New eBooks August 2020

New eBooks August 2020

In this blog post we explore a selection of the latest eBooks to our collection. The eBooks explored in this post tackle a variety of subject matters including; queer cultures in 1930s prose, Nordic Noir, representations of Vikings, wartime writing and comedy in contemporary British literature.

A full list of new acquisitions can be found on the EFL LibraryThing Catalogue.

Charlotte Charteris. 2019. The Queer Cultures of 1930s Prose: Language, Identity and Performance in Interwar Britain.

In this text Charteris re-evaluates the representation of queer cultures in 1930s British prose writing.  The book mainly focuses on examining the fictive work of Christopher Isherwood, Evelyn Waugh and Patrick Hamilton alongside autobiographical works and other literary contemporaries. Through examining these works Charteris seeks to establish how and why queer lives and identities were shaped during this period. Charteris shows how the authors self-consciously produced their own masculinities through language.


Linda Badley, Andrew Nestingen, Andrew, Jaakko Seppälä (eds.). 2020. Nordic Noir, Adaptation, Appropriation.

Nordic Noir, Adaptation, Appropriation explores a variety of topics to demonstrate how adaptation and appropriation are fundamental characteristics of Nordic Noir. Using the fundamentals of adaptation studies, the chapters in the work take intermedial and transcultural approaches. The scholars featured in the book demonstrate how adaptation and appropriation are essential to the longevity and the branding of Nordic literary and television traditions as Nordic Noir. The work shows how the continual adaptation and appropriation helped establish Nordic Noir as an enduring global phenomenon.


Tom Birkett & Roderick Dale (eds.). 2019. The Vikings Reimagined: Reception, Recovery, Engagement.

The Vikings Reimagined explores the perception of and engagement with the Vikings across a variety of media and cultures. The interdisciplinary approaches taken in the book seek to revaluate the influence of Old Norse Viking culture to the present day. Some of the topics explored in the book include; the representations of the Vikings in contemporary picture books, Comedic reimaginings, Icelandic sagas and Hemmingway.


Alice Kelly. 2020. Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War.

In Commemorative Modernisms, Kelly considers the work of women writing in the First World War and postwar period, and the connections to Modernism through attitudes to death. Kelly examines the work a variety of writers including Edith Wharton, Katherine Mansfield, H.D., and Virginia Woolf, alongside visual and material culture. Through studying representations of death and the culture of war commemoration in women’s writing, Kelly shows how these themes underline British and American literary Modernism.


Beryl Pong. 2020. British Literature and Culture in Second World Wartime: For the Duration.

In this study, Pong explores the relationship between late British Modernism and Second World Wartime with a focus on chronophobia – the fear of both the past and future. It is split into three parts looking at the tropes of time capsules, time zones and ruins. The work takes an interdisciplinary approach through considering a variety of literary sources, including life-writing, alongside film, photography and painting to illuminate chronophobia in 1940s wartime.



Huw Marsh. 2020.The Comic Turn in Contemporary English Fiction: Who’s Laughing Now?

The Comic Turn in Contemporary English Fiction explores comedy’s importance in contemporary literature and culture. Marsh argues that comic writing is not a consistent genre and prompts complex responses from the reader. To explore this, Marsh focuses on discussing the work of authors including Martin Amis, Nicola Barker, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Coe, Howard Jacobson, Magnus Mills and Zadie Smith. The book argues that there is comic tendency in contemporary literature, and this use of comedy can be used in interesting ways. Marsh shows that when comedy is analysed in these works, new understandings of fiction and the present can be brought out.

New eBooks July 2020

New eBooks July 2020

In this blog post we explore some of the latest eBook acquisitions from July. The topics covered by these books include gender studies, queer literature and feminism. Browse all new eBooks acquired by the English Faculty Library on our LibraryThing catalogue here. As always, you can make recommendations for new material on the EFL website.

Tyler Bradway. 2017. Queer Experimental Literature: The affective politics of bad reading.

Bradway’s Queer Experimental Literature focuses on how post-war writers queer the affective relations of reading through experimenting with the literary form. Bradway describes the ‘good reader’ as an individual who reads appropriate subject matters. Bradway goes on to explore the subsequent idea of a ‘bad reading’. When the rules of good reading are broken, moments of social transgression occur. Through closely studying a variety of authors including Kathy Acker and Jeanette Winterson, Bradway explores how queer experimental literature uses form to reimagine the affective and social relations within the heteronormative public sphere.


