The World of Paperbacks. (Reviews)

Contemporary Review, October 2002 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks. (Reviews)


VINTAGE has recently published four new titles in its Vintage Lives' series. The first is James McCue's 1997 abridgement of Conor Cruise O'Brien's 1992 'thematic biography', Edmund Burke ([pounds sterling]7.99), a biographical study of Britain's -- and Ireland's -- greatest political philosopher. The second new title is V. S. Pritchett's Balzac ([pounds sterling]7.99), first published in 1973. The third title is Virginia Woolf's Flash, her delightful 'biography' of Elizabeth Browning's cocker-spaniel, first published in 1933. This edition has an introduction by Margaret Forster and an Addendum by Margaret Reynolds. The fourth new release is Anthony Burgess' Shakespeare ([pounds sterling]8.99), the novelist's 1970 look at the dramatist's life and works. Another, new biography, but not in the Vintage Lives' series, is Sue Roe's Gwen John: A Life ([pounds sterling]8.99), the book which rescued Augustus John's sister from his shadow. Two non-fiction titles recently published are Laurie Lee's famous and heart-warm ing autobiography, Cider with Rosie ([pounds sterling]6.99) and Dee Brown's Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: Railroads in the West ([pounds sterling]7.99). Brown has something of a cult status in American literary circles and in this 1977 title he looked at the role of the railways in opening up the American west in the nineteenth century. In fiction Vintage has published two of Ivan Klima's most famous novels: Judge on Trial ([pounds sterling]7.99) and Love and Garbage ([pounds sterling]6.99), both first published in Prague in 1986. A final new release is Graham Harvey's The Forgiveness.. of Nature: The Story of Grass ([pounds sterling]7.99), a committed history of British agriculture as seen in the management of her grasslands.

New paperbacks from ROUTLEDGE cover a wide range of topics. The first is Pat Southern's Augustus ([pounds sterling]l4.99) which was published in hardback in 1998. She concentrates on the legal and political aspects of Augustus' role in transforming the Roman Republic into an Empire, two important aspects of life when one remembers that Augustus had the rare honour of dying in bed. Another new release dealing with the Roman Empire is Andrew Dalby's Empire of Pleasures: Luxury and Indulgence in the Roman World ([pounds sterling]l2.99). His aim is to show 'how the Roman Empire seemed and felt to the averagely informed reader of Roman literature'. He both educates and entertains. Routledge has also brought out a paperback edition of Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture ([pound sterling]15.99), edited by Sandra Joshel and Sheila Murnaghan. This collection has an introduction and thirteen essays examining, from a suitably politically correct position, various aspects of the role and place of slaves and women in ancient Greece and Rome. As part of its Genres in Context series, Routledge has republished as a paperback Catherine Parke's Biography: Writing Lives ([pound sterling]l2.99). This traces the history of biographical writing and analyses the very nature of biography whilst concentrating on major and minor biographies and biographers. Staying within literary titles we have a new edition of The English Renaissance: An Anthology of Sources and Documents ([pound sterling]17.99), edited by Kate Aughterson, first published in 1998. This valuable collection of documents relating to the English 'renaissance' between 1550 and 1660 covers all aspects of life in England and remains an invaluable tool for students of the period. …

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