Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September Additions - Part 3

And, finally, Part 3 of September's additions to the Library:

Byzantium and the Rise of Russia: A Study of Byzantino-Russian Relations in the Fourteenth Century by John Meyendorff - This book describes the role of Byzantine (predominantly ecclesiastical) diplomacy in the emergence of Moscow as the capital of Russia in the fourteenth century, and the cultural, religious and political ties which connected the Northern periphery of the Byzantine Orthodox 'Commonwealth' with its centre in Constantinople. 

Colonial Ireland, 1169-1369 by Robin Frame - This book examines the processes of conquest and colonization, against the background of economic expansion and seigneurial enterprise apparent elsewhere in Britain and Europe. It also explores the nature and extent of colonial retreat, and the political and cultural adjustments that were evident amid the less favorable conditions of the 14th century.

The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland's Western Seaboard C.1100-C.1336 by Andrew McDonald - Exploring the history of Scotland's western seaboard during the central Middle Ages, this study discusses three interrelated themes: the existence of the Isles and coastal mainland as a kingdom; the monarchs of the region, from Somerled to his descendant John MacDonald, the first Lord of the Isles; and the complex relations among the Isles, Scotland, Norway, and England. 

Thomas Becket : Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: a 900-year-old Story Retold by John Guy - The story of "Thomas Becket" is the story of an enigma, as well as of one of the most tumultuous periods in English history. Drawing on a vast array of contemporary records, personal letters and first-hand accounts, John Guy has reconstructed a psychologically compelling, stunningly nuanced and utterly convincing account of this most remarkable man, the dramatic times in which he lived and the pivotal role he played in his nation's history.

The Royal Stuarts : A History of the Family That Shaped Britain by Allan Massie - Exploring the family's lineage from the first Stuart king to the last, The Royal Stuarts is a panoramic history of the family that acted as a major player in the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Union of the Crowns, the English Civil War, the Restoration, and more. Drawing on the accounts of historians past and present, novels, and plays, this is the complete story of the Stuart family, documenting their path from the salt marshes of Brittany to the thrones of Scotland and England and eventually to exile. 

The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood : The Spy Who Stole the Crown Jewels and Became the King's Secret Agent by Robert Hutchinson - Bestselling historian Robert Hutchinson paints a vivid portrait of a double agent bent on ambiguous political and personal motivation, and provides an extraordinary account of the perils and conspiracies that abounded in Restoration England.

Septembers Additions - Part 2

Part 2 of September's additions to the Library include:

Conqueror's Son : Duke Robert Curthose, Thwarted King by Katherine Lack - In "Conqueror's son" Katherine Lack redresses the balance of opinion on Robert Curthose. There is no doubt that Robert was rebellious, but the fact remains that the throne of England was meant to pass to him on the death of William the Conqueror. William Rufus and Henry I were thus usurpers, which casts a new light on English history.

The Man Who Killed Richard III : Who Dealt the Fatal Blow at Bosworth? by Susan Fern - On 22 August 1485 on a battlefield in Bosworth, Leicestershire, King Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet kings, was dealt a death blow by the man who had sworn loyalty to him only a few months earlier. That man was Rhys ap Thomas, a Welsh lord, master of Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire. For his service that day he was knighted on the field of battle by Henry Tudor. 

The Plantagenets : The Kings That Made Britain by Derek Wilson - Featuring some of England's greatest but also most notorious kings, the house of Plantagenet would reign for over 300 blood-soaked, yet foundational, years. 

Perkin: A Story of Deception by Anne Wroe - Anne Wroe manages to achieve the impossible: to reconstruct the life of a young man whose identity can never be taken for granted. On the way she described in breathtaking detail the illusions, longing and deceptions that characterised the last years of the fifteenth century: a world quickly losing its medieval certainties, and trembling on the brink of a whole new age of discovery.

