New Acquisitions

Here are some of Senate House Library's latest acquisitions, picked by the Metadata Team.

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L.M. Montgomery and the matter of nature(s) / edited by Rita Bode and Jean Mitchell.

L.M. Montgomery’s writings are replete with enchanting yet subtle and fluid depictions of nature that convey her intense appreciation for the natural world. At a time of ecological crises, intensifying environmental anxiety, and burgeoning eco-critical perspectives, L.M. Montgomery and the Matter of Nature(s) repositions the Canadian author’s relationship to nature in terms of current environmental criticism across several disciplines, introducing a fresh approach to her life and work. 

Tove Jansson.

Tove Jansson: painter, illustrator, political caricaturist, cartoonist, author and creator of the Moomin characters and stories. 

Sister arts : the erotics of lesbian landscapes / Lisa L. Moore.

In the age of English garden design, eighteenth-century women working in the “sister arts” of painting, poetry, and landscape gardening adapted the tradition of the erotic garden to create art with and for other women celebrating everything from classical friendship to erotic love. Lisa L. Moore reveals how these artists used flowers, gardens, and landscapes to express their love for other women.

The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760-1829 / Christina Morin.

The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760-1829 offers a compelling account of the development of gothic literature in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland. Countering traditional scholarly views of the 'rise' of 'the gothic novel' on the one hand, and, on the other, Irish Romantic literature, this study persuasively re-integrates a body of now overlooked works into the history of the literary gothic as it emerged across Ireland, Britain, and Europe between 1760 and 1829. Its twinned quantitative and qualitative analysis of neglected Irish texts produces a new formal, generic, and ideological map of gothic literary production in this period, persuasively positioning Irish works and authors at the centre of a new critical paradigm with which to understand both Irish Romantic and gothic literary production.

Feel free : essays / Zadie Smith.

It is the latest collection of essays from Zadie Smith, applying her razor-sharp intellect to the issues shaping the present. From the sinister side of social media, the closing of public libraries and impending environmental disasters, with the changing face of hip-hop; no topic is too fringe or too mainstream for this literary powerhouse as she takes on the tricky ambiguities of the modern world in sentences that pulsate with vision, energy, humour, and humanity.

Blooks : the art of books that aren't : book objects from the collection of Mindell Dubansky / with text and photography by Mindell Dubansky and introductory essay by Miriam Schaer.

"Blooks" - objects that look like books but aren't. These objects are everywhere, from safes to spice racks, sewing kits to snake gags. Dublansky argues that their makers have infused everyday objects with bookish qualities in order to capitalize on the emotional connections we have with our favorite books or with the experience of reading.

Cinematic canines : dogs and their work in the fiction film / edited by Adrienne L. McLean.

Dogs have been part of motion pictures since the movies began. They have been featured onscreen in various capacities, from any number of “man’s best friends” (Rin Tin Tin, Asta, Toto, Lassie, Benji, Uggie, and many, many more) to the psychotic Cujo. The contributors to Cinematic Canines take a close look at Hollywood films and beyond in order to show that the popularity of dogs on the screen cannot be separated from their increasing presence in our lives over the past century.

London triptych / Jonathan Kemp.

The Authors' Club Best First Novel Award winner 2011; a resplendent portrait of the politics and pleasures of queer life in one of the world’s most fascinating cities.

Shooting up : a short history of drugs and war / Łukasz Kamienski.

Shooting Up: A Short History of Drugs and War examines how intoxicants have been put to the service of states, empires and their armies throughout history. Since the beginning of organized combat, armed forces have prescribed drugs to their members for two general purposes: to enhance performance during combat and to counter the trauma of killing and witnessing violence after it is over. Stimulants (e.g. alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines) have been used to temporarily create better soldiers by that improving stamina, overcoming sleeplessness, eliminating fatigue, and increasing fighting spirit. Downers (e.g. alcohol, opiates, morphine, heroin, marijuana, barbiturates) have also been useful in dealing with the soldier's greatest enemy - shattered nerves.

Daughters of Africa : an international anthology of words and writings by women of African descent from the ancient Egyptian to the present / edited and with an introduction by Margaret Busby.

An Anthology of writings from the Ancient Queen Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba to popular contemporary authors. It brings together women from across the globe, and besides translations from African languages it includes work originally written in Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Margaret Busby is a leading figure in Black and literary cultural forums in Britain. She spoke at the launch for the Rights for Women season at the University of London, Senate House Library exhibition and is also featured in the exhibition and artwork promoting it.

