Books to Look Out for in May 2020

Who was the ‘mild mannered’ murderer Hawley Harvey Crippen? What was British Musical Films like in 1929-1945? What were the activities of the Loyal Suffolk Yeomanry Cavalry between 1794-1820? Find the answers to all these questions and more from our new releases this May!

Augusta Browne

Composer and Woman of Letters in Nineteenth-Century America

Bonny H. Miller

Augusta Browne Garrett (ca. 1820-82) was one of the professional women musicians most active in publishing sheet music in nineteenth-century America. Her lively songs and piano solos, prose, and music journalism present an engaging period voice neglected for too long. Browne wrote herself into history through contributions to newspapers and magazines, many of them overlooked by scholars before now. The life and times of this versatile woman of music and letters illuminate her achievements within the contexts of the music business and the gendered culture of her era.

Brahms’s A German Requiem

Reconsidering Its Biblical, Historical, and Musical Contexts

R. Allen Lott

Despite its entirely biblical text, Brahms’s A German Requiem is widely considered to espouse a theologically universal view. Lott systematically documents the Requiem’s early performance history, critical reception, and musical style, revealing that the work was widely regarded as a Christian and, indeed, a specifically Protestant one. Lott also explains how a knowledge of the biblical context of Brahms’s selected verses leads to a thorough reappraisal of Brahms’s masterpiece.

Coquettes, Wives, and Widows

Gender Politics in French Baroque Opera and Theater

Marcie Ray

Baroque French dramatists and opera librettists repudiated contemporary literary women’s free-thinking ideas about marriage. Their stage works portray independent women as depraved, truculent, and destructive. Works such as Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Platée, ou Junon jalouse, André Campra’s Aréthuse, ou la Vengeance de l’Amour, and several works from the Comédie Française, the Comédie Italienne, and the fairground theaters exemplified contemporaries’ fear about how society might change if women became responsible for the choices in their own lives.

Roman Poets in Modern Guise

The Reception of Roman Poetry since World War I

Theodore Ziolkowski

Analogies with Rome have been a powerful motif in American thought – and poetry – since the Founding Fathers. They resurged after World War II, when the US saw its mission as analogous to that of Augustan Rome – as seen in Robert Frost’s poem for the Kennedy inauguration, which prophesied “The glory of a next Augustan age.” This Roman mode was evident in the poetry of European countries too, for instance in French and German treatments of Virgil’s Eclogues. Horace figures in poets from Bertolt Brecht and Ezra Pound down to James Wright. The Augustan poets then gave way to their Republican counterparts Lucretius, Catullus, and Propertius. And the poets of the empire – Ovid, Seneca, and Juvenal – added certain dissonances to the Roman harmony. Thus the Roman poets have offered modern ones a wide variety of attitudes-from the patriotic fervor of Virgil and Horace to the cultural cynicism of Juvenal. All these tones are evident in the Anglo-American, German, and French examples discussed in this book.

Writing the Self, Creating Community

German Women Authors and the Literary Sphere, 1750-1850

Edited by Elisabeth Krimmer & Lauren Nossett

Beginning in the 1770s, the German literary market experienced unprecedented growth. The enormous demand for reading materials that stimulated this burgeoning market created new opportunities for women writers. At the same time, they still faced numerous obstacles. The new opportunities and limitations imposed on women writers are the subject of this book. The contributors bring to life the collaborative literary world of female writers through explorations of familial and professional mentorships, salons, and writing circles, and consider how women writers positioned themselves within the emerging literary marketplace.

‘Allegri’s Miserere’ in the Sistine Chapel

Graham O’Reilly

This book is the first detailed account of this iconic work’s performance history in the Sistine Chapel, in particular focussing on its heyday in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rather than looking at the Miserere as a work on paper, the key to its genesis – as this book reveals – can only be found in a performance context. The book concludes with a look at today’s performance practice. Appendices present key source transcriptions and two performance editions.

