front cover of Samuel Pepys’ Naval Papers
Samuel Pepys’ Naval Papers
A Bodleian Library Sourcebook
Edited by Justin Reay
Bodleian Library Publishing

front cover of A Sanskrit Treasury
A Sanskrit Treasury
A Compendium of Literature from the Clay Sanskrit Library
Camillo A. Formigatti
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020
This beautiful collection brings together passages from the renowned stories, poems, dramas and myths of South Asian literature, including the Mahabharata and the Ramaya?a. Drawing on the translations published by the Clay Sanskrit Library, the book presents episodes from the adventures of young Krishna, the life of Prince Rama and Hindu foundational myths, the life of the Buddha, as well as Buddhist and Jaina birth stories. Pairing key excerpts from these wonderful Sanskrit texts with exquisite illustrations from the Bodleian Library’s rich manuscript collections, the book includes images of birch-bark and palm-leaf manuscripts, vibrant Mughal miniatures, early printed books, sculptures, watercolour paintings and even early photograph albums. Each extract is presented in both English translation and Sanskrit in Devanagari script, and is accompanied by a commentary on the literature and related books and artworks. The collection is organised by geographical region and includes sections on the Himalayas, North India, Central and South India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia, Tibet, Inner and East Asia, and the Middle East and Europe. This is the perfect introduction for anyone interested in Sanskrit literature and the manuscript art of South Asia – and beyond.

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Sarah Angelina Acland
First Lady of Colour Photography
Giles Hudson
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2012

Sarah Angelina Acland (1849–1930) is one of the most important photographers of the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods. Born to a preeminent English family, Acland first gained note as a portraitist whose illustrious subjects—among them two prime ministers, the physicist Lord Kelvin, and the noted art critic John Ruskin—were visitors to her family’s Oxford home. Yet it was through her work in the thenfledgling field of color photography that Acland achieved her greatest acclaim. When her color photographs were shown at the Royal Photographic Society in 1905, many considered them to be among the finest work produced in the new medium.

An introduction to Acland’s entire body of work, this volume contains more than two hundred previously unpublished examples of her photographs, spanning portraiture, studies of Oxford architecture, and landscape and garden photographs captured in Madeira, Portugal. Additional images include four unrecorded portraits by Lewis Carroll of Acland and her brothers—shed light on the work of her contemporaries, including acquaintances and artistic influences like Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron. A fascinating look at the earliest days of color photography, this book also offers a glimpse into the lives of an influential English family and its circle of friends.


front cover of Scholars, Poets and Radicals
Scholars, Poets and Radicals
Discovering Forgotten Lives in the Blackwell Collection
Rita Ricketts
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2015
The Blackwell Collections—the archive of the well-loved bookselling and publishing company—are full of surprises. There are warrior women no longer prepared to suffer the fate of a spellbound princess, scholarly apprentices giving themselves an Oxford education, and reluctant radicals publishing in protest against the authorities who sent so many to “certain death” in the Great War. Amid the many unknown authors the Blackwells published are famous names: J. R. R Tolkien, John Buchan, Wilfred Owen, John Betjeman, Dorothy L Sayers, Vera Brittain, Edith Sitwell, and Laurence Binyon, who is recollected whenever For the Fallen is read. But the memoirs, letters, and journals of “ordinary people” who worked for the family also deserve a hearing. The diary of Will King, a real-life Jude the Obscure, stands out. Its astonishing record of what he read and his mordant dissection of the texts amounts to a critique of English culture between 1910 and 1950. Together with the stories of three generations of B. H. Blackwells and their diverse associates, the book provides a panel of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history far beyond Oxford.

front cover of Secrets in a Dead Fish
Secrets in a Dead Fish
The Spying Game in the First World War
Melanie King
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2014
How did German intelligence agents use a dead fish to convey critical information to their operatives? What did an advertisement for a dog in the Times have to do with the movement of British troops into Egypt? And why did British officers suddenly become suspicious of the trousers hanging on a Belgian woman’s washing line?

