Philobiblon: A miscellany

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A miscellany

Not yet on top of my inboxes at the end of the week, but I thought I'd share a few gems I've found thus far.

First up today's Oxford Dictionary of National Biography character of the day is Mary Carleton (nee Moders), better known as the "German Princess". That last was the role she played in life, and on the stage. From humble beginnings, she learnt the manners, the language and the skills to pass herself off as aristocracy, and when finally exposed, having escaped a bigamy charge, she played herself upon the stage. Were she alive today, she'd undoubtedly be on I'm a Celebrity ... And, probably, her story would also end badly, although not on the scaffold.

A review of Phillip Taylor's Goddess on the Rise: Pilgrimage and Popular Religion in Vietnamprovides a glimpse of the rise of the "the Britney Spears of the Vietnamese religious world", the goddess Ba Chua Xu, the "Lady of the Realm".

An interesting thought, perhaps, for cross-cultural comparisons: "The author further elaborates on this popularity in the context of Vietnam's late socialism that is marked by a thriving, urban-based economy. To the same extent as the vibrant markets are dominated by commanding women, the world of spirits, with whom a significant number of them enter into a symbolic, reciprocal relationship of support and indebtedness, is predominantly inhabited by female deities."

An announcement introduces Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton's Bodies in Contact: Rethinking Colonial Encounters in World History, which sounds like fascinating attempt to tell the history of the colonialism around the world (including Ottoman and Han) from a gender perspective.

"Discussing subjects as diverse as slavery and travel, ecclesiastical colonialism and military occupation, marriage and property, nationalism and football, immigration and temperance, Bodies in Contact puts women, gender, and sexuality squarely at the center of the "master narratives" of imperialism and world history."

Finally, and I take no responsibility if this damages your wallet (it has already done mine), Oxford University Press is having a direct sale, with many books 75 per cent off. If you are in Europe or the Middle East it is here, America here. I don't know about Australia, Asia or other parts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, booksales liken other pleasures are hard to resist, even when one can see the hangover ahead. But thanks anyway. Ronnie Smartt

1/22/2005 08:49:00 pm  

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