Writing the Thames
Surveying writings as diverse as Caesar’s account of his legions crossing the Thames, John Tradescant describing his botanical garden at Lambeth, and The Wind in the Willows, this is an illustrated look at how the Thames has inspired people to write about it. Focusing on the Victorian and Edwardian periods, Hardyment describes the responses of early chroniclers and historians, topographers and tourists, naturalists and poets, novelists who set their stories along its banks, and those who go messing about in boats.
What are We Doing Here?
A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Marilynne Robinson presents in these essays her thoughts on taking action and remaining hopeful in an era of political and cultural pessimism. Through topics as broad as the influence of great thinkers such as Emerson and Tocqueville on political consciousness, or the discipline that beauty imparts to daily life, she demonstrates the need to reject ideology and to value ‘the self as an intelligent moral actor’.
The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy
This science fiction and fantasy anthology explores a host of forgotten, unfinished or little-known works, from early examples of the genre such as Jules Verne’s unpublished (until 1994) novel Paris in the 20th Century to George Lucas’s pre-Star Wars film THX 1138 and Andrew MacLean’s 1990s TV series Space Island One. Over 70 essays and 150 illustrations explore works covering film, literature, art, music, fashion, architecture and pop culture.
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to the Eagle has Landed
The period from the 1950s to the 1970s was a golden age for British spy fiction. Based on conversations with many of the 150 writers covered, this book sets the phenomenon against the backdrop of imperial decline, the Cold War and a burgeoning paperback market. It identifies two distinct genres: the glamorous fantasy of James Bond, and the sombre realism of Le Carré and Deighton. With a foreword by Lee Child.
Death of a Translator
Ed Gorman has spent 25 years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, the Balkans and the Gulf, but it is his experiences as a young reporter in Afghanistan in particular that haunt him. He recounts his time with the mujaheddin launching hit-and-run attacks on Soviet troops, and offers a frank account of the PTSD that resulted.
Tales of Two Londons
Stories from a Fractured City
In fiction, reportage and verse, writers including Iain Sinclair, Ali Smith, Jacob Ross and Andrew O’Hagan reflect on the diversity of contemporary London, its extremes of wealth and poverty, its streets and pubs, and its constantly evolving social landscape.
On the Sofa with Jane Austen
By exploring topics including gossip, grandmothers and husbands, these 21 essays offer an accessible insight into the world of Jane Austen’s novels. Light-hearted in tone, they discuss the techniques and themes she used to convey the appearance, personalities and thoughts of her characters and are introduced with elegant line drawings.
In these 23 essays, the South African Nobel Prize-winner brings a novelist’s insight to bear on the interrelations between the lives, work and reputations of his literary predecessors. He explores Defoe’s picaresque classic Roxana, the cult of Goethe’s Young Werther, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, the rediscovery of Irène Némirovsky, and Ford Madox Ford’s masterpiece The Good Soldier.
A New Edition, Revised
The Old English poem Genesis A combines translation of the biblical text with explanatory interpolations. Taking account of recent scholarship, this volume includes an introduction, a conservative edition of the text, reconstruction of its Latin sources and line-by-line commentary.
David's Blissful Harp
A Critical Edition of the Manuscript of Matthew Parker's Metrical Psalms (1–80)
Archbishop Parker’s psalter was printed in 1567/68, following a long process of revision. This edition presents the published text facing Parker’s manuscript version; it includes two unpublished metrical psalms, together with facsimiles of the manuscript and Thomas Tallis’s eight tunes.
The Secret Radical
Looking at the social and political context of Austen’s work, this analysis shows how she was able to use her stories to comment on serious contemporary subjects, such as feminism, slavery, the treatment of the poor and the power of the Church. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
In Praise of Idleness
A Timeless Essay by Bertrand Russell
Arguing that idleness makes us happier, kinder and more creative, Russell’s celebrated 1932 essay is all too relevant in our age of multi-tasking and digital overload. It appears here with a great modern humourist’s introduction, afterword and illustrations.
A Life in History
For years before his death in 2012, Eric Hobsbawm was the best-known and most widely read historian in the world, a public intellectual and an influential spokesman for the Left, in Britain and abroad. In this biography, Evans quotes from Hobsbawm’s own writings across many genres, including autobiography, to trace ‘a life in history’, from the young communist in the Weimar Republic to an active old age, still committed to the idea of Communism and still writing in his tenth decade.
A Life of Art and Nonsense
In 1827 the young Edward Lear (1812–1888) began to draw ‘for bread and cheese’; later he became a renowned wildlife and landscape artist and, later still, the author of the famous limericks and songs. Reproducing many of his paintings and drawings, Jenny Uglow’s critically acclaimed biography describes Lear the artist, traveller, writer of nonsense verse and self-appointed exile, and aims to discover ‘how the layers are laid down, how they overlap and twist like strata’ in a strange contradictory life of art and nonsense.
A Visual History of Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s horror story has inspired numerous adaptations since its publication in 1818. Designed to accompany an exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, this book provides a rich visual record of the ways her creation has been represented over the past two centuries. After exploring the novel’s background in the Gothic tradition, it examines the early stage adaptations, book illustrations, the classic film starring Boris Karloff, and more recent cinematic versions.
Scholars, Poets and Radicals
Discovering Forgotten Lives in the Blackwell Collections
Benjamin Henry Blackwell’s bookshop first opened in 1879 and its archive contains a wealth of information about the early years of this Oxford institution. Ricketts’ survey of the material brings to life many fascinating characters, in particular Blackwell’s scholar-apprentices, chosen for their enquiring minds, whose diaries and memoirs form a remarkable record of bookselling at a time when more people were literate than ever before.
