Tolkien's gown is an amusing account of how the excited purchaser of some of the great man's effects from his Oxford rooms finds that instead of a rare, unpublished manuscript, or even notes for one, he is in receipt of an old, black, college gown . . . In each of the twenty chapters of this erudite and funny work, rare-book dealer Rick Gekoski tells the inside story of a great work of modern literature. Based loosely on a hugely successful Radio 4 series, Rare Books, Rare People, each essay gives the publishing biography of a single book, together with illuminating details about the author's involvement with the first edition of their work. The stories are fascinating and diverse, and involve memorable encounters with, among others, Graham Greene, William Golding, J. D. Salinger, Ted Hughes, Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes and Harold Pinter. Relations between book dealers and authors are not always amicable. J. D. Salinger threatens a law suit, William Golding is moved to produce a parody of Mr Gekoski and Ted Hughes thinks he has been overcharged. While Graham Greene is simply delighted to have done business. Always entertaining, the author also shares some valuable insights: 'What is the value of a book?' he asks. His answers are both critical and financial, involving appraisals of the literary qualities of the works, together with an account of their (sometimes surprising) value in the rare-book trade. For anyone who loves books, Tolkien's Gown offers a wealth of amusement and instruction, and enough literary anecdotes to last a lifetime.
Rick Gekoski has been described as the Bill Bryson of the book world. Rare book dealer, academic, publisher, critic, bibliographer, and broadcaster, his BBC Radio series Rare Books, Rare People was acclaimed by The Daily Telegraph as 'one of the gems of Radio 4'. In Tolkien's Gown, a book based loosely on that hugely successful radio series, he discusses twenty great works of modern literature as both texts and objects. At once erudite and funny, the essays give a publishing biography of each book, together with comments about the author's involvement with first editions of the works. 'What is the value of a book?' he asks. The answers are both critical and financial, involving appraisals of the literary qualities of the works, together with an account of their (sometimes surprising) value in the rare book trade. His stories are fascinating and diverse, and involve memorable encounters with, among others, Graham Greene, William Golding, J.D. Salinger, Ted Hughes, Salman Rushdie, Julian Barnes and Harold Pinter. Relations between book dealers and authors can be uneasy: J.D. author, Ted Hughes thinks he has been overcharged. While Graham Greene is simply delighted to have done business. For anyone who loves books, Tolkien's Gown offers a wealth of amusement and instruction, and enough literary anecdotes to last a lifetime.
Notes from a bibliophile on the lure of rare and first editions, the beauty of dust jackets, the thrill of browsing in antiquarian bookshops, the bibliomania of book thieves, movies about books, and the inner life of a reader. The Groaning Shelf is not so much a book about books as a book about books about books. These little essays capture the drama of bookish obsession, the joys and snares of the bookish life and the pleasures of bibliophily.
A No-Nonsense Guide to Words and Phrases from Other Languages
Author: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publisher: A&C Black
If you have ever been bamboozled by the use of a foreign word or phrase, or simply want to spice up your vocabulary with some well-chosen bons mots, then this is the book for you. Thousands of foreign words and phrases have been absorbed into the language and are currently used in English, from the everyday (macho, tete-a-tete, spaghetti) to the relatively obscure (ultra vires, auto-da-fe). Faux Pas focuses on familiar terms and expressions as well as those that are new, curious or amusing. Each expression is 'translated', with an indication of its language of origin and pronunciation, a comment on its usefulness and a Pretentiousness Index.
An Introduction to Book History provides a comprehensive critical introduction to the development of the book and print culture. David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery chart the move from spoken word to written texts, the coming of print, the book as commodity, the power and profile of readers, and the future of the book in the electronic age. Each section begins with a summary of the chapter's aims and contents, followed by a detailed discussion of the relevant issues, concluding with a summary of the chapter and suggestions for further reading. Sections include: the history of the book orality to Literacy literacy to printing authors, authorship and authority printers, booksellers, publishers, agents readers and reading the future of the book. An Introduction to Book History is an ideal introduction to this exciting field of study, and is designed as a companion text to The Book History Reader.
