Monday, 20 September 2010

Nets full of books

Some excellent publications reach me today.

The new issue of the London Review of Books (it's not just book reviews, but it is from London).

Geoffrey Trease's Bows Against The Barons: a reprint (can't afford the original) of a 1934 Communist-ish version of the Robin Hood story. I intend to put it up with various aristocratic versions in one of my modules to trace the class tension in this legend.

Alfred Fairbank's A Book of Scripts - a stunning 1955 hardcover illustrated reprint of a book about handwriting and the evolution of scripts. Yes, I know nobody writes anything by hand anymore, but it's still interesting and beautiful. There are all sorts of interesting things about our ascent to literacy: did you know that we still have no firm idea about whether people ever read silently until the 18th century?

Sharon O'Dair's Class, Critics and Shakespeare: Bottom Lines on the Culture Wars. Why did Shakespeare become the property of the toffs?

John Le Carré's new one, Our Kind of Traitor. His Cold War spy novels worked on the basis that you couldn't trust your side or their's, and that morality, loyalty, patriotism and ideology were all mutable and untrustworthy - the end of the Cold War didn't kill this stuff off - he's become more relevant (and even more passionate).

Finally, and mostly to drive my office colleagues out of the room, Stockhausen's Mantra. Does anyone else think he looks like Andrew Marr?

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