Explore publications by Worcester Old Members on our alumni bookshelf. This page is organised chronologically by publication date, with the most recent books first.

Do you have a book you’d like to include? Email development@worc.ox.ac.uk to let us know.

2024

Cover of Christopher Isherwood Inside Out

Christopher Isherwood Inside Out

Cover of Christopher Isherwood Inside Out

Christopher Isherwood Inside Out

By Dr Katherine Bucknell (1979, English)

Christopher Isherwood rejected the life he was born to and set out to make a different one. Heir to an English estate, he flunked out of university, moved to Berlin, was driven through Europe by the Nazis, and circled the globe before settling in Hollywood.

There he adopted a new religion and continued to form the friendships – including an astounding number of romantic and sexual ones – through which he discovered himself.

Using a wealth of unpublished material, Christopher Isherwood Inside Out tells how the traumas of his father’s death in World War I and his failure to protect his German lover from the Nazis were healed by his life as a monk in the 1940s, enabling him to commit unflinchingly to a sexually open relationship in the 1950s, and to come out as a ‘grand old man’ of the gay rights movement in the 1970s.

With this new biography, enriched by unlimited access to Isherwood’s partner Don Bachardy, Katherine Bucknell shows how Christopher Isherwood achieved a uniquely inspiring personal life. He effected lasting change in our culture, through both his literary works and the way he lived.

Cover of Proust's Songbook

Proust's Songbook: Songs & Their Uses

Cover of Proust's Songbook

Proust's Songbook: Songs & Their Uses

  • By Jennifer Rushworth (2005, Modern Languages)

In Proust’s Songbook, Jennifer Rushworth analyses and theorizes the presence and role of songs in Marcel Proust’s novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time). Instead of focusing on instrumental music and large-scale forms such as symphonies and opera, as is common in Proust musical studies, Rushworth argues for the centrality of songs and lyrics in Proust’s opus. Her work analyses the ways in which the author inserted songs at key turning points in his novel and how he drew inspiration from contemporary composers and theorists of song. Rushworth presents detailed readings of five moments of song in À la recherche du temps perdu, highlighting the songs’ significance by paying close attention to their lyrics, music, composers, and histories.

Rushworth interprets these episodes through theoretical reflections on song and voice, drawing particularly from the works of Reynaldo Hahn and Roland Barthes. She argues that songs in Proust’s novel are connected and resonate with one another across the different volumes yet also shows how song for Proust is a solo, amateur, and intimate affair. In addition, she points to Proust’s juxtapositions of songs with meditations on the notion of ‘mauvaise musique’ (bad music) to demonstrate the existence of a blurred boundary between songs that are popular and songs that are art.

According to Rushworth, a song for Proust has a special relation to repetition and memory due to its typical brevity and that song itself becomes a mode of resistance in À la Recherche—especially on the part of characters in the face of family and familial expectations. She also defines the songs in Proust’s novel as songs of farewell—noting that to sing farewell is a means to resist the very parting that is being expressed—and demonstrates how songs, in formal terms, resist the forward impetus of narrative.

Cover of A Half-Century Around Europe

A Half-Century Around Europe

Cover of A Half-Century Around Europe

A Half-Century Around Europe

By John Waygood (1962, Modern Languages)

This is a light-hearted and illustrated account of the experiences of a British baby-boomer and his family in coping with the cultural differences living in continental Europe.

The account covers the period of 50 years from 1973, when Edward Heath took the UK into the ‘Common Market’. The author recounts what it is really like to integrate in four different European countries and draws contrasts with life in the UK and the US.

Interesting after-effects of WWII are a recurring theme and are treated sympathetically as well as leisure activities, which are enthusiastically described. The surprises and the joys of life in Switzerland, the country in which the author’s family has settled, are recounted with special loving care.

The author tries to allay any suspicions which Brits may have harboured against our continental neighbours. He maintains that we should, on the contrary, treat them as close friends and concludes with an appeal for deeper trust and co-operation between the members of geographical Europe.

Cover of The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Cover of The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

By Nancy Epton (2016, English)

The Sound of Silence: Ryan Gosling, Expressionism and the Silent Hero in 21st-Century Film explores how non-verbal communication in film, shown primarily through the acting of Ryan Gosling, provides an expressive space in which passive audience viewing is made more active by removing the expository signifier of dialogue.

The German Expressionist era may have been brief, but the shadows cast since its end nonetheless loom large. The silhouetted, cigar-wielding men of film noir and their respectively dark, doom-laden haunts mirror the angst-inducing atmospheres of their forebearers, while also introducing the now-familiar figure of the silent hero. Considering the numerous silent hero actors in film history, there’s one that stands out in the 21st century like no other: Ryan Gosling. His later career has seen some of the most iconic silent heroes of the past decade, with films such as DriveOnly God ForgivesBlade Runner 2049 and First Man cementing him as the go-to guy for a monosyllabic, taciturn and moody hero whose actions speak louder than words.

