The Theophilus Legend in Medieval Text and Image
In legend, Theophilus loses his position of authority and signs a contract with the Devil to regain it. Repenting, he asks the Virgin to intervene with Christ for forgiveness. He gets his pardon and when the Virgin retrieves the contract for him, Theophilus tells his story to his bishop and congregation. This study explores issues raised by the legend, among them feudal bonds and the Virgin’s powers of intervention, and their representation in text and visual art. No jacket.
His Life and His World
Starting with the puzzles surrounding his birth in Dublin in 1667, this highly regarded biography re-examines the evidence for Jonathan Swift’s life, gives new accounts of many aspects of the writer’s personal relationships, and shows how Swift created a deliberately misleading version of his own public life.
A Bibliography 1997–2013
This is the first definitive bibliography of JK Rowling's work, from the Harry Potter series to the adult fiction published under her own name and the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Compiled with the co-operation of Rowling herself, her agent and key publishing figures, it provides details of each English-language edition published in the UK and the USA. Including extracts from correspondence and archives, the book sheds new light on the author's career and dispels many rumours.
Byron’s lover Caroline Lamb described him as ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, and she was not the only woman to discover his dark side. This book explores his relationships with women, including his long-suffering mother Catherine and his wife Annabella Milbanke, who endured both his violent abuse and the knowledge of his incestuous affair with his half-sister Augusta Leigh.
The Faber Book of Christmas
You could ‘book a holiday coinciding with a Test match in the Southern Hemisphere, and leave the English Christmas far behind’, writes Simon Rae. ‘But then, of course, we’d miss it, wouldn’t we?’ Starting with ‘Christmas: For and Against’ (Bah! Humbug! from Scrooge, while Betjeman sings of ‘tissued fripperies’), the anthology is in 21 chapters, with poetry, prose and drama on themes such as food, war, Christmas in prison and Santa Claus. Bound in patterned linen.
If death inevitably claims the heroes of Shakespeare’s tragedies, its spectre stalks even his comedies. Illustrated with historic images, this book explores the playwright’s treatment of mortality in the context of Reformation England. It examines the way he depicts murder and suicide, the use of feigned deaths as a plot device, and the belief in ghosts and the afterlife.
Nabokov's Favourite Word Is Mauve
The Literary Quirks and Oddities of our Most-Loved Authors
Ben Blatt brings his skills as a statistician to bear on the writing styles of authors from Shakespeare to JK Rowling, using numbers to reveal the nuts and bolts of their writing – including word counts, favourite words, how simple their sentences are or what percentage of the book jacket is taken up by their name.
The Strife of Love in a Dream
Describing Poliphilo’s quest for his beloved Polia, Colonna’s arcane allegorical romance of 1499 is unapologetically pagan, suffused with eroticism and composed in highly stylized Italian. This translation, featuring the 174 original woodcuts, is the first complete rendering of the work into English. It allows the modern reader access to a text that provides valuable insights into Renaissance ideas about gardens and architecture – and recently inspired the bestselling novel The Rule of Four. Off-mint and American-cut pages.
The Works of Walter Quin
An Irishman at the Stuart Courts
Born in Dublin, Walter Quin (d. 1640) was poet to the Stuart court and his poetry and prose (in English, Latin, French and Italian) includes works in support of James VI, along with historical and philosophical writing. This first edition of Quin’s work includes a biographical introduction and translations of his non-English texts.
Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound
Christopher Ricks presents a study of the poets Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht and Robert Lowell, exploring the relationship of each poet’s work to that of their great predecessors, TS Eliot and Ezra Pound.
Since 1609, when they were first published, Shakespeare’s sonnets have fascinated readers, both with the depth of the poet’s insight into the variety of love and the passage of time and with the mysteries of the beautiful Young Man, the Rival Poet and the Dark Lady. This volume presents all 154 sonnets, with a brief introduction.
Landscapes of the Passing Strange
Reflections from Shakespeare
This collaboration pairs lines by Shakespeare with 70 photographs of landscapes reflected in antique bottles. Michael Witmore, who chose the texts, discusses the playwright’s visual imagination, while artist Rosamund Purcell tells how the distressed glass transforms sky, trees and human forms into something rich and strange.
