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Alan Taylor has contributed to numerous publications, including The TLS, The New Yorker and The Melbourne Age, and edited four acclaimed anthologies - The Assassin's Cloak (2000), The Secret Annexe (2004), The Country Diaries (2009) and most recently, Glasgow: The Autobiography (2016).
It’s the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth in 2018 and therefore time for a reappraisal of a novelist whose influence and importance are often overlooked. Alan Taylor got to know Spark very well and gives a warm, gossipy and rounded picture of a woman who didn’t take many prisoners. As a biography it has the merit of both revealing a very private woman and also reigniting interest in Muriel Spark’s work – an ideal introduction for the anniversary year. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Curriculum Vitae: A Volume of Autobiography by Muriel Spark The Golden Fleece: Essays by Muriel Spark
Aimed at lay, student, and academic readers alike, this book concerns the imagination and, specifically, imagination in music. It opens with a discussion of the invalidity of the idea of the creative genius and the connected view that ideas originate just in the individual mind. An alternative view of the imaginative process is then presented, that ideas spring from a subconscious dialogue activated by engagement in the world around. Ideas are therefore never just of our own making. This view is supported by evidence from many studies and corresponds with descriptions by artists of their experience of imagining. The third subject is how imaginations can be shared when musicians work with other artists, and the way the constraints imposed by the need to share subconscious imagining result in clearly distinct forms of joint working. The final chapter covers the use of the musical imagination in making meanings from music. The evidence is that music does not communicate meanings directly, and so composers or performers cannot be looked to as authorities on its meaning. Instead, music is commonly heard as analogous to human experience, and listeners who perceive such analogies may then imagine their own meanings from the music.
This fascinating selection of photographs illustrates the extraordinary transformation that has taken place in The Potteries during the 20th century. The book offers an insight into the daily lives and living conditions of local people and gives the reader glimpses and details of familiar places during a century of unprecedented change. Many aspects of The Potteries' recent history are covered, famous occasions and individuals are remembered and the impact of national and international events is witnessed. The book provides a striking account of the changes that have so altered the appearance of The Potteries, and records the process of transformation. Drawing on detailed local knowledge of the community, and illustrated with a wealth of black-and-white photographs, this book recalls what The Potteries has lost in terms of buildings, traditions and ways of life. It also acknowledges the regeneration that has taken place and celebrates the character and energy of local people as they move through the first years of this new century.
This book is an intimate, fond and funny memoir of one of the greatest novelists of the last century. This colourful, personal, anecdotal, indiscreet and admiring memoir charts the course of Muriel Spark's life revealing her as she really was. Once, she commented sitting over a glass of chianti at the kitchen table, that she was upset that the academic whom she had appointed her official biographer did not appear to think that she had ever cracked a joke in her life. Alan Taylor here sets the record straight about this and many other things. With sources ranging from notebooks kept from his very first encounter with Muriel and the hundreds of letters they exchanged over the years, this is an invaluable portrait of one of Edinburgh's premiere novelists. The book will be published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel's birth in 2018.
Glasgow: The Autobiography tells the story of the fabled, former Second City of the British Empire from its origins as a bucolic village on the rivers Kelvin and Clyde, through the Industrial Revolution to the dawning of the second millennium. Arranged chronologically and introduced by journalist and Glasgowphile Alan Taylor, the book includes extracts from an astonishing array of writers. Some, such as William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Dirk Bogarde and Evelyn Waugh, were visitors and left their vivid impressions as they passed through on. Many others were born and bred Glaswegians who knew the city and its inhabitants - and its secrets - intimately. They come from every walk of life and, in addition to professional writers, include anthropologists and scientists, artists and murderers, housewives and hacks, footballers and comedians, politicians and entrepreneurs, immigrants and locals. Together they present a varied and vivid portrait of one of the world's great cities in all its grime and glory - a place which is at once infuriating, frustrating, inspiring, beguiling, sensational and never, ever dull.
The book's ambition is to uniquely yoke familiar histories of New Hollywood with aspects of critical theory that, since the 1950s, have embraced advances in the New Rhetoric as pioneered by literary theorist, philosopher, social analyst and educator Kenneth Burke (1897-1993). The study tracks the career arcs of Hollywood film directors Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, Michael Cimino and Francis Ford Coppola whose productions are regarded as Burkean perspectives by incongruity. This analysis is contextualized within an overview that, from the 1920s to the present, considers Hollywood as a languaged industry that is grounded in Burkean principles of Order, identification, hierarchy, courtship and ambiguities of substance. The project is designed to serve the interests of colleagues and students in Rhetorical Theory, Film Education, Creative Writing, American Studies, Production Studies, and Film and Media Studies.
