front cover of The Rain Puddle
The Rain Puddle
Adelaide Holl
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
Someone has fallen into the rain puddle! But who is it? Well, on that point everyone seems to disagree. Is it the plump hen? The turkey? The curly sheep? The lovely, fat pig? Everyone sees something different when they look down into the puddle—until, that is, all the animals look at once, and see the entire farmyard underwater! Off they run in search of help, as the wise old owl perched in a tree shakes his head and chuckles to himself.

This wonderfully silly children’s book, originally published in 1965, is ideal for reading aloud, a tale that perfectly captures the wonder of discovering the outside world.

front cover of Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book
Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book
Edited by Jane Jakeman
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2006
Every day at noon in the dining hall of New College, Oxford in the 1770s, a feast was laid for students and the dons, clad in white waistcoats and wigs. They sat down to cod with oysters, ham, fowls, boiled beef, rabbits smothered with onions, mutton, veal collops, pork griskins, New College Puddings, mince pies, and roots (vegetables). That was only the first course. For the second course, they were served roast turkey, a haunch of venison, a brace of woodcocks, snipes, veal olives, trifle, blancmange, stewed pippins, and preserved quinces. Ralph Ayres was the genius behind this daily repast, and his choice recipes are chronicled here in Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book.

If you've ever wondered what a London Wigg was or why plum cake does not actually contain plums, Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book will prove to be a most rewarding collection. Here the details of sumptuous British meals are meticulously presented, as is their larger context in the history of cooking. Recipes for such famous dishes as Quaking Pudding, Oxford Sausages, Damson Preserve, and other savory English delights fill the pages. Some, such as the famous New College Pudding, are still used today. The volume is beautifully produced, featuring a wealth of full-color botanical illustrations and elegant script reproduced from the original text, and also includes an informative foreword by Bodleian emeritus  librarian David Vaisey.

A captivating glimpse into the world of eighteenth-century food and the culture of academia's apex, Ralph Ayres' Cookery Book is a valuable and engaging historical chronicle of British cuisine. It will appeal to social and culinary historians, as well as to the many lovers of griskin and collops.

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Rare and Wonderful
Treasures from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Kate Diston and Zoë Simmons
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
Since its foundation in 1860, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History has become a key center for scientific study, its much-loved building an icon for visitors from around the world. The museum now holds more than seven million scientific specimens, including five million insects, half a million fossil specimens, and half a million zoological specimens. It also holds an extensive collection of archival material relating to important naturalists such as Charles Darwin, William Jones, and James Charles Dale.
            This lavishly illustrated book features highlights from the collections, ranging from David Livingstone’s tsetse fly specimens to Mary Anning’s ichthyosaur, and from crabs collected by Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle to the iconic Dodo, the only soft tissue specimen of the species in existence. Also featured are the first described dinosaur bones, found in a small Oxfordshire village, the Red Lady of Paviland (who was in fact a man who lived 29,000 years ago), and a meteorite from the planet Mars.
            Each item tells a unique story about natural history, the history of science, collecting, or the museum itself. Rare & Wonderful offers unique insight into the extraordinary wealth of information and fascinating tales that can be gleaned from these collections.

front cover of Readers
Vintage People on Photo Postcards
Tom Phillips
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2010

To celebrate the acquisition of the archive of distinguished artist Tom Phillips, the Bodleian Library asked the artist to assemble and design a series of books drawing on his themed collection of over 50,000 photographic postcards. These encompass the first half of the twentieth century, a period in which, thanks to the ever cheaper medium of photography, ordinary people could afford to own portraits of themselves. Each book in the series contains two hundred images chosen from a visually rich vein of social history. Their covers also feature thematically linked paintings, specially created for each title, from Phillips’s signature work, A Humument.

