An Illustrated Life
This concise introduction to the life and work of Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) draws on manuscripts, artefacts and family photographs to describe his upbringing on the Welsh borders, his search for a profession, and his military service, including his time at the Craiglockhart sanatorium where he met Siegfried Sassoon. Accompanied by some of his best-known poems, it explores the literary apprenticeship of the ‘poet’s poet’, and the growth of his reputation after his death just a week before the Armistice.
Volume the First
From the age of eleven, Jane Austen was writing short pieces of fiction, poetry and drama, often parodying contemporary novels and at times violent and risqué. She copied some of these stories into notebooks – ‘Volumes’ – for family and friends to read. This book presents a photographic facsimile of the first of the three surviving notebooks, offering a rare and sometimes quite shocking introduction to the young Austen, along with an introduction, ‘A Writer’s Apprenticeship’, by Kathryn Sutherland.
The Huns Have Got My Gramophone!
Advertisements from the Great War
Extolling the virtues of motorcycles for ‘lady war workers’ and ‘absolutely waterproof’ trench coats for soldiers, the advertisements collected and discussed here illustrate how the First World War offered companies new commercial opportunities and fundamentally changed British society.
How to Dine in Style
The Art of Entertaining, 1920
First published in 1920, this manual reveals a golden age of elegant dining. Advice on table settings and decorations, etiquette, food and wine is complemented by menus for breakfasts, al-fresco luncheons, wedding receptions and garden parties. A chapter on ‘freak dinners given by wealthy people’ offers a glimpse into the decadent world of the Jazz Era.
Marks of Genius
Masterpieces from the Collections of the Bodleian Libraries
Presenting 130 treasures now preserved in Oxford, this volume examines how the idea of ‘genius’ has been understood through history. Manuscripts and printed books from around the world illustrate the revolutionary ideas of individuals as well as the beautiful results of artistic collaboration. Also featured are ephemera and artefacts associated with geniuses (Mendelssohn’s conducting batons, a portrait of Galileo) and material that was donated to the Bodleian (books from Christopher Wren’s library, Dorothy Hodgkin’s hand-drawn insulin map).
Ware's Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase
A goldmine for anyone intrigued by the weird and wonderful usages of slang, Ware’s 1909 compilation of ‘Passing English’ is introduced by John Simpson, former Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, who describes it as full of expressions ‘that might never find their way into more straitlaced dictionaries’. As well as words and phrases dating from the late 19th century, including slang from different occupations, sports, countries and ‘street’, Ware explains new idioms such as cads on castors (bicyclists) and the American brownstone fronts (aristocrats).
Love & Devotion
From Persia and Beyond
Tales of earthly and spiritual love, recounted by Persian poets from the eleventh century, were copied into exquisitely illuminated manuscripts for a courtly elite. Published in conjunction with landmark exhibitions in Oxford and Melbourne, this volume reproduces more than 130 such illustrations of the stories of Yusuf and Zulaykha, Khusrau and Shirin, and Layla and Manjun, while the accompanying essays reveal new perspectives on this literary and artistic tradition, and the culture that produced it.
Edward Lear's Nonsense Birds
Coming to life in just a few, seemingly effortless lines and the occasional wash of colour, Edward Lear’s nonsense birds have personality, attitude and, quite often, very human traits. Drawing on the British Library collections, this book presents birds from several of Lear’s original nonsense books, and includes stories, limericks, birds for learning colours and birds for learning the alphabet.
Can Onions Cure Ear-Ache?
Medical Advice from 1769 by William Buchan, MD
William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine was an 18th-century bestseller, a self-help manual intended for those who could not afford professional medical assistance. It covered everything from hiccups to consumption but, as Robert Winston writes in his foreword, ‘most remedies in Buchan’s time remained distinctly dodgy’. Melanie King introduces a selection from his A–Z of often hair-raising advice.