This book argues that it is Gosling’s expressive capabilities that keep audiences compelled by his performances. With the use of non-verbal silence – combined with its counterbalance, sound – a more active, emotive audience response can be achieved. Looking further into this idea through theorists such as Michel Chion and Susan Sontag, the book demonstrates that the sound of silence is one of the most meaningful cinematic sounds of all.

Cover of The Bishop & The Butterfly

The Bishop and the Butterfly

Cover of The Bishop & The Butterfly

The Bishop and the Butterfly

By Michael Wolraich (1992, Visiting Student in Philosophy)

“The 1931 murder of ‘Broadway Butterfly’ Vivian Gordon exposed an explosive story of graft, corruption and entrapment that went all the way to the top of the state. Wolraich brings a journalist’s eye and a novelist’s elegance to this story of Jazz Age New York.”

— New York Times (Editor’s Choice)

Vivian Gordon went out before midnight in a velvet dress and mink coat. Her body turned up the next morning in a desolate Bronx park, a dirty clothesline wrapped around her neck. At her stylish Manhattan apartment, detectives discovered notebooks full of names—businessmen, socialites, gangsters. And something else: a letter from an anti-corruption commission established by Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Led by the imperious Judge Samuel Seabury, the commission had uncovered a police conspiracy to frame women as prostitutes. Had Vivian Gordon been executed to bury her secrets? As FDR pressed the police to solve her murder, Judge Seabury pursued the trail of corruption to the top of Gotham’s powerful political machine—the infamous Tammany Hall.

Cover of Prints and the landscape garden: image, illusion, illumination

Prints and the Landscape Garden

Cover of Prints and the landscape garden: image, illusion, illumination

Prints and the Landscape Garden

By Michael Symes (1962, English)

This book considers what prints tell us about the development of the landscape garden in 18th- and early 19th- century Britain. They formed a significant part of the expanding machinery of mass communication and could thus influence taste and spread ideas. This could lead to propaganda, or at least creation of an image the owner of a property found desirable, and reality was consequently often compromised. The illusion of actuality could be achieved by adjustments and techniques employed by artists generally. Even if not entirely representational, a print may reveal much about fashions and attitudes towards the landscape garden. At their best they powerfully convey the atmosphere of a garden as well as the perception and possible idealisation of it.

The book breaks new ground, including discussion of techniques of producing a print, marketing, categories of print, and studies of the greatest engravers and a few select gardens that prints illuminate particularly well. Changes can be observed both in the developments in print-making and in the journey of the landscape garden. With 220 prints of the period to illustrate the text, all aspects of the subject are brought to the reader’s attention.

Cover of Solomonic Decorations

Solomonic Decorations

Cover of Solomonic Decorations

Solomonic Decorations

By Owain Raw-Rees (1978, Theology)

This book is neither a history of Ethiopia nor a series of biographies of the rulers described – such has been more properly attended to by more qualified persons elsewhere. My role has been that of an antiquarian – a person who studies or collects old and valuable or rare objects. I have not directly accessed any primary sources, but I have had the good fortune, often online, to be able to refer to a wealth of published material – articles, collections, biographies, histories, studies, reports and websites from which I have been able to extract and collect the many references to the Order of the Seal of Solomon.

From Emperor Tewodros II and the siege of Magdala, through the reigns of Yohannes IV, Menelik II, Iyasu, Zawditu and Haile Selassie I, this book traces the origins of the Order of the Seal of Solomon and its development into the premier award of the nation. Profusely illustrated with colour and black and white images, this 200 page hardback book is a definitive record of the Order. Also included are informative appendices concerning the origins of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia, and details of the Imperial Family Order and the Order of Negus Mikael.

Owain Raw-Rees is also the author of Somalia – The Awards of a Fallen State. An attempt to document and display the awards of the Somali peoples from 1950 – the time of the British Somaliland Protectorate and Italian Administration of the United Nations Trusteeship, through to independence in 1960 as the Somali Republic, the 1969 military coup and declaration of the Somali Democratic Republic, to the nation’s collapse in 1991.

2023

Cover of Developing a Neo-Peircean Approach to Signs

Developing a Neo-Peircean Approach to Signs

Cover of Developing a Neo-Peircean Approach to Signs

Developing a Neo-Peircean Approach to Signs

By Tony Jappy (1961, Modern Languages)

This book takes up a number of Charles Sanders Peirce’s undeveloped semiotic concepts and highlights their theoretical interest for a general semiotics.

Peirce’s career as a logician spanned almost half a century, during which time he produced several increasingly complex sign systems. The best-known, from 1903, defined amongst other things a signifying process involving sign, object and interpretant, the universally-known icon-index-symbol division and a set of 10 distinct classes of signs. Peirce subsequently expanded this process to include 2 objects, the sign and 3 interpretants. Uncoincidentally, in the 5 years between 1903 and the final system of 1908, he introduced a number of highly innovative semiotic concepts which he never developed.

