Books to Look out for in November 2021

Hello November! A new month means new publications and we are excited to share some books to be on the lookout for this month. New titles include a fascinating insight into medieval religious life, the latest African Literature Today with a focus on speculative fiction, the history of one of the best known dramatic dance performance practices on Bali and much more. And don’t forget about our special blog discount!

The Visitation of Hereford Diocese in 1397

Edited by Ian Forrest and Christopher Whittick

In 1397 the bishop of Hereford toured his diocese asking questions about its churches and people. The answers he received were written into a slim paper book, which survives in the cathedral archives today. This important medieval document offers unparalleled insight into social life, sexual behaviour, religious belief and practice, and gender relations during a period of religious and political turmoil, revealing how the clergy were disciplined, how English- and Welsh-speakers interacted, and how the congregation experienced worship. It is also a major early source for Welsh naming practices, and a treasure trove of information about local churches and parishes before the Reformation.
This volume provides a complete scholarly edition, accompanied by a full facing-page translation, introduction and notes; it will be invaluable for experienced researchers and students alike.

ALT 39

Speculative & Science Fiction
Series edited by Ernest N. Emenyonu
Guest editor Louisa Uchum Egbunike and Chimalum Nwankwo


Over the past two decades, there has been a resurgence in the writing of African and African diaspora speculative and science fiction writing. Recent discussions around the “rise of science-fiction and fantasy” in Africa have led to a push-back, in which writers and scholars have suggested that science fiction and fantasy is not a new phenomenon in African literature. This collection focuses on the need to recalibrate ways of reading and categorising the continent’s speculative fiction through critical examinations both of classics such as Kojo Laing’s Woman of the Aeroplanes (1988) and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s oeuvre, as well as more recent works from writers including Nnedi Okorafor, Namwali Serpell and Masande Ntshanga.

The Kecak and Cultural Tourism on Bali

by Kendra Stepputat

The kecak is one of the best-known dramatic dance performance practices on Bali. Based on the ancient Indian Ramayana epic, it is performed by an ensemble of male and female solo dancers and accompanied by a hundred men who function as both musicians and living scenery. Since its creation in the 1930s, the kecak has been primarily a tourist performance. This book gives a thorough analysis and description of its musical, choreographic, and dramatic elements and explores how it became and stayed a tourist genre for more than eighty years.

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.

Pity and Identity in the Age of Shakespeare

by Toria Johnson

Early modern English writing about pity evidences a social culture built specifically around emotion, one (at least partially) defined by worries about who deserves compassion and what it might cost an individual to offer it. This book positions early modern England as a place that sustains messy and contradictory views about pity all at once, with the impact of this emotional burden on individual subjects centrally shaping the ways in which people thought about themselves and their communities.

Through the study of early modern drama, medieval drama, and lyric poetry Pity and Identity in the Age of Shakespeare shows that both literary materials and literary criticism can offer new insights into the experience and expression of emotional humanity.

British Music, Musicians and Institutions, c. 1630-1800

Essays in Honour of Harry Diack Johnstone
by Peter Lynan and Julian Rushton

The view that British music was barren from the death of Henry Purcell to the so-called ‘Musical Renaissance’ of the late nineteenth century has been overturned in recent years, with a better-informed historical perspective recognising that that all kinds of British musical institutions continued to flourish throughout this period. Indigenous musicians mingled with migrant musicians from elsewhere, yet there remained strands of British musical culture that had no continental equivalent. Composers such as Eccles, Boyce, Greene, Croft, Arne and Hayes were not wholly overshadowed by European imports such as Handel and J. C. Bach. The publication, performance and recording of music by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British composers, supplemented by critical source-studies and scholarly editions, shows forms of music that developed in parallel with those of Britain’s near neighbours.

The Letters of Margaret of Anjou

Edited by Helen E Maurer and B.M. Cron

Now in paperback!

2020 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner

Margaret of Anjou has had a bad press. Yorkist propaganda vilifying Margaret was consolidated by Shakespeare: his portrait of her as a warlike and vengeful queen – “a tiger’s heart wrapped in a woman’s hide” – has been accepted ever since.
But Margaret’s letters tell a different story. They reveal a woman who lived according to the noble standards of her time. She enjoyed the hunt, she practised her faith, and she tried to help or protect those who called upon her for assistance, as was expected of a queen and a “good lady”. This study and edition of her letters clarifies obscure corners of her life and sheds new light on a misunderstood figure.

India’s Development Diplomacy & Soft Power in Africa

Edited by Kenneth King and Meera Venkatachalam

Since independence India has deployed its soft power in Africa, with educational aid and capacity-building at the heart of its Africa policy. However, following economic liberalisation and in a quest for greater global influence, India’s geopolitics have changed. The country’s discourse on Africa has shifted from the mantras of post-colonial solidarity and South-South Cooperation, and there is now a growing sense of Indian exceptionalism, as the country reimagines its past and future against the growing influence of the political right. In this book scholars from India, Africa, Europe and North America show how India’s soft power has been implemented by the diaspora, government and private sector. Research documents how India’s ‘aid’ has been re-thought in major schemes such as e-global education and health, Gandhi statuary and Covid-19 diplomacy in Africa.