Cornelius Collett and the Suffolk Yeomanry, 1794-1820

Defending Suffolk against the French

Edited by Margaret Thomas

With invasion by the French revolutionary armies thought to be imminent, in 1794 a county-wide subscription was raised to support groups of Suffolk gentry, farmers, tradesmen and professionals to provide a defence for Suffolk. They formed themselves into a volunteer and part-time cavalry – the Loyal Suffolk Yeomanry Cavalry. Cornelius Collett, a banker in Woodbridge, joined his local Troop at its inception and remained a member for the next twenty six years. During this period, he collected and transcribed – in three large, leather-bound books – a range of unique and wide-ranging documents. The volumes are presented here with an introduction and notes, providing new insights into the role and functioning of the Suffolk Yeomanry.

Cheer Up!

British Musical Films, 1929-1945

Adrian Wright

The principal purpose of the musical film was to entertain, and during the 1930s it reflects a richness of interest. This endeavour was deeply affected by the very many emigres escaping Nazi Germany, who flooded into the British film industry during this decade. Studios initially flirted with filming what were essentially stage productions plucked from the West End theatre but soon learned that importing a foreign star was a box-office boost. Major musical stars including Jessie Matthews, Richard Tauber and George Formby established themselves during this period. From its beginning, the British musical film captured some of the most notable music-hall performers on screen, and its obsession with music-hall persisted throughout the war years. Other films married popular and classical music with social issues of poverty and unemployment, a message of social integration that long preceded the efforts of the Ealing studios to encourage a sense of social cohesion in post-war Britain. The treatment of the films discussed is linear, each film dealt with in order of its release date, and allowing for an engaging narrative packed with encyclopaedic information.

Age Relations and Cultural Change in Eighteenth-Century England

Barbara Crosbie

This book explores the links between age relations and cultural change, using an innovative analytical framework to map the incremental and contingent process of generational transition in eighteenth-century England. The study reveals how attitudes towards age were transformed alongside perceptions of gender, rank and place. It also exposes how shifting age relations affected concepts of authenticity, nationhood, patriarchy, domesticity and progress. The book charts new territory as an age cohort in Newcastle upon Tyne is followed from infancy to early adulthood, using their experiences to illuminate a national, and ultimately imperial, pattern of change.


A Crime Sensation in Memory and Modernity

Roger Dalrymple

Almost as notorious as Jack the Ripper, US citizen and homeopath Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen was forty-eight years old when he was hanged in London in November 1910 for the murder and mutilation of his wife. The case aroused enormous public interest at the time, and has remained in the popular imagination ever since, memorialised in crime history, fiction, film and even musical theatre. This book aims to account for the endurance of the Dr Crippen murder case in the cultural imagination. Highlighting the case’s disruptive blending of cultural traditions, it discusses historical precedents, analyses diverse literary traditions, looks at broadside balladry and music-hall repertoire and addresses queer theory discourses. The book shows how the case, part throwback to earlier crime sensations and part presage of a new understanding of criminality, represents a watershed in the representation of criminality and played a distinctive role in the development of crime fiction.

Chaucer’s Prayers

Writing Christian and Pagan Devotion

Megan E. Murton

In a culture as steeped in communal, scripted acts of prayer as Chaucer’s England, a written prayer asks not only to be read, but to be inhabited: its “I” marks a space that readers are invited to occupy. This book examines the implications of accepting that invitation when reading Chaucer’s poetry. Both in his often-overlooked pious writings and in his ambitious, innovative pagan narratives, the “I” of prayer provides readers with a subject-position that can be at once devotional and literary – a stance before a deity and a stance in relation to a poem. Chaucer uses this uniquely open, participatory “I” to implicate readers in his poetry and to guide their work of reading.

Land, Investment & Politics

Reconfiguring Eastern Africa’s Pastoral Drylands

Edited by Jeremy Lind, Doris Okenwa & Ian Scoones

More than ever before, the gaze of global investment has been directed to the drylands of Africa. But in areas where land use and resources are based on ancestral precedence and communal practices, and embedded regional systems of trade are unique, what does this mean for pastoralists? This book’s detailed local studies of investments explore how large land, resource and infrastructure projects shape local politics and livelihoods. By examining the ways in which large-scale investments enmesh with local political and social relations, the chapters show how even the most elaborate plans of financiers, contractors and national governments come unstuck and are re-made in the guise of not only states’ grand modernist visions, but also those of herders and small-town entrepreneurs in the pastoral drylands.

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