One such concept is hypoiconicity, which comprises 3 levels of isomorphism holding between sign and object and, in spite of the mutations these varieties of icon subsequently underwent, offers qualitative analysis as a complement to the traditional literal-figurative binarism in the discussion of verbal and nonverbal signs. Another is semiosis, which Peirce introduced and defined in 1907 but only rarely illustrated. Involving a complex combination of object, perception, interpretation and a medium, this is shown to be a far more complex signifying process than the one implicit in the three-correlate definition of the sign of 1903. Exploring the evolving theoretical background to the emergence of these new concepts and showing how they differ from certain contemporary conceptions of sign, mind and signification, the book proposes an introduction to, and explanations and illustrations of, these important developments.

 

More books by Tony Jappy

  • Regards sur le poème muet : petite introduction à la sémiotique visuelle peircienne, Perpignan : Presses Universitaires de Perpignan, (2010).
  • Introduction to Peircean Visual Semiotics, London: Bloomsbury Academic, (2013).
  • Peirce’s Twenty-Eight Classes of Signs and the Philosophy of Representation: Rhetoric, Interpretation and Hexadic Semiosis, London: Bloomsbury Academic, (2016).
  • The Bloomsbury Companion to Contemporary Peircean Semiotics (General Editor), London: Bloomsbury Academic (2020).
Cover of Photo, Phyto, Proto, Nitro

Photo, Phyto, Proto, Nitro

Cover of Photo, Phyto, Proto, Nitro

Photo, Phyto, Proto, Nitro

By Melissa McCarthy (1994, English)

Photo: to do with light. Phyto: plants and flowers. Proto: the first, the original. Nitro: it blows up.

From Troy to Hiroshima, Crimea to the nuclear Nevada desert, we make our tracks over the war-scratched globe, and when we reach a ruin or a destination we read the markings, record them using various forms of photography. Later—or much, much later—someone else in turn will try to understand our silvery traces. These are the threads that Melissa McCarthy follows, unpicks, weaves again into a nexus of light and time: the mirrored silver cells of a shark’s eyeball, sunlight glinting off the foam and sea wrack of the Aegean on flower with corpses, the silver salts of photographic paper, silver grave-treasures at Ur.

Like an archaeologist in her own strange literary landscape, McCarthy cuts through layers of history and technology to realign the dead and their images. She examines both what can be photographed and what remains always just beyond the frame, and photography itself. It’s a practice involving chemicals and the action of light. But it’s also an organising principle for literature and beyond: there are marks made—by us, on us—that we can’t yet fully see or understand, though they push on through to the surface, always re-blooming.

Cover of The Final Curtain

The Final Curtain

Cover of The Final Curtain

The Final Curtain

By Michael Coveney (1967, English)

Michael Coveney has been writing theatrical obituaries alongside reviews for several decades and makes a telling, sometimes surprising, selection of the best performers of our time, from Laurence Olivier to Alan Rickman. The fifty articles are arranged in chronological order of each actor’s demise and constitute a vivid history of postwar theatre through the lives of the actors. There are happy/sad juxtapositions of shooting stars Robert Stephens and Alan Bates; classical queens Diana Rigg and Barbara Jefford; and versatile showtime hoofers Una Stubbs and Lionel Blair.

More books by Michael Coveney

  • Master of the House: The Theatres of Cameron Mackintosh (October 2022)
Cover of How to Expect the Unexpected

How to Expect the Unexpected

Cover of How to Expect the Unexpected

How to Expect the Unexpected

Kit Yates (2007, Biological Sciences)

This book will teach you how and why predictions go wrong, help you to spot phony forecasts and give you a better chance of getting your own predictions correct. Dr Yates provides numerous notable examples of prediction dos and don’ts to help illustrate his point, from mistakes made during the pandemic to the deliberate miscalculation of the ‘Brexit bounce’.

Cover of Frank Exchanges

Frank Exchanges

Cover of Frank Exchanges

Frank Exchanges

By David Wood OBE (1963, English)

Between 1959 and 2005, David Wood (‘the national children’s dramatist’) corresponded with his mentor, Frank Whitbourn, teacher, writer, and theatre practitioner. Frank Exchanges opens with a letter from Whitbourn, praising a young Wood following a performance in one of his plays, and documents an almost fifty-year correspondence before Whitbourn’s death in 2005. Wood sent Whitbourn the first draft of every play he wrote, and Whitbourn commented constructively and often came to see and ‘review’ the plays in production.

Cover of Johnson at 10

Johnson at 10: The Inside Story

Cover of Johnson at 10

Johnson at 10: The Inside Story

By Sir Anthony Seldon (1973, PPE) and Raymond Newell

In his latest book, the distinguished historian and headteacher goes behind the scenes to map Boris Johnson’s time in power from start to finish and sheds new light on the most divisive Prime Minister to have led the United Kingdom since Thatcher. Based on more than 200 interviews with key aides, allies and insiders, Johnson at 10 gives the first full account of Johnson’s premiership, the shockwaves of which are still felt today.