Throughout World War I, spymasters and their networks of secret agents developed many clever—and sometimes comical—methods of covert communication. Stacks of bread in a bakery window, puffs of smoke from a chimney, and even woolen pullovers were all used to pass on secret messages that were decipherable only to the well-trained eye. Drawing on the memoirs of eight spies, Melanie King divulges these and other tricks of the trade while sharing details from their astonishing stories. Among her informants are British intelligence officers working undercover in Germany and France, including a former Metropolitan police officer who once hunted Jack the Ripper; a German secret service officer codenamed “Agricola;” an American newspaperman; and an Austrian agent who disguised himself during his career as everything from a Jewish peddler to a Russian officer.

A fascinating compendium of clever and long-forgotten ruses—interspersed with the stories of the spies themselves—Secrets in a Dead Fish sheds new light on the shadowy world of Great War espionage.

front cover of Secrets of the Great Ocean Liners
Secrets of the Great Ocean Liners
John G. Sayers
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020
In the heyday of ocean travel—between the late nineteenth century and World War II—ocean liners were a home away from home. Passengers prepared for voyages that could last as long as three months, and shipping companies ensured their guests were as comfortable as possible, providing entertainment, dining, sleeping quarters, and smoking lounges to accommodate passengers of all ages and budgets. Secrets of the Great Ocean Liners leads the reader through each stage of ocean liner travel, from booking a ticket and choosing a cabin to shore excursions, on-board games, social events, and even romances. This book dives into a vast, unique collection of ephemera to reveal the scandals, glamour, challenges, and tragedies of ocean liner travel. Shipping companies produced glitzy brochures, sailing schedules, voyage logs, passenger lists, postcards, and menus, all of which help us to enjoy daily life on board. Diaries, letters, and journals written by passengers also reveal a host of fascinating insights into the experience of traveling by sea.

front cover of The Selden Map of China
The Selden Map of China
A New Understanding of the Ming Dynasty
Hongping Annie Nie
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2019
Dating from the seventeenth century at the height of the Ming Dynasty, the Selden Map of China reveals a country very different from popular conceptions of the time, looking not inward to the Asian landmass but outward to the sea. Discovered in the stacks of the Bodleian Library, this beautifully decorative map of China is, in fact, a seafaring chart showing Ming Dynasty trade routes. It is the earliest surviving example of Chinese merchant cartography and is evidence that Ming China was outward-looking, capitalistic, and vibrant.

Exploring the commercial aims of the Ming Dynasty, the port city of Quanzhou and its connections with the voyages of the early traveler Zheng He, this book describes the historical background of the era in which the map was used. It also includes an analysis of the skills and techniques involved in Chinese map-making and the significance of the compass bearings, scale, and ratios found on the map, all of which combine to represent a breakthrough in cartographic techniques.

The enthralling story revealed by this extraordinary artifact sheds light on the long history of China’s relationship with the sea and with the wider world.

front cover of A Shakespearean Botanical
A Shakespearean Botanical
Margaret Willes
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2015
When Falstaff calls upon the sky to rain potatoes in The Merry Wives of Windsor, he highlights the belief that the exotic vegetable, recently introduced to England from the Americas, was an aphrodisiac. In Romeo and Juliet, Lady Capulet calls for quinces to make pies for the marriage feast, knowing that the fragrant fruit was connected with weddings and fertility. Shakespeare’s contemporaries would have been familiar with such ripe symbolism in part due to herbals, tomes filled with detailed botanical descriptions consulted to deepen knowledge of the plants of the day.
A Shakespearean Botanical follows in the tradition of the medieval and Renaissance herbal, touring the Bard’s remarkable knowledge of the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers of Tudor and Jacobean England through fifty quotations from his plays and verse poems. Each of the entries is beautifully illustrated with hand-colored renderings from the work of Shakespeare’s contemporary, herbalist John Gerard, making an appropriate pairing with his writing, along with a brief text setting the quotation within the context of the medicine, cooking, and gardening of the time.