Elena Cordero-Hoyo and Begoña Soto-Vázquez. 2020. Women in Iberian Filmic Culture: A Feminist Approach to the Cinemas of Portugal and Spain.

Women in Iberian Filmic Culture focuses on the films of Spain and Portugal to explore women and their roles in Iberian filmic culture. The work shows how the historical context influenced Iberian cinema. This includes the censorship in the early twentieth century, and the arrival of democracy in the 1970s. The cinema of both countries is analysed both individually and in relation to each other. The work engages with ongoing debates about the role of women within these films, and the interdisciplinary and feminist approaches which can be taken. It also considers the relatively unexplored relationship between Iberian cinema and visual culture, particularly in the twentieth century.


Rob Cover. 2019. Emergent identities: New sexualities, genders and relationships in a digital era.

Emergent Identities explores how traditional binary understandings of gender and sexuality- especially in relation to language and categorisation – are being transformed by fluidity and the non-binary in the digital landscape. The work examines how digital communication has influenced this emergence of a new taxonomy, and the implications of this on a range of subjects including identity, individuality and social belonging. The book seeks to offer an initial understanding of these shifts in sexuality and gender and the implications it has upon society. Through these new taxonomies, Cover suggests that new creative readings can be applied to media and older literary texts.

Mary Eagleton. 2018. Clever Girls and the Literature of Women’s Upward Mobility.

In Clever Girls and the Literature of Women’s Upward Mobility Eagleton follows ‘the clever girl’ from post-war to present through considering the memoirs, plays and fiction of contemporary British women writers. Eagleton particularly focuses on the ideas of social mobility and meritocracy. Eagleton explores the struggles with moving away from traditional ideas of femininity, and the pressures of race, status and austerity. Writers considered in the work include Zadie Smith, Hilary Mantel and Andrea Levy.


Elizabeth Ettorre. 2017. Autoethnography as Feminist Method: Sensitising the Feminist ‘I’.

In Autoethnography as Feminist Method Elizabeth Ettore explores how autoethnography, qualitative research using self-reflection, is one way of performing feminism in society. Autoethnography is used to describe ‘the cultural dynamics that an individual confronts’ (Ettore 2017: 2). Through examining their own experiences, Ettorre examines how feminists negotiate agency and the effect this has upon an individual’s political sensibility.


Juno Roche. 2020. Gender Explorers: Our Stories of Growing up Trans and Changing the World.

Gender Explorers is a collection of interviews carried out by Juno Roche with young trans individuals (aged from five to early twenties). The individuals offer their perspective and experience growing up trans. The interviews describe the generally joyous process of exploring gender for these young individuals. The work also features input from the parents and carers of the interviewees. Roche concludes the book with an imaginary interview with their younger self.



New eBooks June 2020: Theatre and Performance 

This blog post explores some of the newest ebook additions to the collection from June. The books selected have a focus on theatre and performance. The full list of new ebooks is available on the EFL LibraryThing and is regularly updated. You can continue to recommend new books on the EFL webpage. 

Derek Dunne. 2016. Shakespeare, revenge tragedy and early modern law: vindictive justice. 

Shakespeare, revenge tragedy and early modern law by Dunne seeks to reveal how Shakespeare, Kyd and their Early Modern contemporaries critically engaged with the legal system in their revenge tragedies. Dunne explores how the ‘crisis of justice’ within their plays reflected the crisis occurring in the Early Modern legal systems (2016: 2). The public nature of legal trials at this time is seen in the representation of trials on the stage. The work concludes that revenge tragedy is reflective of the troublesome relationship between the citizens and their legal system. 


Mark Albert Johnston, & Jennifer Higginbotham. 2018. Queering Childhood in Early Modern English Drama and Culture. 

Modern English Drama and Culture explores depictions of children and childhood in Early Modern narratives ‘through the lens of queer theory’ (Johnston & Higginbotham 2018:1). The chapters in the volume consider various topics to assess the queerness in depictions of children and childhood in Early Modern drama and culture. Topics explored include asexuality, tomboys and female apprentices.  


Simon Smith. 2020. Shakespeare/sense : contemporary readings in sensory culture.  

