The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


From PICADOR we have Ralph Pite's Thomas Hardy: The Guarded Life ([pounds sterling]8.99) which was praised in this journal for its attempt to go behind the 'public Hardy', which the author so carefully constructed, to reach the man behind the constructed persona. In a slightly lighter vein we have Simon Winder's The Man Who Saved Britain ([pounds sterling]8.99) which uses the James Bond books as a means to look at the interplay between fiction and real life in post-war Britain.

LONGMAN has brought out three new volumes in its Annotated English Poets series. First there is a revised version of the 1997 second edition of John Milton: Complete Shorter Poems ([pounds sterling]19.99) edited by Prof. John Carey and first published in 1968. This contains all of Milton's poems in English, excluding Paradise Lost, as well as his translations from the Latin, Greek and Italian. Readers seeking Milton's magnum opus can turn to the second new release from Longman, another revised version of a 1997 second edition, John Milton: Paradise Lost ([pounds sterling]19.99) edited by Prof. Alastair Fowler. A third revised edition is Tennyson: A Selected Edition ([pounds sterling]19.99) edited by Prof. Christopher Ricks which is based on the second edition published in 1989. This new edition contains Tennyson's long poems--The Princess, Idylls of the King, In Memoriam and Maud--as well as those shorter verses for which he is remembered, e.g. Morte d'Arthur, The Lady of Shalott and Ulysses. As with the other volumes, this edition has all the head and footnotes contained in the earlier, hardback edition. Finally from Longman we have a second edition of Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads ([pounds sterling]12.99) edited by the late Prof. Michael Mason and issued as part of the Longman Annotated Texts series. This new edition has the complete list of contents from the 1805 edition, the famous Preface from the 1800 edition, a new preface by Prof John Mullan and a new appendix by Prof Daniel Karlin in which he examines Wordsworth's textual revisions and their significance for the poet's development. These four volumes are well presented and attractively arranged.

TAURIS PARKE PAPERBACKS have resuscitated the late Lady Longford's A Pilgrimage of Passion: The Life of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt ([pounds sterling]11.99) which was first published in 1979. After twenty-eight years it remains the definitive biography of this exotic poet, writer and political activist. Tauris Parke has also republished Michael Nelson's Queen Victoria and the Discovery of the Riviera ([pounds sterling]11.99), a well researched and equally well written study which describes the impact Queen Victoria's visits to the French Riviera had on the history of tourism to Europe. Two other travel books from Tauris Parke are Michael Carroll's From a Persian Tea House: Travels in Old Iran ([pounds sterling]9.99) first published in 1960 and Matthew Stevenson's more recent, Letters of Transit: Adventures and Encounters from America to the Pacific Isles ([pounds sterling]10.99), first published in the US.

From YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS we have Arthur H. Cash's John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty ([pounds sterling]14.99) whose hardback publication was commended in this journal as 'scholarly and subtle' and John Lukacs' June 1941: Hitler and Stalin ([pounds sterling]9.99) which looks again at the days leading up to Germany's invasion of Russia; Prof. Peter Hennessy's Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties ([pounds sterling]9.99) has been brought out in paperback by PENGUIN BOOKS. His study, which won this year's Orwell Prize for Political Writing, combines social and political histories of the decade that gave us a new Queen, a major political crisis and Harold Macmillan. Also from Penguin we have David Mattingly's An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire ([pounds sterling]12.99) which takes a new look at the Roman occupation of Britain, and Sir Winston Churchill's The World Crisis 1911-1918 ([pounds sterling]16.

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