The book’s many beautifully reproduced images are a pleasure to look at, and Margaret Willes’s well-chosen quotations and expert knowledge of Shakespeare’s England provide readers with a fascinating insight into daily life. The book will make an inspiring addition to the Shakespeare lover’s bookshelf, as well as capitvate anyone with a passion for plants or botanical art.

front cover of Shakespeare's Dead
Shakespeare's Dead
Stages of Death in Shakespeare's Playworlds
Simon Palfrey and Emma Smith
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2016
Four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, his plays live on in theater and popular culture, given new life through countless innovative approaches to their performance and interpretation. Just as our enthusiasm for seeing the plays performed—and transformed—affirms their continued life, death scenes in Shakespeare’s plays tend to mark not an ending but a transformation of life.

Published to accompany a major exhibition at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, Shakespeare’s Dead documents the many ways Shakespeare’s characters meet their demise, from suicide to murder, from death by workaday dagger to the more creative method of being baked and fed to one’s family in a meat pie. Through these examples, Simon Palfrey and Emma Smith show Shakespeare’s mastery at choreographing death as a means of rediscovery. Some characters refuse to go quietly, dying in stages, as in Nick Bottom’s performance as Pyramus killing himself with much flourish in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Others are remembered in elegies, and still others are resurrected or reappear as ghosts. Shakespeare’s death scenes also often speak to the boundaries between theater and everyday life, with funerals and scenes of mourning that are undercut by their staged inauthenticity.

Extensively illustrated with contemporary drawings and images from stage history, Shakespeare’s Dead takes readers through the playwright’s great death scenes and tragic figures, exploring in them the theme of life in death and delineating the cultural, religious, and social contexts.

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Shelley's Ghost
Reshaping the Image of a Literary Family
Stephen Hebron and Elizabeth C. Denlinger
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2010

It is difficult to think of a family more endowed with literary genius than the Shelley family—from the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, novelist Mary Shelley, to Mary’s parents, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft—all were authors in their own right. Using extensive archival material, Shelley’s Ghost explores the making of this remarkable literary family’s reputation.

            Drawing on the Bodleian Library’s outstanding collection of letters, poetry manuscripts, rare printed books, portraits, and other personalia—including Shelley’s working notebooks, Keats’s letters to Shelley, William Godwin’s diary, and the original manuscript of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein—Stephen Hebron charts the history of this talented yet troubled family. After Percy Bysshe Shelley’s drowning in 1822, Mary published various manuscripts relating to both her husband’s and her father’s lives, and passed this historical legacy to her son, Sir Percy Florence Shelley and his wife, Lady Jane Shelley. As guardians of the archive until they bequeathed it to the Bodleian in 1892, Sir Percy Florence and Lady Jane helped shape the posthumous reputations of these writers. An afterword by Elizabeth Denlinger of the New York Public Library offers an additional perspective, exploring material relating to the Shelley family that slipped beyond the family’s control.

            An unparalleled look at one of the most significant families of British Romantic literature, Shelley’s Ghost will be welcomed by scholars and the many fans of this enduring literacy legacy.


front cover of Sindbad the Sailor and Other Stories from the Arabian Nights
Sindbad the Sailor and Other Stories from the Arabian Nights
Laurence Housman
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
The much-loved tales from The Thousand and One Nights first appeared in English translation in the early nineteenth century, based on French translations of versions of the stories found in Syrian and Persian manuscripts. The popularity of these ancient and beguiling tales set against the backdrop of Baghdad, a city of wealth and peace, stoked the widespread enthusiasm for and scholarly interest in eastern arts and culture all across Europe.

