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Old Member Publications

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Robert Louis Stevenson: A Literary Life

Bill Gray (Modern Languages, 1971)

More than most writers, Robert Louis Stevenson requires a Literary Life. As Henry James commented on reading Balfour’s 1901 biography: ‘Louis ... has superseded, personally, his books, and this last replacement of himself ... has killed the literary baggage.’ Serious critical attention to Stevenson’s literary works has been relatively slow to appear, though the ‘Life of Stevenson’ continues to flourish, having become a minor literary genre in its own right. The version of Stevenson’s literary life presented here embraces Stevenson’s own reservations about the role of linear chronology in biography, and is more of a literary geography than a literary history. Its structure is defined by the various geographical and cultural contexts (England, France, Scotland, America and the South Seas) in which Stevenson lived and worked. This is the first literary biography of Stevenson since the publication of his Collected Letters; it has also made use of hitherto unpublished letters.  To find out more about this book click here.

Creation, Evolution and Meaning

Robin Attfield (Literae Humaniores, 1960)

This book presents the case for belief in both creation and evolution at the same time as rejecting creationism. Issues of meaning supply the context of inquiry; the book defends the meaningfulness of language about God, and also relates belief in both creation and evolution to the meaning of life. Meaning, it claims, can be found in our consciously adopting the role of stewards of the planetary biosphere, and thus of the fruits of creation.  For more information on this book please click here.

Tower of Skulls

David Crackanthorpe (Law, 1949)

Belgrade, July and August 1914, the last twelve days of peace. Theo Harris, First Secretary, is left in charge of the British Legation where an alleged accomplice of the Sarajevo assassins of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand takes refuge. The arrest and extradition of this boy, brother of Harris's Serbian mistress, is historically among the demands in the Austrian ultimatum leading to the outbreak of the First World War. But Harris doubts that to give up one perhaps innocent victim to the mercy of Austrian interrogators would save any of the thousands who may be called to die on battlefields. His doubts grow as war becomes more certain with the passing days. Personal ethic and the claims of love fatally conflict with professional duty and self-interest.

To buy this novel please click here.

The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad Vol. 7

Laurence Davies (English, 1960)

This edition brings together all known letters written by the great Anglo-Polish novelist. Even though they often have literary merit in their own right, throw a fresh light on Conrad's life and work, and are characterised by great energy and more than a little quirkiness, many have never previously been published, and a good few of the others have appeared only in rare periodicals. In Volume Seven, covering 1920 to 1922, we see Conrad wondering about his literary legacy, working on fiction about the Napoleonic wars, adapting The Secret Agent for the stage, coming to terms with the divisive politics of post-war Europe, and becoming fascinated by the possibilities of cinema. Towards the end of 2007, Volumes Eight and Nine will appear, concluding the series. Volume Eight covers the last year and a half of his life, and Volume Nine presents over two hundred newly-discovered letters, which are full of surprises. For more information about this book please click here.

The Genesis of Fiction

The Genesis of Fiction - Modern Novelists as Biblical Interpreters

Terry Wright (English, 1970)

This book considers a range of twentieth-century novelists who practise a creative mode of reading the Bible, exploring aspects of the Book of Genesis which more conventional biblical criticism sometimes ignores. Each chapter considers some of the interpretive challenges of the relevant story in Genesis, especially those noted by rabbinic midrash, which serves as a model for such creative rewriting of the biblical text. All the novelists considered, from Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Thomas Mann to Jeanette Winterson, Anita Diamant and Jenny Diski, are shown to have been aware of the midrashic tradition, and in some cases to have incorporated significant elements from it into their own writing. To learn more about this book please click here.

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the Earth: Birding, Opera and Other Journeys

Thomas Urquhart (Geography, 1964)

Thomas Urquhart combines a classical education with a lifelong passion for opera, literature and art. And from his earliest days he has been a devoted, devotedly amateur, naturalist. In For the Beauty of the Earth Urquhart begins with the lives of ancestors—his grandmother, “a patron saint of lost causes” who cherished her signed photo of Robert E. Lee, his great aunt Catharine, arrested with Edna St. Vincent Millay while protesting what she considered the judicial murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, and even back to the great 17th-century translator of Rabelais, Sir Thomas Urquhart, who, it is said, died of laughing. From the hills and fields of England – both olde and New – he takes us to Italy for “birding through the Renaissance,” then invites us to the wild landscape of the Camargue in Provence, and the villages of Mali in West Africa. Through the years, birding has provided Urquhart with his opportunities for travel, his practical education and his passionate place in the natural world. To buy this book, please click herefor UK residents or here for US residents.

Loving Soren

Caroline Coleman (Law, 1986)

"Romancing the philosophical":  Loving Soren is an historical novel that tells the true love story of Regina Olsen, and Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.  Kierkegaard is best known as the father of existentialism, yet the seeds of his philosophy lie in his tempestuous relationship with the beautiful Regina Olsen. Olsen tries to save Kierkegaard from his melancholy, and ends up losing herself in the process.  Little did you know that existentialism could become a page turner!  Former lawyer Caroline Coleman spent seven years researching and writing this beautiful novel. Spoiler warning: it has a happy ending...

To buy this novel please click here.

The Quest

Philip Brown (Chemistry, 1944)

The Quest involves a history of the Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity, Michelam, founded in 1229. However the QUEST of the Title was asking for my wife, Gounil`s healing from terminal cancer, from Prior John Leem of Michelam and Abbot Marc Foulque the twelfth century third Abbot of the Abbey of Grestain in Normandy who gives my psychic collaborator Zoi Hartley visions of the past. The Seal of Prior John, which we made in glass for the Priory many years ago, bore the words in Latin, TO BE LOVED YOU MUST FIRST LOVE. Three months before Gounil passed on, our five daughters took over her care so that she could stay at home and not end her days in Hospital.She passed away to the Other Side, in utter calmness completely healed in spirit.

For more information about this book please click here.

A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science and Ethics

A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science and Ethics

Edited by Paul Waldau (Theology, 1993) and Kimberley Patton

The first comparative and interdisciplinary study of the conceptualization of animals in world religions. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines consider how major religious traditions have incorporated animals into their belief systems, myths, rituals, and art.  For more information please click here.

Christ Church Memories and Reflections

John A. S. Abecasis-Phillips (PPE, 1995)

An old Houseman looks back on his post-National Service days when he was allowed to squeak into Christ Church, fail/pass exams and experience the ending of an era when dons were still "gentlemen of the old school", there were no female fellow "Housemen" and standards of dress and behaviour were traditional.  The book is illustrated by Alexandra Buhler (Theology, 2005) Copies are available from the Chapter House shop on 01865 201971, or for more information please contact  the author .


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