New and Noteworthy

Contemporary Review, May 2004 | Go to article overview

New and Noteworthy


THAMES & HUDSON have added two new volumes to their highly successful World of Art series. The first is Timothy Hyman's Sienese Painting: The Art of a City-Republic (1278-1477) ([pounds sterling]8.95). To the author, 'no other art has engaged so imaginatively with the experience of moving about in one's own city' as Siena's in the period that began with Duccio and ended with Francesco di Giorgio. The author follows a basically chronological approach which builds up to the Black Death and then shows how the city was revived to reach a new height in artistic achievement. The second, Christopher Allen's French Painting in the Golden Age ([pounds sterling]9.95), seeks to fill a gap in our knowledge of European art history. The seventeenth century was the period of Lorraine and Poussin and of various cultural achievements in France yet French art is seen as secondary to the Dutch school or to the works of Rubens and Rembrandt. To Dr Allen, French art of the seventeenth century 'is both a crucial moment in the story of modern painting and a time from which many lessons can be drawn'. Its influences are still felt today. Both volumes are well written and helped by numerous illustrations, many of which are in colour.

From PALGRAVE MACMILLAN we have The Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of the Cold War ([pounds sterling]14.99 p.b.) by John Swift which seeks to give students 'an affordable visual aid to the geopolitics of the Cold War'. The explanatory texts and maps are designed to give the reader 'the first step on the way to understanding the great issues of the Cold War'. Sadly the maps only use the European system of kilometres which will be of little use to readers in the U.K. The U.S. Palgrave have also reissued two older titles: the first is a revised and updated edition of Leslie Benson's Yugoslavia: A Concise History ([pounds sterling]12.99) in which the author takes account of the break-up of the Serbian dominated nation in the 1990s. The second is J. H. Plumb's The Death of the Past ([pounds sterling]10.00) which was first published in 1969. This new edition has contributions from two of the most famous tele-dons of our time: Simon Schama, who has written a Foreword and Niall Ferguson, who has contributed an introduction in which he shows that Plumb's arguments are as relevant now as they were thirty-five years ago. The distinction between 'the past'--events that preceded us as remembered incorrectly or for an ulterior motive--and 'history' which is both accurate and purposeful.

W. W. NORTON has recently published two new titles in its Critical Edition series: Shakespeare's Macbeth ([pounds sterling]8.99) and Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders ([pounds sterling]9.99). Shakespeare's famous tragedy is here edited by Prof. Robert S. Miola who has taken his text from the First Folio of 1623. Defoe's novel, edited by Prof. Albert J. Rivero, used the first edition of 1722 although the editor has on pages 243-4 corrected the error perpetrated in the second edition by inserting the later passage, 'In this condition ... always take your Advice' instead of that printed in the first edition. (The printer inserted the second without taking out the first which it was meant to replace. …

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