificado de premiación y $100 en efectivo.

A Clockwork Orange

To begin this book club we spent some time today drawing connections between ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ and other works of dystopian fiction such as 1984, Farenheit 451 and Brave New World, the latter being the subject of one of the most interesting iterations of this book club.

After exploring common themes and motifs of the genre including represive states/societies and the protagonist’s struggle to regain his individuality, we moved on to discuss the main topic of  ‘A Clockwork Orange’: the presence of moral choice as a decisive element that distinguishes human beings from machines or animals.

During the next few weeks we will explore a work of literature that refuses to be forgotten and that makes us look at one of the most fundamental aspects of human life, our perception of good and evil. Come and join us every Saturday from 1 to 3 pm!

Meanwhile, how would you answer the question in this picture?

Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy – Week 1

Take a few seconds and try to recall as many science-fiction-related clichés as you can…

W. Shatner
Please don’t let Captain Kirk’s gaze distract you.

The science-fiction genre has commonly been associated with a parade of recurring themes, plots and characters. It isn’t rare to find robots, alien races (usually the green kind), the mandatory human hero and the occasional appearanace of a higher intelligence. These and many more ‘ingredients’ have been constantly re-worked and updated through the years and according to the ever-evolving nature of our technological context.

Quite often, however, lack of imagination and overuse of those elements can lead even the most patient reader/watcher on the planet to wish they weren’t wasting their time on with the story (or that they were wasting it in a more useful way at least).

So, how about throwing a good bit of humour into the mix and making fun of all those old clichés? That’s exactly what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy does.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Picture yourself in this scenario: you wake up, mildly hungover, and discover that your entire race has got less than 15 minutes before being completely wiped out by a troop of interstellar civil servants. What would you do?

Option A
Option B

Although option B would seem the most sensible one, for Ford Prefect, an alien living undercover (or more precisely: stranded) on Earth, option C is unquestonably the wisest one as he prepares to ‘hitch’ a ride aboard a spaceship full of poetry-loving bureaucrats from outer space. His best friend, a human called Arthur Dent, unaware of the planet’s fate, prefers to spend his time complaining about an equally unaware troop of human civil servants trying to destroy his house.

The destruction of the planet sets in motion the plot of the story, sending them into a series of crises across time and space; one of which is the impossibility of finding a decent cup of tea anywhere else in the universe.

Don’t Panic!

These two words are printed in large letters on the cover of another of the protagonists of this story. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is an electronic book, published in Ursa Minor, which in spite of being largely inaccurate and outdated, is the most popular source of information for those “impoverished hitchhikers trying to see the marvels of the Universe for less than thirty Altairan Dollars a day”.

I went to lie in a field, along with my Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Europe, and when the stars came out it occured to me that if only someone would write a Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy as well, then I for one would be off like a shot. Having had this thought I promptly fell asleep and forgot about it for six years.”

This is how Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first came up with the idea for the story while lying drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria in 1971. His idea was finally materialised as a comedy radio series broadcasted by BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom in 1978. During the production of the radio show, Adams and his team were passionate about making sound effects that would stand out as innovative and original.

The radio show was soon followed by the first of five novels in the books series, a TV adaptation by BBC 2, LP recordings, a computer game, a second radio series, stage shows and more recently, three more radio series and a movie from 2005.

During the course of our 3rd Book Club, we’ll jump from adventure to adventure with Arthur and Ford while trying to discover the answer to the greatest questions in life. We’ll go on a journey across the universe at the same time that we laugh about those silly bits of our very earthly reality. Perhaps you’ll be surprised by the answer!

Watch the first episode of the TV series:

More Reading:

The 42 Things You Should Know About ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 30 years on: why we should still be reading it – The Guradian

Original Radio Scripts

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Week 3

Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice’s first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!”

-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 1


 Alice then looks through the door to discover an amazingly beautiful garden on the other side. Being the kind of curious child she was, Alice immediately set her mind to get to the other side and lie amongst the flowers; even though she couldn’t even get her head through the door.

Eventually, and after many adventures which involved considerable changes in her size, she manages to get to the garden and continue her journey as we know it.

But what about all the other doors that Alice didn’t open? What would her adventure have been if she had opened a different one?

These are the kind of questions that the great poet T.S. Eliot had in mind when writing the first few lines of his poem Burnt Norton, the first in his Four Qartets. Here’s a fragment of the poem:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future.
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. . My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
[continue reading]

In the text, T.S. Eliot ponders about the multiple futures that lie ahead of us at every moment and the infinite possibilities of what our past and future might have been.

During last week’s Book Club, while discussing the poem and its meaning, an interesting question rose: If you were given the possibility to go back and peek through the keyholes of your ‘other doors’, would you do it?  If so, to what purpose?

It was quite interesting to discover that even though many of us do not regret our choices in life, we do wish we could see what might have happened had we chosen differently at certain points in our life. Others however, fervently oppose going thorugh that old path and lingering on memories that never were.

Would you use your chance to look at your other possible lives?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Week 2


Over 1 in 100 people in the UK live with autism and the number is growing worldwide, sadly there are no statistics about the number of people with the condition in Costa Rica but according to organisations such as ‘Fundación Autismo Feliz’ there are also new cases every day.

Here are some facts about the disease:

  • They find it difficult to tell people what they need, and how they feel.
  • They find it difficult to meet other people and to make new friends.
  • They find it difficult to understand what other people think, and how they feel.
  • Not everyone with autism will find these things difficult. This is because everyone with autism is different.


On the other hand, people with autism can become extremely good at concentrating in one activity and eventually becoming very good at it, particularly in areas related to music and arts. In fact many great minds from history are thought to have lived with the disease, including the likes of Albert Einstein and Mozart.

But what is the connection between autism and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

None other than its author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, who according to his behaviour, may have also been autistic.

Last week in the Book Club we discussed the context in which Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written and the sometimes ‘strange’ behaviour of its author, ranging from his inability to carry on discussions in public, due to his heavy stuttering, to his fixation with photographing little girls.

What was then seen as an adroit behavior on his part, could have well been characteristics of Autism. After watching this video, what do you think?

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