Recently Published Books

G. O. Hutchinson - Plutarch's Rythmic Prose - coverPlutarch's Rhythmic Prose (Oxford University Press, 2018) - G. O. Hutchinson

Greek literature is divided, like many literatures, into poetry and prose, but in Greek the difference between them is not that all prose is devoid of firm rhythmic patterning. In the earlier Roman Empire, from 31 BC to about AD 300, much Greek (and Latin) prose was actually written to follow one organized rhythmic system. How much Greek prose adopted this patterning has hitherto been quite unclear; the present volume for the first time establishes an answer on an adequate basis: substantial data drawn from numerous authors. It constitutes the first extensive study of prose-rhythm in later Greek literature.

The book focuses particularly on one of the greatest Imperial works: Plutarch's Lives. It rests on a scansion of the whole work, almost 100,000 phrases. Rhythm is seen to make a vital contribution to the literary analysis of Plutarch's writing. Prose-rhythm is revealed as a means of expression; it draws attention to words and word-groups, and densely packed rhythm marks passages as momentous. The book demonstrates how rhythm can be integrated with other aspects of criticism, and how it has the ability to open up new vistas on three prolific centuries of literary history.

 

Cover - Unimaginable - Graham WardUnimaginable (I.B.Tauris, 2018) - Graham Ward

In his new book, a sequel to the earlier Unbelievable, one of Britain's most exciting writers on religion here presents a nuanced and many-dimensional portrait of the mystery and creativity of the human imagination. Discussing the likes of William Wordsworth, William Turner, Samuel Palmer and Ralph Vaughan Williams, so as to assess the true meanings of originality and memory, and drawing on his own rich encounters with belief, Graham Ward asks why it is that the imagination is so fundamental to who and what we are. Using metaphor and story to unpeel the hidden motivations and architecture of the mind, the author grapples with profound questions of ultimacy and transcendence. He reveals that, in understanding what it really means to be human, what cannot be imagined invariably means as much as what can.

 

 

 

Cover 0 The Autonomous City: A history of urban squattingThe Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting ( Verso, 2017) - Alexander Vasudevan

The Autonomous City is the first popular history of squatting in Europe and North America. Drawing on extensive archival research, it retraces the struggle for housing in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Detroit, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Milan, New York, and Vancouver. It looks at the organization of alternative forms of housing-from Copenhagen's Christiana 'Free Town' to the Lower East Side of Manhattan-as well as the official response, including the recent criminalization of squatting, the brutal eviction of squatters and their widespread vilification. As a result, Alexander Vasudevan argues how, through a shared history of political action, community organization and collective living, squatting has become a way to reimagine and reclaim the city. It documents the actions adopted by squatters as an alternative to housing precarity, rampant property speculation and the negative effects of urban redevelopment and regeneration. In so doing, the book challenges the dominant cartography of the 'neo-liberal city' and concludes that we must, more than ever, reanimate and remake the city as a site of radical social transformation.

 

Cover - The Colonial Comedy: Imperialism in the French Realist Novel - Jennifer YeeThe Colonial Comedy: Imperialism in the French Realist Novel (Oxford University Press, 2016. 250p.) - Jennifer Yee

France’s colonies play a role even in the most canonical texts of nineteenth-century realism, through what Edward Said called ‘geographical notations’ of race and imperialism such as imported objects, colonial merchandise, and individuals whose colonial experience is transformative (not usually for the better). The Colonial Comedy reveals how realist novels register the presence of the emerging global world-system through networks of importation, financial speculation, and immigration as well as direct colonial violence and power structures. The literature of the century responds to the last decades of French slavery, and direct colonialism (notably in Algeria), but also economic imperialism. Far from imperialist triumphalism, in realist and naturalist novels economic imperialism is often associated with fraud and manipulation, while colonial narratives, and paradigms of racial difference, are framed ironically. The realist mode thus lends itself to a Critical Orientalism characterized by the questioning of its own discursive foundations.

 

 

Cover - Igor Stravinsky by Jonathan CrossIgor Stravinsky(Reaktion Books - Critical Lives, 2015) - Jonathan Cross

Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) was perhaps the twentieth century’s most celebrated composer, a leading light of modernism and a restlessly creative artist. This biography in the Critical Lives series tells the story of Stravinsky’s life and work, setting him in the context of the turbulent times in which he lived. Born in Russia, Stravinsky spent most of his life in exile—and while his work was deliberately cosmopolitan, the pain of estrangement nonetheless left its mark on the man and his work, distinguishable in an ever-present sense of loss. Jonathan Cross shows how that work emerged over the course of decades spent in St Petersburg, Paris, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, in a wide artistic circle that included Balanchine and Auden, Cocteau and Gide, and that culminated in Stravinsky being celebrated by both the White House and the Kremlin as one of the great artistic forces of the Cold War era. This biography attempts to represent Stravinsky’s life and artistic achievement in a new light, understanding how his work both reflected and shaped his times.