Book News July 2018

Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan

Hardcover – 3 July 2018 (US) & 3 August 2018 (UK)

Four centuries ago, a Muslim woman ruled an empire. Her legend still lives, but her story was lost―until now.

In 1611, thirty-four-year-old Nur Jahan, daughter of a Persian noble and widow of a subversive official, became the twentieth and favorite wife of the Emperor Jahangir, who ruled the vast Mughal Empire. An astute politician as well as a devoted partner, she issued imperial orders; coins of the realm bore her name. When Jahangir was imprisoned by a rebellious nobleman, the Empress led troops into battle and ultimately rescued him.

The only woman to acquire the stature of empress in her male-dominated world, Nur was also a talented dress designer and innovative architect whose work inspired her stepson’s Taj Mahal. Nur’s confident assertion of talent and power is revelatory; it far exceeded the authority of her female contemporaries in Renaissance Europe, including Elizabeth I. Here, she finally receives her due in a deeply researched and evocative biography that awakens us to a fascinating history.

Map; 8 pages of illustrations

Margaret Pole: The Countess in the Tower

Paperback – 1 July 2018 (US) & 15 December 2017 (UK

Of the many executions ordered by Henry VIII, surely the most horrifying was that of 67-year-old Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, hacked to pieces on the scaffold by a blundering headsman. From the start, Margaret’s life had been marred by tragedy and violence: her father, George, Duke of Clarence, had been executed at the order of his own brother, Edward IV, and her naive young brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, had spent most of his life in the Tower before being executed on the orders of Henry VII. Yet Margaret, friend to Katherine of Aragon and the beloved governess of her daughter Mary, had seemed destined for a happier fate until religious upheaval and rebellion caused Margaret and her family to fall from grace. From Margaret’s birth as the daughter of a royal duke to her beatification centuries after her death, Margaret Pole tells the story of one of the fortress’s most unlikely prisoners.

 

 

Guarding Diana: Protecting The Princess Around The World

Paperback –26 July 2018 (US) & 27 December 2018 (UK)

In public Diana was feted wherever she went, greeted by adoring crowds and fawned over by the media. In private she craved anonymity, and it was Ken Wharfe’s brief to protect her and keep her away from prying eyes. The SAS-trained officer from the Yard’s elite Special Operations 14, Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department, was with the Princess every step of the way. As she dazzled among Washington society or walked the sand of exclusive Caribbean beaches he watched over her. In the foothills of the Himalayas, the heat and dust of India and the heart of Africa, he was always just a heartbeat away. ‘Purple Five Two’ – the woman, the princess – was Ken’s charge. In private when they travelled, they often posed as man and wife under assumed names, ‘Mr and Mrs Hargreaves’, to throw the determined paparazzi desperate for a photograph off the scent. Whenever she wanted a private holiday it would be to Ken she would turn, who would be despatched in secret to find the idyllic spot. In the six years that Ken was at Diana’s side they travelled hundreds of thousands of miles together, sharing secrets, laughter and tears on a truly extraordinary journey. This is their exclusive story.

Elizabeth I and Her Circle

Paperback – 24 July 2018 (US) & 24 May 2018 (UK)

This is the inside story of Elizabeth I’s inner circle and the crucial human relationships which lay at the heart of her personal and political life. Using a wide range of original sources–including private letters, portraits, verse, drama, and state papers–Susan Doran provides a vivid and often dramatic account of political life in Elizabethan England and the queen at its center, offering a deeper insight into Elizabeth’s emotional and political conduct–and challenging many of the popular myths that have grown up around her.

It is a story replete with fascinating questions. What was the true nature of Elizabeth’s relationship with her father, Henry VIII, especially after his execution of her mother? What was the influence of her step-mothers on Elizabeth’s education and religious beliefs? How close was she really to her half-brother Edward VI–and were relations with her half-sister Mary really as poisonous as is popularly assumed? And what of her relationship with her Stewart cousins, most famously with Mary Queen of Scots, executed on Elizabeth’s orders in 1587, but also with Mary’s son James VI of Scotland, later to succeed Elizabeth as her chosen successor?

Elizabeth’s relations with her family were crucial, but almost as crucial were her relations with her courtiers and her councillors. Here again, the story unravels a host of interesting questions.

The Palgrave Handbook of Shakespeare’s Queens (Queenship and Power)

Hardcover – 3 July 2018 (US & UK)

Of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays, fifteen include queens. This collection gives these characters their due as powerful early modern women and agents of change, bringing together new perspectives from scholars of literature, history, theater, and the fine arts. Essays span Shakespeare’s career and cover a range of famous and lesser-known queens, from the furious Margaret of Anjou in the Henry VI plays to the quietly powerful Hermione in The Winter’s Tale; from vengeful Tamora in Titus Andronicus to Lady Macbeth. Early chapters situate readers in the critical concerns underpinning any discussion of Shakespeare and queenship: the ambiguous figure of Elizabeth I, and the knotty issue of gender presentation. The focus then moves to analysis of issues such as motherhood, intertextuality, and contemporary political contexts; close readings of individual plays; and investigations of rhetoric and theatricality. Featuring twenty-five chapters with a rich variety of themes and methodologies, this handbook is an invaluable reference for students and scholars, and a unique addition to the fields of Shakespeare and queenship studies.