What heaven looks like : comments on a strange wordless book / by James Elkins.

It's the 18th century, there is a a log from the woodpile, stood on end and an artist. The result is a manuscript in a plain brown binding, whose entire contents, beyond a cryptic title page, are fifty-two small, round watercolor paintings based on the visions she saw in the ends of firewood logs. This book reproduces the entire sequence of paintings in full color, together with a meditative commentary by the art historian James Elkins.

The afterlife of John F. Kennedy : a biography / Michael J. Hogan.

Over fifty years since his assassination, President Kennedy’s memory still burns brightly in the United States. Despite his presidency undergoing thorough revisionism since the seventies and the failings of his private life exposed, Kennedy still has a higher approval rating than any of the presidents who succeeded him, and remains nearly as popular as he was during his presidency. In the Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Michael J Hogan explores the story of Kennedy the icon, from its origins in the image that Kennedy created for himself in the White House as representative of all the American virtues, through his murder that turned him into a sacrificial hero. And then how Jackie Kennedy deeply embedded him within American memory as the stuff of legend, through a series of memoralizations, such as the funeral with all its symbolism and a series of monuments, representing his commitment to the arts, liberty, and peace etc. She also sought to control how he was written about, and to suppress the less favorable aspects of chis character. Hogan concludes that that Jackie Kennedy’s efforts have been largely successful as the memory of President Kennedy and what he stood for is still very influential in American politics today. Hogan argues that Kennedy’s popularity is largely due to nostalgia, looking back to a time when America still felt confident and good about itself and its place in the world.

Neuromancer / William Gibson.

Neuromancer, the1984 science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson, is one of the best-known works in the cyberpunk genre. Gibson's debut novel tells the story of a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to pull off the ultimate hack and was the first novel to win the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award.

Women at the wheel : a century of buying, driving, and fixing cars / Katherine J. Parkin.

Where the history of the automobile in America is concerned “women have often been behind the wheel, but when it comes to directing the cultural conversation, men have done the driving”. The car has served as a vehicle for masculinity. Everything about the car: Freedom, speed, power has been understood from the male perspective. Women however have been understood as fundamentally incompetent drivers, a frequent source of humour in modern culture. In this new study, Katherine J Parkin shows that women have always bought, driven and repaired cars and were expected to do so, just not be very good at it. She explores the social implications of the stereotypes and how car culture has contributed to the polarisation of gender roles and discrimination and continues to do so. Women primarily used the car as part of their domestic duties as wife and mother, when a man was present they were expected to take the passenger seat. Advertisers also made assumptions about buyers based on genders. Whilst even into the twenty first century car salesrooms have remained hostile environments for female purchasers. The author concludes that the broader American society and car culture still persists in being patriarchal. Although women have the agency and power to command, purchase and repair their own vehicles, men’s social and cultural control of cars still challenges the expectation that women have had the same experience behind the wheel and have the same right to be there.

Hacker, hoaxer, whistleblower, spy : the many faces of Anonymous / Gabriella Coleman.

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy is filled with insights into the meaning of digital activism and little understood facets of culture in the Internet age, including the history of "trolling," the ethics and metaphysics of hacking, and the origins and manifold meanings of "the lulz."The narrative brims with details unearthed from within a notoriously mysterious subculture, whose semi-legendary tricksters - such as Topiary, tflow, Anachaos, and Sabu - emerge as complex, diverse, politically and culturally sophisticated people.

Victorians undone : tales of the flesh in the age of decorum / Kathryn Hughes.

Why did the great philosophical novelist George Eliot feel so self-conscious that her right hand was larger than her left? Exactly what made Darwin grow that iconic beard in 1862, a good five years after his contemporaries had all retired their razors? How did a working-class child called Fanny Adams disintegrate into pieces in 1867 before being reassembled into a popular joke, one we still reference today, but would stop, appalled, if we knew its origins? Kathryn Hughes follows a thickened index finger or deep baritone voice into the realms of social history, medical discourse, aesthetic practice and religious observance – its language is one of admiring glances, cruel sniggers, an implacably turned back.

Swell : a waterbiography / Jenny Landreth.