Four of the most well-known tales, translated by Laurence Housman, are reproduced in this collector’s edition: “Sindbad the Sailor,” “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp,” “The Story of the Three Calendars” and “The Sleeper Awakened.” Each is illustrated with exquisite watercolors by the renowned artist Edmund Dulac. The sumptuous illustrations reproduced here capture the beauty and timeless quality of these ever-fascinating stories, made at the zenith of early twentieth-century book illustration.

front cover of The Slave Trade Debate
The Slave Trade Debate
Contemporary Writings For and Against
Edited by the Bodleian Library
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2007

More than fifty years before the question of slavery launched the United States into the bloody turmoil of the American Civil War, Britain wrestled passionately with the same issues. A flood of pamphlets published by both abolitionists and slavery proponents fueled the debate, and they are now collected here in this fascinating volume in commemoration of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, 1807.

            Written during the 1780s and 1790s, the pamphlets confront the issues surrounding slavery, such as the Rights of Man, the economic health of the British colonies, poverty in England, and, most prominently, the economic and moral condition of the African slaves. The authors on both sides of the debate—including such prominent figures as the eventual King William IV, Sir John Gladstone (father of the future Prime Minister William Gladstone), and the leading abolitionist William Wilberforce—draw upon biblical scriptures to justify their positions, providing illuminating insights into the theological debates of the time as well. Also included in the volume are an excerpt of abolitionist James Ramsay’s journal and an informative introduction that places the writings in their historical and social contexts. The Slave Trade Debate is an essential resource for scholars of transatlantic slavery and British history.


front cover of Sleepy Book
Sleepy Book
Charlotte Zolotow
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2016
Bears spend the winter months slumbering deep in dark caves. But they’re not the only wild animals with strange sleep habits. Horses do it standing up in stalls or fields, their tails switching at troublesome flies. Seals like to stretch out their flippers when settling in to sleep. And your dog or cat probably curls up quite happily in a cozy box or basket.
Sleepy Book by Charlotte Zolotow invites young readers to explore bedtime in fields, forests, and other places animals make their homes. In the book, children will find many familiar favorites, like a flock of birds huddled for warmth, but they’re also sure to make new friends, from a snowy crane standing on one long leg to a tiny black spider fast asleep in its web. Each facing page contains a beautiful illustration by Vladimir Bobri.

Originally published in 1958, Sleepy Book is one of the most recent additions to the Bodleian Library’s children’s book imprint, and it’s the perfect story to read before saying goodnight.

front cover of So Much Nonsense
So Much Nonsense
Edward Lear
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2007
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat
They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
The Owl and the Pussycat is only the most familiar of Edward Lear’s numerous nonsense verses, which have delighted millions worldwide for the last two centuries. Now his beloved verse and drawings are compiled here in a handsomely produced volume of classic material.

Leariana runs rampant in this enchanting treasury; readers encounter such indelible Lear creations as “snail mail,” while drawings of the Stripy Bird and images of the heroic and irrepressible Foss in heraldic poses are scattered throughout. Lear’s zany illustrations are reproduced here in their full vibrancy, and the goofily delightful art, including his illustrated nonsense alphabets, infuses Lear’s fanciful phrases and humorously incomprehensible limericks with their original liveliness and irresistible spirit.   Rarely has the powerful charm and timeless appeal of Edward Lear’s work been available in such a beautifully produced edition, and So Much Nonsense is a gift that will unleash the imaginations of young and old alike.

front cover of Soviet Intelligence Plans for the British Isles
Soviet Intelligence Plans for the British Isles
John M. Davies and Alexander J. Kent
Bodleian Library Publishing
During the Cold War, the Soviet military embarked on a massive project to map every corner of the globe. As part of this project, many cities and towns in the British Isles were mapped in astonishing detail and with great accuracy, providing the Soviet Union with strategic intelligence on key British and Irish locations. These were not simply copies of existing local maps, but included considerable original research. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, news of the previously secret maps began to emerge, though little is still known about why they were made or how the information was gathered.
Drawing on an archive acquired by the Bodleian Library, John M. Davies and Alexander J. Kent examine the maps of more than thirty British and Irish towns, including, among many others, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Swansea, and Sheffield. They look at some of the notable inaccuracies and highlight the surprising wealth of information the maps contain, including bridge heights, river depths, street names, and every strategic installation of possible significance. In addition, their expert commentary offers suggestions about what the maps may reveal about the sources of the data.
A fascinating collection of documents concerning Cold War military intelligence, Soviet Intelligence Plans for the British Isles represents an intriguing exploration of how information was compiled during a period of deep mutual suspicion between the Soviet Union and the West.

