Liz Gloyn, Avril Goodwin, R.C. Richardson, Rob Spence and Sharon Wheeler...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

July 11, 2013

Liz Gloyn, teaching fellow in Roman literature, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham, is reading Gillian Sutherland’s Faith, Duty and the Power of the Mind: The Cloughs and Their Circle 1820-1960 (Cambridge University Press, 2006). “I’m working on a chapter about female classicists at Newnham College, Cambridge; this book is a fabulous introduction to the family and social background of Anne Jemima Clough and Blanche Athena Clough, the college’s first and fourth principals. It also offers an insight into the challenges and obstacles faced by pioneers in women’s education and their resourcefulness in facing them.”

The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh

Avril Goodwin, campus librarian at Dumfries, University of the West of Scotland, is reading Louise Welsh’s The Girl on the Stairs (John Murray, 2012). “I read this novel with increasing unease, sharing the narrator’s anxiety but never quite able to trust her. Jane, heavily pregnant and newly moved to Berlin, breezes into the life of her neighbours, determined to help. Mindful of recent reports of sexual exploitation of young women I am conflicted, but in the end I have to shout: ‘Don’t do it’.”

Korea: A Walk through the Land of Miracles by Simon Winchester

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Simon Winchester’s Korea: A Walk through the Land of Miracles (Penguin, 2004). “An account of Winchester’s late 1980s walking trek that followed the route of the shipwrecked 17th-century Dutchman Hendrick Hamel along the whole length of South Korea. Features of traditional society and culture still coexisted in abundance 30 years ago alongside the modern miracles of Hyundai and Daewoo, and English visitors were still an eye-catching novelty in the Korean countryside.”

The Intellectuals and the Masses by John Carey

Rob Spence, senior lecturer in English literature at Edge Hill University, is reading John Carey’s The Intellectuals and the Masses (Faber, 1992). “This is a sharply focused account of the attitudes of the early Modernists to those they considered beneath them. I always knew how unpleasantly snobbish T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis and Virginia Woolf could be, but hadn’t realised the depth of their contempt. Arnold Bennett emerges as a hero. Carey has made me want to read more of Bennett’s work.”

Grave Land by Alan Glynn

Sharon Wheeler, senior lecturer in journalism, University of Portsmouth, is reading Alan Glynn’s Graveland (Faber, 2013). “Irish writer Glynn’s clear-eyed thrillers read like they’ve leaped off the front pages of the newspapers. This is the final book in a loosely linked trilogy that opened with a gangland murder in Dublin, moved to politics and murky business in Africa and closes among the finance movers and shakers of New York, all the while shadowed by a couple of tenacious journalists.”

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