front cover of Talking about Detective Fiction
Talking about Detective Fiction
P. D. James
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2009

front cover of Talking Maps
Talking Maps
Jerry Brotton and Nick Millea
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2019
Every map tells a story. Some provide a narrative for travelers, explorers, and surveyors or offer a visual account of changes to people’s lives and surroundings, while others tell imaginary tales, transporting us to fictional worlds created by writers and artists. In turn, maps generate more stories, taking users on new journeys in search of knowledge and adventure.

Drawing on the Bodleian Library’s outstanding map collection and covering almost a thousand years, Talking Maps takes a new approach to map-making by showing how maps and stories have always been intimately entwined. Including such rare treasures as a unique map of the Mediterranean from the eleventh-century Arabic Book of Curiosities, a twelfth-century map of the world by al-Sharīf al-Idrīsī, and C. S. Lewis’s map of Narnia, this fascinating book analyzes maps as objects that enable us to cross sea and land; as windows into alternative and imaginary worlds; as guides to reaching the afterlife; as tools to manage cities, nations, and empires; as images of environmental change; and as digitized visions of the global future.

By telling the stories behind the artifacts and those generated by them, Talking Maps reveals how each map is not just a tool for navigation but also a worldly proposal that helps us to understand who we are by describing where we are.

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Tea, Coffee & Chocolate
How We Fell in Love with Caffeine
Melanie King
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2015
There are few things in the world more pleasing than a decadent cup of hot chocolate, a steaming mug of one’s favorite tea, or that first wonderful sip of freshly brewed coffee. Three of the great culinary obsessions of the twenty-first century, tea, coffee, and chocolate are long-time favorites of both casual diners and foodies, But how did we become so enamored of the big three?
In her mouthwatering new book, Melanie King offers a concise cultural history. All three beverages hail from faraway places: tea came first from China, coffee from the Middle East, and chocolate from Central America. Physicians and politicians alike were quick to comment in newspapers and popular periodicals on their supposed perils or health benefits. Readers learn that coffee was recommended in the seventeenth century as protection against the bubonic plague. Tea was thought to make women unattractive and men “unfit to do their business,” while a cup of chocolate was supposed to have exactly the opposite effect on the drinker’s sex life and physical appearance. As consumption of these newly discovered delicacies grew, merchants seized on the opportunity by setting up coffee houses or encouraging ever-more-elaborate tea-drinking rituals.
Filled with fascinating and often funny anecdotes—from a goatherd whose flock became frisky after eating coffee berries to a duchess with a goblet of poisoned chocolate, Tea, Coffee & Chocolate shows how the rowdy initial reception of these drinks forms the roots of today’s enduring caffeine culture.

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Temple of Science
The Pre-Raphaelites and Oxford University Museum of Natural History
John Holmes
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020
Built between 1855 and 1860, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is the extraordinary result of close collaboration between artists and scientists. The architect Benjamin Woodward consulted with two groups on the design and decoration of the building: a panel of Oxford scientists and dons, and the society of artists known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The museum's decorative art was modeled on the Pre-Raphaelites' principle of meticulous observation of nature, itself indebted to science. The structure was an experiment in using architecture and art to communicate natural history, modern science, and natural theology.  Temple of Science sets out the history of the campaign to build the museum before taking the reader on a tour of the art found in the museum itself. It looks at the façade and the central court, the natural history carvings and marble columns illustrating different geological strata, and the meticulously carved sculptures of influential scientists. With unique insights and lavish illustrations, Temple of Science tells the story of one of the most remarkable collaborations between scientists and artists in European art.

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That’s the Ticket for Soup!
Victorian Views on Vocabulary as Told in the Pages of Punch
David Crystal
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020

The vocabulary of the past is always intriguing, especially when it is no longer used in modern English. Many of the words and phrases that were popular in Victorian England may sound foreign today, but looking to original sources and texts can yield fascinating insight, especially when we see how vocabulary was pilloried by the satirists of the day. 

In That’s the Ticket for Soup!, the renowned language expert David Crystal returns to the pages of Punch magazine, England’s widely read satirical publication. Crystal has pored through the pages of Punch between its first issue in 1841 and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and extracted the articles and cartoons that poked fun at the jargon of the day. Here we have Victorian high and low society, with its fashionable and unfashionable slang, its class awareness on display in the vocabulary of steam engines, motor cars, and other products of the Industrial Revolution. Then, as now, people had strong feelings about the flood of new words entering English. Swearing, new street names, and the many borrowings from French provoked continual irritation and mockery, as did the Americanisms increasingly encountered in the British press. In addition to these entertaining examples, Crystal includes commentary on the context of the times and informative glossaries. This original and amusing collection reveals how many present-day feelings about words can be traced to the satire of a century ago. 