The Infernal Library
On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy
Many twentieth-century despots, including Stalin, Hitler and Mao, wrote extensively before or during their reigns, producing theoretical works, poetry, memoirs, and even the occasional romance. Kalder’s sardonic survey of their often execrable literary works makes broader points about the dictatorial mindset and the battle between self-image and reality, arguing that the urge to control or deny empirical facts using words and ideas is a fundamental attribute of tyranny.
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.
More Than True
The Wisdom of Fairy Tales
Robert Bly retells six classic fairy tales, including The Six Swans and The Frog Prince. Drawing on the work of a range of thinkers, including Kierkegaard, Freud and Jung, he offers analysis from a male perspective of how each story captures the essence of human nature.
The British Library Stefan Zweig Collection
Catalogue of the Literary and Historical Manuscripts
From the age of 16 the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) was a passionate collector of literary and historical autograph manuscripts, and his collection of unique pieces included poems by Rilke and Baudelaire, drafts by Robespierre, Darwin and Dostoevsky and lecture notes by Nietzsche. The collection was donated to the British Library by Zweig’s heirs in 1986, and is catalogued in this volume with full descriptions, commentary and 74 reproductions of manuscript pages.
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.
The Trip to Echo Spring
On Writers and Drinking
Having grown up in an alcoholic family, Olivia Laing felt drawn to investigate the link between drink and creativity through the lives and work of six great American authors: F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver. In a journey across the USA that is both exploratory and redemptive, she asks whether writing and addiction are fuelled by the same inner dissatisfaction, and contemplates the possibility of recovery.
Fifteenth-century Printed Books from the University of Glasgow
Glasgow is home to one of the UK’s most important collections of books from the first decades of printing in Europe. This illustrated overview presents a selection of volumes, with discussion of their contents, typography, decoration and ownership history. Slightly off-mint.
The Art of Winnie-the-Pooh
How EH Shepard Illustrated an Icon
Forming one of the earliest author and illustrator partnerships, AA Milne and EH Shepard worked closely together in the 1920s to create some of the world’s best-loved children’s characters. This illustrated volume reveals the depth of that partnership, and incorporates many of Shepard’s previously unpublished sketches, letters, photos and even a personal Christmas card. The inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh is revealed to be Shepard’s son’s teddy bear, Growler, still owned by his granddaughter Minette, who has written the foreword.
On Nineteen Eighty-Four
DJ Taylor, the literary critic and award-winning biographer of George Orwell, investigates the origins of Nineteen Eight-Four, showing how incidents and obsessions in the author’s early life, including the Spanish Civil War and the early Cold War years, shaped elements of the novel and particularly its view of totalitarianism. Taylor then traces the creation of the novel on the island of Jura, linking the writing to Orwell’s life and examining the lasting impact of his dystopian vision.
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.
The Drowned and the Saved
In his final book, Primo Levi turned once again to his time in Auschwitz, and the lessons to be drawn from it. He reflects on the necessity of bearing witness to the truth, on survivor guilt, his feelings towards the Germans and the futility of hatred, and delivers a sobering reminder that, with would-be dictators waiting in the wings, the unimaginable could happen again.
Their Lives and Works
From Dante, Boccaccio and Chaucer to authors such as Murakami and Arundhati Roy writing today, this literary compendium presents succinct biographical articles, notes on key books, quotations, portraits and other illustrations for over 100 novelists, poets and playwrights. The book is international in scope, with writers from places as far-flung as China and Argentina, and arranged in six chronological sections, each one ending with a ‘Directory’ giving briefer profiles of a further selection of authors.
The Stafford Gallery
The Greatest Art Collection of Regency London
On its inauguration at Cleveland House, the home of the Marquess of Stafford, in 1806, the Stafford Gallery housing his private collection was described as the ’Louvre of London’. Among nearly 300 paintings were works by the great Italian, French and Dutch Old Masters and English painters including the young Turner. With over 150 illustrations, this book traces the short history of the collection up to 1830 and its reincarnation in the Sutherland and Bridgewater galleries in the Victorian period.