Shakespeare/Sense brings together contemporary Shakespeare and sensory studies to ask what sensory studies can tell us about Shakespeare, as well as how Shakespeare interacted with the sensory in his literay craft. The work contains fifteen essays which explore every sense in relation to Early Modern life and literary culture. The varied chapters allow each author to take their own approach which demonstrates the diversity of current work in the field.  


Jonathan Walker. 2017. Site Unscene: The Offstage in English Renaissance Drama. 

Site Unscene explores the role of scenes which occur offstage in English Renaissance dramatic productions. Walker illustrates how these offstage scenes offer an alternative way of storytelling which transcend the temporal and spatial limits of the stage. Whilst the performance is occurring in the present the audience is able to move back in time and space with the retelling of these events. Walker uses a variety of playwrights to explore these ideas alongside material evidence such as archaeology, architecture and woodcuts. 


Fintan Walsh. 2020. Theatres of Contagion : Transmitting Early Modern to Contemporary Performance.  

Theatres of Contagion investigates how theatre is a contagious cultural practice through the way in which it can spread medical, psychological and cultural conditionsThrough taking interdisciplinary approaches when exploring performance from the Early Modern period to the present, the work shows how contagion operates, as well as the real and imagined effects it can have upon audiences. As Walsh writes in the opening chapter ‘with contagion the literal and the metaphorical…often overlap and blur’ (2020: 5)A number of dramatic pieces are considered in the study including musical adaptations, queer adaptations and immersive theatre. The collection of chapters in the work demonstrate the power of theatre as a transmitter.  


Carina Westling. 2020. Immersion and participation in Punchdrunk’s theatrical worlds. 

This study by Westling examines the work of the contemporary Punchdrunk theatre company and their innovations in immersive theatre performances. This is achieved through exploring the company’s productions and historical contexts. It sets out how immersive theatre is created with physical and technological elements. Through closely examining the company, their producers, actors and audiences, the book closely analyses the relationships between interaction and the immersive experience in Punchdrunk’s work. 

Perlego ebook access until 17th July

The Bodleian now has a one month trial to the Perlego database, which gives access to 300,000 book titles across a broad range of subjects until the 17th July 2020. You may browse by subject, topic, curated reading list or publisher, or search. A new advanced search filter is now available.

Users can browse the full collection to identify titles of interest without creating an account at  However, to access the full-text, users need to create their own Perlego account. To set this up, Go to Databases A-Z:

You will need to click on the link to WebLearn to find the access code and the link to the platform. A registration form will be generated. Use your email address and the access code to set up your account. Once this is done, in future, you can go to Perlego at and just login in with your email address.

Searching Perlego

Use the simple search, and then filter to search for books only matching on the title, author, the topic, or the keyword. Or use the format filter and choose to read in e-Pub or PDF. You can also browse by subject or topic.



Please send feedback to the EFL or to

For more information on Perlego: have a look at the YouTube tutorial

New Proquest Databases

The Bodleian Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University. This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers. The list of purchases includes items which cannot easily be covered by recurrent budgets.

Some key databases for English researchers include:

You can find out more about these selected databases below.


A unique source of information on the common serviceman and woman’s experience of the war. These magazines were written by and for every type of unit from every combatant nation. As such they contain the hitherto unheard voices of hundreds of thousands of men and women writing from every facet of the conflict.

The magazines contain a vast and previously unrecognised corpus of war poetry written by a multitude of hitherto unknown poets which acts as a vital counterpoint to the more established authors who emerged from the War. This collection contains over 1,500 trench journal titles sourced from leading archives around the world including those of the Imperial War Museums and The British Library.

The purchase of Trench Journals and Unit Magazines was partly funded by the Drue Heinz Fund


Black Abolitionist Papers (1830-1865)

This collection covers a unique set of primary sources from African Americans actively involved in the movement to end slavery in the United States between 1830 and 1865. The content includes letters, speeches, editorials, newspaper articles, sermons, and essays from libraries and archives in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Over 15,000 items written by nearly 300 Black men and women are available for searching.


Through the writings of women activists, their personal letters and diaries, and the proceedings of conferences at which pivotal decisions were made, this collection lets you see how women’s social movements shaped much of the events and attitudes that have defined modern life. This digital archive includes 150,000 pages of conference proceedings, reports of international women’s organizations, publications and web pages of women’s non-governmental organizations, and letters, diaries, and memoirs of women active internationally since the mid-nineteenth century. It also includes photographs and videos of major events and activists in the history of women’s international social movements. Additionally, there are 30 essays from leading contemporary scholars exploring themes illuminated by the primary documents in the archive.