The American Revolution is often portrayed as a high-minded, orderly event whose capstone, the Constitution, provided the ideal framework for a democratic, prosperous nation. Alan Taylor, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, gives us a different creation story in this magisterial history of the nations founding. Rising out of the continental rivalries of European empires and their native allies, Taylors Revolution builds like a ground fire overspreading Britains mainland colonies, fueled by local conditions, destructive, hard to quell. Conflict ignited on the frontier, where settlers clamored to push west into Indian lands against British restrictions, and in the seaboard cities, where commercial elites mobilized riots and boycotts to resist British tax policies. When war erupted, Patriot crowds harassed Loyalists and nonpartisans into compliance with their cause. Brutal guerrilla violence flared all along the frontier from New York to the Carolinas, fed by internal divisions as well as the clash with Britain. Taylor skillfully draws France, Spain, and native powers into a comprehensive narrative of the war that delivers the major battles, generals, and common soldiers with insight and power. With discord smoldering in the fragile new nation through the 1780s, nationalist leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton sought to restrain unruly state democracies and consolidate power in a Federal Constitution. Assuming the mantle of We the People, the advocates of national power ratified the new frame of government. But their opponents prevailed in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, whose vision of a western empire of liberty aligned with the long-standing, expansive ambitions of frontier settlers. White settlement and black slavery spread west, setting the stage for a civil war that nearly destroyed the union created by the founders.
Brandon and the Pumpkin of Pearls is a story about a young boy who is too small to work on the family farm after his father is sent away to fight for the kings army. Brandon's mother is pregnant and struggles to keep up the farms maintenance, so she sends Brandon to sell their animals at the market for money to support the family but instead of listening to his mother he decides to do what he feels is best. Along the way Brandon is repeatedly tricked, cheated and hustled out of their animals by a sneaky, evil old gypsy lady. Brandon is left with no money and the family is nearly homeless. Can this young boy's crafty thinking out smart the evil old gypsy lady and save their farm? Find out inside this magical, glorious tale...
The unique beauty of the British countryside has been celebrated down the ages in music, poetry, and art. It has also been celebrated in countless private diaries. This delightful treasury gathers together the very finest - from Rev Gilbert White's journal of life at his famous home in Selborne to Beatrix Potter's holiday diaries from Perthshire. Elsewhere, the thoughts of Dorothy Wordsworth and John Fowles rub shoulders with the words of Queen Victoria, Siegfried Sassoon and Roger Deakin. Together, these private records, which have been arranged as a diary of the calendar year, paint a rich and surprising portrait of a landscape and a life we think we know so well.
As well as providing a valuable record for future historians, these charming photographs will inspire nostalgic pleasure in those who still remember old Folkestone.
Whoever reads these essays-and whether they follow the book from cover to cover, or dip into chapters at random-will find the rich abundance and variety of early American scholarship set out before them. Readers new to the field will grasp a sense of its expansiveness and possibilities, but seasoned scholars, too, will find here a feast of insights and possibilities that will engage, provoke, and inspire them. -from the Foreword, by Christopher Clark How is American history written? In a penetrating series of review essays, prize-winning author Alan Taylor provides his own answer to this question. In the pages of The New Republic, he has regularly scrutinized the writing of the most interesting historians of early American history. Together these reviews provide the general reader a rich and rewarding introduction to their subjects. The books reviewed span an enormous range of scholarship, from popular biographies of Founding Fathers, to investigations of murders of prostitutes to discussions of frontier technology. Grouped thematically, the essays reveal a historian with an unrivaled breadth of knowledge and an admirable passion for his subject, and one who has contributed a continent-wide perspective to colonial history. As readers steep themselves in world-class scholarship, they also discover a writer who takes very seriously his role as reader.
AMERICAN COLONIES starts with the earliest years of human colonization of the American continent and environs with the Siberian migrations across the Bering Strait 15,000 years ago. It ends in around 1800 when the rough outline of the contemporary North America could be perceived. Dropping the usual Anglocentric description of North America's fate, Taylor brilliantly conveys the far more vivid and startling story of the competing interests--Spanish, French, English, Native, Russian--that over the centuries shaped and reshaped both the continent and its 'suburbs' in the Caribbean and the Pacific. It is one of the greatest of all human stories.
This detailed exploration of the settlement of Maine beginning in the late eighteenth century illuminates the violent, widespread contests along the American frontier that served to define and complete the American Revolution. Taylor shows how Maine's militant settlers organized secret companies to defend their populist understanding of the Revolution.