, as its title suggests, shows people reading (or pretending to read) a wide variety of material, from the Bible to Film Fun, either in the photographer’s studio, in their own home, or on vacation on the beach. Each of these unique and visually stunning books give a rich glimpse of forgotten times and will be greatly valued by art and history lovers alike.


front cover of The Real McCoy
The Real McCoy
And 149 Other Eponyms
Claire Cock-Starkey
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
From diesel to gerrymandering, the English language is rich with eponyms—words that are named after an individual. The many histories behind these words are often mesmerizing—a word named, incidentally, after the German physician Franz Mesmer, who developed the practice of hypnotism as a form of therapy.

Deriving from numerous sources, eponyms are full of intrigue. This book features one hundred and fifty of the most interesting and enlightening specimens, delving into the origins of the words and describing the fascinating people after whom they were named. Some honor a style icon, inventor, or explorer, such as pompadour, Kalashnikov, and Cadillac. Others have roots in Greek or Roman mythology, such as panic and tantalize. Still others are far from celebratory and were created to brand the negative association of their origins—into this category can be filed boycott, Molotov cocktail, and sadist.

Encompassing words from medicine, botany, invention, science, fashion, food, and literature, this book uncovers the curious tales of discovery, mythology, innovation, and infamy behind the eponyms we use every day. The Real McCoy is the perfect addition to any wordsmith’s bookshelf.

front cover of Revolting Remedies from the Middle Ages
Revolting Remedies from the Middle Ages
Edited by Daniel Wakelin and compiled by students of the University of Oxford
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
For a zitty face: take urine eight days old and heat it over the fire; wash your face with it morning and night.

In late medieval England, ordinary people, apothecaries, and physicians gathered up practical medical tips for everyday use. While some were sensible herbal cures, many were weird and wildly inventive, prescribing elixirs and regimens for problems like how to make a woman love you and how to stop dogs from barking at you. The would-be doctors seemed oblivious to pain, and would recommend any animal, vegetable, or mineral, let alone bodily fluid, be ground up, smeared on, or inserted for medical benefit. Full of embarrassing ailments, painful procedures, icky ingredients, and bizarre beliefs, this book selects some of the most revolting and remarkable remedies from medieval manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. Written in the down-to-earth speech of the time, these remedies offer humorous insight into the strange ideas, ingenuity, and bravery of men and women in the Middle Ages, and a glimpse of the often gruesome history of medicine through time.

front cover of Revolution!
Sayings of Vladimir Lenin
Edited by the Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
“Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.” So wrote Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and founder of the USSR. Lenin was profoundly aware of the power of words. As a prolific writer and orator, he used his words to launch a soaring critique of imperialist society and to theorize the development of the world’s first socialist state. Much of his writing was translated into English in order to further the socialist cause.

Revolution! Sayings of Vladimir Lenin is a compilation of Lenin’s most famous sayings, taken from speeches, lectures, letters, and recorded conversations. Together, they show his views on topics ranging from democracy to terrorism, from religion to Stalin’s untrustworthiness, and from education to music. Accompanied by a range of striking images, including contemporary propaganda posters, photographs, portraits, illustrations, and Soviet art, these aphoristic proclamations offer an insight into the atmosphere of pre- and post-revolutionary Russia and the mind of one of the twentieth century’s most defining political figures.

front cover of Reynard the Fox
Reynard the Fox
Retold by Anne Louise Avery
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020

Reynard—a subversive, dashing, anarchic, aristocratic, witty fox from the watery lowlands of medieval East Flanders—is in trouble. He has been summoned to the court of King Noble the Lion, charged with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors. How will he pit his wits against his accusers—greedy Bruin the Bear, pretentious Courtoys the Hound, and dark and dangerous Isengrim the Wolf—to escape the gallows?

