Get ready for the Halloween season with some *spooky* reads! These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.
Monstrous Progeny: A History of the Frankenstein Narratives by Prof. Lester D. Friedman & Prof. Allison B. Kavey
Monstrous Progeny takes readers on a fascinating exploration of the Frankenstein family tree, tracing the literary and intellectual roots of Shelley’s novel from the sixteenth century and analyzing the evolution of the book’s figures and themes into modern productions that range from children’s cartoons to pornography. Along the way, media scholar Lester D. Friedman and historian Allison B. Kavey examine the adaptation and evolution of Victor Frankenstein and his monster across different genres and in different eras. In doing so, they demonstrate how Shelley’s tale and its characters continue to provide crucial reference points for current debates about bioethics, artificial intelligence, cyborg lifeforms, and the limits of scientific progress.
Blending an extensive historical overview with a detailed analysis of key texts, the authors reveal how the Frankenstein legacy arose from a series of fluid intellectual contexts and continues to pulsate through an extraordinary body of media products. Both thought-provoking and entertaining,Monstrous Progeny offers a lively look at an undying and significant cultural phenomenon.
Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment by Lizanne Henderson
Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, Witchcraft and Folk Belief in the Age of Enlightenment represents the first in-depth investigation of Scottish witchcraft and witch belief post-1662, the period of supposed decline of such beliefs, an age which has been referred to as the ‘long eighteenth century’, coinciding with the Scottish Enlightenment. The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were undoubtedly a period of transition and redefinition of what constituted the supernatural, at the interface between folk belief and the philosophies of the learned. For the latter the eradication of such beliefs equated with progress and civilization but for others, such as the devout, witch belief was a matter of faith, such that fear and dread of witches and their craft lasted well beyond the era of the major witch-hunts. This study seeks to illuminate the distinctiveness of the Scottish experience, to assess the impact of enlightenment thought upon witch belief, and to understand how these beliefs operated across all levels of Scottish society.
Seven Skeletons by Lydia Pyne
Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas—ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today.
Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil—from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall “hobbit” from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy—each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized.
Murder, Inc. and the Moral Life by Robert Weldon Whalen
The Murder, Inc., story is as much a tale of morality as it is a gangster history, and Murder, Inc., and the Moral Life by Robert Whalen meshes both topics clearly and meticulously, relating the gangster phenomenon to modern moral theory. Each chapter covers an aspect of the Murder, Inc., case and reflects on its ethical elements and consequences. Whalen delves into the background of the criminals involved, their motives, and the violent death that surrounded them; New York City’s immigrant gang culture and its role as “Gangster City”; fiery politicians Fiorello La Guardia and Thomas E. Dewey and the choices they made to clean up the city; and the role of the gangster in popular culture and how it relates to “real life.” Whalen puts a fresh spin on the two topics, providing a vivid narrative with both historical and moral perspective.