Cover of Goodbye, Dr Banda

Goodbye, Dr Banda

Cover of Goodbye, Dr Banda

Goodbye, Dr Banda

By Alexander Chula (2002, Classics)

In a ruined dictator’s palace, Alexander Chula – a classicist-turned-doctor, fresh out of Oxford – stumbles upon an oak treasure chest. Inside is a priceless, antique edition of Julius Caesar’s Gallic War. This unexpected talisman of Western high culture belongs to the mercurial Dr Banda, a man of many parts: scholarly physician, anti-colonial hero, brutal tyrant, and fallen philosopher-king. The story is enigmatic but exhilarating, by turns edifying and deeply uncomfortable. Malawi presents urgent lessons which resonate piercingly in our vexed age of culture wars and identity crisis.

Cover of Parfit

Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality

Cover of Parfit

Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality

By David Edmonds (1983, PPE)

From the bestselling co-author of Wittgenstein’s Poker, an entertaining and illuminating biography of a brilliant philosopher who tried to rescue morality from nihilism Derek Parfit (1942–2017) is the most famous philosopher most people have never heard of.

Cover of From Far Around They Saw Us Burn

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn

Cover of From Far Around They Saw Us Burn

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn

By Alice Jolly (1986, Modern History)

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is the eagerly awaited first short story collection from Alice Jolly, one of the most exciting and accomplished voices in British fiction today.

The extraordinary range of work gathered here is united by a fascination with how everyday interactions can transform our lives in unpredictable ways. These are stories of lonely people, outcasts and misfits, and the ghosts that inhabit our intimate spaces. The result is a compelling, arresting and, at times, devastating collection – not least in the title story, which was inspired by the tragic true events of the 1943 Cavan orphanage fire.

Written with an exemplary eye for detail and an intimate understanding of the complexities of human nature, Jolly’s collection builds up towards the ultimate question: what is revealed of us when we peel away the surfaces, and is it enough?

Cover of Theatre Spaces 1920-2020

Theatre Spaces 1920-2020

Cover of Theatre Spaces 1920-2020

Theatre Spaces 1920-2020

By Iain Mackintosh (1957, PPE) with foreword by Richard Eyre

In this lavishly illustrated hands-on account of the creation of new theatre spaces spanning a century, Iain Mackintosh offers a compelling history that is part memoir, part impassioned call to rethink the design of our theatre spaces and the future of live theatre. As the originator of theatre designs as diverse as the Cottesloe in 1977, Glyndebourne in 1994, the Orange Tree Theatre in 1991, the Martha Cohen Theatre in 1985 and the Tina Packer Playhouse in 2001, he discovered why the same show worked in some theatres but not in others.

Cover of Plastic Surgery in Wars, Disasters & Civilian Life

Plastic Surgery in Wars, Disasters & Civilian Life

Cover of Plastic Surgery in Wars, Disasters & Civilian Life

Plastic Surgery in Wars, Disasters & Civilian Life

By Professor Anthony Roberts OBE (1971, Medicine)

In the second publication of his memoirs, distinguished surgeon Anthony Roberts recounts his time working as a reconstructive plastic surgeon across a range of disasters and war zones. Initially inspired by his involvement in the Bradford City stadium fire of 1985, Roberts went on to contribute his medical skills to four wars, six disasters, 45 countries, and numerous charitable causes.

All profits from this book will be donated to ‘Restore – Burn and Wound Research’, the charity which Roberts set up 35 years ago.

Buy it here

Cover of Confessions of a COVID Cleric

Confessions of a COVID Cleric

Cover of Confessions of a COVID Cleric

Confessions of a COVID Cleric

By Liam Thornton (1978, English)

Father Matthew is an ordinary Vicar in an ordinary Parish. He is a Freemason. Our Tale starts in 2019 with some wry humour, as to what Christmas can be like for a Cleric. Then COVID strikes the Nation. Father Matthew’s routine, like that of everyone else, is turned upside down. Soon there is even an official Complaint made against him. A downward spiral starts.

How was the working life of Clergy changed by COVID? How did society change in its’ daily workings? What can stress do to you? Memories are seen as at some times guests, but at other times ghosts. The author hopes that, even given the serious themes, you might have the occasional chuckle.

Liam Thornton is a retired Church of England Priest.

2022

Cover of Arthur Miller: American Witness

Arthur Miller: American Witness

Cover of Arthur Miller: American Witness

Arthur Miller: American Witness

By John Lahr (1963, English)

Distinguished theater critic John Lahr brings unique perspective to the life of Arthur Miller (1915–2005), the playwright who almost single-handedly propelled twentieth-century American theater into a new realm of excitement. Organised around the fault lines of Miller’s life―his family, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, Elia Kazan and the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Marilyn Monroe, Vietnam, and the rise and fall of Miller’s role as a public intellectual―this book demonstrates the synergy between Arthur Miller’s psychology and his plays.

