The Matter of Manners – In Pursuit of Civility by Keith Thomas

THE MATTER OF MANNERS In Pursuit of Civility – Manners and Civilisation in Early Modern England Keith Thomas, Yale: New Haven and London, hb., 457 pages Among the Bodleian Library’s celebrated Douce Collection of arcana,  incunabula and later works is an instructional manuscript of circa 1350, which contains the first-known written English expression of what… Continue reading

Enlightenments – Little Demon by Michael Wilding

ENLIGHTENMENTS Little Demon, Michael Wilding, Melbourne: Arcadia, 2018, 260 pages, $29.95 Captain Cook named Cape Byron for ‘Foul-Weather Jack’ Byron, the adventuring Vice-Admiral who sailed past the easternmost point of the Southern Land in 1764, part of that endless English outpouring that shaped today’s topography. The weatherbeaten Enlightenment navigator, for whom beaches were only important… Continue reading

My Country Life review of Animal: Exploring the Zoological World

The 7 November issue of Country Life carries my short review of Animal: Exploring the Zoological World (introduction by James Hanken, published by Phaidon) – “Animal captures admirably two interlocking intoxications: the thrill of ever-expanding zoological knowledge and the sheer joy of looking at animals, which look right back and into us in challenge and… Continue reading