Dennis Hayes, James Stevens Curl, Paul Greatrix, John Mathew and John Morton...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

January 2, 2014

Dennis Hayes, professor of education, University of Derby, is reading Vanessa Pupavac’s Language Rights: From Free Speech to Linguistic Governance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). “Pupavac argues that how we see human beings determines our attitudes to freedom of speech. If we believe in human potential, free speech is unrestricted. If we have a diminished view of people, we restrict their speech and tell them what to think, as do many governments and international organisations. Worse still are radical movements such as Occupy, which show no interest in other human beings and feel no need to communicate through speech and argument.”

Imperial Gothic, by G. A. Bremner

James Stevens Curl, a member of the Royal Irish Academy, is reading G. A. Bremner’s Imperial Gothic: Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, 1840-1870 (Yale University Press, 2013). “The much-maligned Empire left a tremendous architectural legacy (especially in ecclesiastical terms), notably in India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. This splendid work superbly illustrates and describes churches created in the cause of global Anglicanism. ‘Groundbreaking book’ is an over-used term, but that is what this is: a beautiful reminder of the high-minded aspirations of what was once considered to be not an ignoble undertaking.”

The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll, by Robert Forster

Paul Greatrix, registrar, University of Nottingham, is reading Robert Forster’s The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll: Collected Music Writings 2005-11 (Jawbone, 2011). “In this collection of essays by one of the creative engines of the absurdly underrated Australian band the Go-Betweens, Forster has delivered a terrific commentary on music past and present. He demonstrates three things: first, he can really write; second, he has great taste; and third, his insider knowledge delivers a set of genuine insights into music and its creators.”

The K2 Man (And His Molluscs), by Catherine Moorehead

John Mathew, visiting assistant professor in the department of history, Duke University, is reading Catherine Moorehead’s The K2 Man (and His Molluscs) (Neil Wilson Publishing, 2013). “In this, the first biography of Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen (1834-1923), discoverer of K2, the second- highest Himalayan peak, Moorehead describes his Kashmir, Central Asian, Bhutan, Burma and Assam expeditions, polymathic science contributions (malacology, ornithology, geology), artistic achievements, colourful personal life (three marriages and a youthful indiscretion) and three religious conversions.”

Victorian Poetry in Context, by Rosie Miles

John Morton, senior lecturer in English, University of Greenwich, is reading Rosie Miles’ Victorian Poetry in Context (Bloomsbury, 2013). “This approachable yet rigorous book is not only an excellent introduction but also contains much for those familiar with Victorian poetry to ponder. Its final two chapters are brilliant, providing a wide-ranging summary of movements in criticism and a fascinating introduction to the afterlives of Victorian verse, cropping up in the most unlikely places, from Virginia Woolf’s essays to Hellboy II.”

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