Thursday, 12 May 2016

Reading for May

Sarah Bakewell At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being & Apricot Cocktails (Chatto & Windus, 2016)

Proteus and the Magician: The Letters of Henry Miller and John Cowper Powys ed. Jacqueline Peltier (The Powys Society, 2014)

David Douglas English Scholars 1660-1730 (Eyre & Spottiswood, 2nd rev ed. 1951)

Annebella Pollen The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift: Intellectual Barbarians (Donjon Books, 2015) - reveals the significant influence of Aleister Crowley on this strange group, which I wasn't aware of.  Due a revival?  We camped with the offshoot Woodcraft Folk last year.

Ruth Scurr John Aubrey, My Own Life (Vintage, 2016) bought at the charming Harris & Harris bookshop in Clare, Suffolk.  I'd tried to buy it earlier at a Waterstones in Lincoln, but they'd never heard of it and couldn't find it on their catalogue, admittedly I couldn't remember the full title.  (It's been extensively reviewed and was shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Biography Award).  There are frequent mentions of various coffee houses in London, Jonathan's in particular, and Aubrey's meetings there with luminaries of the period (second half of 17c).  As he reports (p.297) 'I have the advantage of London's new coffee houses. Before they opened, men only knew how to be acquainted with their own relations or societies.  They were afraid and stared at all who were not of their own communities.'  I believe my book London's Coffee Houses in which Jonathan's and many others establishments are described, may have recently gone out of print (although the publishers have failed to inform me of the fact).

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