What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

September 17, 2009

Jerome de Groot is lecturer in Renaissance literature and culture, University of Manchester. - "I am currently putting together a series of workshops and reading group discussions about pre-modern sexuality, so I am rereading Jonathan Goldberg's edited volume Queering the Renaissance (Duke University Press, 1993), Carolyn Dinshaw's Getting Medieval (Duke University Press, 1999) and Valerie Traub's The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2002) for inspiration."

Richard J. Evans is Regius professor of modern history, University of Cambridge. - "While I was lazing on a Greek-island beach in August, I managed to catch up on my novel reading; the best of this year's bunch was A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, a wonderfully evocative and absorbing account of childhood in the milieu of the Arts and Crafts movement in England before the First World War."

Matthew Morrison, senior lecturer in creative writing, University of Westminster, is reading Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing (Touchstone, 2004). - "First published in 1942, this is an inspiring and passionate introduction to playwriting. Egri is fascinated by the motivations for our actions, and at the heart of the book is a moving belief in human beings' capacity for change. He also brilliantly analyses plays, in particular Ibsen's A Doll's House, one of my own personal favourites."

Radhakrishnan Nayar is a writer on international affairs who has lectured at the University of London. - "I am reading Alejo Carpentier's lush, baroque novel about Haiti's slave uprisings, The Kingdom of This World (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2006). It has a descriptive sophistication rendering greater writers amateurish. Such highly coloured, tumultuous events, caught in such perfect, ornate, musical prose! 'Poison crawled across the Plaine du Nord, invading pastures and stables ...'."

John Shand is associate lecturer in philosophy, The Open University. - "When you've been reading hard stuff all day, it's difficult to find something suitable to read in the evening. So it is with gratitude and pleasure that I've been reading Robert Goddard's A Name to a Face (Corgi, 2008); not so hard as to be like a crossword puzzle, but not so easy as to be an insult to your intelligence. Some may look down on it, and the author's other works, because they're 'thrillers' - but they shouldn't. It's utterly engrossing and not something you have to make yourself read."

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