Cover of Peacemaking and Peacebuilding in South Africa

Peacemaking & Peacebuilding in South Africa

Cover of Peacemaking and Peacebuilding in South Africa

Peacemaking & Peacebuilding in South Africa

By Dr Liz Carmichael (1982, Theology)

Peacemaking and Peacebuilding in South Africa examines the creation and implementation of South Africa’s National Peace Accord and this key transitional phase in the country’s history, and its implications for peace mediation and conflict resolution.

It is now 30 years since the National Peace Accord (NPA) was signed in South Africa, bringing to an end the violent struggle of the Apartheid era and signalling the transition to democracy. Signed by the ANC Alliance, the Government, the Inkatha Freedom Party and a wide range of other political and labour organizations on 14 September 1991, the parties agreed in the NPA on the common goal of a united, non-racial democratic South Africa, and provided practical means for moving towards this end: codes of conduct for political organizations and for the police, the creation of national, regional and local peace structures for conflict resolution, the investigation and prevention of violence, peace monitoring, socio-economic reconstruction and peacebuilding.

This book, written by one of those involved in the process that evolved, provides for the first time an assessment and in-depth account of this key phase of South Africa’s history. The National Peace Campaign set up under the NPA mobilized the ‘silent majority’ and gave peace an unprecedented grassroots identity and legitimacy. The author describes the formulation of the NPA by political representatives, with Church and business facilitators, which ended the political impasse, constituted South Africa’s first experience of multi-party negotiations, and made it possible for the constitutional talks (Codesa) to start. She examines the work of the Goldstone Commission, which prefigured the TRC, as well as the role of international observers from the UN, EU, Commonwealth and OAU. Exploring the work of the peace structures set up to implement the Accord – the National Peace Committee and Secretariat, the 11 Regional Peace Committees and 263 Local Peace Committees, and over 18,000 peace monitors – Carmichael provides a uniquely detailed assessment of the NPA, the on-the-ground peacebuilding work and the essential involvement of the people at its heart. Filling a significant gap in modern history, this book will be essential reading for scholars, students and others interested in South Africa’s post-Apartheid history, as well as government agencies and NGOs involved in peacemaking globally.

Cover of Dear Mother Law

Dear Mother Law: For the Love of the Constitution

Cover of Dear Mother Law

Dear Mother Law: For the Love of the Constitution

By Professor Ayse Odman Boztosun (1995, Law)

The book explains the basic mechanism of rule of law by referring to the relevant provisions of the Turkish Constitution (constitution is called ‘Mother Law’ in Turkish). Originally published in Turkish, the fifth edition has been released as an e-book on Amazon Kindle.

Cover of L'organisation d’un second referendum d’autodétermination. Regards croisés. Québec, Ecosse, Catalogne, Nouvelle-Calédonie

L'organisation d’un second referendum d’autodétermination. Regards croisés.

Cover of L'organisation d’un second referendum d’autodétermination. Regards croisés. Québec, Ecosse, Catalogne, Nouvelle-Calédonie

L'organisation d’un second referendum d’autodétermination. Regards croisés.

By Professor Edwige Camp-Pietrain (1993, British & Scottish politics)

A collection of academic articles on the organisation of a second referendum on independence, based on lessons drawn from the first one and from referenda held in other nations, edited by Professor Camp-Pietrain. Researchers in politics, law, sociology, geography deal with Quebec, Scotland after the 2016 referendum on Brexit, Catalonia after failed experiments, focusing on national attempts as well as legal theories about self-determination. The book also includes New Caledonia, thus extending to decolonization processes. It ends up with detailed timelines covering many centuries about key events both from state-centered and sub-state perspectives in every territory.

More books by Edwige Camp-Pietrain

  • L’Impossible indépendance écossaise? (Neuilly (France), Atlande, October 2014)
  • L’Écosse et la tentation de l’indépendance. Le référendum d’autodétermination de 2014 (Villeneuve d’Ascq (France) : Presses universitaires de Septentrion, April 2014)
  • La devolution. Écosse, pays de Galles (Neuilly (France), Atlande, 2006)
Cover of the visitation of hereford diocese in 1397

The Visitation of Hereford Diocese in 1397

Cover of the visitation of hereford diocese in 1397

The Visitation of Hereford Diocese in 1397

Co-edited by Christopher Whittick (1971)

In 1397 the bishop of Hereford toured his diocese asking questions about its churches and people. The answers he received were written into a slim paper book, which survives in the cathedral archives today. This important medieval document offers unparalleled insight into social life, sexual behaviour, religious belief and practice, and gender relations during a period of religious and political turmoil, revealing how the clergy were disciplined, how English- and Welsh-speakers interacted, and how the congregation experienced worship. It is also a major early source for Welsh naming practices, and a treasure trove of information about local churches and parishes before the Reformation.

This volume provides a complete scholarly edition, accompanied by a full facing-page translation, introduction and notes; it will be invaluable for experienced researchers and students alike.

