The Real Jane Austen : A Life in Small Things
Who was the real Jane Austen? Overturning the traditional portrait of the author as conventional and genteel, bestseller Paula Byrne’s landmark biography reveals the real woman behind the books. In this paperback of the landmark biography, best-selling biographer Paula Byrne uses objects that conjure up a key moment in Austen’s life and work – a silhouette, a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a writing box, a royalty cheque, a bathing machine, and many more – to unlock the biography of this most beloved author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of ‘dear aunt Jane’ allows.
Byrne’s lively book explores the many forces that shaped Austen’s life, her long struggle to become a published author, and brings Miss Austen dazzlingly into the twenty-first century.
Discovering England’s Smallest Churches : A Countrywide Guide to a Hundred Churches and Chapels
A small rural church seats fewer than fifty, with a nave no more than thirty feet long. All the churches and chapels included in the book are still in use and can be visited by the growing number of enthusiasts who seek them out to enjoy their beauty and historical associations. A church such as St Enodoc in Cornwall, where Sir John Betjeman is buried, or St John, Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire, are prime examples of the type of church to be chosen.
The book will be illustrated with photographs, line drawings and engravings. The text will be informative but not dry and include anecdotes and notes on the locality.
Acts of Union and Disunion
The United Kingdom; Great Britain; the British Isles; the Home Nations: such a wealth of different names implies uncertainty and contention – and an ability to invent and adjust. In a year that sees a Scottish referendum on independence, Linda Colley analyses some of the forces that have unified Britain in the past. She examines the mythology of Britishness, and how far – and why – it has faded.
She discusses the Acts of Union with Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and their limitations, while scrutinizing England’s own fractures. And she demonstrates how the UK has been shaped by movement: of British people to other countries and continents, and of people, ideas and influences arriving from elsewhere. As acts of union and disunion again become increasingly relevant to our daily lives and politics, Colley considers how – if at all – the pieces might be put together anew, and what this might mean.
Based on a 15-part BBC Radio 4 series.
The Story of Coventry
The Story of Coventry is a long overdue general history of the city, from earliest times to the present, concluding with comments on the issues, challenges and opportunities that the 21st century will present. Neither does the author neglect the city’s architectural development and heritage. Rather than being narrowly focused on local history, the book will attempt to show, where appropriate, how what happened had a wider significance.
The author has an eye for a telling anecdote, and this together with his lively and easy journalistic style and authoritative research will make the book appealing to anyone who is seeking to find out more about this fascinating and much misunderstood city – whose history is forever overshadowed by the Second World War.
The Building of England : How the History of England Has Shaped Our Buildings
From awe-inspiring Norman castles, to the homes we live in, Simon Thurley explores how the architecture of this small island influenced the world. The Building of England puts into context the significance of a country’s architectural history and unearths how it is inextricably linked to the cultural past – and present. Saxon, Tudor, Georgian, Regency, even Victorian and Edwardian are all well-recognised architectural styles, displaying the influence of the events that mark each period.
Thurley looks at how the architecture of England has evolved over a thousand years, uncovering the beliefs, ideas and aspirations of the people who commissioned them, built them and lived in them. He tells the fascinating story of the development of architecture and the advancements in both structural performance and aesthetic effect. Richly illustrated with over 500 drawings, photographs and maps, Simon Thurley traces the history and contemplates the future of the buildings that have made England.