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Month: July 2016

Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100. Compiled by Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge

Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts: A Bibliographical Handlist of Manuscripts and Manuscript Fragments Written or Owned in England up to 1100. Compiled by Helmut Gneuss and Michael Lapidge. Toronto, Buffalo, and London: University of Toronto Press, 2014. xix, 937 p. ISBN: 9781442648234. £119.99 / $175.00 (hardback).

Attempting to compile and record the entire known corpus of manuscripts produced or historically owned in a single country over a period of five centuries is at best a daunting, if not impossible, task. Trying to do so while also providing as comprehensive a record as possible of the critical multi- and interdisciplinary scholarship dealing with those manuscripts transforms such a project from a (relatively) simple — if painstaking, lengthy, and exceptionally useful — act of bibliography to a scholarly effort of heroic proportions.

Gill Partington and Adam Smyth, eds. Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary

Gill Partington and Adam Smyth, eds. Book Destruction from the Medieval to the Contemporary. New Directions in Book History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. xi, 216p., ill. ISBN 9781137367655. £58 / US $95 (hardback).

This lively book helps inaugurate Palgrave’s series New Directions in Book History, the raison d’être of which is to publish “monographs that employ advanced methods and open up new frontiers in research” (i). Rather than showcase an innovative methodology or rethink a hackneyed subject area, Gill Partington and Adam Smyth broach a neglected topic, suggesting that squeamishness about book destruction has hindered the study of a range of artistic, literary and cultural practices.

Jessica Pressman. Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media

Jessica Pressman. Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. xiv, 224 p. ill. ISBN 9780199937080. UK £65.00 (hardcover).

Jessica Pressman’s Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media is an impressive accomplishment. Pressman deftly handles modernist, New Critical, and contemporary electronic literature contexts. Her central argument that a strain of contemporary electronic literature relies on the same mechanism of newness and tradition as modernist literature is compelling and convincing.

Peter Blake. George Augustus Sala and the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: The Personal Style of a Public Writer

Peter Blake. George Augustus Sala and the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press: The Personal Style of a Public Writer. Farnham: Ashgate, 2015. 286 p., ill. ISBN 9781472416070. UK £60.00 (hardback).

George Augustus Sala was a central figure to the New Journalism that emerged at the end of the nineteenth century. With a seemingly equal and vocal amount of devout followers and vehement detractors, Sala’s personal style of writing was both praised and lambasted. This dichotomous reception appears to remain to this day.

Thomas Haye and Johannes Helmrath, eds. Codex im Diskurs

Thomas Haye and Johannes Helmrath, eds. Codex im Diskurs. Wolfenbütteler Mittelalter-Studien 25. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2014. 272 p., ill. ISBN 9783447102551. €62.00 (hardcover).

This volume of tightly focused essays in German consists of papers that were originally presented at the second of three conferences on the history and theory of the medieval manuscript book at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. As a whole, it addresses the question of how medieval and early modern scholars and authorities thought and expressed themselves about codices.

S. J. Perry. Chameleon Poet: R. S. Thomas and the Literary Tradition

S. J. Perry. Chameleon Poet: R. S. Thomas and the Literary Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. x, 312p., ill. ISBN 9780199687336. £55.00 (hardback).

S. J. Perry’s Chameleon Poet: R. S. Thomas and the Literary Tradition rests its arguments on two principle claims: first, that R. S. Thomas’s life and work have too often been considered in light of his insistent Welsh nationalism when in fact his poetry, which grows out of a much more hesitant, shifting sense of self, is better understood as a series of chameleonic reactions to writers from England, Scotland, Ireland, the United States and elsewhere; second, that Thomas’s most significant poetic debts—and those that have been least explored—are to the English poetic tradition,

Jesús A. Martínez Martín, ed. Historia de la edición en España 1939-1975

Jesús A. Martínez Martín (ed.). Historia de la edición en España 1939-1975. Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2015. 997p., ill. ISBN 9788415963554. EUR 42.00 (hardback).

Historia de la edición en España 1939-1975 is the second volume of the history of publishing in Spain edited by Jesús A. Martínez Martín. The first volume was published in 2001 by the same publisher, and covered the period from 1836 to just before when the Spanish Civil War began in 1936. However, as the editor notes in his introduction, the scope of this second volume is much more ambitious than that of the first, despite sharing the same methods and covering a much shorter period, the 36 years of Franco’s dictatorship.

Catherine Pickett. Bibliography of the East India Company: Books, Pamphlets and Other Material Printed Between 1600 and 1785

Catherine Pickett. Bibliography of the East India Company: Books, Pamphlets and Other Material Printed Between 1600 and 1785. London: The British Library, 2011. xvi, 304 p. ISBN 9780712358446. £50.00 (hardback).

The product of several decades of painstaking research, this magnificent bibliography contains details of over 1500 printed works relating to the East India Company, between its formation in 1600 and 1785, when the passing of Pitt’s India Act (1784) bought the organisation more firmly under Parliamentary control. This comprehensive, detailed and informative collection is of immense value, both as a reference tool and as an important scholarly work in its own right, and is sure to prove a boon to those whose research and teaching interests pertain to commercial and colonial expansion in India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Kym Brindle. Epistolary Encounters in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Diaries and Letters

Kym Brindle. Epistolary Encounters in Neo-Victorian Fiction: Diaries and Letters. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. vii, 240p., ill. ISBN 9781137007155. ₤50 (hardback).

Epistolary Encounters in Neo-Victorian Fiction explores the ways in which diaries and letters are used by neo-Victorian novelists to exemplify postmodern ideas about the unknowability of the past. The textual remains of the nineteenth century are necessarily incomplete, meaning that the past can never be entirely understood.

Natasha Moore. Victorian Connections: The Literary and Artistic Circles of William and Helen Allingham from the Collections of Grolier Club Members

Natasha Moore. Victorian Connections: The Literary and Artistic Circles of William and Helen Allingham from the Collections of Grolier Club Members. New York: The Grolier Club, 2015. Distributed by Oak Knoll Press. 62p., ill. ISBN 9781605830599. US $25.00.

From its location in New York City, the Grolier Club fosters the collecting and appreciation of books and works on paper, as well as the study of their art, history, production, and commerce, partly by holding quarterly exhibits, offering educational programs, and producing books and exhibit catalogs. From March 15 to May 25, 2015, the Grolier Club mounted an exhibition with the title “Victorian Connections: The Literary and Artistic Circles of William and Helen Allingham from the Collections of Grolier Club Members,” for which the title under review is the exhibit catalog.