Robert Eaglestone, Liz Gloyn, Sandra Leaton Gray, Dennis Hayes and Janet Sayers...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

February 26, 2015

Robert Eaglestone, professor of contemporary literature and thought, Royal Holloway, University of London, is reading Martin Paul Eve’s Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge University Press, 2014). “Aaagh! Open access is complicated, jargon-ridden and (although often quite dull) really important. Everyone in the humanities needs to be clued up about it, if only to avoid being rolled over by various interested parties. Eve’s book is clear, explanatory and a great guide to the future. It’s available on open access, too.”

Book review: The Manzoni Family, by Natalia Ginzburg

Liz Gloyn, lecturer in Classics, Royal Holloway, University of London, is reading Natalia Ginzburg’s The Manzoni Family (Arcade, 2011). “An interesting cross between a novel and a corporate biography, this traces the family history of Alessandro Manzoni, best known as the author of I Promessi Sposi (18). Archival material and imaginative reconstruction bring the characters to life, as Ginzburg confidently leads us through the generations and their tribulations, with unexpected glimpses of everyday life.”

Book review: Rose Heilbron: The Story of England’s First Woman Queen’s Counsel and Judge, by Hilary Heilbron

Sandra Leaton Gray, senior lecturer in education, UCL Institute of Education, is reading Hilary Heilbron’s Rose Heilbron: The Story of England’s First Woman Queen’s Counsel and Judge (Hart, 2012). “Written by her daughter, this is the biography of a brilliant Liverpool barrister who achieved almost iconic status in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1949, Heilbron was the first woman to become a QC, and later the TV series Justice was loosely based on her career. She did all this without the benefit of a) being a bloke or b) having previous connections with the legal profession, when both mattered very much.”

Book review: Versions of ­Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to ­Revolution, by Stanley Fish

Dennis Hayes, professor of education at the University of Derby and director of Academics for Academic Freedom, is reading Stanley Fish’s Versions of Academic Freedom: From Professionalism to Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2014). “By separating freedom of speech from academic freedom, Fish not only provides comfort to university bureaucrats and jobbing researchers, he also undermines the foundation of the university. Because civilised societies value freedom of speech, they embody universities with the fullest expression of that freedom in order to pursue truth. Break that link, and being an academic amounts to nothing more than being paid to enjoy elite privileges that can easily be taken away.”

Book review: Art and Analysis, edited by Meg ­Harris Williams

Janet Sayers, emeritus professor of psychoanalytic psychology, University of Kent, has just read Art and Analysis (Karnac, 2014), edited by Meg Harris Williams. “It was wonderful coming across this after completing my biography of the art critic Adrian Stokes. With very well selected and organised excerpts from Stokes’ writings, Williams marvellously illustrates the ways psychoanalysis can illuminate aesthetic experience of art and landscape. What a contrast with Freud’s notorious book about Leonardo da Vinci and other psychoanalytic writings of that ilk.”

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