Since the appearance of The Lord of the Rings in 1954, J. R. R. Tolkien’s works have always sold briskly, appealing to a wide and diverse audience of intellectuals, religious believers, fantasy enthusiasts, and science fiction aficionados. Now, Peter Jackson’s film version of Tolkien’s trilogy—with its accompanying Rings-related paraphernalia and publicity—is playing a unique role in the dissemination of Tolkien’s imaginative creation to the masses. Yet, for most readers and viewers, the underlying meaning of Middle-earth has remained obscure. Bradley Birzer has remedied that with this fresh study. In J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth, Birzer explains the surprisingly specific religious symbolism that permeates Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. He also explores the social and political views that motivated the Oxford don, ultimately situating Tolkien within the Christian humanist tradition represented by Thomas More and T. S. Eliot, Dante and C. S. Lewis. Birzer argues that through the genre of myth Tolkien created a world that is essentially truer than the one we think we see around us every day, a world that transcends the colorless disenchantment of our postmodern age. “A small knowledge of history,” Tolkien once wrote, “depresses one with the sense of the everlasting weight of human iniquity.” As Birzer demonstrates, Tolkien’s recognition of evil became mythologically manifest in the guise of Ringwraiths, Orcs, Sauron, and other dark beings. But Tolkien was ultimately optimistic: even weak, bumbling hobbits and humans, as long as they cling to the Good, can finally prevail. Bradley Birzer has performed a great service in elucidating Tolkien’s powerful moral vision.
" J.R.R. Tolkien's zeal for medieval literary, religious, and cultural ideas deeply influenced his entire life and provided the seeds for his own fiction. In Tolkien's Art, Chance discusses not only such classics as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, but focuses on his minor works as well, outlining in detail the sources and influences--from pagan epic to Christian legend-that formed the foundation of Tolkien's masterpieces, his "mythology for England."
This critically acclaimed debut novel offers “an original and bleakly funny portrait of grief” in the singular mind and solitary life of its protagonist (The Economist). Shortlisted for The McKitterick Prize and The Author’s Club Best First Novel Award Cranky and reclusive, ageing and widowed, Dr. James Darke has expelled himself from the world. He writes compulsively in his ‘coming of old age’ journal; he eats little, drinks and smokes a lot; he tries to console himself with the wisdom of the great thinkers and poets, yet finds nothing but disappointment. And yet, cracks of light start to appear in his carefully managed darkness: the tender, bruised filaments of love for his daughter and grandson. With scalding prose, ruthless intelligence and an unforgettably vivid protagonist, Darke confronts some of humanity’s greatest and most uncomfortable questions about how we choose to live, and to die. “A supreme example of a natural and skilled storyteller.”—Colm Toibin “Surprising…with a warmth that is genuinely and unexpectedly moving.”—The Guardian, UK
It is 1953, a heat wave is sweeping across America and the Grossmans – Ben, Addie and their two children – are moving their lives from the political heart of Washington DC to suburban Long Island. With their future uncertain, life in Long Island starts to cause problems for Ben and Addie. Both begin to wonder if they were meant for more, whether their lives might look different than they planned, and whether their marriage – their family – is worth fighting for. A Long Island Story is a portrait of a couple in crisis, of a unique and fascinating period in US history and of a seemingly perfect family fighting their demons behind closed doors.
Widely considered one of the leading experts on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Thomas Alan Shippey has informed and enlightened a generation of Tolkien scholars and fans. In this collection, friends and colleagues honor Shippey with 15 essays that reflect their mentor’s research interests, methods of literary criticism and attention to Tolkien’s shorter works. In a wide-ranging consideration of Tolkien’s oeuvre, the contributors explore the influence of 19th and 20th century book illustrations on Tolkien’s work; utopia and fantasy in Tolkien’s Middle-earth; the Silmarils, the Arkenstone, and the One Ring as thematic vehicles; the pattern of decline in Middle-earth as reflected in the diminishing power of language; Tolkien’s interest in medieval genres; the heroism of secondary characters; and numerous other topics. Also included are brief memoirs by Shippey’s colleagues and friends in academia and fandom and a bibliography of Shippey’s work.