These days, swimming may seem like the most egalitarian of pastimes, open to anyone with a swimsuit - but this wasn't always the case. In the 19th century, swimming was exclusively the domain of men, and access to pools was a luxury limited by class. Women were (barely) allowed to swim in the sea, as long as no men were around, but even into the 20th century they could be arrested and fined if they dared dive into a lake. It wasn't until the 1930s that women were finally, and reluctantly, granted equal access. This is the story of the women who made that possible, a thank-you to the fearless 'swimming suffragettes' who took on the status quo, fought for equal access, and won. Interspersed with the text are the author's own recollections of becoming a "keen swimmer".

Dangerous visions / edited by Harlan Ellison.

Dangerous Visions is regarded as a path-breaking collection and harbinger of the New Wave science fiction movement of 1960s and 1970s. First published in 1967 is brings together science fiction stories by over 30 authors, many of whom had already won or would win a Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, or BSFA award.

Blindness and writing : from Wordsworth to Gissing / Heather Tilley.

Heather Tilley looks at blindness and the shift both the experience of blindness and its conceptualisation underwent in the 19th century, when new technologies had a transformative effect on literary culture and enabled opened new possibilities for the visually-impaired to shape their identities through textual means.

Walking Virginia Woolf's London : an investigation in literary geography / Lisbeth Larsson.

This innovative volume employs theoretical tools from the field of literary geography to explore Virginia Woolf’s writing and the ways in which she constructs her human subjects. It follows the routes of characters from The Voyage, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and more as they walk around London, demonstrating how Woolf constructs the characters in her stories in a very politically conscious way. As Larsson argues, none of Woolf’s characters are able to walk just anywhere, at any time in history, or at any time of the day. Time, place, gender, and class form the conditions of life that the characters must accept or challenge.

Babel-17 / Samuel R. Delany

The 1966 winner of the Nebula Award. Delany's influence on the science fiction genre has been profound and he remains one of science fiction's most important and discussed writers.

Queer Shakespeare : desire and sexuality / edited by Goran Stanivukovic.

Queer Shakespeare brings together some of the most prominent critics working at the intersection of Shakespeare criticism and queer theory, demonstrating the vibrancy of queer Shakespeare studies. Works from Shakespeare's entire canon feature in essays which explore topics like glass, love, antitheatrical homophobia, size, narrative, sound, female same-sex desire and Petrarchism, weather, usury and sodomy, male femininity and male-to-female crossdressing, contagion, and antisocial procreation.

Stitching the world : embroidered maps and women's geographical education / Judith A. Tyner.

From the late eighteenth century until about 1840, schoolgirls in the British Isles and the United States created embroidered map samplers and even silk globes. Hundreds of British maps were made and although American examples are more rare, they form a significant collection of artifacts. Descriptions of these samplers stated that they were designed to teach needlework and geography. The focus of this book is not on stitches and techniques used in 'drafting' the maps, but rather why they were developed, how they diffused from the British Isles to the United States, and why they were made for such a brief time. There has been little serious study of these maps by cartographers and, moreover, historians of cartography have largely neglected the role of women in mapping. Children's maps have not been studied, although they might have much to offer about geographical teaching and perceptions of a period, and map samplers have been dismissed because they are the work of schoolgirls. Needlework historians, likewise, have not done in depth studies of map samplers until recently. Stitching the World is an interdisciplinary work drawing on cartography, needlework, and material culture.

The origins of the literary vampire / Heide Crawford.

When thinking about literary vampires, Bram Stoker's Dracula immediately comes to mind. However, this was by no means the first time vampires appeared in literature. Crawford traces the origins of the literary vampire, which don't lie in British or French literature (often the focal point of research on the topic), but in 18th century German literature. Here the vampire makes the crucial transition from the vampire as a folkloric monster to literary figure in poems of the 18th and early 19th centuries for an audience that had become increasingly interested in superstition and occult phenomena in an Age of Enlightenment.

Empire of tea : the Asian leaf that conquered the world / Markman Ellis, Richard Coulton, Matthew Mauger.

Tea is the most popular drink in the world after water, yet tea is so much more than a drink. In this new history, the story of tea is explored through its impact on diplomacy, economics, the politics of empire, and society and culture. As one of the world’s first truly global commodities, it inaugurated a regular commercial and cultural exchange between Britain and China. As a valuable commodity for taxation , tea was increasingly smuggled in the eighteenth century. The tea trade was also inextricably bound up with empire, and stirred up political controversies such as the Boston Tea Party and First Opium war with China. Other chapters explore the botany, and medicinal properties of tea, and its impact in social settings . In the eighteenth century serving tea was understood to be an important social occasion and was associated with polite behaviour, and inspired poetry and art. By the Victorian age, tea had become everyone’s drink all of the time. The final two chapters explore how tea has evolved to suit the modern world, with the introduction of convenient tea in the form of tea bags, and the increasing range and flavours available’.