Annibale Carracci's Venus, Adonis & Cupid
This book accompanied an exhibition at the Museo Nacional del Prado which aimed to present the newly cleaned and restored masterpiece by the Bolognese painter Annibale Carracci (1560–1609) and to set the painting in its artistic context. Two further, richly illustrated essays describe the conservation of the work and analyse the way in which Carracci’s painting – his ‘image of beauty’ – is constructed.
Geology in European and American Art
During the late 18th and 19th centuries, art and scientific observation converged as geologists and artists shared a fascination with the Earth’s topography. Accompanying an American exhibition, this catalogue explores that moment of interdisciplinary engagement through commentary and reproductions of 52 paintings and drawings, including works such as Joseph Wright of Derby’s Entrance to the Dove Holes, Derbyshire (1773), Henry Moore’s Mer de Glace (1856), and Legendary England: Tintagel (1882) by the American artist William Trost Richards.
Wordsworth's Gardens and Flowers
The Spirit of Paradise
Wordsworth was as passionate about his gardens at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount as he was about the untamed world that surrounded them. With contemporary horticultural illustrations throughout, this book traces his interest in the natural world to his childhood fondness for gardening, before examining the references to flowers in his verse.
The Little Prince
A Visual Dictionary
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s much-loved tale, The Little Prince (1943) was written while its author was an exile in the USA; a year later, his plane vanished over the Mediterranean. Telling the story of the writer’s life, his book and its diverse legacy in films, cartoons, musicals, comics and merchandising, Christophe Quillien draws on Saint-Exupéry’s own illustrations along with materials that include illustrated editions, Orson Welles’s plans for an adaptation, and a 50 franc bank note.
The Big Red Book of Modern Chinese Literature
In ‘a search for the soul of modern China’, the literary scholar and poet Yunte Huang has gathered Chinese works of fiction, poetry, essays and letters spanning almost a century. From Lu Xun’s autobiographical Preface to ‘Call to Arms’ published in 1922, a decade after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, nearly 50 Chinese writers and thinkers are represented, up to Gao Xingjian, China’s first Nobel laureate in literature, represented here by excerpts from Soul Mountain (2000).
Writers and Their Work
Part of the Writers and their Work series, this is a brief yet rigorous critical study of Betjeman. Beginning with a biographical outline, the book provides an original reappraisal of the poet’s work, examines critical responses and concludes with a detailed bibliography and index.
Writers and Their Work
Part of the Writers and their Work series, this is a brief yet rigorous critical study of Anne Brontë. Beginning with a biographical outline, the book provides an original reappraisal of the novelist’s work, examines critical responses and concludes with a detailed bibliography and index.
A Tale of a Tub
The Battle of the Books
Described by Frank Ellis as ‘an amazing comic book’, Jonathan Swift’s story of Peter (Catholic), Martin (Anglican) and Jack (Dissenter) and their inheritance (a jacket apiece) is a satire on ‘the numerous and gross Corruptions in Religion and Learning’. Swift also takes aim at religious fanaticism and the contemporary debate about the Ancient and Moderns in two accompanying works: The Battle of the Books and The Mechanical Operation of the Spirit. This complete edition includes Sir Andrew Fontaine’s original illustrations (1710).
The Playwright and the Work
No playwright has captured the human predicament in the 20th century with the wit and insight of Samuel Beckett. This succinct, thorough and accessible introduction to the man, his work and his ideas surveys the plays, novels and poems, draws on interviews with theatrical colleagues such as Peter Hall and Peggy Ashcroft – and the author himself, who first met Beckett in 1961 – and includes a chronology and annotated bibliography.
This first full biography of Leonard Woolf (1880–1969) goes beyond his familiar role as husband of Virginia and member of the Bloomsbury set. Glendinning explores the many posts he filled during his long life, including colonial administrator, publisher, political writer and journal editor, and provides a full and lively portrait of a highly intelligent and complex man, who made significant contributions to the intellectual debates of his day.
A Christmas Railway Mystery
Railway Detective 15
In December 1860, an employee at the Swindon Locomotive Works is found dead, his head missing. It proves to be a complex, baffling case for Inspector Colbeck, the Railway Detective, and finding the killer becomes urgent when Colbeck learns that another railway worker has been abducted.
