Books to Look out for in April 2022

An innovative study of the role of sports in modernity in Africa. A new exploration of the complexities and resolutions at play in the writings of Marguerite de Navarre. A reconstruction of the socio-political history of the heroic in music through case studies spanning the middle ages to the twenty-first century. These are just a few of the new titles coming this April. Enjoy an expanded preview in this blog.

Great Books by German Women in the Age of Emotion, 1770-1820

by Margaretmary Daley

Literature written by women in German during the “Age of Goethe” was largely considered unworthy Trivialliteratur. This book offers a critical interpretation of six canon-worthy German novels written by women in the period, which it calls the “Age of Emotion.” The novels – by Sophie von La Roche, Friederike Unger, Sophie Mereau, Karoline Fischer, Caroline Wolzogen, and Caroline Pichler – are chosen because they depict women’s ordinary yet interesting lives and because each contains prose particularly expressive of emotion. The study concludes that the influence of these six works was in no way trivial, either in portraying women’s lives and emotions or in the history of German literature.

Marguerite de Navarre: A Critical Companion

by Emily Butterworth

Marguerite de Navarre was a Renaissance princess, diplomat, and mystical poet. She is arguably best known for The Heptameron, an answer to Boccaccio’s Decameron, a brilliant and open-ended collection of short stories told by a group of men and women stranded in a monastery. This book presents The Heptameron and its investigations into gender relations, the nature of love, and the nature of religious faith in the context of the intellectual, religious, and political questions of the sixteenth century, setting it alongside Marguerite’s other writings: her poetry, plays, and diplomatic letters. Through this, Emily Butterworth presents readings of Marguerite’s texts, revealing both the historical specificity of her writing and its continuing relevance.

Sports & Modernity in Late Imperial Ethiopia

by Katrin Bromber

This first academic study of the history of modern sports in Ethiopia during the imperial rule of the twentieth century argues that modern sports offers new possibilities to explore the meanings of modernity in Africa. Providing an in-depth analysis of the role of sports in modern educational institutions, volunteer organizations and urbanization processes, Bromber shows how agents, ideas and practices linked societal improvement and bodily improvement. Examining the locations for practising sports in organized forms, informal leisure and practices consumption, she examines sports’ function as a political propaganda tool during the Italian fascist occupation and under Haile Selassie (1930 – 1974). The integration into global networks of ideas about the fit colonized body linked Ethiopia, which was never colonized, to the legacy of colonialism.

Heinrich von Kleist

Literary and Philosophical Paradigms
Edited by Jeffrey L. High, Rebecca Stewart and Elaine Chen

Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) was a rebel who upset canonization by employing his predecessors and contemporaries as what Steven Howe calls “inspirational foils.” It was precisely Kleist’s keen awareness of literary and philosophical traditions that enabled him to shatter prevailing paradigms. Though little is known about what specifically Kleist read, frequent allusions in his oeuvre indicate dialogues with works of European literature and philosophy from antiquity to the early nineteenth century. This volume of new essays sheds light on Kleist’s relationship to his literary and philosophical influences and on their function as paradigms to which his writings respond.

Global Perspectives on Early Medieval England

Edited by Karen Louise Jolly and Britton Elliott Brooks

Early medieval England through the lens of comparative and interconnected histories is the subject of this volume. It examines artistic, archaeological, literary, and historical artifacts, converging around the idea that the period not only defines itself, but is often defined by others. The first part considers the transmission of material culture, taking in the spread of bread wheat, the collapse of the art-historical “decorative” and “functional”, and unknowns about daily life. The volume then moves on to reimagine the permeable boundaries of early medieval England, perspectives from the Baltic, Byzantium, and the Islamic world. The final chapters address the construction of and responses to “Anglo-Saxon” narratives, past and present.

The Secret War Between the Wars: MI5 in the 1920s and 1930s

by Kevin Quinlan

The methods developed by British intelligence in the early twentieth century continue to resonate today. Much like now, the intelligence activity of the British in the pre-Second World War era focused on immediate threats posed by subversive, clandestine networks against a backdrop of shifting great power politics.

A fascinating and well-written book. It may and should become a standard text in British libraries, but it will certainly become that in foreign organisations (friends and foes alike) that are studying the modern history of the UK.” INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (UK)

New in paperback!

The Heroic in Music

Edited by Beate Kutschke and Katherine Butler

Firstly, this volume reconstructs musical strategies used by composers of medieval chants, Renaissance madrigals, and Baroque operas when referring to heroic ideas. A second part expands the focus on Beethoven’s heroic middle period and the cult of the virtuoso, demonstrating that a spectrum of heroic positions that not only filtered into symphonies and virtuoso concerts, but also into chamber and vernacular dance music. The third part documents the forced heroization of music in twentieth-century totalitarian regimes. Final chapters examine heroic models in the work of recent rock-folk and avant-garde musicians.

Plato’s Republic in the Islamic Context

New Perspectives on Averroes’s Commentary
Edited by Alexander Orwin

The first collection of articles devoted entirely to Averroes’s Commentary on Plato’s “Republic” includes a variety of contributors from across several disciplines and countries. It explores such diverse themes as the work’s teachings on poetry, law, property, and government, its relationship to Plato, Ibn Bajja, and Alfarabi, and its influence in Jewish and Christian Europe. A major feature of the collection is the first published English translation of Shlomo Pines’s 1957 essay, written in Hebrew, on Averroes. The volume will provide valuable insight for researchers as well as important background for those seeking to introduce this neglected work into the classroom.

Karl Straube (1873–1950)

Germany’s Master Organist in Turbulent Times
by Christopher Anderson

In a multifaceted career marked by triumphs and bitter disappointments, Karl Straube (1873-1950) left his mark on generations of church musicians, composers, publishers, and intellectuals. A virtuoso organist of German-English birth who became J. S. Bach’s eleventh successor as Leipzig Thomaskantor, Straube struggled with questions of nationalism and music’s cultural mission while navigating Germany’s turbulent, often dangerous political environment. Drawing from an array of previously unexamined sources, Christopher Anderson explores for the first time Straube’s life and pervasive influence.


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