The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, August 2003 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


PIMLICO has recently republished Piers Brendon's Eminent Edwardians: Four Figures who Defined their Age: Northcliffe, Balfour, Pankhurst, Baden-Powell (12.50 [pounds sterling]) which was first published in 1979. Mr. Brendon seeks to illustrate a period through four very different characters, each of whom embodied a distinctive aspect of national life. Also from Pimlico we have Charles Freeman's The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason (12.50 [pounds sterling]) in which he argues that in the late fourth and fifth centuries the late Roman empire destroyed the 'Greek intellectual tradition'. Not surprisingly the Church is the main culprit.

VINTAGE continues its publications of the works of four leading novelists of the twentieth century with Virginia Woolf's A Haunted House: The Complete Shorter Fiction (7.99 [pounds sterling]) which was first published in hardback in 1985. The volume is edited by Susan Dick and introduced by Helen Simpson. Secondly Vintage has published two more novels in its editions of Iris Murdoch's works: The Sandcastle (6.99 [pounds sterling]) and The Book and the Brotherhood (7.99 [pounds sterling]), published, respectively, in 1957 and 1987. Thirdly we have Elizabeth Bowen's A Time in Rome (6.99 [pounds sterling]), her stylish account of life in Rome in the late 1950s. Far away from the world of these three ladies was Alexander Solzhenitsyn and we have two new editions of his most famous works: Cancer Ward (7.99 [pounds sterling]) and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (6.99 [pounds sterling]), powerful novels set against the horrors of Stalin's evil empire. Another Murdoch title is her Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (8.99 [pounds sterling]) which she wrote not as a novelist but as a philosophy don. This is a book that may be the last in the long line of English intellectual enquiries into the decline of faith coupled with a desire to preserve a moral universe. Also from Vintage we have Michael Ignatieff's Empire Lite: Nation-Building in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan (6.99 [pounds sterling]) in which the author examines the new age of American imperialism, what he calls the 'imperial struggle to impose order once intervention has occurred'. Given the Anglo-American victory in Iraq the book now takes on an extra dimension.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS has republished A History of the Popes 1830-1914 (25.00 [pounds sterling]) by Prof. Owen Chadwick. This was first published in 1998 as part of the Oxford History of the Christian Church. Prof. Chadwick traces the history of the papacy from the election of Gregory XVI in 1831 to the outbreak of the Great War, a period of great importance in the history of the Church and one in which the foundation of the modern Church was laid. A second new title is Andrew Lintott's The Constitution of the Roman Republic (19.99 [pounds sterling]) which shows that a knowledge of how the Roman system of government worked remains vital to a well-rounded understanding of Roman history. This study remains as important to students of ancient history as to classicists.

From THAMES & HUDSON we have a new edition of A History of Ottoman Architecture (24.95 [pounds sterling]) by Godfrey Goodwin. When this lavishly illustrated volume (521 illustrations) was first published in 1971, it was highly praised for its exhaustive scholarship and meticulous research. The Ottoman Empire, which at its greatest extent covered not only the whole of the Middle East but much of eastern Europe, has left a rich heritage of ecclesiastical and domestic buildings, many of which were 'the wonder of the world'. All are described and examined in this volume.

PALGRAVE MACMILLAN has recently republished two of the late A. L. Rowse's most popular books, The England of Elizabeth and The Expansion of Elizabethan England, each of which is priced at 17.99 [pounds sterling]. The first title was originally published in 1950 and the second, in 1955. …

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