Brontës, Selfies, Babies, Frankenstein, & More | Classic Returns

Classic returns, those rereleased titles we love, come in many shapes and sizes, but this column’s crop looks especially fancy, with fashion and art titles, a couple of clothbound Brontë books, golden-age British crime novels, a 40-year-old work from British author Jane Gardam, a fifth edition of What To Expect…, and a newly illustrated and interactive Frankenstein.

Borzello, Frances. Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits. Thames & Hudson. May 2016. 272p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500239469. $40. FINE ARTS
Borzello.womenselfiesThis revised version of a 1998 volume about which LJ reviewer Mary Hamel-Schwulst said, ”Books of this high caliber are few and far between in feminist art history…. A landmark work; essential for all academic and large public libraries,” features a new introduction by art historian and author Borzello (A World of Our Own: Women as Artists Since the Renaissance). Additionally, the edition has more works in color, new images, and updated text (there’s even a discussion of selfies at the end). The self-portraits date from the 16th century, with Italian nuns gazing at viewers from the pages of medieval illuminated manuscripts, all the way through to what the author calls the modern period, with taboo-busting artists such as Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman, and Frida Kahlo “dispensing with all boundaries.” Illustrations are plentiful and clearly reproduced, the notes and bibliography are informative and interesting, and minibios will pique readers’ and scholars’ interest in the women who present themselves to the world here.

Gardam, Jane. Bilgewater. Europa Editions. Jun. 2016. 208p. ISBN 9781609453312. $16. F
The latest Gardam rerelease from Europa was first Gardam.Bilgewaterpublished 40 years ago, in 1976. The coming-of-age novel follows teenage Marigold Green, daughter of the St. Wilfrid’s boys’ school housemaster, nicknamed “Bilgewater” by the students, smart as a tack, and terrified by any sort of social interaction. Convinced that she’s plain and peculiar, the motherless Marigold stumbles through late adolescence, making one hilarious mistake after another.  Many accolades, including two Whitbread Prizes for Best New Novel, have been lavished on British author Gardam (Crusoe’s Daughter;  Black Faces, White Faces; “Old Filth” series ), who writes fiction for both adults and children.

 

Hollander, Anne. Fabric of Vision: Dress and Drapery in Painting. Bloomsbury Visual Arts. Sept. 2016. 208p. illus. ISBN 9781474251648. $39.95. DEC ARTS
Hollander.FabofVisionNoted fashion, costume, and art historian Hollander (1930–2014) elevated the discourse of fashion with her writings (Sex & Suits [see review below]; Seeing Through ClothesMoving Pictures). Fabric of Vision was originally published in 2002 to accompany an exhibition of the same name at London’s National Gallery. Fashion Institute of Technology director and chief curator Valerie Steele provides a new foreword to this reissue. The text draws on works by artists over a period of six centuries, everything from paintings to fashion plates to photographs and film stills, showing how drapery and costume in art has evolved and what clothes and cloth signify in the selected artworks. LJ’s art and fashion reviewer Sandra Rothenberg noted in 2002 that “Hollander shows how fabric in art reflected each era’s social preoccupations, fashions, and tastes” and recommended the title for libraries that collect books on art and costume.

Hollander, Anne. Sex & Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress. Bloomsbury Academic.  Aug. 2016. 176p. illus.  ISBN 9781474250658. $29.95. DEC ARTS
Originally published in 1994, this volume was a trailblazer in fashion and gender studies and is considered a classic text in both fields. Hollander charts men’s and women’s fashion from their divergence in the medieval period to the eventual convergence through appropriation on both sides: women “borrowing” male elements such as tailoring; men reclaiming embellishment and color. LJ reviewer Therese Duzinkiewicz Baker’s original review called Sex & Suits “[a] good history of the development of men’s suits,” highly recommended, and added that the author’s analyses are “sometimes controversial, but never boring.”