Beyond Windrush : rethinking postwar Anglophone Caribbean literature / Edited by J. Dillon Brown and Leah Reade Rosenberg.

Beyond Windrush stands out as the first book to re-examine and redefine the writing of a crucial era. Its fourteen original essays make clear that in the 1950s there was already a wide spectrum of West Indian men and women―Afro-Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, and white-creole―who were writing, publishing, and even painting. Many lived in the Caribbean and North America, rather than London. Moreover, these writers addressed subjects overlooked in the more conventionally conceived canon, including topics such as queer sexuality and the environment.

Hollywood and the Holocaust / Henry Gonshak.

Gonshak examines how the Holocaust has been portraited by Hollywood using examples ranging from contemporyary ones such as Chaplin's The Great Dictator to recent productions like Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. How have they shaped perceptions? And how does Hollywood's commercialism sit with this difficult subject matter?

Building the urban environment : visions of the organic city in the United States, Europe, and Latin America / Harold L. Platt.

is book is a comparative study of the contestation among planners, policymakers, and the grassroots over the production and meaning of urban space. Award-winning historian Harold Platt presents case studies of seven cities, including Rotterdam, Chicago, and Sao Paulo, to show how, over time, urban life created hybrid spaces that transformed people, culture, and their environments.

The archival turn in feminism : outrage in order / Kate Eichhorn.

Kate Eichhorn shows why young feminist activists, cultural producers, and scholars embraced the archive, and how they used it to stage political alliances across eras and generations. The author profiles the archivists who have assembled significant feminist collections, such as The Riot Grrrl Collection at New York University, and the Barnard Zine Library.

Trees, woods and forests : a social and cultural history / Charles Watkins.

Forests and the trees within them have always been a central resource for the development of technology, culture, and the expansion of humans as a species. Examining and challenging our historical and modern attitudes toward wooded environments, this engaging book explores how our understanding of forests has transformed in recent years and how it fits in our continuing anxiety about our impact on the natural world.

The curious world of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn / Margaret Willes.

One of the most well known figures from the Restoration period is the diarist Samuel Pepys, whose lively account of London life in the 1660s is a rich source of entertainment, besides providing first hand accounts of dramatic events such as the plague year of 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 when he took the news of the conflagration to the king, and later was forced to take the extreme measure of burying his treasured parmesan in a hole in the garden. Another celebrated diarist from the same period is John Evelyn. Less well known than the ebullient Pepys, Evelyn was nevertheless a significant figure in the cultural life of the late seventeenth century. He was a co founder of the Royal Society and took in a keen interest in horticulture and garden design. Although the two men were of different backgrounds and temperaments, Evelyn a member of the minor gentry and devout aesthete, Pepys, an MP and administrator of the Navy Board who enjoyed life’s pleasures and temptations to the full, the two men were friends. As this new book shows, their friendship thrived as both were drawn to intellectual pursuits and had several interest in common such as science, travel and a love of books. Set in the context of the tumultuous events of the seventeenth century, the author explores the relationship between the two men as they reacted to the world around them. The author examines their lives at home and abroad as they moved in colourful social circles, and the interests they shared as well as their divergent enthusiasms, Pepys’ for the theatre and music, and Evelyn for gardening. Through the lives of the two men, the author paints a vivid picture of life in Restoration London.

Poems : book one of Our Trakl / Georg Trakl ; translated by James Reidel.

Trakl, one of my favourites! This is a new translation of his first volume of poems (published in 1913 as "Gedichte"). It keeps true to the order Trakl intended them to be read. His second poetry collection, "Sebastian im Traum", was published posthumously two years later: traumatised by his experiences as a medic in World War I, Trakl attempted suicide and was admitted to a military hospital in Krakow, where he died of a cocaine overdose in early November 1914.

Martin Luther : rebel in an age of upheaval / Heinz Schilling ; translated by Rona Johnston.

