Category Archives: Authors

Christopher Marlowe at 450

This is a guest post by Sara Munson Deats

christopher marlowe at 450As the baptism date, if not birthday, of internationally renowned English playwright, poet, and translator Christopher Marlowe, February 26 seems an auspicious day to celebrate the recent publication of Christopher Marlowe at 450. The year 2014 saw the 450th anniversary of Marlowe’s birth. To commemorate this significant anniversary, the book evaluates the scholarship and criticism treating all aspects of the poet/playwright–his biography, his individual poems, including his translations, and his seven plays–to discover what has been covered, what has been neglected, and what areas scholarship and criticism might focus on in the future.

There has never been a retrospective on Marlowe as comprehensive and up-to-date in appraising the Marlovian landscape. Each chapter has been written by an eminent Marlovian scholar, and in addition to considering all of Marlowe’s dramas and poetry, the volume contains chapters exploring the following special topics: critical approaches to Marlowe, Marlowe’s plays in performance; Marlowe and theater history; electronic resources for Marlowe research; and Marlowe’s biography. The volume thus provides an indispensable source of information not only for Marlowe students and scholars but for anyone interested in Renaissance drama and poetry. And because interest in every aspect of Marlowe studies has burgeoned since the turn of the century, it seems appropriate at this time to present a comprehensive assessment of traditional and contemporary approaches, and to predict future lines of inquiry into the life and work of this fascinating poet and playwright.

The book is dedicated to the Marlowe Society of America, and to the cadre of scholars throughout history who have devoted their time and talent to refining our understanding of Christopher Marlowe, and of his contributions to English literature.

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Sara Munson Deats is Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of South Florida, and editor, with Robert A. Logan (Hartford), of Christopher Marlowe at 450.

Contributors to the book: Sara Munson Deats; Robert A. Logan; Ruth Lunney; Tom Rutter; Stephen J. Lynch; Leah S. Marcus; Patrick Cheney; M. L. Stapleton; Richard Wilson; David Bevington; Christopher Matusiak; David McInnis; Constance Brown Kuriyama

The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia wins the 2015 Eleanor Tufts Award – Congratulations Glaire D. Anderson!

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Coordinator

The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval IberiaEvery year the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies recognizes an outstanding publication in the area of Spanish or Portuguese art history. This year the committee has honored Glaire D. Anderson’s book, The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia with the award and remarked:

‘This publication met and surpassed the stipulated award criteria of “originality of conception, thoroughness of research, rigor of argument, brilliance of insight, significance of findings, and clarity of expression.” Although the book will engage and satisfy specialists in Islamic art and architecture, Anderson’s clear prose makes it accessible and valuable to anyone with an interest in a host of related fields.’ The 2015 Eleanor Tufts Book Award Committee

Previous reviews have also applauded the book:

‘Architects, historians, and art historians, as well as scholars and students of medieval culture, will undoubtedly enjoy Anderson’s book.’   Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review

‘…full of intellectual insights…’   Speculum

‘…an innovative study and an enjoyable read…’   Mariam Rosser-Owen, Victoria and Albert Museum

‘…meticulous study…’   Marcus Milwright, University of Victoria

About the Author: Glaire D. Anderson is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Learn more about The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia.

Francis I and Sixteenth-Century France – a guest post from Robert J Knecht

This is a guest post from Robert J Knecht, whose Variorum Collected Studies volume Francis I and Sixteenth-Century France is due for publication later this year.

The publication of my book Francis I and Sixteenth-Century France coincides with celebrations in France marking the fifth centenary of that king’s accession to the French throne in 1515.

Francis I belonged to an illustrious trio of monarchs who dominated Europe in the early sixteenth century, the others being Henry VIII of England and the Emperor Charles V. Soon after his accession, Francis I led a huge army across the Alps and conquered the duchy of Milan after defeating the Swiss – then reputed the leading military power – at the battle of Marignano. Acclaimed as the new Julius Caesar, he remained popular even after he had been defeated and taken prisoner at Pavia in 1525. Under the Bourbon dynasty and the ensuing republic, however, he was largely forgotten. He then suffered at the hands of Victor Hugo and other novelists who portrayed him as little more than a playboy.

But he has now regained his rightful place as a great Renaissance monarch. He is remembered as a notable patron of the arts, who built some of the finest chateaux in France and employed leading Italian artists of his day, including Leonardo da Vinci. He also encouraged learning and built up one of the finest libraries in Europe. But he also had to face serious challenges, none more so than the rise of Protestantism.

In my new volume published under the Variorum imprint, I look more closely at these topics than I was able to do in my biography of the king, published in 1994. In particular, I look at the court, at the roles played by the king’s mother and sister, at his relations with the papacy, at his quarrels with the Parlement of Paris, at the treason of the duke of Bourbon, at the king’s so-called ‘absolutism’ and the political ideas that circulated in his reign, at his relations with Paris, at the building of the chateau of Fontainebleau. Two summit meetings, one with Henry VIII and the other with Charles V, are examined. As an English historian, I compare the attitudes of Francis I and Henry VIII to the Reformation and compare the French and English nobilities. Two essays – one on popular theatre, the other on the soldier-author, Blaise de Monluc – look beyond the reign of Francis.

