18th Century shoplifting, a pillars of Russian pianism, and film and fashion in postwar Germany are just some of the topics bursting out of this August’s must-reads. Take a look through our highlights and see which book you could soak up in the sunshine. Until next time!
Perspectives on Canadian and Comparative North American Studies
Since the elections of Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau, unprecedented international attention is being drawn to the differences between the United States and Canada. This timely volume takes a close comparative look at the national imaginaries of the two countries: literature, film, opera, and even theme parks – providing a reassessment of Canadian Studies within a comparative framework.
Landscape, Water and Belonging in Southern Zimbabwe
The Mutirikwi river was dammed in the early 1960s to make Zimbabwe’s second largest lake. This was a key moment in the Europeanisation of Mutirikwi’s landscapes, which had begun with colonial land appropriations in the 1890s. Fontein offers a detailed ethnographic and historical study of the implications of fast-track land reform in Zimbabwe from the perspective of those involved in land occupations around Lake Mutirikwi, from the colonial period to the present day.
As a new consumer culture took root in England and shops proliferated, the crime of shoplifting leaped to public prominence. Regarded initially as exclusively a crime of the poor, the eighteenth century witnessed a transformation in the public perception and understanding of such customer theft, signalled by the shocking arrest of Jane Austen’s wealthy aunt for shoplifting in 1799.
Catalogue of Archaeological Finds from Amsterdam’s North/South Metro Line
Stuff gathers the archaeological finds made during the 9 years of construction of a metro line from the riverbed into a material history of the city of Amsterdam. The book showcases 15,000 of the over 700,000 archaeological finds that were retrieved.
A Life beyond Music
Heinrich Neuhaus (1888-1964) was one of the most charismatic and sought after pianist-pedagogues of the twentieth century, earning a formidable reputation in the West as one of the pillars of Russian pianism. Razumovskaya’s text is the first critical study of this masterful artist exploring what went on in his teaching studio and the vibrant circumstances that underpinned Neuhaus’s unique outlook and approach.
From Nazism to the Cold War
This book steers attention toward two key aspects of German culture – film and fashion – that shared similar trajectories and multiple connections, looking at them not only in the immediate postwar years but as far back as 1939. They formed spectacular sites of the postwar recovery processes in both East and West Germany.
The fear of damnation, the modernist sensibility and the racial politics of twentieth-century America are just some of the topics bursting out of this July’s must-reads. Take a look through our highlights and see which book you could soak up in the sunshine. Until next time!
Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke, the most famous (and important) German language poet of the twentieth century – a master to be ranked with Goethe and Heine – wrote the New Poems of 1907 and 1908 in transition from his late-nineteenth-century style. They mark his appearance as a lyrical, metaphysical poet of the modernist sensibility, often using traditional forms like the sonnet to explore the inner essence, the deep heart, of things – often, quite literally, things.
Reception and Reputation, Criticism and Controversy, 1851-2015
Mark Twain under Fire tracks the genesis and evolution of Twain’s reputation as a writer: his reception as a humorist, his “return fire” on genteel critics, and the development of academic criticism. As a history of Twain criticism, the book draws on English and foreign-language scholarship, discussing the forces and ideas that have influenced criticism revealing how and why Mark Twain has been “under fire” from the advent of his career to the present day
An unforgettable introduction to the medieval world and its culture for the modern reader. Ramon Llull wrote the Doctrina Pueril between 1274 and 1276 to provide minimum knowledge to those people – children, but also adults – who did not have the opportunity to acquire a sufficient doctrinal and intellectual education. In the late thirteenth century this meant stressing the basics of Christian doctrine and also accessing some aspects of general culture.
The hope of salvation and the fear of damnation were fundamental in the Middle Ages. This study examines how the twin themes of damnation and salvation interact with other more familiar and better explored topoi, such as the life-cycle, the moment of death, and the material world. A broad range of the literature is considered, including Sagas of Icelanders, Kings’ sagas, Contemporary Sagas, Legendary sagas and poems of Christian instruction.
A Novel of a Racial Outcast
Hugo Bettauer’s The Blue Stain, a novel of racial mixing and “passing,” starts and ends in Georgia but also takes the reader to Vienna and New York. First published in 1922, the novel tells the story of Carletto, son of a white European academic and an African American daughter of former slaves, who, having passed as white in Europe and fled to America after losing his fortune, resists being seen as “black” before ultimately accepting that identity and joining the early movement for civil rights. Never before translated into English, this is the first novel in which a German-speaking European author addresses early twentieth-century racial politics in the United States – not only in the South but also in the North.