A new biography of the former monk who 500 years ago turned Christianity on its head. The author explains that previous biographers of Luther have always been inclined to see Luther as a hero of their own times: in 1617 he was Luther the warrior, defender of Protestants against Catholic infiltration at the start of the thirty years war. In the Enlightenment he was a more peaceful and open minded figure, and at the beginning of the twentieth century, he was Luther the nationalist to the Germans, reflective of their ‘religious’ profundity who would protect them against the decadence of the West. However none of these Luther’s reflects the real historical figure. Schiller writes that his own biography is not another attempt to make him a hero of the modern age, but to explain him as an individual in the context of his own time, a man whose thoughts and actions are actually out of kilter with later generations, however many times they have interpreted otherwise.

Rise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars / Nathalia Holt.

The Rise of The Rocket Girls tells the stories of a pioneering group of elite young women who were instrumental in launching the American space programme. Initially employed for their mathematical prowess during World War II to assist with the development of rocket design and ballistic missiles, they subsequently became part of NASA and worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars and beyond. They became the first computer programmers and engineers and in so doing charted a course not only for space exploration, but for the future opportunities of female scientists.

The cry of the renegade : politics and poetry in interwar Chile / Raymond B. Craib.

This book is about José Domingo Gómez Rojas, a 24 year old university student and acclaimed poet, who after two months in police custody, died in Santiago's asylum. This micro-history recovers the context within which Gómez Rojas's arrest, imprisonment, and death unfolded and the experiences of men he counted as friends, comrades, colleagues, mentors, and pupils.

The TLS historical archive, 1902-2012

Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive, 1902-2012 is a fully searchable resource that contains the complete run of the 'Times Literary Supplement' (TLS) from its inception in 1902 to 2012. The 'TLS Historical Archive' includes over 300,000 reviews, letters, poems, articles and criticism by and about a wealth of influential writers and critics. One of the key added benefits of searching the 'TLS Historical Archive' online is the revelation of the identities of pre-1974 reviewers and critics who, to foster open discussion, were anonymised at the time of original publication.

Beastly morality : animals as ethical agents / edited by Jonathan K. Crane.

Non-human animals have feelings too. Drawing not only on ethics and religion but also on law, sociology, and cognitive science, the essays in this collection test long-held certainties about moral boundaries and behaviors and prove that nonhuman animals possess complex reasoning capacities, sophisticated empathic sociality, and dynamic and enduring self-conceptions.

Enlightened princesses : Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the shaping of the modern world / edited by Joanna Marschner ; with the assistance of David Bindman and Lisa L. Ford

Enlightened princesses highlights the cultural impact on Britain and the wider world of 3 women of the Hanoverian dynasty: Caroline of Anspach, wife of George II, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha and Charlotte of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz, mother and wife of George III respectively. Written to accompany an exhibition to be held at Kensington Palace from June to November 2017, the book examines the contribution of the three princesses in many different areas of British society and culture, from development and promotion of the arts, the natural world, and the advancement of science and trade. The princesses’ keen pursuit of various charitable initiatives transformed the role of the monarchy into ‘the nation’s moral conscience and heart’ and paved the way for the modern monarchy.

A companion to first ladies / edited by Katherine A. S. Sibley.

The study of presidential first ladies is a perennially popular topic in the United States. The role of first lady is constantly changing. This volume is a comprehensive scholarly historiographical survey of all the first ladies from Martha Washington through to Michelle Obama. It considers the role of these women as presidential wives, political partners, social crusaders, celebrities and sources of controversy and assesses their impact on elections, presidential policies, social causes and their significance in shaping their husbands’ legacies.

The semiotics of Emoji / Marcel Danesi.

The Semiotics of Emoji looks at what is officially the world's fastest-growing form of communication. Emoji seems to be a language: but is it? The rapid adoption of emoji in such a short span of time makes it a rich study in exploring the functions of language. Can Emoji replace language? Will people grow up emoji literate as well as digitally native? Can there be such a thing as a Universal Visual Language?

Inside the Clinton White House : an oral history / Russell L. Riley.

Bill Clinton is both one of the most iconic and divisive figures in American politics of the last 30 years. Inside the Clinton White House is an oral history of the Clinton presidency from the people on the inside. Bringing together material from 400 hours of interviews with more than 60 former Clinton officials, it offers an intimate insight into the workings of the 42nd presidency from his potential bid for the White House in 1988 to its final days. The book is divided into 5 parts covering his road to the White House; his domestic and economic policy, including health care and welfare reforms; Foreign policy, including chapters on Northern Ireland and the Balkans ; Politics and the White House, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the move to impeach the president ; and the president and his team, which considers several important people in the administration such as Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, and of course Hillary Clinton.