About the Author: Robert Jean Knecht is Emeritus Professor of French History at the University of Birmingham. A former Chairman of the Society of Renaissance Studies and of the Society for the Study of French History, he is the author of several works on sixteenth and seventeenth century France, including, Richelieu (1991), Renaissance Warrior and Patron: the Reign of Francis I (1994), Catherine de’ Medici (1998), The French Civil Wars (2000), The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France (revised edn. 2001), The Valois (2004), The French Renaissance Court (London & New Haven, 2008) and Hero or Tyrant? Henry III, King of France, 1574-89 (Ashgate, 2014).

‘Loading the Silence’ is joint winner of the Rebecca Coyle Prize

Posted by Maxine Cook, Marketing Assistant

Loading the silenceMany congratulations to Linda Ioanna Kouvaras, whose title, Loading the Silence: Australian Sound Art in the Post-Digital Age, has been awarded joint winner of the 2014 Rebecca Coyle Prize. This year the judges decided there were two titles worthy of the prize, resulting in a second 2014 publication prize being awarded to Loading the Silence. The panel described Loading the Silence as “a highly accomplished piece of scholarship – extensive, rich, complex, well written, and thorough.”

The prize is awarded annually, by the IASPM ANZ, to the best paper on popular music in Australasia. The prize is named in honour of long time IASPM ANZ member, Rebecca Coyle, to commemorate her work advancing popular music studies and mentoring emerging academic talent.

The book has previously received high praise in reviews:

“… Kouvaras has created a reference of vital importance, a book of international significance that is likely to be considered a seminal work in the study of sound art.”   Music Forum

“In Loading the Silence Linda Kouvaras does a real favour for those seeking to learn about and from the political sonicities of the avant garde of the 1970s and since. That she does so in the context of Australian musical practices makes the stories she tells all the more fascinating for those of us regrettably less familiar with that continent’s (sometimes “un-Australian”) experimentality. Refreshingly, Kouvaras’s critical curiosity embraces musical practices and places: the leaky sounds and voicings of women’s bodies, the hospital, the unwatery landscape itself… A convincing critical compendium is the result.”   George McKay, University of Salford, UK

Dr Linda Kouvaras is a Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, Australia.

Call for proposals – Green Criminology series

We are currently seeking book proposals, particularly monographs, for our Green Criminology series, edited by Michael J. Lynch (University of South Florida) and Paul B. Stretesky (University of Northumbria).

This series makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the dynamics between the natural world and the quite imperfect human world, and sets the stage for the future study in this growing area of concern.

Now two decades old, green criminology – the study of environmental harm, crime, law, regulation, victimization, and justice – has increasing relevance to contemporary problems at local, national, and international levels. Societies and governments worldwide seek new ways to alleviate and deal with the consequences of various environmental harms as they relate to humans, non-human animals, plant species, and the ecosystem and its components.

Green criminology offers a unique theoretical perspective on how human behavior causes and exacerbates environmental conditions that threaten the planet’s viability. Volumes in the series consider such topics and controversies as corporate environmental crime, the complicity of international financial institutions, state-sponsored environmental destruction, and the role of non-governmental organizations in addressing environmental harms. Titles also examine the intersections between green criminology and other branches of criminology and other areas of law, such as human rights and national security. The series is international in scope, investigating environmental crime in specific countries as well as comparatively and globally.

For more information about the series, including submission guidelines, please send an email enquiry to Alison Kirk, Publishing Manager at akirk@ashgatepublishing.com.

Ann C. Colley on Wild Animal Skins in Victorian Britain

 

Ann C ColleyPosted by Ann Donahue, Publisher

Ann C. Colley (pictured) talks to Ann Donahue about her new book, Wild Animal Skins in Victorian Britain: Zoos, Collections, Portraits, and Maps

How did you come up with the idea for this book?

I had just finished my Victorians in the Mountains: Sinking the Sublime, which had not only appealed to my love of landscape and admiration for climbers, but had also taken me to libraries and clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. It was when I entered the Wellcome Institute on Euston Road that something clicked. The Institute had launched a special exhibit on “Skin” that I found absolutely fascinating. I recall seeing pieces of tattooed skin taken from sailors in the nineteenth century and wondering about the role of skin and identity. Knowing that the role of skin in human portraiture during the Victorian era has been well rehearsed, I turned my thinking to animal skins and portraiture. Before I knew it, I was launched.

Wild animal skins in Victorian BritainYour book connects to so many areas of current interest in the humanities, including animal studies, museums, collecting, sensory studies, and the history of science. Were you surprised at the multiple directions in which your research led you?