Reynard was once the most popular and beloved character in European folklore, as familiar as Robin Hood, King Arthur, or Cinderella. His character spoke eloquently for the voiceless and disenfranchised, but also amused and delighted the elite, capturing hearts and minds across borders and societal classes for centuries. Based on William Caxton’s bestselling 1481 English translation of the Middle Dutch, this edition is an imaginative retelling of the Reynard story, expanded with new interpretations and innovative language and characterizations. With its themes of protest, resistance, and duplicity led by a personable, anti-heroic Fox, this gripping tale is as relevant and controversial today as it was in the fifteenth century.


front cover of The Romance of the Middle Ages
The Romance of the Middle Ages
Nicholas Perkins and Alison Wiggins
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2012
From chivalrous knights to damsels in distress, fire-breathing dragons, and high-walled towers, the characteristics and expectations we ascribe to stories of love and romance have their origins in some of the most beautiful and intriguing books of the Middle Ages. Encompassing Arthurian legends, Alexander the Great’s global conquests, sudden reversals of fortune, revenge, or enchantment, images and tales of medieval romance still resonate today. This beautifully illustrated history of romance legends explores the conjunctions of chivalric violence, love, sex, and piety that marked these striking and resonant stories.
Through a discussion of surviving manuscripts, printed books, and visual art, The Romance of the Middle Ages examines the development of romance as a literary genre, its place in medieval culture, and the scribes and readers who copied, owned, and commented on romance books—from magnificent illuminated manuscripts to personal notebooks. It describes the dangerous pull of desire in works by Dante, Chaucer, Malory, and many others, and traces the influence of these stories through their rewriting in Shakespeare, Spenser, Walter Scott, and Mark Twain, along with the medievalist visions of Morris, Rossetti, and Burne-Jones. The Romance of the Middle Ages then brings the story up to date by showing how later writers and artists have responded to medieval romance, including Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling, and the very different knightly casts of Monty Python and Star Wars.
The Romance of the Middle Ages is an engaging analysis of stories that still have the power to capture our imaginations long after ‘happily ever after’.

front cover of Roy Strong
Roy Strong
Self-Portrait as a Young Man
Roy Strong
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2013
For nearly half a century, Roy Strong has been a prominent presence in Britain’s art world. Yet little is known about his life before the Swinging Sixties, when, at the age of thirty-one, he came on the scene as the revolutionary young director of London’s National Portrait Gallery.

In this book, Strong recounts his early years and the stirrings of what would become a lifelong passion for art. During a childhood spent in suburban North London, Strong recalls himself as a shy and solitary boy who spent his time painting Elizabethan miniatures and Shakespearean set designs. The book follows his progression through grammar school, which he attended alongside Alan Bennett and David Hockney, and university, where he developed a love of learning and enjoyed visits to the theater, opera, and ballet. With remarkable honesty, he explores the important relationships in his life—family, friends, and a schoolteacher with whom he maintained a long correspondence—as well as his debt to figures like Cecil Beaton, Frances Yates, C. V. Wedgwood, and A. L. Rowse.

Richly illustrated throughout with photographs, drawings, and letters, this book offers a compelling look at a young man poised for success.

front cover of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
Illustrated Collector's Edition
Omar Khayyám
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014

A book of verses underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread—and thou.
The Rubáiyát is one of the most popular poems of all time. A collection of quatrains composed in the eleventh century by Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyám, it was first published in English-language translation by Edward Fitzgerald in 1859. Since then, its melancholy tone and enigmatic philosophy of mourning the painful brevity of life while celebrating what pleasures we may find have made it an inspiration to many writers, including Matthew Arnold and Thomas Hardy. More recently, it has also been the subject of many music adaptations and films.
This collector’s edition of The Rubáiyát features stunning full-color illustrations created by René Bull in 1913 that interpret the poem’s brilliant sensual imagery and provide the perfect complement to Fitzgerald’s translation, which remains the most famous. Every page of poetry in this collector’s edition features unique art nouveau borders in gold, with each illustration framed in a gold border.

front cover of The Rules of Association Football, 1863
The Rules of Association Football, 1863
The Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2006

In 1863 a group of Victorian Oxbridge graduates, frustrated by the confusing riot of competing rules that characterized the game of  British football, began meeting at the Freemason’s Tavern in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, to codify the rules of the game. They quickly drew up the standard set of rules, creating the First Rule Book of the Football Association, reprinted here in its entirety alongside illustrations and drawings of the game.


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