The Romance of the Middle Ages
With tales ranging from King Arthur’s Round Table to Alexander the Great’s journeys in the Far East, romance was the most fertile narrative form of the Middle Ages. This book presents treasures from the Bodleian Library to introduce the literary genre of romance and the manuscripts that preserve its texts. The authors also discuss later responses to the tradition: Pre-Raphaelites’ aesthetic appreciation, the enthusiasm of Sir Walter Scott and CS Lewis and the affectionate mockery found in Cervantes and Monty Python.
Peter Mundy was a 17th-century trader whose journeys took him to Istanbul, India, China, Danzig, Russia and the Arctic. His account of his remarkable travels, illustrated with his own lively drawings of the strange people and animals he encountered, survives in a single manuscript. This edited selection provides a vivid and fascinating account of the Ottoman, Mughal, Chinese and Russian empires, as well as events in London following the coronation of Charles II in 1661.
A Dance Through Time
Images of Western Social Dancing from the Middle Ages to Modern Times
Where depictions of peasant revels may be exuberant and unfettered, the stately codes of formal dance before the modern era created a tension between sobriety and decorum and underlying emotion or sexual tension. This art history curates images of dance from the Bodleian Library and explores their different meanings and themes, including how artists have conveyed the movement of dance technically and the social and historical information that can be gleaned from depictions of dancing, instructional illustrations and satirical sketches.
Dole Queues and Demons
British Election Posters from the Conservative Party Archive
A unique blend of graphic design, bold artwork and cunning psychology, election posters are an unsung art form. Drawing on the Conservative Party archive at the Bodleian Library, this lavishly illustrated book charts 100 years of political advertising, lampooning opponents from Lloyd George to Tony Blair. Its ten chronological chapters chart the political history of Britain, changing ideologies and social attitudes, and fashions in advertising. A foreword by communications guru Maurice Saatchi discusses the posters from a design perspective.
Sarah Angelina Acland
First Lady of Colour Photography, 1849–1930
Sarah Acland was inspired to take up photography by her acquaintance with artistic luminaries such as John Ruskin and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Following in the footsteps of Julia Margaret Cameron, whom she also knew, Acland became an important pioneer in the field of colour photography. This catalogue of her work includes the influential photographs she made using the Sanger Shepherd and Autochrome processes. Her subjects include Oxford scenes, architectural and nature studies, and portraits of people in her circle.
How to Change the World with a Ball of String
Random Acts and Objects that Made History
The Inca system of record-keeping by tying knots in string (quipu) provided the title of this history book for children. Fact boxes, colourful illustrations, jokes and practical activities make for an anarchic approach to topics ranging from Ancient Sumer and Genghis Khan to Darwin and the moon landings. 8–12 years.
Horrible Histories Beastly Book Set
Ten Beastly Books
From Awful Egyptians and Groovy Greeks to the Woeful Second World War, by way of Measly Middle Ages, Terrifying Tudors and Vile Victorians, here is Terry Deary's 'history with the nasty bits left in'. Awash in blood and guts, shameless alliteration, and drawings by Martin Brown, the Beastly Book Set contains ten volumes; the other four books are Rotten Romans, Vicious Vikings, Gorgeous Georgians and the Frightful First World War.
Deadly Days in History
Awful assassinations, bloody battles, revolting revolutions and fearful famines... History has always been horrible (or at least since 1993 when Horrible Histories first appeared), but this book is a selection of its most dreadful dates. Beneath the blood and bullets, the book is packed with proper historical facts on 50 gruesome events, from a massacre in Talheim around 5000 BCE to a Nazi death camp. Age 9+
Fifty Great Escapes
A Global Guide to Creativity
Discover the places that inspired the world’s greatest writers, artists and film-makers, from Gauguin’s Tahiti to Conan Doyle’s Dartmoor. Each entry includes colour photographs and practical travel advice, while a global directory lists 100 21st-century hotspots for budding artists.