Youth, Labour & Violence in Sierra Leone
High youth unemployment is seen as a major issue across Africa and globally, not solely as a source of concern for economic development, but as a threat to social stability and a challenge to fragile peace. But what do we really know about how lack of work shapes political identities and motivates youth violence? This book moves beyond reductive portrayals of unemployed youth as “ticking bombs” but instead argues that violence is not inherent to unemployment, but that the impact of joblessness on political activism is mediated by social factors and the specific nature of the post-war political economy.
The slippery slope to murder, controversial deaths and the Medieval legal system are just some of the topics in this month’s books to look out for. Take a look at some of our highlights to keep on your radar this June, and see what stabs your interest. Until next time!
Cloth-making became England’s leading industry in the late Middle Ages. While many clothiers were of only modest status or “jacks of all trades”, a handful of individuals amassed huge fortunes through the trade, becoming the multi-millionaires of their day. This book offers the first recent survey of this hugely important and significant trade and its practitioners, examining the whole range of clothiers across different areas of England, exploring their impact within the industry and in their wider communities.
Disease, Death and Composers
The health – and especially deaths – of composers excite controversy. Was Mozart really poisoned? Did Tchaikovsky commit suicide? How did Beethoven lose his hearing? This book charts the disturbed physical and mental health of 70 great composers, attempting to unpick the evidence forensically and define the cause of death based on the legal paradigm of a balance of probabilities. That Jealous Demon relates the nature of composition to composers’ suffering, showcasing much triumph in adversity, and, importantly, rehabilitates reputations.
The wars waged by the English in France during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries led to the need for judicial agencies which could deal with disputes that arose on land and sea, beyond the reach of indigenous laws. This led to the jurisdictional development of the Courts of Chivalry and Admiralty, presiding over respectively heraldic and maritime disputes. Musson and Ramsay lead a multi-disciplinary approach to two of the most important legal institutions of the Middle Ages.
Reflections on Learning and Teaching
In Speaking the Piano, renowned pianist Susan Tomes turns her attention to teaching and learning. Teaching music encompasses everything from putting a drum in a child’s hands to helping an accomplished musician unlock the meaning and spirit of the classics. At every stage, some fundamental issues keep surfacing. In this wide-ranging book, Susan Tomes reflects on how her own experience as a learner, in different genres from classical to jazz, has influenced her approach to teaching.
A Theater Producer’s Notes
First English translation of the memoirs of the great German-Jewish theater producer Ernst Josef Aufricht, providing an inside account of the late Weimar theater scene in Berlin. The title alludes to Brecht and Weill’s Threepenny Opera, the premiere of which was produced by Aufricht at his Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin in 1928, launching Brecht and Weill to worldwide fame.
Legal, Literary and Historical Contexts
Murder – the perpetrators, victims, methods and motives – has been the subject of law, literature, chronicles and religion, often crossing genres and disciplines and employing multiple modes of expression and interpretation. Drawing on a wealth of sources from different disciplines, the essays here provide a nuanced picture of how medieval and early modern societies viewed murder and dealt with murderers.
Arguing with Beauty
Best known for his collaborations with Bertolt Brecht, composer Hanns Eisler set nineteenth-century German poetry to music that both absorbs and disturbs the Lieder tradition. Hart traces Eisler’s art songs through the political crises of the twentieth century, presenting them not as an escape from the “dark times” Brecht lamented but rather as a way to intervene in the nationalist appropriation of aesthetic material.
Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin
A rich interdisciplinary exploration of the world of Sara Levy, a Jewish salonnière and skilled performing musician in late eighteenth-century Berlin, and her impact on the Bach revival, German-Jewish life, and Enlightenment culture. Archival evidence demonstrates Levy’s position as an essential link in the transmission of the music of their father, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), and as a catalyst for the “Bach revival” of the early nineteenth century.