The resource archives of 26 leading but previously hard-to-find magazines are included in LGBT Magazine Archive, including many of the longest-running, most influential publications of this type. The complete backfile of The Advocate is made available digitally for the first time. As one of the very few LGBT titles to pre-date the 1969 Stonewall riots, it spans the history of the gay rights movement. LGBT Magazine Archive also includes the principal UK titles, notably Gay News and its successor publication Gay Times.
Other new databases include:

New Ebooks from Cambridge University Press

Over 21,000 ebooks in Humanities published by Cambridge University Press are available from 12 May 2020 to 31 May 2021 via their EBA (evidence-based acquisitions) programme.  All books on the list, together with new publications as they come out during the year, are available online to University members via SOLO during this period. 

You can also directly search on the Cambridge Core Website after logging in with your SSO. On the website you can then filter the collection by subject, such as Literature. From here you can then explore books by topics of interest such as Anglo Saxon and medieval literatureLiterary theory and English literature 1700-1830.

At the end of the period, we will make a selection of about 500 books based on appearance on reading lists and heavy use during the period.  These selections will be added permanently to the ebook collection of the Bodleian Libraries.

This blog post will highlight some of these new ebooks from the CUP which have recently been made accessible. The books cover a variety of subjects demonstrating the variety of new material which is now available.

Bauer, D. (2019). Nineteenthcentury American Women’s Serial Novels.

Bauer’s Nineteenth-century American Women’s Serial Novels focuses on the careers of four novelists; E. D. E. N. Southworth, Ann Stephens, Mary Jane Holmes, and Laura Jean Libbey. In particular, Bauer focuses on the serial formula and the idea of repetition to explore the issues faced by American

women. Bauer writers in the introduction, ‘serial novels thus serve as models of representing women’s lives in transition from their traumas to their transformations’ (p.10). Through exploring these authors Bauer expands the understanding of women’s writing in the nineteenth century.


Desmarais, J., & Weir, D. (2019). Decadence and Literature.  

Decadence and Literature explores how the idea of decadence has developed from the Roman times as meaning artifice or declining morals into a major cultural trope which has been used in a number of ways. Decadence is used in literature in response to advancing modernity. The essays in the book are organised under three sections; origins, developments and applications. The book takes an interdisciplinary and chronological approach. The text also considers a variety of mediums as well as literature including visual arts, music cinema, popular culture. A particular focus of the work is the relationship of decadence with LGBTQ+ individuals and culture, including drag. Through this study, decadence is shown to be key to understanding contemporary anxieties. 


Jucker, A. (2020). Politeness in the History of English : From the Middle Ages to the Present Day.  

The British have a reputation for being excessively polite (p.1). This statement opens Jucker’s study of the phenomenon of politeness in the English language. Politeness in the History of English tracks the concept of politeness from the Middle Age to the present day through detailed case studies of mostly literary texts. The diachrony explores politeness in changing social contexts to show how politeness is shaped by culture and history. 


Lewis, A. (2019). The Brontës and the Idea of the Human: Science, Ethics, and the Victorian Imagination.

The Brontës and the Idea of the Human evaluates the Brontës engagement with the idea of what it means to be a human – or outside the limits of humanity. The contributors take an interdisciplinary approach through examining how the Brontës responded to wider legal, political, scientific and philosophical concerns in their approaches to humanity. The book explores how ‘Science, ethics, and the Victorian imagination jostle for attention as the richness and complexity of ideas about, and attempted definitions of, ‘the human’ assert their dominance in the fiction of the Brontës’ (p.24). 


Suhr-Sytsma, N. (2017). Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature.  

Poetry, Print, and the Making of Postcolonial Literature examines the history of relationships between poets and publishers from Ireland and Nigeria, as well as Britain and the Caribbean, during the twentieth century period of decolonization. The book focuses on the similar approaches in the work of Seamus Heaney, Christopher Okigbo, and Derek Walcott. It also explores how they gained the approval of local and London-based cultural institutions. Suhr-Sytsma considers how the poems of these poets appeared in print to track the transformation of the anglophone literary world.


