The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


We begin this quarter's column with new titles from OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, the first of which is John Blair's The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society ([pounds sterling]19.99), an impressive study of the English church before the Norman Conquest which sheds much new light on its structures and place in society. A second religious topic is The Oxford Bible Commentary ([pounds sterling]25.00) edited by John Barton and John Muddiman. This impressive volume combines general introductions, e.g. to the Old Testament, along with detailed comment on the text from an international collection of scholars. The contributors wisely combine verse-by-verse commentary with paragraph analysis as the texts demand. Two other religious titles recently published in paperback include Stephen J. Shoemaker's Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption ([pounds sterling]25.00), which seeks to clarify the 'tangled mass of traditions' about the Virgin's death and assumption, and Cathy Shrank's Writing the Nation in Reformation England 1530-1580 ([pounds sterling]20.00), a perceptive study of English writing in the immediate aftermath of the break with Rome and its effect on language and national identity as seen through the written word. A final title which can claim religious associations is Tore Janson's fascinating study, A Natural History of Latin ([pounds sterling]8.99), translated and adapted by Merethe Damsgard Sorensen and Nigel Vincent.

Under the CLARENDON PRESS imprint O.U.P. has brought out two more paperback editions of titles in its impressive Clarendon Edition of the works of David Hume, both edited by Prof. T.L. Beauchamp: An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, each costing [pounds sterling]25.00. Each of these 'critical editions' has seen minor errors corrected and there are now marginal references to corresponding page numbers of the Selby-Bigge/Nidditch editions.

FABER AND FABER have brought out a paperback edition of Roger Crowley's Constantinople: The Last Great Siege 1453 ([pounds sterling]8.99), praised in this journal as 'a model of historical writing'.

Among new titles from HARPER PERENNIAL we have Sir Roy Strong's Coronation from the 8th to the 21st Century ([pounds sterling]15.99) a magisterial survey of the development of the Coronation, of its place in this country's history and Christian heritage and of the strands that unite it today to its Anglo-Saxon past. A second title is Heather Pringle's The Master Plan: Himmler's Scholars and the Holocaust ([pounds sterling]7.99) which brilliantly examines the perversion of learning undertaken by the Ahnenerbe to justify Nazism. We also have Alexander Maitland's Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer ([pounds sterling]10.99), which combined personal recollection with detailed research and Max Arthur's Lost Voices of the Edwardians ([pounds sterling]8.99), which uses personal reminiscences and illustrations from the recently recovered Mitchell and Keyon films. Finally we have John Cornwell's Seminary Boy ([pounds sterling]7.99), a touching memoir of working-class Catholic life which avoids the now standard 'poor boy abused by an intolerant church' theme so common in this genre.

I.B. TAURIS has brought back into print the late Bernard Evslin's Gods, Demigods and Demons: A Handbook of Greek Mythology ([pounds sterling]12.99), an alphabetical guide to the exotic and sometimes erotic creations that inhabited Olympus and peopled the myths and legends of Hellenic civilisation.

From TAURIS PARKE PAPERBACKS, an imprint of I.B. Tauris, we have Richard Beeston's Looking for Trouble: The Life and Times of a Foreign Correspondent ([pounds sterling]10.99) that was first published in 1997. Beeston's experience covered some of the greatest conflicts of the last century, from the Belgian Congo to Vietnam.

From PIMLICO we have The Nuremberg Interviews: Conversations with the Defendants and Witnesses ([pounds sterling]14.

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