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Books to look out for in June 2018

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!

The Medieval Clothier

by John S. Lee

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.

That Jealous Demon, My Wretched Health

Disease, Death and Composers

by Jonathan Noble

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.

Courts of Chivalry and Admiralty in Late Medieval Europe

Edited by Anthony Musson and Nigel Ramsay

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.

Speaking the Piano

Reflections on Learning and Teaching

by Susan Tomes

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.

And the Shark, He Has Teeth

A Theater Producer’s Notes

by Ernst Josef Aufricht; translated by Benjamin Bloch – introduction by Marc Silberman

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.

Medieval and Early Modern Murder

Legal, Literary and Historical Contexts

Edited by Larissa Tracy

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.

Hanns Eisler’s Art Songs

Arguing with Beauty

by Heidi Hart

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.

Sara Levy’s World

Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin

Edited by Rebecca Cypess and Nancy Sinkoff

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.

An Architecture of Education

African American Women Design the New South

by Angel David Nieves

“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

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