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Each month we present an important recent book, and every week we report on recent publications.
You can also find the books published in previous years by using the scrollbar menu at the bottom of the page. To add one or more books to your «My » account, click on the title(s) and then select «Add to my account».

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DENNISON Matthew, Queen Victoria: A Life of Contradictions

<i>©Harper Collins</i>

©Harper Collins

From the publishers:
In this [...] concise new biography Queen Victoria is shown as Britain's queen of contradictions. In her combination of regal vehemence and wifely submission; deep sentimentality and bombast; cultural imperialism and imperial compassion; fear of intellectualism and excitement at technology; romantic longing and prudishness, she became a spirit of the age to which she gave her name.

Victoria embraced photography, railway travel and modern art; she resisted compulsory education for the working classes and recommended for a leading women's rights campaigner ‘a good whipping'. She detested smoking and believed whole-heartedly in the health-giving properties of fresh air, strong draughts and cold. She may or may not have been amused.

Melbourne and Disraeli wooed her; Peel and Palmerston infuriated her; fatally Gladstone failed to ‘pet' her. She loved dancing and the opera and, in her mourning of Prince Albert, sought consolation in the poetry of Tennyson and a long exchange of letters between sovereign and Laureate. Meanwhile she reinvented the monarchy and wrestled with personal reinvention. She lived in the shadow of her mother and then under the tutelage of her husband: during her protracted widowhood she belatedly embraced self-reliance.

Fresh, witty and accessible, this [...] new book from Matthew Dennison gives a compelling assessment of Victoria's mercurial character and her impact, written with the irony, flourish and insight that this Queen and her rule so richly deserve.
Harper Collins website

Place and publisher: London: Harper Collins

Date of publication: 2013

This week’s book(s):

Description: From the publishers:
Marie-Louise's battle against adversity and pursuit of happiness outside conventional morality will appeal to anyone interested in an extraordinary story. It will also appeal to those interested in Napoleon who are prepared to open their minds to the other important facets of his very complex personality. Furthermore, Marie-Louise's tale is an inspiration to the woman of today. Napoleon's Other Wife is also ideally suited as recommended reading for "A" and higher level studies in the French Revolution, Napoleonic period and Italian Risorgimento.
Eighteen-year-old Habsburg Archduchess Marie-Louise leaves Vienna in 1810 to marry Napoleon Bonaparte, now Emperor of France. Among the crowds who welcome her are those who rejoiced as her great aunt Marie-Antoinette's severed head was flaunted seventeen years earlier. Marie-Louise believes her duty is to cement peace between Austria and France, but Klemens Metternich, foreign minister to her father, Emperor Francis, has other ideas.  He has engineered this marriage to change the course of European history. Within a year, Marie-Louise produces the dynastic heir expected of her and long desired by Napoleon. But his ill conceived invasion of Russia changes his fortunes irreversibly. Marie-Louise is forced to choose between her father and her husband when Emperor Francis declares war on Napoleon. She will have to fight for her existence for the rest of her life, not only for herself, but also for her son, to protect him against the Allies' vengeance. Despite the impossible pressures and irreconcilable demands upon her, she refuses to be cowed, strikes out for her own happiness and rides the currents which threaten to undo her.  Her achievements are nothing short of heroic.
This compelling narration of Marie-Louise's story in Napoleon's Other Wife, is unique, addressing the devastating impact of Napoleon's legacy on her private and political existence and revealing a woman of extraordinary resilience and courage.

Place and publisher: Rosa's Press

Date of publication: 2015

Number of pages: 528

Description: From the publishers:
Jeffrey N. Cox reconsiders the history of British Romanticism, seeing the work of Byron, the Shelleys, and Keats responding not only to the 'first generation' Romantics led by Wordsworth, but more directly to the cultural innovations of the Napoleonic War years. Recreating in depth three moments of political crisis and cultural creativity - the Peace of Amiens, the Regency Crisis, and Napoleon's first abdication - Cox shows how 'second generation' Romanticism drew on cultural 'border raids', seeking a global culture at a time of global war. This book explores how the introduction on the London stage of melodrama in 1803 shaped Romantic drama, how Barbauld's prophetic satire Eighteen Hundred and Eleven prepares for the work of the Shelleys, and how Hunt's controversial Story of Rimini showed younger writers how to draw on the Italian cultural archive. Responding to world war, these writers sought to embrace a radically new vision of the world.
- Reconceives the development of British Romanticism that recovers a lost literary epoch
- Discusses how writers, including Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, and Keats, responded to the Napoleonic Wars
- Shows how Romantic era issues and forms still shape contemporary culture
For an overview of it's contents see this review by Philip Shaw, Professor of Romantic Studies at the University of Leicester, UK.

Place and publisher: New York, Cambridge University Press

Date of publication: 2014

Number of pages: 276

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