Laurence Coupe, Michael Patrick Cullinane, John Gilbey, Liz Gloyn and Richard Howells...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

October 3, 2013

Laurence Coupe, senior lecturer in English, Manchester Metropolitan University, is re-reading Kenneth Burke’s Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method (University of California Press, 1966). “In these essays, Burke offers his most accessible account of the way human beings use words to cope with situations, and how they so often abuse them in their attempt to subdue nature, maintain hierarchy and pursue perfection – with literature usually, but not always, offering the necessary corrective.”

The Lion and the Journalist, by Chip Bishop

Michael Patrick Cullinane, senior lecturer in US history at Northumbria University, is reading Chip Bishop’s The Lion and the Journalist (Lyons Press, 2012). “The story of Theodore Roosevelt and his lifelong friendship with Joseph Bucklin Bishop is engrossing. Their lives intersect at historic moments, adding perspective to the 1902 coal strike, the administration of the Panama Canal, the 1912 election and 20th-century journalism in the White House. Most importantly, as Roosevelt’s official biographer, Bishop’s controversial hagiography can tell us much about this president’s early legacy.”

Sailing Alone Around the World, by Joshua Slocum

John Gilbey, who lectures in IT service management at Aberystwyth University, is reading – for maybe the fourth or fifth time – Joshua Slocum’s classic nautical tale Sailing Alone Around the World (John Beaufoy, 2010). “Having rebuilt the oyster sloop Spray, which he found in a meadow, Slocum set off from Boston in 1895 on an eventful three-year circumnavigation. The book was hugely popular at the time – and the dry, understated humour with which he describes his triumphs and disasters still brings a smile to the faces of those who have (like me) made fools of themselves at sea.”

Lavinia, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Liz Gloyn, lecturer in Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London, is reading Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia (Orion, 2010). “Le Guin breathes life into a pivotal but almost invisible character from Virgil’s epic poem, the Aeneid, and retells the classic foundation myth of Rome from her perspective. Lavina’s choice to marry Aeneas instead of Turnus brings war to her people, but also enables the eventual rise of Augustus. A great example of imaginative classical reception in contemporary fiction.”

Roger Fry's 'Difficult and Uncertain Science', by Adrianne Rubin

Richard Howells, reader in culture, media and creative industries, King’s College London, is reading Adrianne Rubin’s Roger Fry’s ‘Difficult and Uncertain Science’ (Peter Lang, 2013). “I’ll read anything about Fry – a scholar, aesthete and public intellectual who was also said to be extremely good company. This is true even of a book that is essentially a published doctoral thesis and therefore slightly less engaging. But the author takes the great man with appropriate seriousness, confirming that with Roger Eliot Fry we have one R.E.F. who, unlike his acronymic namesake, genuinely deserves to be called excellent.”

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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard