Christoph Bode, Sandra Leaton Gray, Tim Hall, George McKay and Peter J. Smith...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

May 9, 2013

Christoph Bode, chair of modern English literature at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, is reading Stig Dagerman’s German Autumn (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). “This collection of essays by the Swedish writer about occupied Germany, first published in 1947, can be unbearable in their intensity: bleak, acerbic, critical of Germans and Allies alike. For obvious reasons, no German could have written them at the time. Mark Kurlansky’s superb new foreword to this edition alone is worth the purchase, spelling out the implications of what followed victory. Recommended by Graham Greene and Henning Mankell. And me.”

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

Sandra Leaton Gray, senior lecturer in education, Institute of Education, is reading Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (Hurst & Blackett, 1939), translated by James Murphy. “I have inherited a copy of this from a relative, and felt I should attempt to read it. I can only report failure. I felt rather dirty even handling something with a swastika on the front. It is appallingly written, self-serving and tedious. I have made it to page 39 but I see racism ahead and just can’t bring myself to read on. It is back on the shelf next to Churchill’s six-volume The Second World War. Thank goodness we weren’t invaded, or this would be a GCSE set work (shudder).”

The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Los Angeles, edited by Kevin R. McNamara

Tim Hall, principal lecturer in geography and social sciences, University of Gloucestershire, is reading The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Los Angeles (Cambridge University Press, 2010), edited by Kevin R. McNamara. “I took this on a recent trip to Los Angeles instead of a conventional guidebook. Its 15 tightly written essays take us well beyond hard-boiled crime noir, dystopian futures and Beverly Hills fantasies to reveal ‘a city made of words’ by its diverse populations. Rooted in the texts, rather than abstract theory, it maps a rich and complex literature.”

Communes Britannica by Chris Coates

George McKay, AHRC leadership fellow for the Connected Communities programme, University of Salford, is reading Chris Coates’ Communes Britannica: A History of Communal Living in Britain, 1939-2000 (Diggers and Dreamers, 2012). “An entertaining, informative directory of social experiments in alternative living. Packed with images and anecdotes, it captures the excitement of the cranks, religious visionaries, dropouts and utopian pragmatists up to and beyond the 1960s and 1970s. I even found out there was a pacifist commune on my street in 1940: Utopia isn’t nowhere, it’s down the road.”

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Peter J. Smith, reader in Renaissance literature at Nottingham Trent University, has just read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (Random House, 1966). “Pioneering part documentary/part fiction on the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. In November 1959, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock burgled the Clutters’ house. They got away with $40 and some binoculars, leaving behind two adults and two children, shot at point- blank range. Capote’s account is brilliantly suspenseful and chillingly detached. Not a book to take to bed; I finished it, in a single sitting, at eight o’clock the next morning.”

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Retired academics calculating moves while playing bowls

Lincoln Allison, Eric Thomas and Richard Larschan reflect on the ‘next phase’ of the scholarly life