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Old Member Publications

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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.

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 .


The Origins of Beowulf

The Origins of Beowulf: From Vergil to Wiglaf

Richard North (English, 1980)

Suggesting that the Old English epic Beowulf was composed in the winter of 826-7 as a requiem for King Beornwulf of Mercia on behalf of Wiglaf, the ealdorman who succeeded him, this fascinating and challenging new study combines careful detective work with meticulous literary analysis to form a case that no future investigation will be able to ignore.  For more information click here.

Discovering Tong

Discovering Tong: Its History, Myths and Curiosities 

Robert Jeffery (1996)

The small village of Tong on the Shropshire-Staffordshire border possesses an immensely rich historical and cultural heritage. This book explores many aspects of that heritage during the past thousand years. It will appeal particularly to those acquainted with Tong, providing additional insights into the concept of "place" and the processes by which a sense of identity is formed and sustained in a community.  Copies are available from the Chapter House shop on 01865 201971, or for more information visit

Image to Interpretation

An Intelligent System to Aid Historians in Reading the Vindolanda Texts

Melissa M. Terras (Engineering Science, 1998)

Ink and stylus tablets discovered at the Roman fort of Vindolanda are a unique resource for scholars of ancient history.  However, the stylus tablets are extremely difficult to read.  This book details the development of what appears to be the first system constructed to aid experts in the process of reading an ancient document, exploring the extent to which techniques from Artificial Intelligence can be used to develop a system that could aid Historians in reading the stylus texts.  It will be of interest to papyrologists, researchers in Roman history and palaeography, computer and engineering scientists working in the field of Artificial Intelligence and image processing, and those interested in the use of computing in the humanities. The book is available here.

The Amnesia Clinic

James Scudamore (Modern Languages, 1995)

'The Amnesia Clinic' is James Scudamore's first novel. It won the Somerset Maugham Award 2007 and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Glen Dimplex Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Commenting on the novel in their summing up, the judges of the Costa First Novel Award 2006 (formerly the Whitbread Prize) said: 'This delightful book about the friendship between two boys in Ecuador is full of tall tales and fantasy. The line between reality and bizarre fiction is always blurred, always mesmerising.' To buy the novel click here.

Glacier Science and Environmental Change

Peter Knight (Geography, 1980)

'Glacier Science and Environmental Change' is an authoritative and comprehensive review of contemporary issues in glaciology. It explores the interface between glacier science and environmental change with reference to environments of the past, present and future. Written by the world's foremost authorities in the subject, this book provides state-of-the-art reviews of the key topics in glaciology and related disciplines in environmental change; cutting-edge case studies of the latest research; an interdisciplinary synthesis of the issues that draw together the research efforts of glaciologists and scientists from other fields such as geology, hydrology and climatology.  For more information please click  here.

Grannie's Tales

Doris Maud Griffin (mother of Paul Griffin - PPE, 1956)

Letters from a grandmother to a granddaughter, about the daily lives of her own two young children living in a south Shropshire country vicarage over 70 years ago. Touchingly written, beautifully illustrated and telling of a world long ago and far away.  Facsimile copies of some of the letters show how selectively and meticulously the letters were composed and written, contemporary photographs of the family and their dog and cat at home add authenticity and there is delightful map of the parish which shows the countryside within walking distance of the vicarage which is now an Episcopal residence.  To buy the book click here.


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