Lines in the Sand
Selected by the late AA Gill himself, these recent pieces show one of the finest journalists of our time at his most perceptive, brilliant and funny. He tackles life-drawing, designs his own tweed, spends a day at Donald Trump’s university, and contemplates his cancer diagnosis. Above all, he addresses that most urgent of contemporary issues, the refugee crisis, reporting from Lampedusa, Lebanon and Calais with anger and compassion.
Beer, in so Many Words
The Best Writing on the Greatest Drink
Beer, brewing and pub culture is celebrated in this compendium of literary extracts, articles and verse. The taste of beer, how it is brewed, the places where it is drunk, even philosophical thoughts on the meaning of beer from AE Houseman and Inspector Morse, are all explored in selections from authors ranging from Dickens, Joyce and Orwell to the best of today’s journalists and beer bloggers.
Ode to Childhood
Poetry to Celebrate the Child
From ‘A Medieval Schoolboy’s Complaint’ to Gillian Clarke’s ‘Catrin’, this collection of poems celebrates children, childhood and being a parent. The poems are arranged by ages, from infancy to schooldays – not forgetting childhood ailments in Robert Louis Stevenson's ‘Land of Counterpane’.
Poems Selected by Stephen Romer
In this volume from the Faber and Faber Poet-to-Poet series, Stephen Romer introduces his choice of poems by Robert Herrick (1591–1674). Most of the selections are from the Cavalier poet’s Hesperides (1648) with its wine, women and song, but there are some works from Noble Numbers, Herrick’s ‘pious pieces’.
Ride a Cock Horse
And Other Nursery Rhymes
Although best remembered today as the author of the Gormenghast trilogy, Mervyn Peake (1911–1968) was also a brilliant and prolific illustrator. This collection of nursery rhymes, first published in 1940, brings his dark magic to such perennial favourites as 'Rub-a-Dub-Dub', 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' and 'Little Jack Horner'.
The Myth of Paganism
Nonnus, Dionysus and the World of Late Antiquity
Part of the Classical Literature and Society series, this study focuses on the role of the poet in the emerging Christian world of the fourth to sixth centuries CE and argues against the traditional view of a 'simple binary opposition' between pagans and Christians. Instead, Shorrock presents the Christian world of late antiquity as imbued with the Classical past, and demonstrates the complex ways in which Classical culture was embraced, integrated, rejected or ignored by poets of the period.
Dante's Divine Comedy
Dante's great poem, the first book written in Italian, begins with his descent through nine circles of Hell to the lake of ice where Lucifer is trapped for all eternity. In this edition of Longfellow's verse translation, the Inferno's 34 cantos are each preceded by a brief introduction and illustrated with a selection of artists' representations of the Last Judgement, the landscape of Hell and scenes from Dante's infernal voyage of self-discovery.
The Complete Illustrated Lewis Carroll
As well as the complete Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (with John Tenniel's original illustrations) and The Hunting of the Snark, this edition contains the whole bewildering range of Carroll's verses, puzzles, 'phantasmagoria' and stories, plus a miscellany of letters and prose pieces on topics that include women students, vivisection and dining room etiquette.
The Essential Edgar Allan Poe
Stories. Poems. Biography
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) felt that his vocation was poetry, despite the enduring popularity of stories such as The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Murders in the Rue Morgue. In addition to those tales, this collection features five more stories, poems such as The Raven and a biography of Poe. Read by Kerry Shale, William Roberts and John Chancer. Unabridged.
Being the Further Adventures of the Treasure Seekers
E Nesbit wrote over 40 books for children, and this sequel to The Treasure Seekers sees the troublesome Bastable children vowing to mend their ways through the Society of the Wouldbegoods. Being good, however, proves harder than they think. Age 8+
The Sunday Sessions
Philip Larkin Reading his Poetry
Recorded in February 1980, in the garage of Larkin’s friend John Weeks, the two Sunday Sessions tapes contain 26 poems from four collections: The North Ship, The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings and High Windows. The tapes were found in the garage in 2006 and are released on a vinyl LP recording, as befits Larkin’s love of records.