African American Women Design the New South
“In this compelling history, Angel David Nieves provides a fresh new view of the establishment of African American educational institutions through a consideration of the critical spatial history of the late nineteenth century. A nuanced examination of the architectural and social history of this period, this volume also recounts the extraordinary achievements of two black women educators, Elizabeth Evelyn Wright and Jennie Dean, who founded and built, respectively, Voorhees College and the Manassas Industrial School. Readers of all backgrounds will find this volume to be both absorbing and elucidating.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
A composer of musical masterpieces, a controversial king and a conflict-ridden region are just some of the topics in this month’s books to look out for. Take a look at some of our highlights to keep on your radar this May, and we hope you find something that tickles your fancy. Until next time!
Silk in the Pre-Modern World
Silk has long been a global commodity that, because of its exceptional qualities, high value and relative portability, came to be traded over very long distances. The production and consumption of silks spread from China to Japan and Korea and travelled westward as far as India, Persia and the Byzantine Empire, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Threads of Global Desire is the first attempt at considering a global history of silk in the pre-modern era. The book examines the role of silk production and use in various cultures and its relation to everyday and regulatory practices.
Art and the Politics of the Unpolitical
Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954) has entered the historical memory as a renowned interpreter of the canon of Austro-German musical masterworks. His extensive legacy of recorded performances of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner and Wagner is widely regarded as unsurpassed. Yet more than sixty years after his death he remains a controversial figure: the complexities and equivocacy of his high-profile position within the Third Reich still cast a long shadow over his reputation. This book builds an intellectual biography of Furtwängler, probing this ambiguity, through a critical examination of his extensive series of essays, addresses and symphonies.
Volume 1: Nos. 1 to 8 (February 1818 to March 1820)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is recognized the world over as a composer of musical masterpieces exhibiting heroic strength, particularly in the face of his increasing deafness from ca. 1798. These important booklets are here translated into English in their entirety for the first time. Covering a period associated with the revolutionary style of what we call “late Beethoven”, these often lively and compelling conversations are now finally accessible in English for the scholar and Beethoven-lover.
“Searchers and Discoverers”
Flannery O’Connor is one of the most widely read, discussed, and taught of all American authors. Her work, often characterized as “Southern Gothic,” betrays in its focus on morality her devout Roman Catholic faith even as it displays a wicked sense of humor. This book offers the first chronological overview of O’Connor criticism and commentary from the publication of her first novel, Wise Blood, in 1952 to the present.
The work of William Morris (1834-1896) was hugely influenced by the medieval sagas and poetry of Iceland; in particular, they inspired his long poems “The Lovers of Gudrun” and Sigurd the Volsung. This book shows how Morris conceived a unique ideal of heroism through engaging with Icelandic literature. How the sagas and poetry of Iceland were crucial in shaping his view of the best life a man could live and spurring him on in the subsequent passions on which much of his legacy rests.
Transnational Texts from England and France
Alexander the Great – controversial king, conqueror, explorer, and pupil of Aristotle. Aiming to illuminate not only the conqueror’s history but also the fast-changing and complex literary landscape that existed between 1150 and 1350, important Alexander works (the Alexandreis, the Roman d’Alexandre, the Roman de toute chevalerie, and Kyng Alisaunde) are compared with the fortunes of other prestigious inherited tales, such as stories of Arthur and Troy, highlighting the various forms of translatio studii then prevalent across northern France and Britain.
Intimacy and Alienation
The cinema of the German Democratic Republic, (its state-run studio DEFA), portrayed gender and sexuality in complex and contradictory ways. This is the first scholarly collection in English or German to fully address the treatment of gender and sexuality in the productions of DEFA across genres (from shorts and feature films to educational videos, television productions, and documentaries) and in light of social, political, and cultural contexts.
Kawuugulu Musical Performance, Politics, and Storytelling in Buganda
Tuning the Kingdom draws on oral and written accounts, archival research, and musical analysis to examine how the Kawuugulu Clan-Royal Musical Ensemble of the Kingdom of Buganda (arguably the kingdom’s oldest and longest-surviving performance ensemble) has historically managed, structured, modeled, and legitimized power relations among the Baganda people of south-central Uganda.
This collection of essays places the Balkans at the center of European developments, not as a conflict-ridden problem zone, but rather as a full-fledged European region. Contrary to the commonly held perception, contributors to the volume argue, the Balkans did not lag behind the rest of European history, but rather anticipated many (West) European developments in the decades before and after 1900.