Andrew King, R. C. Richardson, Peter J. Smith, Amanda Taylor and Sharon Wheeler...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

July 31, 2014

Andrew King, professor of English literature and literary studies, University of Greenwich, is reading Elinor Glyn as Novelist, Moviemaker, Glamour Icon and Businesswoman (Ashgate, 2014) by Vincent Barnett and Alexis Weedon. “My students loved Glyn’s 1907 novel Three Weeks when I set it this past year, so I was delighted when this book appeared. She is one of those authors, like Ouida, whose work is way beyond the pale of the canon – its dangerous shadow that we love to despise. The details of how Glyn arrived at the glamorous heights of Hollywood show just how canny such women were.”

Book review: One Man’s England, by W. G. Hoskins

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading W. G. Hoskins’ One Man’s England (BBC Publications, 1976). “The work of a pioneer of local history, landscape history and much else, this book accompanied a successful television series and demonstrates Hoskins in action as a great communicator. Passion and prejudices are here in plenty; he was always forthright about what he liked and hated. But although he found modernisation and technology loathsome, an exception is made here for the Earth Station at Goonhilly, Cornwall, ‘one of the most marvellous sites in England’.”

Book review: Nine Lives of William Shakespeare, by Graham Holderness

Peter J. Smith, reader in Renaissance literature, Nottingham Trent University, is reading Graham Holderness’ Nine Lives of William Shakespeare (Continuum, 2011). “Holderness is excellent at showing how the bare facts of Shakespeare’s life have been augmented to produce legends that have hardened into ‘orthodoxy’. But his most innovative contribution is that chapters are followed by fictional narratives in the style of Conan Doyle, Dan Brown, Hemingway and so on. My favourite is a Crusoe-meets-Gulliver travelogue set on the desert island of Bardolo, where King William is enthroned in a reconstructed Globe and the sacred book is The Complete Works of Shakespeare.”

Book review: Reflections on a Life in Social Work: A Personal & Professional Memoir, by Olive Stevenson

Amanda Taylor, senior lecturer in social work, University of Central Lancashire, is reading Olive Stevenson’s Reflections on a Life in Social Work: A Personal & Professional Memoir (Hinton House, 2013). “Stevenson writes with conviction as a practitioner, an academic and, above all, as a human being. The messages are inspirational and will reach inside the soul of those for whom reflection is the default position. This text is the next to be read by @SWBookGroup as a part of a National Book Group in Social Work Education later this year.”

Book review: Cover Story, by Colin Forbes

Sharon Wheeler, senior lecturer in journalism, University of Portsmouth, is reading Colin Forbes’ Cover Story (Pan, 1985). “I’m a sucker for books with journalist heroes, although Forbes’ thriller surely must have seemed dated when it was published 30 years ago, with its leaden dialogue, plotting by numbers, spiffing chaps and plucky gals. But there’s a quaint, old-fashioned charm to it as head spook Tweed potters around Europe trying to track down a defector. Strangely, top foreign correspondent Robert Newman never seems to write a story.”

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