Books to Look Out for in February 2021

Welcome to February and new releases from Boydell & Brewer!

Our list this month is varied, from essays investigating the question of time to insights into the different elements of transatlantic trade in the seventeenth century, from the first modern study devoted to one of the twelfth-century’s most enigmatic, influential and fascinating figures; Henry of Blois to the first modern English edition of Richard Wagner’s essays on conducting.

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

Winner and Waster and its Contexts

Chivalry, Law and Economics in Fourteenth-Century England

W. Mark Ormrod

This book sets out to re-date the poem from the 1350s to the 1360s, and in so doing to question whether its principal message really revolves (as so much earlier scholarship has insisted) around the state of public order and the costs of warfare in the 1350s. Instead, it proposes that the poem echoes debates about Edward III’s ability to maintain concord between the members of his household, to manage the extravagance in clothing that prompted the sumptuary laws of 1363, and to run his peace-time finances of the 1360s in such a way as to guarantee the solvency of the crown. Drawing extensively on the records of parliament and on contemporary chronicles, this volume sets Winner and Waster within the wider context of other complaint literature of the fourteenth century, and characterizes it as one of the most politically – and socially – engaged works of the period.

The British Navy in the Caribbean

John D Grainger

A survey of the activities of the British navy in the Caribbean from the voyages of sixteenth century English adventurers such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake through the great wars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries against the Dutch, Spanish and French. It includes coverage of Oliver Cromwell’s capture of Jamaica, the growth of the slave trade and the slave economy, the War of American Independence and Britain’s ceding of naval predominance in the twentieth century to the United States.

Medieval Temporalities

The Experience of Time in Medieval Europe

Edited by Almut Suerbaum and Annie Sutherland

How was time experienced in the Middle Ages? What attitudes informed people’s awareness of its passing – especially when tensions beween eternity and human time shaped perceptions in profound and often unexpected ways? Is it a human universal or culturally specific – or both?
The essays here offer a range of perspectives on and approaches to personal, artistic, literary, ecclesiastical and visionary responses to time during this period. They cover a wide and diverse variety of material, from historical prose to lyrical verse, and from liturgical and visionary writing to textiles and images, both real and imagined, across the literary and devotional cultures of England, Italy,Germany and Russia. From anxieties about misspent time to moments of pure joy in the here and now, from concerns about worldly affairs to experiences of being freed from the trappings of time, the volume demonstrates how medievalcultures and societies engaged with and reflected on their own temporalities.

The Exeter Cloth Dispatch Book, 1763-1765

Edited by Todd Gray

This book reproduces a newly discovered manuscript detailing the exports of Claude Passavant, a Swiss émigré merchant. Passavant’s dispatch book comprises the most extensive surviving collection of Devon cloth with 2,475 survivingcloth samples. Thirteen chapters further discuss the local and wider contexts of sixteenth-century cloth making. This study explores the quality, range, and vibrancy of cloth that lead to Exeter becoming an internationally renowned centre for the manufacture and trade of woollen cloth.

French Romance, Medieval Sweden and the Europeanisation of Culture

Sofia Loden

Translations of French romances into other vernaculars in the Middle Ages have sometimes been viewed as “less important” versions of prestigious sources, rather than in their place as part of a broader range of complex and wider European text traditions, This consideration of how French romance was translated, rewritten and interpreted in medieval Sweden focuses on the wider context. It examines four major texts which appear in both languages (including Le Chevalier au lion and its Swedish translation Herr Ivan, analysing them through the lens of different themes: female characters, children, animals and masculinity. The author argues that French romance made a major contribution to the Europeanisation of medieval culture, whilst also playing a key role in the formation of a national literature in Sweden.

Richard Wagner’s Essays on Conducting

A New Translation with Critical Commentary

Chris Walton

The first complete, modern translation of Wagner’s conducting essays to appear in English, with extensive annotations to explain their reception, impact, and influence. The accompanying critical essay offers a detailed analysis of Wagner’s conducting practices, his innovations in tempo and the art of transition, his creation of a new vocabulary to describe conducting, and his success in establishing a school of conductors to promote his works and his aesthetic.

Writing the Jerusalem Pilgrimage in the Late Middle Ages

Mary Boyle

William Wey, Bernhard von Breydenbach, Arnold von Harff, and Thomas Larke are amongst the thousands of western Christians who undertook the arduous journey to the Holy Land in the decades immediately before the Reformation. More importantly, they are members of a much more select group: those who left written accounts of their travels, for the journey to Jerusalem in the late Middle Ages took place not only in the physical world, but also in the mind and on the page. Pilgrim authors contended in different ways with the collision between fifteenth-century reality and the static textual Jerusalem, as they encountered the genuinely multi-religious Middle East. This book examines the international literary phenomenon of the Jerusalem pilgrimage through the prism of these four writers. It explores the process of collective and individual identity construction, as pilgrims came into contact with members of other religious traditions in the course of the expression of their own; engages with the uneasy relationship between curiosity and pilgrimage; and investigates both the relevance of genre and the advent of print to the development of pilgrimage writing.

The Criminal Baroque

Lawbreaking, Peacekeeping, and Theatricality in Early Modern Spain

Ted L.L. Bergman

Early Modern Spanish theatre is viewed by many scholars as entertaining propaganda that channelled the emotions and beliefs of the masses into mechanisms for social control. This book questions such an interpretation by examining the portrayal of criminal heroes on stage and public displays of law enforcement outside of the playhouse. Through examples that range from dancing pimps to brawling kings, this study reveals that the propaganda power of early modern Spanish spectacle has been vastly overstated.


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