Jane Boleyn : The Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox - The story of Henry VIII's queens - as seen through the eyes of Jane Rochford, sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and cousin to Katherine Howard. Jane Rochford was sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and Lady of the Bedchamber to Katherine Howard, whom she followed to the scaffold in 1542. 

The Rise of the Tudors : The Family That Changed English History by Chris Skidmore - The Rise Of The Tudors is much more than the account of the dramatic events of that fateful day in August 1485. It is a tale of brutal feuds and deadly civil wars, and the remarkable rise of the Tudor family from obscure Welsh gentry to the throne of England--a story that began sixty years earlier with Owen Tudor's affair with Henry V's widow, Katherine of Valois.

Septembers Additions - Part 1

September was a busy month in the Library for additions.  Part 1 includes the following:

Ducal Brittany, 1364-99 : Relations with England and France During the Reign of Duke John IV by Michael Jones - 
Traditionally John IV, Duke of Brittany has been considered an Anglophile. This book re-examines his role in Anglo-French relations by a full study of the diplomatic, administrative and military evidence. It suggests that the Duke's policies were designed principally to create an autonomous duchy.

The Franks : From Their Origin as a Confederacy to the Establishment of the Kingdom of France and the German Empire by Lewis Sergeant - That aim implied that the greater part of the volume should be devoted to periods in which the historical foundation was least secure-to the long struggle between Romans and Teutons, during which the tribes on the east of the Rhine were perpetually combining against their enemies until the Frank confederacy clearly emerged, and to the subsequent Merovingian period, during which the Franks were gradually subjecting the whole of Gaul.

A Tale of Two Murders : Passion and Power in Seventeenth-Century France by James Farr - As scandalous as any modern-day celebrity murder trial, the "Giroux affair" was a maelstrom of intrigue, encompassing daggers, poison, adultery, arch-enemies, servants and royalty, and legal proceedings that reached to the pinnacle of seventeenth-century French society.

Medieval Naples : A Documentary History, 400-1400 by Ronald Gusto - This is the first comprehensive English-language collection of sources yet to treat the city of Naples from late antiquity to the beginning of the Renaissance. Sources are drawn from its historical, economic, literary, artistic, religious and cultural life from the fall of Rome through the Byzantine, ducal, Norman, Hohenstaufen and Angevin periods.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Patti Smith: 'It's not so easy writing about nothing'

M Train tells the story of Patti Smith's musical creativity. She was such an influential part of the punk rock movement that it’s easy to forget she had influences of her own. Her new memoir M Train follows the journey that led her to create her most iconic work. The “train” in this memoir stops at 18 “stations,” each representing one of the most significant turning points in Smith’s life, that she believes were responsible for shaping her creative identity.

M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village cafe where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud and Mishima. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith's life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith. Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable artists at work today.

How to Plan a Crusade by Christopher Tyerman review – the role of reason in medieval religious wars | Books | The Guardian

This book opens disarmingly with a novice historian stumbling through a lecture, “wondering why he had ever begun”. He is saved by his students, who storm the hall and, with cries of “Deus lo volt”, demand to be taken to Jerusalem, AKA the pub next door. Thirty-six years later, Christopher Tyerman, now professor of the history of the Crusades at the University of Oxford, returns to the subject of his lecture: how to plan a crusade.

How to Plan a Crusade is serious and scholarly, the synthesis of decades of work on difficult, fragmented sources. Administrative records weren’t routinely kept until around 1300, which makes Tyerman’s task harder and more impressive. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

History of Taiwan Feminine Literature

A new book, which maps out the historical lineage of Taiwan women's literature spanning from ancient times to the early 21st century, was launched at the 11th Cross-Strait Book Fair held in Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast China's Fujian Province, on September 12.
The book titled "History of Taiwan Feminine Literature", consists of nearly a million characters. It deftly portrays the origin, development and evolution of the distinctive South Asian literary arena.
Publishing insiders recognize that the book is the first on the Chinese mainland to feature such a long time span of Taiwanese literature studies, filling a notable gap in the history of Chinese literature, and of women's literature worldwide.