Books to look out for in June 2024

New releases this month include the following: Intimate Relations provides a fresh historical perspective on the transformative relationship between sexuality and the arts around 1968; Story, World and Character in the Late Íslendingasögur argues for new models of reading the complexity and subversiveness of fourteen “post-classical” sagas; Mystical Power and Politics on the Swahili Coast traces changing visions of mystical power and authority on the island of Pemba; Narrative and Robert Schumann’s Songs offers new perspectives on Robert Schumann’s Lieder and song cycles. Don’t miss out on our Proofed discount at the end of this article!

by Christine Weder Translated by Robert Vilain

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, sexuality and the arts entered into a remarkably intimate and mutually beneficial relationship: on one hand, scientific theories of sexuality and their pop-psychological counterparts incorporated elaborate reflections on art movements and literary texts, since artistic media were understood as crucial to the project of inventing radically new modes of human living and loving. On the other hand, the aesthetic ambitions that informed new conceptions of sexuality had their mirror image in the varying forms of sexual obsession that characterized contemporary aesthetic theories. Approaches as diverse as those of Theodor W. Adorno, Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Leslie A. Fiedler, Peter Gorsen, and Herbert and Ludwig Marcuse all contributed to a dramatic eroticization of the arts.

Book jacket image: Intimate Relations

Story, World and Character in the Late Íslendingasögur

Rogue Sagas by Rebecca Merkelbach

The late Sagas of Icelanders, thought to be written in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, have hitherto received little scholarly attention. Previous generations of critics have unfavourably compared them to “classical” Íslendingasögur and fornaldarsögur, leading modern audiences to project their expectations onto narratives that do not adhere to simple taxonomies and preconceived notions of genre. As “rogues” within the canon, they challenge the established notions of what makes an Íslendingasaga.

Book jacket image: Story, World and Character in the Late Íslendingasögur

Uchawi in Pemba
by Nathalie Arnold Koenings

For two centuries, Pemba, the second largest island of Zanzibar, has been known by East Africans and outsiders alike as rich in dangerous knowledge. Despite Pembans’ reputation for piety and deep Islamic knowledge,uchawi– ‘mystical work and power’, sometimes termed ‘magic’, ‘witchcraft’, or ‘sorcery’ – has long featured in diverse visions of their identity and as key to worldly power. Today, as traditional methods of securing agency are called into question and new ways proliferate, the mystical world is an intensely conflicted realm where the nature of power, ethical action, and reality itself is continually reframed.

Book jacket image: Mystical Power and Politics on the Swahili Coast

A New Approach to the Romantic Lied
by Andrew H. Weaver

Featuring 28 music examples this book takes an innovative approach to analyzing and interpreting nineteenth-century German song, offering new perspectives on Robert Schumann’s Lieder and song cycles. Robert Schumann’s Lieder are among the richest and most complex songs in the repertoire and have long raised questions and stimulated discussion among scholars, performers, and listeners. Among the wide range of methodologies that have been used to understand and interpret his songs, one that has been conspicuously absent is an approach based on narratology (the theory and study of narrative texts).

Book jacket image: Narrative and Robert Schumann’s Songs

Subscribe to the Boydell & Brewer blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

* indicates required

Recent Posts