abusandeepfashionJani, Abu & others. India Fantastique Fashion. Thames & Hudson. Jun. 2016. 384p. photos. ISBN 9780500518410. $50. DEC ARTS
For 30 years, Jani and Sandeep Khosla have brought the best of traditional Indian crafts to the world of high fashion. The duo have designed costumes for India’s leading actors and actresses, and their couture creations have been worn by international celebrities such as Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Amitabh Bachchan, Sophie Marceau, and Freida Pinto. This opulent, photo-heavy look at the designs by India-based fashion house Abu Sandeep first appeared as a two-volume boxed set in 2012. Now an updated, revised stand-alone focusing on fashion (the 2012 edition looked at fashion in Vol. 1 and interiors in Vol. 2), the smaller-scale title features text by art critic and curator Gyatri Sinha and 50 new eye-popping photos by Ram Shergill.

whatToExpect.5edMurkoff, Heidi & Sharon Mazel. What To Expect When You’re Expecting. 5th ed. Workman. Jun. 2016. 678p. illus. ISBN 9780761189244. $29.95; pap. ISBN 9780761187486. $15.95. HEALTH
The revised fifth edition of “America’s pregnancy bible” has completely updated medical information, including the latest on prenatal screening, a brand-new section on postpartum birth control, and effects of current lifestyle trends, such as juice bars, raw diets, e-cigarettes, and omega-3 fatty acids, on pregnant women. The title is the choice of 93 percent of women who read a pregnancy book, and it contains advice for expecting dads as well. There’s expanded coverage of IVF (in vitro fertilization) pregnancy, multiple pregnancies, breastfeeding, water and home births, and caesarean trends, in addition to Murkoff’s guidance for soon-to-be parents and answers to their every conceivable question.

Frankenstein.EkoillusShelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus. Restless Classics. Jun. 2016. 288p. illus. by Eko. ISBN 9781632060785. $19.99. ebk. available. LIT
In 1816, the idea for the most famous work by Shelley (1797–1851) took root during a stay at Geneva, Switzerland, with her husband, romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley, and several friends. Two years later, Frankenstein was published. Two hundred years later, the second “Restless Classics” release (after a 400th-anniversary edition of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote) boasts new artwork by engraver and painter Eko, an introduction by author Francine Prose, a video teaching series headed by University of Pennsylvania Richard L. Fisher Professor of English Wendy Steiner, and online book-club discussions led by “passionate experts.”  

Short Takes

tenant.jpg62916Brontë, Anne. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 576p. ISBN 9780241198957.
Brontë, Charlotte. Villette. 672p. ISBN 9780241198964.
ea. vol: Penguin Classics. Jun. 2016. $25. LIT
Amazing Coralie Bickford-Smith covers grace both Brontë editions from Penguin Classics. Anne’s second novel (after Agnes Grey) was originally published in three installments in 1848. The Guardian has called this book “one of the first feminist novels.”

In time for the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth is a clothbound volume of the work Virginia Woolf said was Brontë’s “finest novel,” edited and with an introduction by Helen Cooper (English, SUNY Stony Brook).

 

screaminsoho.jpg62916Brandon, John G. A Scream in Soho. Aug. 2016. 222p. ISBN 9781464206498; ebk. ISBN 9781464206504.
Burton, Miles. The Secret of High Eldersham. Jun. 2016. 276p. ISBN 9781464205835; ebk. ISBN 9781464205842.
Forrester, Andrew. The Female Detective. Aug. 2016. 280p. ISBN 9781464206474; ebk. ISBN 9781464206481.
ea. vol: Poisoned Pen. (British Library Crime Classics). pap. $12.95. M
Poisoned Pen Press is working with the British Library to release classic crime and spy novels from the golden age of crime writing. Brandon’s story (1940) takes place in London during the blackouts of World War II, when a woman’s scream rings out and a bloody knife is found. Burton, who wrote under several pseudonyms, contributes a small-town-with-ancient-secrets title first published in 1930. Forrester’s offering is the oldest of the lot, initially released in 1864. The new edition of The Female Detective includes a foreword by mystery writer Alexander McCall Smith.

 

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Liz French About Liz French

Library Journal Senior Editor Liz French edits nonfiction and women's fiction reviews at LJ and also compiles the "What We're Reading" and "Classic Returns" columns for LJ online. She's inordinately interested in what you're reading as well. Email: efrench@mediasourceinc.com, Twitter: @lizefrench