Books to Look Out for in December 2021

Welcome to December! New titles this month include the first comprehensive survey of a major genre of medieval English texts, an exploration of the history of Britain’s colonial army in West Africa, an examination of Joseph Joachim’s vital legacy, and much more! Enjoy a taster of some of the new books published this month and don’t forget about our special Winter Sale discount: 50% off using BB050. For T&C’s click here.

Manuals for Penitents in Medieval England

From Ancrene Wisse to the Parson’s Tale
by Krista A. Murchison

The ‘bestseller list’ of medieval England would have included many manuals for penitents: works that could teach the public about the process of confession, and explain the abstract concept of sin through familiar situations. Among these ‘bestselling’ works were the Manuel des péchés (commonly known through its English translation Handlyng Synne), The Speculum Vitae, and Chaucer’s Parson’s Tale. This book is the first full-length overview of this body of writing and its material and social contexts. It shows that while manuals developed under Church control, they also became a site of the Church’s concern.

West African Soldiers in Britain’s Colonial Army, 1860-1960

by Timothy Stapleton

British colonial rule in West Africa would have been impossible without the service of locally recruited soldiers within a colonial army. Challenging many stereotypes regarding this force, West African Soldiers explores this complex, ambiguous, and constantly changing military organization. Emphasizing the experience of the African rank-and-file who worked within a racially hierarchical colonial army, this work looks at the broad themes of identity, culture, daily life, and violence. This study derives from extensive archival research in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia.

The Creative Worlds of Joseph Joachim

Edited by Valerie Woodring Goertzen and Robert Whitehouse Eshbach

Joseph Joachim (1831-1907), violinist, composer, teacher, and founding director of Berlin’s Royal Academy of Music, was one of the most eminent and influential musicians of the long nineteenth century. Born in a tiny Jewish community on the Austro-Hungarian border, he rose to a position of unsurpassed prominence in European cultural life. This timely collection of essays explores important yet little-known aspects of Joachim’s life and art. The essays in this collection examine Jewish background, Felix Mendelssohn’s mentorship, the influence of Hungarian vernacular music on Joachim’s musical style, his pathbreaking British career, his pedagogical legacy and several of his most distinctive and original compositions.

The Guild Book of the Barbers and Surgeons of York (British Library, Egerton MS 2572)

Study and Edition
Edited by Richard D. Wragg

This new multi-disciplinary examination of the York Guild Book presents a comprehensive edition of its content and a detailed study of the creation and use of this fascinating manuscript. The York Guild Book was not owned by any one person but was intended to be representative of the types of manuscripts the Guild’s members might have individually possessed. The Guild’s commission elevated their manuscript’s functional content into something which could be proudly owned and displayed, as is demonstrated by the stylishly executed pen and ink drawings, two of which are possibly unique. Through a contextualisation of the form and content of the manuscript, the book articulates ideas about material culture and the ceremonial role of secular manuscripts whilst shedding new light on the dissemination and status of medieval medical texts.

The Brecht Yearbook / Das Brecht-Jahrbuch 46

Edited by Markus Wessendorf
Guest editor Günther Heeg, Micha Braun and Vera Stegmann


The Brecht Yearbook is the central scholarly forum for discussion of Brecht’s life and work and of topics of particular interest to him. It, like Brecht himself, is committed to the concept of the use value of literature, theater, and theory. This is the second volume dedicated to the International Brecht Society Symposium held in Leipzig in 2019. The contributions discuss artists whose work intersects with Brecht’s. They cover a broad range of genres and topics, such as crime and detective fiction; neo-noir television series; the learning play according to and after Brecht; theater pedagogy; the migration dilemma; and post-dramatic, refugee, and transcultural theater.



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