Alice in a world of wonderlands : the translations of Lewis Carroll's masterpiece / general editor, Jon A. Lindseth, technical editor, Alan Tannenbaum.

This 3-volume publication was compiled in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice's publication. The first volume contains essays, both generally relating to Alice and specifically to the translations. The second features re-translations into English from various translations of the same part of chapter VIII ("A Mad Tea-Party"), allowing one to read and compare how translators went about dealing with Lewis Carroll's nonsense, homophones, and twists of meaning. Finally, the third volume lists over 9,000 editions and reprints of Alice and the sequel Through the Looking-Glass in 174 languages.

Blitzed : drugs in Nazi Germany / Norman Ohler ; translated by Shaun Whiteside.

This is the story of how drug taking was rife in the Third Reich. From housewives and factory workers to the army, and even Hitler himself. Everyone was on something whether it was the lethal cocktail of stimulants administered to Hitler and his entourage; cocaine, heroin, morphine or the most commonly used of all, crystal meth. Ohler examines the impact of this extensive drug use on the events of World War Two. Initially the drugs contributed to Germany’s success as crystal meth was crucial to German troops’ resilience and consequently victory in 1940, but as the war turned against Germany the drugs administered at the highest level resulted in impaired and confused decision making. Ohler shows that whilst drugs on their own cannot explain the events of world war two, they are crucial to understanding of it.

Jane Eyre : manuscript / Charlotte Bronte

This is the first publication of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 manuscript of Jane Eyre. The facsimiles of Brontë's writing are accompanied by Edmund Garrett's etchings from an edition published in 1897.

The invention of Angela Carter : [a biography] / Edmund Gordon.

This book, selected as a Book of the Year 2016 in The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Spectator and Observer, tells the story of how Angela Carter invented herself, uncovering a life rich in incident and adventure. Edmund Gordon’s illuminating biography about one of English literature’s most inventive writer, was read on BBC’s Radio 4 Book of the week.

Alejo Carpentier and the musical text / Katia Chornik.

The Swiss-born Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier incorporated music in his fiction extensively, for instance in titles, in analogies with musical forms, in scenes depicting performances, recordings and broadcasts, and in characters discussions of musical issues.

Radical Americas journal

A brand new open access journal that "explores the historical, political and social contexts that have underpinned radicalism in the Americas, engaging fully with the cross-currents of activism which connect North, Central and South America along with the Caribbean." Senate House Library is currently showing an exhibition on radicalism: Radical Voices. Join us for a free exhibition and series of events running from 16 January through March 2017!

Goethe's families of the heart / Susan E. Gustafson.

Focusing on the “elective affinities” characters in Goethe’s work chose, rather than the often failed relationships with their biological family, Gustafson uncovers an, even from today’s perspective, radical Goethe, who defines love, rather than gender, lineage or economic or political advantages, as the fundamental essence of what holds a family together and allows the formation of strong and supportive families; thus giving equal validity to any form a family can take, may it be the “traditional” family, elective “families of the heart and soul” or anything in between and beyond. Society still struggles with the very same issues, which highlights how relevant Goethe’s ideas and observations still are.

The painted book in Renaissance Italy : 1450-1600 / Jonathan J.G. Alexander.

Although this is a history of Italian book illumination, the author places the art in the context of the Renaissance as a whole and explains how it connects to other media of the Renaissance such as painting, sculpture, and architecture, and also to the patrons of those media. The books is full of beautiful, vivid illustrations from manuscripts, so it is a feast for the eyes as well as “essential reading for all scholars and students of Renaissance art”.

Broken idols of the English reformation / Margaret Aston.

Broken idols of the Reformation is account of the iconoclasm which took place during the Reformation. Margaret Aston explores the motivations of those who destroyed religious artifacts, and shows that that it was part of a ‘religious revolution’ designed to change people as well as buildings, and not only did it transform ways of worship but of seeing, hearing and remembering.

