What We Are Watching Today: Violet Evergarden

Updated 13 July 2018
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What We Are Watching Today: Violet Evergarden

  • This is a wonderful story, narrated through stunning animation
  • Violet’s bluntness is refreshing, and her relationship with each character is inspiring

One of Netflix’s latest additions is the heartbreaking story of the child soldier, Violet Evergarden, who loses her sense of purpose once the war is over.

In the aftermath of the conflict, Violet notices the absence of her commanding officer, Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. Following his orders, she accompanies one of his friends who takes her to a postal services office, where she works as an Auto Memory Doll — a literary assistant who transcribes people’s thoughts and emotions on letters in an eloquent way.

This is a wonderful story, narrated through stunning animation, which depicts the aftermath of war, suffering, loss and PTSD. It is also about soldiering on and persevering, especially at times when it seems like there is no way out.

Violet’s bluntness is refreshing, and her relationship with each character is inspiring. She is determined to understand what “love” is, as it was the last thing she heard from the major who she followed so diligently.

P.S. Keep a tissue box with you at all times; this is an emotional series about a girl who learns about complex human emotions through watching their experiences.


What We Are Reading Today: Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery by Jonathan Lamb

Updated 18 November 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery by Jonathan Lamb

  • Lamb traces the cultural impact of scurvy during the 18th-century age of geographical and scientific discovery

Scurvy, a disease often associated with long stretches of maritime travel, generated sensations exceeding the standard of what was normal. Eyes dazzled, skin was morbidly sensitive, emotions veered between disgust and delight. In this book, Jonathan Lamb presents an intellectual history of scurvy unlike any other, probing the speechless encounter with powerful sensations to tell the story of the disease that its victims couldn’t because they found their illness too terrible and, in some cases, too exciting.

Drawing on historical accounts from scientists and voyagers as well as major literary works, Lamb traces the cultural impact of scurvy during the 18th-century age of geographical and scientific discovery. He explains the medical knowledge surrounding scurvy and the debates about its cause, prevention, and attempted cures. He vividly describes the phenomenon and experience of “scorbutic nostalgia,” in which victims imagined mirages of food, water, or home, and then wept when such pleasures proved impossible to consume or reach. 

Lamb argues that a culture of scurvy arose in the colony of Australia, which was prey to the disease in its early years, and identifies a literature of scurvy in the works of such figures as Herman Melville, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Francis Bacon, and Jonathan Swift.

Masterful and illuminating, Scurvy shows how the journeys of discovery in the eighteenth century not only ventured outward to the ends of the earth, but were also an inward voyage into the realms of sensation and passion.