Voices of Victorian London by Henry Mayhew
Foreword by Jonathan Miller
The journalist Henry Mayhew tramped the streets of London interviewing working people; this Hesperus selection from his work London Labour and the London Poor shows how they coped with the ups and downs of health and illness while continuing with the daily trial of scratching a living and feeding their families. The people Mayhew met showed remarkable resilience and a surprising sense of humour about their lot in life. Jonathan Miller, theatre director, writer and doctor, writes an introduction giving the social background to what Mayhew called the ‘undiscovered country of the poor’.
You can read the London Historians Blog’s review here: http://londonhistorians.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/review-voices-of-victorian-london/
Also released this month:
Letters to Pauline by Stendhal
Foreword by Adam Thirwell
Determined to take the education of his beloved younger sister Pauline in hand, Henri Beyle – better known by his famous nom de plume, ‘Stendhal’ – was obliged, on leavingGrenoble, to continue her tuition in epistolary fashion. In his letters he instructs her in what she should read (Plutarch, Molière, Shakespeare); what to study (philosophy, logic, mathematics, music); whether to get married (and to what kind of man); and generally how to enliven the tedium of a French provincial town. At thesame time he encourages her to think for herself – a process that, inevitably, reveals Stendhal at his most intimate as a brother, soldier and writer.
Written in his apparently artless, sparkling style, Stendhal’s letters to his sister mark the slow but resolute transition of a literary man into a mature and accomplished writer.
The Merchant’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer
Combining a high rhetoric style with typical Chaucerian carnality, The Merchant’s Tale is a love story with a darker side. Faced with conflicting advice from his friends, age-withered January selects a radiant young wife. His beloved – innocence embodied, to the untrained eye – wastes little time acquainting herself with his staff. Chaucer’s genius is to elevate her transgressions to the level of gender politics; as deities intervene to decide the plight of future Man and Woman, the full significance of January and May’s relationship is revealed.
A dual-language edition of Chaucer’s timeless tale of adultery and deception, presenting a brand new modern-English translation by acclaimed Chaucer scholar, Lyn Richmond.
Brief Lives: Geoffrey Chaucer by Gail Ashton
Geoffrey Chaucer was a poet, bureaucrat and diplomat, and his richly imaginative and witty works, written in vernacular English rather than courtly French or Latin, established his mother tongue as a literary language in its own right.
Although his writing is well-known, the biographical details of Chaucer’s life in fourteenth century England remain scarce. In this new biography, Gail Ashton examines the competing versions of ‘Chaucer’ that have sprung up in the centuries since his death, and speculates about the extent to which his poetic legacy has been made to fit a range of agendas, especially those surrounding England and Englishness. Her biography is a deft and tantalising study of one of the fathers of English literature.