2021

Cover of Pastor Tillich

Pastor Tillich: The Justification of the Doubter

Cover of Pastor Tillich

Pastor Tillich: The Justification of the Doubter

By Sam Shearn (2014, Theology)

The book tells the story of German-American theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965) and his early theological development from his student days until the end of the First World War, set against the backdrop of church politics in pre-war Germany and with particular reference to his early sermons. Using a wealth of hitherto untranslated German sources, the book explores Tillich’s theological interpretation of religious doubt to present a significantly original, contextualised account of Tillich’s early life in Germany.

Cover of The Long War

The Long War

Cover of The Long War

The Long War

By David Loyn (1972, Modern History)

Just as US soldiers and diplomats pulled out of Afghanistan, supposedly concluding their role and responsibility in the two-decade conflict, the country fell to the Taliban. In The Long War: The Inside Story of America and Afghanistan Since 9/11, award-winning BBC foreign correspondent David Loyn uncovers the political and military strategies—and failures—that prolonged America’s longest war.

Three American presidents tried to defeat the Taliban—sending 150,000 international troops at the war’s peak with a trillion-dollar price tag. But early policy mistakes that allowed Osama bin Laden to escape made the task far more difficult. Deceived by easy victories, they backed ruthless corrupt local allies and misspent aid.

The story of The Long War is told by the generals who led it through the hardest years of combat as surges of international troops tried to turn the tide. Generals, which include David Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal, Joe Dunford and John Allen, were tested in battle as never before. With the reputation of a “warrior monk,” McChrystal was considered one of the most gifted military leaders of his generation. He was one of two generals to be fired in this most public of commands.

Holding together the coalition of countries who joined America’s fight in Afghanistan was just one part of the multi-dimensional puzzle faced by the generals, as they fought an elusive and determined enemy while responsible for thousands of young American and allied lives. The Long War goes behind the scenes of their command and of the Afghan government.

The fourth president to take on the war, Joe Biden ordered troops to withdraw in 2021, twenty years after 9/11, just as the Taliban achieved victory, leaving behind an unstable nation and an unforeseeable future.

Cover of Ever Closer Union?

Ever Closer Union? Europe in the West

Cover of Ever Closer Union?

Ever Closer Union? Europe in the West

By Perry Anderson (1956, Modern Languages)

The European Union is a political order of peculiar stamp and continental scope, its polity of 446 million the third largest on the planet, though with famously little purchase on the conduct of its representatives. Sixty years after the founding treaty, what sort of structure has crystallised, and does the promise of ever closer union still obtain?

Against the self-image of the bloc, Perry Anderson poses the historical record of its assembly. He traces the wider arc of European history, from First World War to Eurozone crisis, the hegemony of Versailles to that of Maastricht, and casts the work of the EU’s leading contemporary analysts – both independent critics and court philosophers – in older traditions of political thought. Are there likenesses to the age of Metternich, lessons in statecraft from that of Machiavelli?

An excursus on the UK’s jarring departure from the Union considers the responses it has met with inside the country’s intelligentsia, from the contrite to the incandescent. How do Brussels and Westminster compare as constitutional forms? Differently put, which could be said to be worse?

Cover of Exiles from Paradise

Exiles from Paradise

Cover of Exiles from Paradise

Exiles from Paradise

By Brigitte Adès (1982, International Relations)

Through the friendship of two young Franco-Iranians, Exiles from Paradise is a thought-provoking novel about discrimination, heritage and belonging and a powerful interrogation of the nature of nationality and identity in the 21st century. It also evokes the question of an enlightened Islam versus fanaticism.

Despite their academic achievements, Farhad and his circle of friends feel estranged from Paris, the city they grew up in, as they face prejudice from prospective employers and rejection for their Islamic culture. Searching for his roots, Farhad travels to Iran where he discovers that his ancestors fought the Assassins, the first terrorists in history. Encouraged by this glorious past and in a quest to track down a long-lost heirloom, the rare Alamut stone, Farhad follows the trail to London. His closest friend Reza is working for an Islamic charity in London, but his behaviour is becoming increasingly withdrawn, prompting fears of radicalisation. Farhad’s courageous response is a hymn to bravery and ancestral values.

First published in France to critical acclaim, Exiles from Paradise is a thought-provoking novel about discrimination, heritage and belonging. Brigitte Adès’ captivating novel is a celebration of Iranian culture, community and connection, as well as a powerful interrogation of the nature of nationality and identity in the 21st century.

Cover of The Art of Discussion

The Art of Discussion: How to Have Better Conversations

Cover of The Art of Discussion

The Art of Discussion: How to Have Better Conversations

By James Wyatt (1993, Mathematics)

In an entertaining and thought-provoking style, this book considers some controversial topics in a way that shifts attention away from what is right and wrong to highlight the failings in our approach. ‘When our connected world should be bringing us closer together, polarised opinions and dysfunctional conversations are pushing us further apart. The Art of Discussion has never been more important.’

