Books to look out for in September 2023

New month, new releases! First up is Democracy and Nigeria’s Fourth Republic examining Nigeria’s challenges with consolidating democracy and the crisis of governance; The Last Laugh looks into Murnau’s classic silent film and its ethical stakes; The Medieval French Ovide moralisé – the first English translation of one of the most influential French poems of the Middle Ages; and The Medieval Welsh Englynion y Beddau.

Governance, Political Economy, and Party Politics 1999–2023
Edited by Wale Adebanwi

This key book examines both the quality of Nigeria’s democratic state and its international relations, and issues such as human rights and the peace infrastructure, which is invaluable in increasing our understanding of contemporary democratic experiences in the neo-liberal era in Africa.

Book jacket image: Democracy and Nigeria's Fourth Republic

By Samuel Frederick

Samuel Frederick shows us that Murnau’s film is similarly transitional: born at the crossroads between the Expressionist style of the early 1920s and the emerging aesthetics of New Objectivity, it is both soberly realistic and oneirically distorted. With only one intertitle, The Last Laugh‘s flow of images is complemented by cinematographer Karl Freund’s innovative mobile camera, which, “unchained” from the tripod, swims effortlessly through the film’s different urban spaces.

Book jacket image: The Last Laugh

An English Translation [3 volume set]
Edited and translated by K. Sarah-Jane Murray and Matthieu Boyd

The anonymous Ovide moralisé (Moralized Ovid), composed in France in the fourteenth century, retells and explicates Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with generous helpings of related texts, for a Christian audience. Working from the premise that everything in the universe, including the pagan authors of Graeco-Roman Antiquity, is part of God’s plan and expresses God’s truth even without knowing it, the Ovide moralisé is a massive and influential work of synthesis and creativity, a remarkable window into a certain kind of medieval thinking.

Book jacket image: The Medieval French Ovide moralisé

The ‘Stanzas of the Graves’, or ‘Graves of the Warriors of the Island of Britain’, attributed to Taliesin Edited and translated by Patrick Sims-Williams

The “Stanzas of the Graves” or “Graves of the Warriors of the Island of Britain”, attributed to the legendary poet Taliesin, describe ancient heroes’ burial places.  The heroes come from the whole of Britain, including Mercia and present-day Scotland, as well as many from Wales and a few from Ireland. Many characters known from the Mabinogion appear, often with additional information, as do some from romance and early Welsh saga, such as Arthur, Bedwyr, Gawain, Owain son of Urien, Merlin, and Vortigern.

Book jacket image: The Medieval Welsh Englynion y Beddau

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