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There was an Old Lady
Abner Graboff
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
One day an old lady swallows a fly and the only way she can get rid of it is to then swallow a wriggling, tickling spider . . .
            For more than a century, this deceptively simple rhyme has delighted children and parents alike. Its galloping rhythm is perfect for reading out loud, becoming a memory game as the list of animals grows—from fly and spider to bird, cat, dog, and goat. Abner Graboff’s bright and startling illustrations combine beautifully with the original verse to bring this subversive, irreverent tale to life.

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Thinking 3D
Books, Images and Ideas from Leonardo to the Present
Edited by Daryl Green and Laura Moretti
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2019
During the Renaissance, artists and illustrators developed the representation of truthful three-dimensional forms into a highly skilled art. As reliable illustrations of three-dimensional subjects became more prevalent, they also influenced the ways in which disciplines developed: architecture could be communicated much more clearly, mathematical concepts and astronomical observations could be quickly relayed, and observations of the natural world moved towards a more realistic method of depiction.

Through essays on some of the world’s greatest artists and thinkers—such as Leonardo da Vinci, Luca Pacioli, Andreas Vesalius, Johann Kepler, Galileo Galilei, William Hunter, and many more—this book tells the story of how of we learned to communicate three-dimensional forms on the two-dimensional page. It features some of Leonardo da Vinci’s ground-breaking drawings now in the Royal Collections and British Library as well as extraordinary anatomical illustrations, early paper engineering such as volvelles and flaps, beautiful architectural plans, and even views of the moon. With in-depth analysis of more than forty manuscripts and books, Thinking 3D also reveals the impact that developing techniques had on artists and draftsmen throughout time and across space, culminating in the latest innovations in computer software and 3D printing.

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Through the Lens of Janet Stone
Portraits, 1953-1979
Ian Archie Beck
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
The wife of the distinguished engraver Reynolds Stone, Janet Stone established a kind of literary salon in the idyllic setting of the old Rectory at Litton Cheney in West Dorset, where their wide circle of friends could visit, work, and flourish. Janet’s photographs of these occasions feature informal portraits from the mid-twentieth century of many of the leading cultural figures and personalities of the day.
            Included between these pages are portraits of the composers, actors, novelists, poets, and philosophers in the Stones’ milieu—from Benjamin Britten to Siegfried Sassoon and Frances Partridge—as well as members of the Stone family. Although not a trained photographer, Janet instinctively knew to click the shutter when her subjects were off-guard and at their most informal, capturing an array of candid shots—like one of John Bayley trying on a headscarf and a young Daniel Day-Lewis dressed up as a knight.
            These unique portraits offer beguiling insight into a special set of circumstances: an idyllic place and time and a group of people drawn together by two contrasting but complimentary personalities, the shy genius of Reynolds met by the outgoing style and glamour of Janet Stone.

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Titanic Calling
Wireless Communications during the Great Disaster
Edited by Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2012

Published in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, this book tells the story of that fateful night from an unusual angle: through the many wireless communications sent to and from the land stations and the ships involved as the tragic events unfolded.

Drawing on the extensive record of wireless transmissions in the Marconi Archives, Titanic Calling recounts this legendary story the way it was first heard, beginning with repeated warnings—just hours before the collision—of several large icebergs unusually far south and alarmingly close to the Titanic’s course. The story follows senior operator Jack Phillips as he sends distress messages to nearby ships and shows how these urgent calls for help were received and rapidly relayed across the Atlantic in a desperate attempt to save the lives of the Titanic’s passengers and crew. Finally, the distant SS Virginian receives the Titanic’s final, broken message. The story concludes with the rescue of the fortunate survivors, who radio messages to loved ones from aboard the RMS Carpathia while safely on their way to New York.
Illustrated throughout with photographs of the messages and including full transcripts of original material, the book also features an introduction to the development of maritime wireless communications and a discussion of the Marconi Archives’s Titanic collection. The forced brevity of the messages lends the narrative a startling sense of immediacy and brings to life to the voices of the individuals involved.

front cover of Tolkien
Maker of Middle-earth
Edited by Catherine McIlwaine
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
The range of J. R. R. Tolkien’s talents is remarkable. Not only was he an accomplished linguist and philologist, as well as a scholar of Anglo-Saxon and medieval literature and Norse folklore, but also a skillful illustrator and storyteller. Drawing on these talents, he created a universe which is for many readers as real as the physical world they inhabit daily.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth explores the huge creative endeavor behind Tolkien’s enduring popularity. Lavishly illustrated with three hundred images of his manuscripts, drawings, maps, and letters, the book traces the creative process behind his most famous literary works—The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion—and reproduces personal photographs and private papers, many of which have never been seen before in print.

