The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, June 2005 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


HARPER PERENNIAL has brought out Iain Finlayson's Browning: A Private Life ([pounds sterling]15.00) which was praised in this magazine as a 'well, often beautifully, written' biography with 'a considerable amount of worthwhile original thought'. A second biography is Benjamin Woolley's The Herbalist: Nicholas Culpepper and the Fight for Medical Freedom ([pounds sterling]8.99), the intriguing story of a man who strode the worlds of controversial medicine and politics in the seventeenth century. The final new title is Simon Schama's Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in The Netherlands 1780-1813 ([pounds sterling]12.99) which was first published in 1977. This is a reprint of the revised second edition of 1992.

From YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS we have a paperback edition of Sir Leycester Coltman's The Real Fidel Castro ([pounds sterling]10.99). The author was H.M. Ambassador to Cuba in the early 1990s and uses the term 'real' as the basis for a sympathetic account of the Communist dictator's life and achievements, whatever they may be. As part of its Nota Bene series Yale has also republished: Maurice Keen's Chivalry ([pounds sterling]10.99), first published in 1984, as learned an examination of the subject as when first written, and Prof. Linda Colley's Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 ([pounds sterling]9.99), first published in 1992. This edition has a new Preface by the author.

New titles from PENGUIN BOOKS include the American historian, Robert O. Paxton's, The Anatomy of Fascism ([pounds sterling]8.99) which was praised in this magazine as 'a scholarly work' which warns that Fascism is far from dead. Secondly we have Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety ([pounds sterling]8.99), his essay into how we in 'the west' define our status in society and, finally, William Godwin's 1794 novel, Things as They Are or the Adventures of Caleb Williams ([pounds sterling]8.99), edited and introduced by Maurice Hindle. The Radical philosopher's novel is a study of power and its corruption and sets the wicked landed gentry against the honest working man, Caleb Williams. It is also widely held to be the first detective novel in English.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS has published Malise Ruthven's Fundamentalism: The Search for Meaning ([pounds sterling]8.99), a study written in the wake of the new Mohammedan attacks on our freedom which looks closely at the urge for fundamentalism wherever it is found. The second new title is a biography of another Irish man of letters, the second and concluding volume of R.F. Foster's W.B. Yeats: A Life. II. The Arch-Poet 1915-1939 ([pounds sterling]16,99) which was highly praised on its publication in hardback. From O.U.P.'s large collection of reference works we have A Dictionary of Weather ([pounds sterling]8.99) by the delightfully named Storm Dunlop. The book has over 1800 entries which will help us discuss more accurately our favourite subject. We also have a variety of new titles from the Oxford World's Classics' series. The first five are novels from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: a new edition of Jonathan Swift's famous satire, Gulliver's Travels ([pounds sterling]3.99); Mrs. Henry Wood's 1861 sensationalist novel, East Lynne ([pounds sterling]9.99); and new editions of three of Thomas Hardy's most famous novels, The Return of the Native, The Woodlanders ([pounds sterling]4.99) and Tess of the D'Urbervilles ([pounds sterling]4.99). All have been carefully edited with helpful introductions, notes, reading lists and useful chronologies. The final World's Classic is a new edition of Niccolo Machiavelli's Il Principe ([pounds sterling]3.99). Prof. Peter Bondanella has newly translated and edited the text whilst Prof. …

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