front cover of St. Margaret's Gospel
St. Margaret's Gospel
The Favourite Book of a Queen of Scotland
Rebecca Rushforth
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2007
Margaret was both a saint and a celebrated queen who, with her husband, led Scotland to great acclaim and power in eleventh-century Europe. Her favorite book was an illuminated manuscript of extracts from the gospels, and her personal copy, currently held in the Bodleian Library, is reproduced here for the pleasure of modern readers.

Margaret’s piety, dignity, and compassion made her a beloved figure long after her death. Her illuminated manuscript reveals the depths of her sanctity, opening with a Latin poem relating the one miracle attributed to her, where she preserved this book from damage. Exquisite illustrations transform the script into an arresting treasure, and Rebecca Rushforth uses incisive and comprehensive commentary to explain the story behind the manuscript and set it within Margaret’s historical context. She explores both the creation of the manuscript and its special meaning for Margaret, along with Margaret’s role as a significant figure in British and world history.

A fascinating piece of historical art, St Margaret’s Gospel-Book will be treasured by historians, religious scholars, and classicists alike.


front cover of Staging History
Staging History
Edited by Michael Burden, Wendy Heller, Jonathan Hicks, and Ellen Lockhart
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2016
Throughout the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, historical events were tremendously popular as adaptations for the stage. From the Revolutionary War to the French Revolution, stage dramas brought history vividly to life through powerful vocal performances and visual spectacle. The scale of the production was often ambitious, such as a Sadler’s Well staging of the Great Siege of Gibraltar, which featured a large water tank with floating vessels. Another production on the same topic added live cannons, which set fire to the vessels during the performance!

Drawing on copious new research, Staging History reexamines extraordinary theatrical works of the period to show the role they played in shaping popular interpretations of history. Editors Michael Burden, Wendy Heller, Jonathan Hicks, and Ellen Lockhart are joined by other experts in the field in analyzing theatrical documents, including playbills, set designs, and musical scores, as well as paintings, prints, and other illustrations, in order to explore what counted as historical truth for the writers, performers, and audiences of these plays.

front cover of The Story of Babar
The Story of Babar
Jean de Brunhoff was a French artist and illustrator who wrote seven books in the Babar the Elephant series. His work had a major influence on the development of the picture book.
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2016

front cover of Superstitions
Omens, Charms, Cures 1787
Francis Grose
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2011

Superstitions are surprisingly enduring. From dodging black cats to crossing one’s fingers while making a wish to an aversion to staff meetings on Friday the thirteenth, it is remarkable how many superstitions remain intact—even in this age of rationalism and swift scientific advancement.

First published in 1787 as part of the disparate collection A Provincial Glossary, with a Collection of Local Proverbs, and Popular Superstitions, Francis Grose’s Superstitions represents years of careful data collection and fieldwork and presents a full catalog of ways the supernatural might be expected to interfere in one’s life. Organized thematically into chapters like “Witches, Sorcerers, and Witchcraft,” “Things Lucky and Unlucky,” “Second Sight,” “Omens,” and “Superstitious Methods of Obtaining a Knowledge of Future Events,” Superstitions offers a systematic overview of the superstitious beliefs of the day as well as those held by earlier generations. Here, Grose’s work is reproduced under its original headings and supplemented by an informative introduction by Oxford English Dictionary editor John Simpson, setting the superstitions in proper historical and cultural context.
The resulting collection is a delightfully quirky guide to traditional sayings and beliefs, many archaic but some still surprisingly common today.

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