Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick - Jenny Uglow

A man of Enlightenment rigor and Romantic sensibility, Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) drew animals from life, accurate in every detail of every feather. Yet he also captured the attitude and idiosyncrasies of his subjects. Truly Nature’s Engraver (Univ. of Chicago, $18), he had as sharp an eye for village life, and his witty vignettes of fishermen, travelers, laundresses, and children show his expertise as an engraver of human nature. Illustrated with scores of prints from Bewick’s History of Quadrupeds, History of British Birds, and his edition of Aesop’s Fables, Jenny Uglow’s masterful and beautiful life of the printer portrays his times as well. Uglow is a knowledgeable and engaging guide to the unsettled politics of the era, the apprentice system, the business end of Bewick’s engraving workshop, the tools and techniques of woodblock printing, and the way Bewick revived a fading craft so thoroughly he turned it into an art.

Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick By Jenny Uglow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780226823911
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: University of Chicago Press - May 15th, 2009

Shakespeare's Wife - Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer has taken on the “bardolaters” in Shakespeare’s Wife (Harper Perennial, $14.99), her exquisitely researched book about Ann Hathaway, Shakespeare’s oft misrepresented spouse. Greer counters the frequent assumptions that Shakespeare hated his wife; that she, an older woman, used pregnancy to manipulate him into marriage; and that she was a plain, boring woman with no skills or interests of her own. Greer’s meticulous research fails to prove anything definitive about Hathaway and Shakespeare’s relationship except that the work of Shakespearean academicians has left “a wife-sized hole” in his biography, one often filled with baseless conjectures and misogynistic presumptions. In examining Hathaway’s life, Greer elaborates on wider Elizabethan customs and social mores and allows us to fill in the gaps regarding the couple’s relationship. Shakespearean scholars aren’t the only ones who will love this book; anyone looking for a thorough account of women’s lives in Elizabethan England will find it engrossing.

Shakespeare's Wife By Germaine Greer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061537165
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - March 17th, 2009

Charles Dickens - Michael Slater

To read Michael Slater’s new biography of Charles Dickens (Yale Univ., $35) is to feel distinctly lazy. Like the steam-powered empire of which London was the heart, Dickens’s writing life was a marvel of industry and innovation.  Sometimes working on one novel in the morning and another in the afternoon, in a desperate sprint to turn in installments ahead of printers’ deadlines, he made time to found several periodicals, propitiate his publishers, spearhead social campaigns, and produce increasingly elaborate theatricals.  His letters, which Slater quotes generously, demonstrate that Dickens found time for elaborate comic conceits and raillery (pretending to be desperately in love with a young Queen Victoria, for instance), as well as providing advice and practical assistance to less established writers, including a young Edgar Allan Poe. Slater also offers new insights about how a keen sense of childhood neglect shaped all of Dickens’s relationships, the most passionate and enduring of which was with the reading public he helped to create.

Charles Dickens By Michael Slater Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300170931
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - May 31st, 2011