2019 Spring – New Publications of Note: What am I reading, listening to, or watching?

WESS Newsletter

Spring 2019, Vol. 42, No. 2

The following list presents a selection of items on the reading/viewing/listening lists of fellow ESSies. Have something to add? Email Jen Bonnet.

Lana Soglasnova, University of Toronto
A Vocabulary of English and Tamul Words: To which is added, Collection of Familiar Dialogues, and the First Rudiments of Grammar; Compiled and Re-Printed at Madras, by Innocent Nicholas, 1820.

Published almost two hundred years ago, this book arrived to our library as a gift, part of a large donation. It is an important example of European study and learning of the Tamil language, and at the same time, it tells one a lot about the English language and culture. A digital copy of its 1840 edition received a one-phrase user review online as “very useful”. With only bibliographic knowledge of Tamil, I focused on the English contents. I did not read it as one would read a novel, nor did I consult it as one would consult a dictionary. Rather, while cataloging, I was struck by how the publication has both remained comprehensible and become a testimony of its time. The vocabulary topics include these staples of language instruction, “of Food and Drink”, “of Time”, “of Colours”, alongside with the less anticipated “of Venomous Creatures” and “of War, Weapons, &c.” The words reflect the universal (Of Colours: White, Black, Red, Blue…), the sentimental (Of the Degrees of Kindred: Section Second: A Lover, A Wooer, A Sweet heart, a Rival), the historical (Of a City and Its Inhabitants, Section Fifth: An Enameller, A Periwig maker, An Horseman, A Cooper, A Wood-monger, A Cleanser of well, A Grinder of knives…); the missionary, the colonial, the no longer acceptable (Of Heaven and the Elements: The Supreme Being; Of the Degrees of Kindred: Section Third, A Maid Servant, A bondage, Servitude, A Slave; Of a School and Education, Section Second: A Punishment, A Lash, A Stroke). And some “Familiar Dialogues” seem to have the tone of a future Alfred J. Prufrock: “What news is there today?/Do you know, any news/I have heard nothing/I have read the Dutch Gazette, which speaks of nothing but War/What do they say of the Princes of the North/How goes the affairs between the King of England and the King of France/The reports are various in all places, some say they are in good friendship, others think they are jealous of each other…” The “Vocabulary of English and Tamil Words” had several editions; the 1820 copy is one of the earlier editions, and our library plans to digitize it.

Agnes Widder, Michigan State University

  • M. de Rusha. Katharina and Martin Luther, on account of 2018 being the 500th anniversary of the his posting the 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, which set the Reformation going.
  • S. Bieler. Albrecht Durer: Artist in the Midst of Two Storms, for the same reason as above. Plus this author is a friend of mine.
  • J. Spring. Gourmand’s Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy, which cites many books about the rise of influence of French cooking.
  • Life Magazine issue on Queen Elizabeth II, because I’m a Royals junkie.
  • L. Barr. Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the reinvention of American taste, because of the influence of Gourmand’s Way
  • R. Olney. Reflexions. Ditto.
  • S. Bythell. Diary of a Bookseller, about what it is like to be a secondhand bookseller, in Scotland, today.
  • Andre Vauchez. Francis of Assisi./li>
  • Craig Brown. Ma’am Darling, 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret.
  • People special magazine issue on the Royal Family.
  • G. Pimm. Dark Side of Samuel Pepys, Society’s First Sex Offender.
  • F. Frenkel. No Place to Lay One’s Head. An autobiography of a young Jewish, Polish woman in various hiding places in France in WWII.
  • P. Junor. Duchess, Camilla Parker Bowles
  • P. Mayle. My 25 Years in Provence, Reflections on Then and Now
  • Iris Origo. Chill in the Air, an Italian War Diary, 1939-40. Covers the period before Images and Shadows; this is not as revealing.
  • Voices Out of the Air, the Royal Christmas Broadcasts, 1932-81. The texts of them.
  • Angela Levin. Harry, Biography of a Prince
  • M. Rhodes. Final Curtsey, a Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin
  • M Greenside. (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living
  • J. Dismore. Princess, the Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II
  • M. Ule. Mrs. Oswald Chambers, the Woman Behind the World’s Best Selling Devotional. If you like/use/know My Utmost for His Highest this might be of interest.
  • Tom Fort. Village News, the Truth Behind England’s Rural Idyll
  • M. Gier. Anne Frank Remembered, the Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. Bio. Of Miep Gies.
  • K. Wilson. At Home with Jane Austen. About the places she lived and the places where she visited.