Six essays introduce the reader to the person of J. R. R. Tolkien and to main themes in his life and work, including the influence of northern languages and legends on the creation of his own legendarium; his concept of “Faërie” as an enchanted literary realm; the central importance of his invented languages in his fantasy writing; his visual imagination and its emergence in his artwork; and the encouragement he derived from his close friend C. S. Lewis and their literary group the Inklings.

The book brings together the largest collection of original Tolkien material ever assembled in a single volume. Drawing on the extensive archives of the Tolkien collections at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, which stretch to more than five hundred boxes, and Marquette University, Milwaukee, as well as private collections, this hugely ambitious and exquisitely produced book draws together the worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien – scholarly, literary, creative, and domestic—offering a rich and detailed understanding and appreciation of this extraordinary author.

This landmark publication, produced on the occasion of a major exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford in 2018 and at the Morgan Library in New York in 2019, is set to become a standard work in the literature on J. R. R. Tolkien. 

front cover of Tolkien
Catherine McIlwaine
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
This beautifully illustrated book showcases the highlights of the Tolkien archives held at the Bodleian Library. From J. R. R. Tolkien’s childhood in the Midlands and his experience of the First World War to his studies at school and university, from his exquisite illustrations for The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings to his intricate and beautiful maps showing the topography of Middle-earth, this stunning book is a perfect introduction to Tolkien’s life and works. Tolkien: Treasures sheds light on the extraordinary genius and imagination that brought us Middle-earth, with all its Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Ringwraiths, Wizards, and, of course, Hobbits.

front cover of Town
Prints & Drawings of Britain before 1800
Bernard Nurse
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020
Many provincial towns in Britain grew dramatically in size and importance in the eighteenth century. Ports such as Glasgow and Liverpool greatly expanded, while industrial centers such as Birmingham and Manchester flourished. Market towns outside London developed as commercial centers or as specialty destinations: visitors could find spa treatments in Bath, horse racing in Newmarket, and naval services in Portsmouth. Containing more than one hundred images of country towns in England, Wales, and Scotland, this book draws on the extensive Gough collection in the Bodleian Library. Contemporary prints and drawings provide a powerful visual record of the development of the town in this period, and finely drawn prospects and maps—made with greater accuracy than ever before—reveal their early development. This book also includes perceptive observations from the journals and letters of collector Richard Gough (1735–1809), who traveled throughout the country on the cusp of the industrial age.

front cover of The Tradescants' Orchard
The Tradescants' Orchard
The Mystery of a Seventeenth-Century Painted Fruit Book
Barrie Juniper and Hanneke Grootenboer
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2013
In the early seventeenth century, England’s leisured classes took an eager interest in fruits from the Mediterranean and beyond, introducing species from abroad into the kitchen gardens and orchards of grand homes. A charming collection of sixty-six early watercolors showing fecund trees with fruits hanging heavily from their branches, The Tradescants’ Orchard is a testament to these broadening horticultural horizons.

The Tradescants’ Orchard reproduces for the first time the entire manuscript, traditionally associated with the renowned father-and-son nurserymen the John Tradescants. The paintings pose many questions: Who painted them and why? What is the significance of the wildlife—birds, butterflies, frogs, and snails—that appear throughout? Why is there only one depiction of an apple tree despite its popularity? Were there others that have since gone missing?

A visual feast that will appeal to botany and gardening enthusiasts, the book also includes an introduction that maps out the mystery of how and why these enigmatic watercolors were made.

front cover of Travel
A Literary History
Peter Whitfield
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2011

Taking the form of fact-filled travelogues, stunt-writing spectaculars, or genre-blurring imaginative works, travel writing has never been more popular than it is today. But beyond the self-conscious literary artistry of today’s narratives lies a rich and well-documented history of travel writing, stretching back over several thousand years and incorporating the work of mariners and missionaries, diplomats and dilettantes alike.

