Books to Look Out for in April 2021

Welcome to April and new releases from Boydell & Brewer!

New releases this month include the first scholarly treatment of Uganda’s first elected ruler, an exploration of the scope that there is for Indigenous curatorial agency in the relationship of Indigenous contemporary art with the ‘art world’, a comprehensive investigation of the major significance of female sinners turned saints in medieval literature, and many more!

Enjoy our preview of some of the books published this month. Until next time!

Holy Harlots in Medieval English Religious Literature

Authority, Exemplarity and Femininity

Juliette Vuille

During the Middle Ages, the lives of saints such as Mary Magdalen and Mary of Egypt – “holy harlots”, women who repented of an early life of licentiousness to become blessed – were hugely popular, for both clerical and lay persons, men and women alike. However, this fascinating model of sanctity was rejected in the sixteenth century, and thus has been largely overlooked. This book, the first full-length study on the topic, aims to redress the situation, demonstrating that these apparent outliers transformed mainstream concepts of piety and womanhood. It uses texts from the Old English Martyrology through to the South English Legendary and works by John Mirk and Osbern Bokenham to demonstrate the centrality of these saints, and their influence on the writings of such woman as Christina of Markyate and Margery Kempe.

Music and Instruments of the Elizabethan Age

The Eglantine Table

Edited by Michael Fleming and Christopher Page

No single source of the sixteenth century presents the rich musical culture of the Elizabethan age more vividly, or in a more surprising manner than the inlaid surface of the Eglantine Table. Made in the late 1560s for the family of Elizabeth or ‘Bess’ of Hardwick, Countess of Shrewsbury (1527-1608), the upper surface bears a wealth of marquetry that depicts numerous Elizabethan musical instruments in exquisite detail. Together with open books or scrolls of music with legible notation. In this volume, leading scholars in the history of instruments assess the depicted instruments as well as taking a broader view of the table’s decorations in relation to the full range of Elizabethan musical life.

Elite Participation in the Third Crusade

by Stephen Bennett

The Third Crusade (1189-1192) was an attempt by Latin Christendom to reconquer the Holy Land, following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan Saladin in 1187. This book analyses the communal and cultural factors that influenced nobles from north-western Europe who embarked on the Third Crusade, bringing out the motives, dynamics, and extent of their participation, and placing that participation in the broader social and geographical context of crusading and medieval life. It shows that significant numbers of were themselves descended from crusaders, and that the majority of them travelled to the Levant in the company of friends, family, and neighbours, as well as through membership of a military household.

Contesting Catholics

Benedicto Kiwanuka and the Birth of Postcolonial Uganda

by Jonathan L. Earle and J.J. Carney

Assassinated by Idi Amin and a democratic ally of J.F. Kennedy during the Cold War, Benedicto Kiwanuka was Uganda’s most controversial and disruptive politician, and his legacy is still divisive. On the eve of independence, he led the Democratic Party (DP), a national movement of predominantly Catholic activists, to end political inequalities and religious discrimination. Along the way, he became Uganda’s first prime minister and first Ugandan chief justice. Earle and Carney show how Kiwanuka and Catholic activists struggled to create an inclusive vision of the state, a vision that resulted in relentless intimidation and extra-judicial killings. Focusing closely on the competing Catholic projects that circulated throughout Uganda, this book offers new ways of thinking about the history of democratic thought, while pushing the study of Catholicism in Africa outside of the church and beyond the gaze of missionaries. Drawing on never before seen sources from Kiwanuka’s personal papers, the authors upend many of the assumptions that have framed Uganda’s political and religious history for over sixty years, as well as repositioning Uganda’s politics within the global arena.

Suppressing Piracy in the Early Eighteenth Century

Pirates, Merchants and British Imperial Authority in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans

by David Wilson

This book charts the surge and decline in piracy in the early eighteenth century (the so-called “Golden Age” of piracy), exploring the ways in which pirates encountered, obstructed, and antagonised the diverse participants of the British empire in the Caribbean, North America, Africa, and the Indian Ocean. It focuses on how anti-piracy campaigns were constructed as a result of the negotiations, conflicts, and individual undertakings of different imperial actors operating in the commercial and imperial hub of London; maritime communities throughout the British Atlantic; trading outposts in West Africa and India; and marginal and contested zones such as the Bahamas, Madagascar, and the Bay Islands. It thereby provides great insights into the exact extent of British imperial authority, besides charting the rise and decline of piracy in this important period.

Decolonising the Museum

The Curation of Indigenous Contemporary Art in Brazil

by Thea Pitman

After a brief introduction to Indigenous art, it gives an overview of the evolving relationship between Indigenous art and the ‘art world’, exploring in particular the nature of decolonial and/or Indigenous curatorial practice both in Brazil and elsewhere in the world. It then hones in on a recent exhibition: ‘Arte Eletrônica Indígena’ [Indigenous Electronic Art], held at the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia in Salvador in August 2018. Based on participant observation and interviews, it provides an ethnographic reading of the opening weekend of the exhibition, looking at the alternative modalities of Indigenous curatorial agency that were exercised by the Indigenous people present. The conclusion explores the legacy of the ‘Arte Eletrônica Indígena’ exhibition, particularly for the Indigenous communities involved, and looks to the evidence provided by the exhibition for lessons to be learned for future exhibitions.

Canonic Repertories and the French Musical Press

Lully to Wagner

by William Weber

This long-awaited book by a leading historian of European music life offers a fresh reading of concert and operatic life in France during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by focusing on the concept of how certain musical works came to be considered “canonic”: that is, especially admirable. William Weber analyzes how composers with contrasting styles and careers achieved a high form of cultural respect in French cultural life, focusing on such composers as Gluck, Piccinni, Rossini, Meyerbeer, and Richard Wagner.

Contested Selves

Life Writing and German Culture

Edited by Katja Herges and Elisabeth Krimmer

In recent decades, life writing has exploded in popularity: trauma memoirs constitute the largest growth sector in book publishing worldwide. But life writing is not only highly marketable; it also does important emotional, cultural, and political work. More available to amateurs and those without the cultural capital or the self-confidence to embrace more traditional literary forms, it gives voice to marginalized populations. Contested Selves investigates a range of German-language life writing including memoirs, interviews, letters, diaries, and graphic novels, shedding light on its democratic potential, on its ability to personalize history and historicize the personal. The contributors ask how authors construct and negotiate notions of the self relative to socio political contexts, cultural traditions, genre expectations, and narrative norms. They also investigate the nexus of writing, memory, and experience. Finally, they explore ethical questions arising from intimate life writing and the representation of “vulnerable subjects.” All forms of life writing discussed in this volume are invested in making meaning and in an exchange of experience that allows us to relate our lives to the lives of others.