The Food Lovers' Anthology
Originally compiled by Peter Hunt and published as Eating and Drinking: An Anthology for Epicures in 1961, this volume of poetry and prose is full of unexpected delights: the ladies of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford faced with the insurmountable problem of peas and two-pronged forks; Fitzroy Maclean’s account of ‘an unsatisfactory vegetable’ during his desert travels in Eastern Approaches; food-related limericks from Edward Lear; and words of wisdom from the great gastronome Brillat-Saverin.
The Book Lovers' Anthology
A Compendium of Writing about Books, Readers and Libraries
This ‘compendium of writing about books, readers and libraries’, first published in 1911, presents prose and poetry by a who’s who of literature and learning, from Erasmus to Robert Louis Stevenson. The readings are arranged by themes including bibliophilia, the library and ‘literary worlds’ – in which we find this from Francis Bacon’s Apophthegmes: ‘Alonso of Aragon was wont to say of himself that he was a great Necromancer, for that he used to ask counsel of the dead: meaning Books.’
An Exploration of Shakespeare's World Through Maps
In Shakespeare’s time explorers were adding to European knowledge of distant places and peoples, while advances in cartography allowed for more accurate projections and more detailed mapping. Presenting many contemporary representations of English and European locations, the wider world and the heavens, Jeremy Black examines what such maps reveal about the ways in which playwright and audience understood geography and how they viewed their place in the world and the universe. Slightly off-mint.
A People's History
While in office, President Obama received thousands of letters a day from ordinary American citizens. Every night, he read ten of these at bedtime, whether they were apologies, appreciations, thanks or rants, and he often sent handwritten responses. The author of this book has interviewed the letter-writers, members of the White House staff and Obama himself to create a vivid portrait of an empathetic leader and the people he represented.
Japan's Season of Fire and Farewells
For decades, Pico Iyer has spent part of each year in Japan with his wife Hiroko. Called back by her father’s sudden death, he embarks on a cycle of rituals honouring the departed. In this meditation on human nature and mortality, he introduces his ailing mother-in-law; his estranged brother-in-law; and the elderly men and women of the ping-pong club, traversing the autumn of their years in different ways.
A Literary Guide for Travellers
‘Haunted by history’, Barcelona’s extraordinary architecture and atmospheric barrios have inspired writers for centuries. This guide explores its topography and culture through the work of 50 authors writing in English, Spanish and Catalan, including Orwell, Hemingway, Lorca and the Nobel Prize-winner Salvador Espriu. Also includes a basic map of the city’s historic districts, including the Ramblas, the Raval and the Gothic Quarter.
The Vonnegut Encyclopedia
Revised and Updated Edition
Best known for his satirical novel Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007) created a large body of work over five decades. This alphabetical guide explains his complex web of interconnected characters, concepts and settings, and includes an introduction by Vonnegut himself. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Assuming no prior knowledge of Roman poetry, John Godwin presents a general introduction to Catullus, quoting liberally from the poems in both Latin and translation as he deals with the poet’s innovations, technique and topics, and discusses Catullus’ love poetry, obscenity and humour in the context of contemporary Roman manners. No jacket.
Nicholas Love: The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ
A Full Critical Edition
An early 15th-century translation of the Latin Meditationes Vitae Christi, Nicholas Love’s Mirror was one of the most popular English books of meditations on the narrative of the life of Christ and is a key text for understanding of the spirituality of the period.
Sons and Lovers
The Biography of a Novel
‘It is notoriously difficult to represent the activity of writing in biography’: Neil Roberts opts for placing the writing, rather than the writer, at centre stage. By combining biography and textual scholarship he brings to life the dramatic story of the creation of DH Lawrence’s autobiographical novel Sons and Lovers.
An Urban Tree Guide
‘A tree guide filtered through cities as well as a city book filtered through trees’, Sylvan Cities introduces some of the species that grow in urban parks and gardens, and along canals, cycle paths and city streets. As well as helping to identify trees in British cities, the book visits species in foreign countries, including Alders in Venice and Wild Cherries in Hiroshima, and tells the stories of urban wooded places and the ‘wild things’ that live in them.
The Animal's Companion
People and their Pets: A 26,000-Year-Old Love Story
Starting with the earliest known evidence of ‘our role as an animal’s companion’ – the paw- and footprints of a boy and a dog walking in a cave 26,000 years ago – this is a history, not of pets, but of pet owners. Discussing individuals from aristocrats to rat-catchers, Harvey examines our relationship to the animals that we regard as pets, whether goldfish or wombats: how we name them, communicate and connect with them, care for them and mourn their deaths.
The Life and Death of Sherlock Holmes
When Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study In Scarlet in 1887 he couldn’t have known how enduringly famous Sherlock Holmes would become. Mattias Bostrom sets out to tell the story of the men and women who created an icon, bringing a scholar’s eye to the tale of the detective’s genesis, the stories’ initial wave of popularity and Holmes’s transformation into a screen role that is still being reinvented today.
The Most Dangerous Book
The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses
Although considered a literary masterpiece now, Ulysses was widely banned as obscene for more than a decade. This account of the disputes surrounding the book is based on years of research in unpublished archival material. It traces in detail the long, painful process by which Joyce and his supporters fought to publish the novel on both sides of the Atlantic – and thereby changed the law’s definition of literature.