UK Parliamentary papers

Long-time useful database and home of primary government documents, House of Commons Parliamentary Papers has been updated and now goes by U.K. Parliamentary Papers. As before, the resource contains Parliamentary papers from the eighteen to the twenty-first centuries, as well as Hansard debates. Proquest’s libguides on the resource are especially helpful when first using UKPP, with guidance on searching, search syntax, and bookmarking.

Michelle Obama : First Lady, American rhetor / edited by Elizabeth J. Natalle and Jenni M. Simon.

This book on the outgoing First Lady is not a conventional biography in the traditions of first lady research. Instead it is an edited anthology that examines Michelle Obama’s rhetoric from an interdisciplinary point of view. Essays consider her brand as first lady, her addresses to the Democratic National Convention, her ethos, her speaking tour of Africa, her role encouraging young people to participate in community labor, and an analysis of her tribute to Maya Angelou as a contribution to Black feminist intellectualism. The book shows Michelle Obama as a very modern woman, who has influenced America at the intersections of gender, race and class.

Meetings with remarkable manuscripts / Christopher de Hamel.

The Sunday Times History Book of the Year! I first became interested when I saw it reviewed for the Sunday Times. The language of the dust jacket makes it sound different and very modern in its approach. Encountering an important illuminated manuscript is compared to meeting a famous person, and the reader is invited into an intimate conversation with them. There are 12 manuscripts altogether under discussion, including the Book of Kells and a manuscript of the Canterbury Tales. This is their biography. What has been their journey to the present? What have they meant as objects at various times? Who owned them? The book is not just about manuscripts but history, religion, art, literature, music, science and the history of taste.

Emblematik der Zukunft : Poetik und Geschichte literarischer Utopien von Thomas Morus bis Robert Musil / Wilhelm Vosskamp.

Matching the theme of Senate House Library's current exhibition "Utopia and Dystopia" (still running until 17th December!), this publication explores the history of the literary utopia and the reflections utopias allow on the social and cultural circumstances of their time. Starting with Thomas More in the 15th century Vosskamp examines utopian writings all the way to the 20th century.

Confessions / Jaume Cabré ; translated from the Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem.

Cabré's epic novel interweaves several story lines, linked together by a priceless violin: from the planting of the tree it will eventually be made of, to the profound consequences it has on the life of its most recent owner. It is him, Adrià Ardevol, from who's perspective the violin's dark and violent history is told. I was instantly captivated by the story and couldn't put it down. It's one of these novels whose end, despite it's nearly 800 pages, comes far too soon...

Henry the young king, 1155-1183 / Matthew Strickland.

This English king was regarded as “one of the most charismatic and celebrated chivalric figures of later twelfth century Europe”. No not Richard the Lionheart, his elder brother, Henry the Young King, the eldest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Crowned king aged 15 as co-ruler alongside his father to ensure the succession, he is an all but forgotten figure now, not counted amongst the list of English monarchs as he never ruled in his own right, and eclipsed by the deeds of his brothers Richard I and John. But in his own lifetime Henry was a very significant figure indeed, an international figure of renown through his participation on the tournament circuit, and at the heart of the dramatic events of Angevin rule and family politics, whether joining his mother and brothers in rebelling against his father, or fighting his brother Richard for control of Aquitaine. His coronation lead to one of the most controversial events of the reign, when Becket excommunicated the bishops who participated in the ceremony as they had usurped his rights, and provoked Henry II into the loss of temper that resulted in Becket’s murder. The Young King’s death at the age of 28, predeceasing his father, provoked yet more family conflict as his surviving brothers squabbled over the succession to the crown and other Angevin lands, which was the inspiration for the Oscar winning film The Lion in Winter starring Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins. Like Prince Arthur, the brother of Henry VIII and Prince Henry, the brother of Charles I, the story of the Young King is another of those What If moments in English history.

Further adventures of The dialectic of sex : critical essays on Shulamith Firestone / edited by Mandy Merck and Stella Sandford.

The image of the Senate House revolving door portrayed by the media artist Ron Hagell,“The sexes in revolution at Senate House”, seems to offer a ride into the most radical of feminist manifestos. “Calling for the liberation of women and children through the abolition of the nuclear family and the end of pregnancy itself…” this is a prescient study on the unresolved question of gender dichotomy, and the subordination of women and homosexuals. Who would have thought that the Firestone’s work is 40 years old?

The Ulysses delusion : rethinking standards of literary merit / Cecilia Konchar Farr.