No. Indeed I was drawn to the subject because it would do just that. Cultural studies are appealing because they engage so many intersecting disciplines and take one into unusual archives and libraries not open to the general public. Once I began accumulating materials, I immediately saw that the project would fit into the current interest in animal studies, museum studies, theories of portraiture, British colonialism, collecting, theories of touch and skin, as well as in history of science.

You came upon some fascinating characters in the course of your research, including the Earl of Derby. Can you say a few words about him as a collector and his association with Edward Lear?

For several years I have been buying Lear’s watercolor sketches as well as lithographs of his natural history paintings. Through this interest, of course, I knew that between 1831 and 1837, he was employed by the 12th Earl of Derby and later by the Earl’s son to sketch and paint portraits of the wild animals and exotic birds kept on the estate, which was the site of England’s largest private menagerie. To amass their amazing collection, the 12th and the 13th Earls commissioned collectors and agents from all over the world. The resulting correspondence between the 13th Earl of Derby and these agents makes for incredible reading. Lear was privy to this world and to those who worked for and were related to the Earl of Derby.

I was fascinated to learn that collecting animal skins was not just the prerogative of the privileged classes as I would have thought that collecting these specimens would be extremely costly. How common was this form of collecting among working- and middle-class individuals?

There are several studies of the working class and their interest in science, particularly those that discuss the fact that mill owners and manufacturers often encouraged their employees to learn as much as they could about the sciences so as to create a more knowledgeable workforce. Jane Camerini, John M. MaKenzie, E.P. Thompson, and Katie Whitaker, among others, have all written on the topic. For me, the most convincing and vivid evidence came from Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton in which she makes a point of mentioning that the working-class men of Manchester were “warm and devoted followers” of the “more popularly interesting branches of natural history.” They “knew the name and habitat of every plant within a day’s walk from their dwelling.” Her character Job Legh, a self-educated spinner, who has access to the Liverpool docks where sailors would return with exotic specimens, is one of these “warm and devoted followers.”

In some ways, the interest in animal skins strikes me as analogous to the Victorians’ passion for travel writing. What was it about these specimens that was so appealing?

I, myself, travel to exotic places and write accounts of my sometimes disastrous adventures and have found that the wild life of a place is what defines the experience for me. When I was working on Wild Animal Skins, I discovered a similar impulse was at work among the Victorian public, who were fascinated by exotic birds and animals in faraway lands and would go to great lengths to see exhibits of these, to collect them (though I hasten to add I do not own any taxidermy specimens!), and to learn as much as it could about them. As I say in the introduction to my book “skin was not only a basic ingredient of portraiture but also the site of encounter with the exotic world.”

Many people would find a home adorned with animal skins from so-called exotic locales shocking and collecting such specimens is often illegal. Was the collecting of wild animal skins controversial during the Victorian era?

No. Unlike many, perhaps most, people today, the Victorians experienced little sense of guilt in looking at, owning, arranging, and admiring stuffed birds and animals. They rarely, if at all, thought about extinction. Even Darwin shot the last fox on the Galapagos Island. For them the distant world was full of plenty. That is not to say the Victorians were insensitive to the pain inflicted on animals. One has to remember that it is in the Victorian period that the antivivisectionists were active. I am not sure why, but taxidermy is coming back in style. One can go to a booth at a market in London to learn how to remove the skin of a bird or a mouse and stuff it. At a wedding recently I met a person from Brooklyn who practices taxidermy in her apartment. Skin will always elicit pleasure, disgust, and curiosity.

About the Author: Ann C. Colley is a SUNY Distinguished Professor at the State University College of New York at Buffalo. She has published numerous articles and books, including Victorians in the Mountains, Robert Louis Stevenson and the Colonial Imagination, Nostalgia and Recollection in Victorian Culture, The Search for Synthesis in Literature and Art: The Paradox of Space, Edward Lear and the Critics, and Tennyson and Madness.

Sara Khan on the battle for British Islam

Following the attacks in Paris last week, one of the contributors to our book Sensible Religion, Sara Khan, spoke on the BBC Panorama programme ‘The Battle for British Islam’. The programme is available to UK viewers on BBC iPlayer.

Sara Khan is Director and Co-Founder of Inspire, a non-governmental advocacy organisation (NGO) working to counter extremism and gender inequality. Her chapter in Sensible Religion is entitled “Retrieving the equilibrium and Restoring Justice: Using islam’s egalitarian teachings to Reclaim women’s Rights”.

The chapter examines Islam’s teachings on women’s rights and the purpose of shariah as a dynamic and sophisticated process for establishing equilibrium, securing justice and serving the public interest. It also explores the dominance of a literal decontextualized and patriarchal interpretation of Islam’s religious texts which has influenced sections of Muslim thought. It outlines the historical and contemporary reality of some Muslims, in manipulating and misusing Islam for their own authority whether political, economic or social to those Muslims who through the combined use of modern day Islamic law and international human rights law have secured the rights of Muslim women.

Read the full text of the chapter in Sensible Religion here.