Five Children on the Western Front
In Kate Saunders’ award-winning sequel to E Nesbit’s Five Children and It, the First World War is breaking out and, while Anthea is at Art School, Cyril is heading off to war. With the original protagonists all grown up, the action falls to their younger siblings, Lamb and Edie. When the Psammead – an ancient, magical sand fairy – appears for the first time in ten years, their adventures really begin. Age 9+
The Roar of the Crowd
A Sporting Anthology
The anonymous 16th-century ode The Bewties of the Fute-ball gives us some insight into the early game, and Dickens's description of Epsom Downs Racecourse brings the bustle and excitement of Derby Day in the 1850s vividly to life. This literary collection selects the responses of celebrated writers, including PG Wodehouse, Walter Scott, Ernest Hemingway and Doris Lessing, to sports as diverse as cricket, boxing and fishing.
Classic Werewolf Stories
From Leitch Richie’s The Man-Wolf (1831) to Running Wolf (1920) by Algernon Blackwood, this collection of twelve short stories and two poems shows the great literary versatility of the werewolf, with celebrated authors including WB Yeats, Kipling and Saki unable to resist the lure of the lycanthrope.
A Literary History of Subversion and Control
The 25 contentious publications discussed in this book illustrate how the censorship of literature has developed in the United Kingdom and United States, which both claim an ancient tradition of free expression. Ranging from medieval translations of the Bible to Marjane Satrapi’s recent Persepolis, they include works now considered masterpieces, such as Joyce’s Ulysses, which were banned because they challenged the orthodoxies of their time.
Prophecy and Power in the Ancient World
The female prophets known as sibyls were renowned across the Greco-Roman world and their pronouncements were considered a source of authoritative wisdom. Guillermo focuses on the stories that were told about four prominent sibyls, at Erythrae, Cumae, Delphi and Tibur. He also reflects on the wider cultural associations between women and prophecy and asks how the ancient pagan tradition was later fused with Christianity so successfully that sibyls feature in Michelangelo’s decoration of the Sistine Chapel.
The Mirror Thief
In 16th-century Venice, taking the city’s secret technology of making mirrors off the island is punishable by death; but one man has a plan and, in other incarnations of Venice, Venice Beach California, 1953 and the Venetian casino in Las Vegas, 2003, other thieves have similar plans for stealing secrets.
The Colours of all the Cattle
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency
While Precious Ramotswe toys with entering local politics, the latest case for the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – involving a ruthless property developer’s plans for a ‘Big Fun Hotel’ – falls to the Agency’s mechanic. When danger looms over his investigation, Precious abandons politics to rescue Charlie.
Great Tales of Horror
Beginning with ‘The Call of the Cthulhu’, the first story of the Cthulhu Mythos, and demonstrating the highly original combination of the supernatural, horror and science fiction that was to influence generations of fantasy writers, this collection of 20 short stories by HP Lovecraft (1890–1937) presents his best-known tales, including ‘The Dunwich Horror’, ‘The Rats in the Walls’ and the novella set in the wastes of Antarctica, ‘At the Mountains of Madness’.
The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle considered his first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, to be ‘as good as I could make it, and I had high hopes’: later, his hopes fulfilled, he wished Sherlock dead, but the public refused to let the great detective die. This volume presents 44 of the best Holmes mysteries, including The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear. Slightly off-mint.
Sensational Tales of Terror
Beginning with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this collection of twenty 19th-century ‘sensation stories’ includes some of the most famous Gothic, supernatural or grisly tales, among them Edgar Allen Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum and James Malcolm Rymer’s The String of Pearls; or, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Off-mint.
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, hitchhiking around the galaxy after the demise of Earth, are in trouble: the Improbability Drive fails in their host’s ship, Arthur has jammed the computer by asking it for a cup of tea and the restaurant is 576,000 million miles away. Part two of the five-part Hitchhiker trilogy.
The grotesquely burned corpse found in a Beijing park is the first case for detective Li Yan and the forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell. A day-trip to Shenzhen in 1983 fired Peter May’s interest in China. His ambition was to write the first crime thriller set in Beijing, and after years of research and travel, The Firemaker was published in 1999. Felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.