2020

Cover of Speculative Satire in Contemporary Literature and Film

Speculative Satire in Contemporary Literature & Film

Cover of Speculative Satire in Contemporary Literature and Film

Speculative Satire in Contemporary Literature & Film

By Kirk Combe (1983, British Literature)

Since 1980, when neoliberal and neoconservative forces began their hostile takeover of western culture, a new type of political satire has emerged that works to unmask and deter those toxic doctrines. Literary and cultural critic Kirk Combe calls this new form of satire the Rant. The Rant is grim, highly imaginative, and complex in its blending of genres. It mixes facets of satire, science fiction, and monster tale to produce widely consumed spectacles—major studio movies, popular television/streaming series, bestselling novels—designed to disturb and to provoke. The Rant targets what Combe calls the Regime. Simply put, the Regime is the sum of the dangerous social, economic, and political orthodoxies spurred on by neoliberal and neoconservative polity. Such practices include free-market capitalism, corporatism, militarism, religiosity, imperialism, racism, patriarchy, and so on. In the Rant, then, we have a unique and wholly contemporary genre of political expression and protest: speculative satire.

 

More books by Kirk Combe

  • Masculinity and Monstrosity in Contemporary Hollywood Films (Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Global Masculinities, co-authored with Brenda M. Boyle), 2013.
  • A Martyr for Sin: Rochester’s Critique of Polity, Sexuality, and Society. Newark: University of Delaware Press. London: Associated University Presses, 1998.
  • Theorizing Satire: Essays in Literary Criticism (co-edited collection of essays and co-authored introduction with Brian Connery). New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995. 
Cover of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

Cover of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

By Richard Flanagan (1984, Modern History)

An ember storm of a novel, this is Booker Prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan at his most moving-and astonishing-best.

Anna’s aged mother is dying – if her three children would just allow it. Forced by their pity to stay alive, she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight.

When Anna’s finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful novel about hope, love and orange-bellied parrots.

Cover of Copyright, Data and Creativity in the Digital Age

Copyright, Data and Creativity in the Digital Age

Cover of Copyright, Data and Creativity in the Digital Age

Copyright, Data and Creativity in the Digital Age

By Julian Warner (1978, DPhil English Literature)

The Supreme Court of the United States in Feist v. Rural (1991) required that databases must have a minimal degree of creativity for copyright. The judgment was highly significant and the subsequent period is understood as the post-Feist era. It has been globally influential. However, the decision is extremely complex and remains unsatisfactorily interpreted. In particular, it has been impossible to illuminate the creativity requirement.

The book gives an account of the decision’s conceptual structure, focusing on its full delineation of the opposite to creativity. In a radical and unprecedented innovation, it is correlated with an automatic computational process. Creativity itself is understood as non-computational or directly human activity concerned with meaning. Determining the presence of creativity is reduced to a four-stage test. This work then has acute practical current relevance to property in data in the digital age; it will also be of theoretical interest to, and is aimed at, researchers in, practitioners, and students of intellectual property worldwide.

 

More books by Julian Warner

Cover of How the Hell Are You

How The Hell Are You

Cover of How the Hell Are You

How The Hell Are You

By Glyn Maxwell (1982, English)

Here, there are squibs and satires, lyrics and songs, poems written to family members and in memory of loved ones, a series of poems written by an artificial intelligence that will thrill and disturb in equal measure, and a chance for the blank page to finally speak for itself. But How The Hell Are You is, in its way, also a quietly political book: Maxwell regards poetry as truth-telling, and these poems – in their intimate, unsparing accounts and clear-eyed reckonings – recoil from the lies and fake news of the age to actually ‘tell it like it is’. How The Hell Are You shows a remarkable imagination and mind working at full tilt, and is the most powerful expression of Maxwell’s talent to date.

Cover of The Black Art of Killing

The Black Art of Killing

Cover of The Black Art of Killing

The Black Art of Killing

By Matthew Hall (1985, Law)

‘People sleep peacefully only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf . . .’ For twenty years Leo Black was in the SAS. Now he lectures on violence instead of committing it, putting his soldiering days behind him in pursuit of a respectful academic life. But when a former comrade in arms is killed trying to prevent a scientist’s abduction, Black is faced with an unexpected choice. Be the upright citizen the university demands . . . Or avenge the dead man to whom he owes his life.

2019

Cover of Patience

Patience

Cover of Patience

Patience

By Toby Litt (1986, English)

Elliott is something of a genius. He is hugely intelligent. He’s an incredible observer. He is able to memorise and categorise in astonishing detail. He has a beautiful and unusual imagination. More than that, Elliott is an ideal friend. He is overflowing with compassion and warmth and fun. To know him is to adore him.

But few people do know Elliott, properly. Because Elliott is also stuck. He lives in a wheelchair in an orphanage. It’s 1979. Elliott is forced to spend his days in an empty corridor, either gazing out of the window at the birds in a tree or staring into a white wall – wherever the Catholic Sisters who run the ward have decided to park him.