Catherine the Great: Selected Letters (Oxford World’s Classics)

Paperback – 26 July 2018 (UK) & 1 October 2018 (US)

Catherine the Great’s letters present a vivid picture of Russia in a momentous age. They also offer a unique account of her personal development and intimate life, her strategic acumen as a diplomat and military commander, and her political skills at the Russian court and in handling foreign monarchs. Born a German princess, Catherine married into the Russian royal family and came to the throne after a coup. As absolute ruler for 34 years she presided over the expansion of the Russian empire, legislated actively to reform the country in keeping with the principles of the Enlightenment, actively promoted the arts and sciences, and in her correspondence engaged with the most renowned minds in Europe, among them Diderot and Voltaire. Her letters are her literary masterpiece, written to a wide circle of associates and friends, not least her most celebrated lover and ally, Potemkin. Combining her wit, charm, and quick eye for detail, they entertain and tell the griping story of a self-made woman and legendary ruler.

This edition of the letters offers a taste of Catherine’s entire writing career, with biographies of Catherine’s addressees, a thorough overview of her reign and an analysis of Catherine’s literary skill as a letter-writer. Organized chronologically and thematically into six periods, each section also features an introduction to the domestic, personal and foreign policy contexts out of which her letters emerge.

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Representing Royalty

Hardcover – 1 July 2018 (UK & US)

Since the early days of cinema, filmmakers have been intrigued by the lives and loves of British monarchs. The most recent productions by ITV and Netflix show that the fascination with British royalty continues unabated both in Britain and around the world. This book examines strategies of representing power and the staging of myths of power in seven popular films about British monarchs that were made after the mid-1990s revival of the royal biopic genre. By combining approaches from cultural studies with concepts and theories from the humanities, such as film studies and art history, it offers a comprehensive understanding of the cinematic portraits of royalty. In addition, the volume opens up new perspectives on how meaning is generated in films about the monarchy and on the connections between the biographical narratives. The introductory chapter to the case studies reviews the different academic positions on representations of royalty, provides a toolkit for studying the subject and demonstrates ways to approach the films. The book addresses questions of historical context and goes beyond a mere exploration of historical accuracy to reveal the films underlying ideological aims. As such, it makes a distinctive new contribution to the growing body of interdisciplinary work on the British monarchy in general and its cinematic representations in particular. It is the first monograph about representational mechanisms of royal identities and British past(s) in royal films such as Elizabeth, The Queen and The Kings Speech.

An Account of the Prisons of my Parents and Myself 1793-1794: by Louise Charlotte Henriette Philippine de Noailles, Duchesse de Duras

Kindle Edition – 4 July 2018 (US)

This book is an account by the Duchesse of her experience of prison life during the French Revolution. It describes the conditions under which the “suspects” lived, the great many people that she met in prison, the worsening conditions under which the prisoners suffered and their daily terror as cartloads were taken away to be tried and executed. Included in the book are the memoirs of Madame Latour, who accompanied the elderly parents of the Duchesse to their prisons, various letters and documents of interest and the heart-wrenching accounts of two eye-witnesses to the death of Louise de Noailles, who left three young children when she was guillotined together with her mother and grandmother. The Duchesse de Duras was finally released on 19 October 1794 some months after the downfall of Robespierre. All her family’s property and fortune had been confiscated, most of the people she knew had emigrated or had been guillotined and she left prison with nothing and nowhere to go. Her account of her existence in the months after her release is as fascinating as her description of prison life.
Dr Vinke’s translation brings this captivating story to life. Her detailed research provides information on the life of the Duchesse de Duras and on the political background of the Revolution as well as clarifying the identity of the many people that the Duchesse mentions.

Sissi’s World: The Empress Elisabeth in Memory and Myth (New Directions in German Studies)

Hardcover – 12 July 2018 (UK & US)

Sissi’s World offers a transdisciplinary approach to the study of the Habsburg Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It investigates the myths, legends, and representations across literature, art, film, and other media of one of the most popular, revered, and misunderstood female figures in European cultural history.

Sissi’s World explores the cultural foundations for the endurance of the Sissi legends and the continuing fascination with the beautiful empress: a Bavarian duchess born in 1837, the longest-serving Austrian empress, and the queen of Hungary who died in 1898 at the hands of a crazed anarchist.

Despite the continuing fascination with “the beloved Sissi,” the Habsburg empress, her impact, and legacy have received scant attention from scholars. This collection will go beyond the popular biographical accounts, recountings of her mythic beauty, and scattered studies of her well-known eccentricities to offer transdisciplinary cultural perspectives across art, film, fashion, history, literature, and media.

Cecily Neville: Mother of Richard III

Hardcover – 30 April 2018 (UK) & 13 July 2018 (US)

Wife to Richard, Duke of York, mother to Edward IV and Richard III, and aunt to the famous Kingmaker , Richard, Earl of Warwick, Cecily Neville was a key player on the political stage of fifteenth-century Britain England. Mythologically rumoured to have been known as the Rose of Raby because of her beauty and her birth at Raby Castle, and as Proud Cis because of her vanity and fiery temper, Cecily s personality and temperament have actually been highly speculated upon. In fact, much of her life is shrouded in mystery. Putting aside Cecily s role as mother and wife, who was she really? Matriarch of the York dynasty, she navigated through a tumultuous period and lived to see the birth of the future Henry VIII. From seeing the house of York defeat their Lancastrian cousins; to witnessing the defeat of her own son, Richard III, at the battle of Bosworth, Cecily then saw one of her granddaughters become Henry VII s queen consort. Her story is full of controversy and the few published books on her life are full of guess-work. In this highly original history, Dr John Ashdown-Hill seeks to dispel the myths surrounding Cecily using previously unexamined contemporary sources.



About Moniek 1015 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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