From the ancient world to the present, Peter Whitfield offers the first broad survey to range over the whole history of travel writing, highlighting more than one hundred texts, including works by Marco Polo, T. E. Lawrence, Christopher Columbus, Daniel Defoe, Joseph Conrad, and Captain Cook. Whether their travels were merely for pleasure or the result of exploration, military occupation, or trade, the writers discussed here all sought to reimagine their surroundings and, through their writings, reinterpret them for the reader. Because of that personal, interpretive approach, Whitfield shows, their work inhabits a strange borderland between fact and fiction. Over time, as our travel objectives have changed, so too has the tone of travel writing, eschewing the traditional stance of cultural superiority in favor of a deeper sensitivity to other peoples and places. The book is rounded out by numerous illustrations from manuscripts and books of travel in the collection of the Bodleian Library.
A world-class examination of a little-explored genre, Travel: A Literary History offers an accessible look at the history of travel writing that will make a great addition to any carry-on.

front cover of Treasures from the Map Room
Treasures from the Map Room
A Journey through the Bodleian Collections
Edited by Debbie Hall
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2016
The Bodleian Library is home to one of the world’s largest and oldest collections of maps, with atlases, maps, and books on cartography dating back to the fourteenth century, including many that are among the most rare and historically significant.

Treasures from the Map Room publishes seventy-five extraordinary examples from this collection, housed in the Map Room at the newly renovated Weston Library. The maps reproduced in Treasures range from the fourteenth to the twenty-first century. Among them are the fourteenth-century Gough Map, the earliest road map of Great Britain that achieved a remarkable level of accuracy and detail for its time; fifteenth-century portolan charts intended for maritime navigation; the Selden Map of China, the earliest Chinese map to show shipping routes; and an important early map from the medieval Islamic Book of Curiosities. The book also includes a great many recent examples, including J. R. R. Tolkien’s map of Middle Earth and C. S. Lewis’s map of Narnia. Debbie Hall takes readers back in time to uncover the fascinating story of each treasure, from a map plotting outbreaks of cholera to a jigsaw map of India from the 1850s and silk escape maps carried by pilots flying missions over occupied Europe during World War II.

With lavish full-color photography and descriptions of each map’s provenance, purpose, and creation, Treasures from the Map Room is a beautiful and informative catalog of this remarkable collection.

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Type is Beautiful
The Story of Fifty Remarkable Fonts
Simon Loxley
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2016
Fonts are everywhere. You may even have a favorite serif or sans serif. But have you ever wondered who took the bold steps to create it? Behind every great font is a great story, and, in this fascinating cultural history, graphic designer and design writer Simon Loxley covers more than five hundred years in the history of typography—from the oldest printed typeface used in the Gutenberg Bible right up to the present day.

Type is Beautiful traces the history of fifty remarkable fonts. Thoroughly researched and visually exciting, it takes readers through the story of each font’s creation and distinct characteristics, as well as why it succeeded or failed. Some of the fonts were commissioned for major commercial or cultural projects. Edward Johnston’s iconic Johnston Sans, for instance, was created for the London Underground and remained there exclusively until a redesign in the 1980s. Other fonts became culturally significant unintentionally. The designer of the controversial Comic Sans created the typeface to fill the need for a font to fit the speech bubbles for a Microsoft program, never expecting it to become one of the world’s favorite—and most-maligned—fonts. Along the way, Loxley gives readers an unforgettable cast of characters, including Johannes Gutenberg, William Caslon, Nicolas Jenson, Stanley Morison, William Morris, and Thomas Cobden-Sanderson, the English artist and bookbinder who famously “bequeathed” the unique metal type created for his failed Doves Press to the Thames, casting the type into the river to prevent its future use.

Brimming with fascinating facts, Type is Beautiful is a highly informative and entertaining trip through a lesser-known aspect of history that turns out to have major significance for print and design culture. From Blackletter to Baskerville and Bodoni, you will find yourself looking at fonts with a newfound appreciation.

front cover of Typographic Firsts
Typographic Firsts
John Boardley
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
How were the first fonts made? Who invented italics? When did we figure out how to print in color?

Many of the standard features of printed books were designed by pioneering typographers and printers in the latter half of the fifteenth century. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with printing the first books in Europe with moveable type in the fifteenth century, but many different European printers and publishers went on to find innovative solutions to replicate the appearance of manuscript books in print and improve on them throughout the Renaissance. The illustrated examples in Typographic Firsts originate in those early decades, bringing into focus the influences and innovations that shaped the printed book and established a Western typographic canon.

From the practical challenges of polychromatic printing and sheet music printing to the techniques for illustrating books with woodcuts and producing books for children to the design of the first fonts, these stories chart the invention of the printed book, the world’s first means of mass communication. Also covering title pages, maps, printing in gold, and printing in color, this book shows how a mixture of happenstance and brilliant technological innovation came together to form the typographic and design conventions of the book.

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