So when Jim, blind and mute but also headstrong, arrives on the ward and begins to defy the Sisters’ restrictive rules, Elliott finally sees a chance for escape. Individually, the unloved, unvalued orphans will stay just where they are; together, they could achieve a magnificent freedom – if only for a few hours.

But how can Elliott, unable to move or speak clearly, communicate all this to Jim? How can he even get Jim to know he exists? Patience is a remarkable story of love and friendship, courage and adventure – and finding joy in the most unlikely of settings. Elliott and Jim are going to have some fun.

Cover of Romans Disarmed

Romans Disarmed

Cover of Romans Disarmed

Romans Disarmed

By Dr Sylvia C. Keesmaat (1989, DPhil Theology) & Dr Brian J. Walsh

Globalization. Homelessness. Ecological and economic crisis. Conflicts over sexuality. Violence. These crisis-level issues may seem unique to our times, but Paul’s Letter to the Romans has something to say to all of them.

Following their successful Colossians Remixed, Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh unpack the meaning of Romans for its original context and for today. The authors demonstrate how Romans disarms the political, economic, and cultural power of the Roman Empire and how this ancient letter offers hope in today’s crisis-laden world.

Romans Disarmed helps readers enter the world of ancient Rome and see how Paul’s most radical letter transforms the lives of the marginalized then and now. Intentionally avoiding abstract debates about Paul’s theology, Keesmaat and Walsh move back and forth between the present and the past as they explore themes of home, economic justice, creation care, the violence of the state, sexuality, and Indigenous reconciliation. They show how Romans engages with the lived reality of those who suffer from injustice, both in the first century and in the midst of our own imperial realities.

Read more about Dr Keesmaat’s publications

Cover of Divine Bodies

Divine Bodies: Resurrecting Perfection in the New Testament & Early Christianity

Cover of Divine Bodies

Divine Bodies: Resurrecting Perfection in the New Testament & Early Christianity

By Candida R. Moss (1996, Theology)

A path-breaking scholar’s insightful reexamination of the resurrection of the body and the construction of the self. When people talk about the resurrection they often assume that the bodies in the afterlife will be perfect. But which version of our bodies gets resurrected—young or old, healthy or sick, real-to-life or idealized? What bodily qualities must be recast in heaven for a body to qualify as both ours and heavenly?

The resurrection is one of the foundational statements of Christian theology, but when it comes to the New Testament only a handful of passages helps us answer the question ‘What will those bodies be like?’ More problematically, the selection and interpretation of these texts are grounded in assumptions about the kinds of earthly bodies that are most desirable. Drawing upon previously unexplored evidence in ancient medicine, philosophy, and culture, this illuminating book both revisits central texts—such as the resurrection of Jesus—and mines virtually ignored passages in the Gospels to show how the resurrection of the body addresses larger questions about identity and the self.

Cover of Copyright and Collective Authorship

Copyright and Collective Authorship

Cover of Copyright and Collective Authorship

Copyright and Collective Authorship

By Daniela Simone (2007, Law)

As technology makes it easier for people to work together, large-scale collaboration is becoming increasingly prevalent. In this context, the question of how to determine authorship – and hence ownership – of copyright in collaborative works is an important question to which current copyright law fails to provide a coherent or consistent answer. In Copyright and Collective Authorship, Daniela Simone engages with the problem of how to determine the authorship of highly collaborative works. Employing insights from the ways in which collaborators understand and regulate issues of authorship, the book argues that a recalibration of copyright law is necessary, proposing an inclusive and contextual approach to joint authorship that is true to the legal concept of authorship but is also more aligned with creative reality.

Cover of André Gide and Curiosity

André Gide and Curiosity

Cover of André Gide and Curiosity

André Gide and Curiosity

By Victoria Reid (1996, French & German)

This comprehensive exploration of curiosity in the fiction and life-writing of André Gide (1869–1951) is an important modernist contribution to the field of curiosity in literature and cultural studies more broadly. Curiosity was a credo for Gide. By observing the world and then manifesting in writing these observations, he stimulates the curiosity of readers, conceived as virtual conduits of a curiosity once his own. Using a thematic structure of sexual, scientific and writerly curiosity, this volume identifies processes of curiosity in the life-writing (including the travel-writing) which illuminate processes in the fiction, and vice versa. Theories of fetishism, gender and sexuality are applied to Gide’s corpus to illustrate his championing of a masculine curiosity of enlightenment and adventure over a feminised ‘curiosité-défaillance’ of disobedience and harm, and to explore objects eliciting his incuriosity. Gide’s creativity is nourished by his curiosity, as close readings of his work informed by Melanie Klein’s psychoanalytic writing on epistemophilia reveal. Curiosity is a rewarding, non-reductionist perspective from which the exceptional variety of Gide’s subject matter, style and genre can be more coherently understood. Research draws principally on the six Pléiade volumes of Gide’s œuvre, published 1996–2009.

Victoria Reid is also the co-editor, with Andrew Radford, of Franco-British Cultural Exchanges, 1880-1940: Channel Packets (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).