What is a "good" book? And why is this question answered so differently by literary professionals on the one hand and readers on the other? I found Konchar Farr's exploration of these questions, the gendered history of the novel in the US one gets on the way, and her call for a more balanced look at novels a very interesting read. It certainly confirmed my reasoning for having had such a hit and miss experience of finding "good" books through either literary reviews or bestseller lists: my sweet spot between the two rarely shows up on either.

All things made new : writings on the Reformation / Diarmaid MacCulloch.

Next year will see the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses which provided the starting point for The Reformation. In this new book, Diarmaid MacCulloch, whose book the History of Christianity was adapted into a BBC tv series, discusses the Reformation in Britain in a series of essays on topics such as writings on angels, The King James Bible, Forging Reformation history, and the roles of Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer.

Shakespeare and me : great writers, actors and directors on what the bard means to them - and us / edited by Susannah Carson ; foreword by Harold Bloom.

A great read on how Shakespeare’s works are seen and influenced by actors, directors and writers on Shakespeare. From James Earl Jones the American actor who reminisces on hearing the first recital of Shakespeare, to his part in playing in several Shakespeare plays, to Sir Ben Kingsley actor and Honorary Associate Artist of the RSC, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Patrick Stewart amongst others.

Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America / Ibram X. Kendi.

In this lucid analysis of the anti-black racist ideas, Ibram X. Kend delivers a collection of statistics and historical chronicles. A powerful narrative which also explains the cultural background behind latest Afro-American murders in the United States. The title comes from a speech held in the US Senate in 1860 by Senator Jefferson Davis who was intensely objecting a bill funding black education declaring that the “inequality of the white and black race” was “stamped from the beginning.”

The divorce of King Lothar and Queen Theutberga : Hincmar of Rheim's De divortio / translated and annotated by Rachel Stone and Charles West.

700 years before Henry VIII endeavoured to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Europe was scandalised by the long running saga of King Lothar II of Lotharingia’s attempt to divorce his queen Theutberga in order to marry the mother of his children. As with Henry VIII, Lothar’s plight attracted attention and opposition from rival kings, foreign bishops and the pope, and "helped durably shape European politics and culture" (book description). De Divortio is a contemporary witness account of the story by a major participant, Archbishop Hincmar of Rheims, and provides an insight into Medieval attitudes towards a whole range of issues political, religious and esoteric, including kingship, gender, magic, and bishops.

Eighteenth century drama : censorship, society and the stage.

The University of London Senate House Library is currently one of six participating libraries to this database. The database is “an interdisciplinary resource rich in material for researchers in, not only theatre and drama, but literature, history, politics, music, censorship, gender, romanticism and the long eighteenth century. It reflects the politics of the time, the role of women, views on race and religion, opinions on empire and European and British history.

Colour : the art & science of illuminated manuscripts / edited by Stella Panayotova ; with the assistance of Deirdre Jackson & Paola Ricciardi.

Catalogues of exhibitions of illuminated manuscripts are some of my favourite items to catalogue. The colours are so vibrant, even in a book. This is a catalogue of an exhibition held at the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, the focus of which is on colour, and includes sections on The Trade in Colours, Pigment recipes and model books, Colour theory and Colour and meaning.

Agatha : the real life of Agatha Christie / Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau, Alexandre Franc.

This is a welcome addition to the collection Senate House Library hold on Agatha Christie. It is a graphic novel biography of her life. “It traces the life of the Queen of Whodunnit from her childhood in Torquay, England trough a career filled with success, to her later years as Dame Agatha”. As a fan of Agatha’s televised novels, I am yet to read about her life. I have started reading a few pages of this memoir and am already intrigued.

England's immigrants : 1330-1550

With the recent coverage of immigrants into Europe, this database is specific to the United Kingdom’s historical immigration process.

Artemis Primary Sources

The combination of different subject matter in this document will be of interest to Graduate researchers and faculty staff. It provides an interactive research environment that allows researchers to cross-search, Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) and our newspaper archives

Marvel and artefact : the 'Wonders of the East' in its manuscript contexts / By A.J. Ford.

Former Senate House Library English librarian Dr A.J. Ford examines three surviving medieval manuscript versions of the ‘Wonders of the East’ text, a fabulist and fabulous narrative that describes the many marvels and prodigies to be encountered outside Europe, including dragons, phoenixes, bearded women, and ants the size of dogs. Dr Ford has adapted his PhD thesis for this 2015 Brill edition.