New and Noteworthy. (Reviews)

Contemporary Review, July 2002 | Go to article overview

New and Noteworthy. (Reviews)


CASSELL & CO. has brought out a new edition of Sir Winston Churchill's The Great Republic: A History of America at [pounds sterling]20.00. This book was compiled from those sections of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples which related to the U.S. and which appeared in the 1950s. This present edition, by Churchill's grandson, Winston S. Churchill, also includes a valuable introduction and, in the second part, a large selection of articles, broadcasts and speeches by Sir Winston which relate to America and her history.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS continues its series, The Short Oxford History of the British Isles, with The Eighteenth Century ([pounds sterling]35.00) edited by Paul Langford. This survey of the 'long' eighteenth century begins with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and concludes with the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. The editor provides a substantial introduction which is as concerned with the historiography of the period as with the period itself. The six essays that follow look at various aspects of these 127 years: politics, religion, the governing class, local government, agriculture, population growth, the economy, the 'culture of improvement' and, finally, the importance of war and the empire. The editor concludes with a short epilogue in which he rightly argues that much of what we regard as distinctly 'Victorian' had its roots in the latter eighteenth century. The differences were more of 'scale' than of 'substance'. This is a refreshing collection of essays that will help both the undergraduate and the older reader anxious to look again at this period in our history.

From CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS we have three more additions to their highly successful 'companion' series. The Cambridge Companion to Newton is part of those collections devoted to famous philosophers and this volume is edited by two American scholars, I. Bernard Cohen and George E. Smith ([pounds sterling]45.00 and US$65.00). The sixteen essays, which are prefaced by an introduction by the editors, look at Newton's works in physics, mathematics, metaphysics and chemistry. There are several essays which examine Newton's eighteenth century background but the aim of the whole is not to examine Newton's contribution to science but to philosophy because 'his Principia gave us a new world-view [which] supplanted not only the Aristotelian world-view, but also that of the so-called "mechanical philosophy" espoused by Descartes and others'. There are also two new Companions on the literary front. The first is The Cambridge Companion to Goethe ([pounds sterling]40.00 and US$60.00) edited by Lesley Sharpe. The fifteen essays in this collection deal with Goethe as a dramatist and poet, with his famous poem, Faust, with his prose fiction and autobiographical writings and with his work with Schiller. There are essays that examine his place in the Germany of his period, his work in Weimar's theatre and his relationship with religion, politics and the visual arts. There is the now standard essay on his relationship to 'gender'. The final new Companion is The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe ([pounds sterling]40.00 and US$60.00) edited by Kevin J. Hayes. The fourteen essays in this collection examine various aspects of the great American poet and writer: his role as critic; his circle; his aesthetic theory and humour; the nature of his 'feminine ideal', his relationship to the Gothic tradition, sensationalism, slavery, science fiction, popular culture and modernism. …

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