Toner, A. (2020). Jane Austen’s Style : Narrative Economy and the Novel’s Growth.

In this recent publication Toner explores Austen’s interest in narrative form and the ‘economy of art’ in her style of writing. The book is split into three chapters which examine structure, language and dialogue. Toner argues that the concise nature of Austen’s work and use of contraction contributed to her innovations in the representation of thought and the depiction of consciousness.




Digital Exhibition: Rare Books in the EFL

As part of the Oxford Google Books project around 2,000 out-of-copyright texts from the rare book room at the EFL have been digitized. These are available to view through SOLO as digital documents. This digital exhibition highlights several of the most used items and authors in the English Faculty Library’s Rare Book Room which are available online as digitized copies as a result of the Google project. The items from the room have been used for a variety of purposes including teaching, digital projects, exhibitions and individual research.

Firstly, the poetical works of Percy Shelley. Posthumous Poems (1824) was edited by Mary Shelley who collected his scattered poems from manuscripts, poems written in the moment and translations written years prior to his death. Mary prefaces the collection, explaining her process of collecting and editing the work as well as giving a short account of Percy’s life.

The volume is split into several sections including miscellany, fragments and a substantial number of translations. Included within the collection is the poem ‘To—’ which is now more known as ‘Music, when soft voices die’. The poem has inspired compositions which set music to the lyrics.


William Wordsworth’s work from the Rare Book Room has also been frequently consulted in the EFL. The most popular of his works consulted include his Poems, The Excursion and Lyrical Ballads across various editions. Among these the most popular text is Lyrical Ballads, which was produced by Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge in collaboration. Available to view digitally is the EFL’s edition of the Lyrical Ballads: with other poems, a second edition of the work published in 1800 which consists of two volumes.

Initially the Lyrical Ballads were published anonymously until the second edition which names Wordsworth as creator. Coleridge contributes a small number of poems to the work including The Ancient Mariner, although he is only listed as a Friend in the preface, rather than being referred to by name.

The 1800 second edition’s first volume also includes the preface which having been much expanded upon since the first edition sets out key characteristics of the poetry from the Romantic movement. The essay is described as a ‘critical manifesto…providing a lengthy theoretical justification for the works to follow’, (Butler 2003: 48).


Front piece from Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility. 1833.

Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility (first published in 1811 in three volumes) is the most consulted work of hers from the rare book room when considering usage of both the 1813 and 1833 editions. It has primarily been used for teaching within the faculty.


Available as a digitized version is the 1833 edition which is a single volume published by Richard Bentley (who established the journal Bentley’s Miscellany). It is number 23 of Bentley’s Standard Novels series which set out to bring together multipart-volume novels into one book. Many of Austen’s other works was also published in this series in 1833.

Beginning this edition of the text is a series of advertisements including ‘An Improved Edition of the Plays and Poems of Shakespeare’ and translations of Greek and Latin texts from the ‘Family Classic Library’. This is followed by an unattributed memoir of Austen’s life, which was written by Henry Austen.


Title page vignette from Jane Austen. Sense and Sensibility. 1833.

Significant to this particular edition is the feature of illustrations, as Looser states that Bentley’s Standard Novel editions provided ‘the first mass-produced visualizations of her novel’ (Looser 2017: 19). The illustrations depict moments from the novel and are accompanied by quotes from the novel to which they refer. They were designed by a ‘Pickering’ and engraved by William Greatbatch. These same two worked on the other illustrations for Bentley’s Standard Novel editions of Austen’s work.






Illustration from Charles Dickens. Oliver Twist; or, The parish boy’s progress. 1838. George Cruikshank.

Finally, Charles Dickens has a number of works from the rare book room which have been popular for consultation over the years. Among these is Oliver Twist, which was first serialized between 1837-1839 in Bentley’s Miscellany. The full narrative was published in three volumes, prior to the completion of its serialization.


Illustration from Charles Dickens. Sketches by Boz. 1839. George Cruikshank.

Available to view as a digitized edition, is the EFL’s three volume edition from 1838, Oliver Twist; or, The parish boy’s progress. It was published by the same Richard Bentley who published the work of Austen referenced earlier in this digital exhibition. This edition appears under Dickens’ pseudonym ‘Boz’. The edition features illustrations by George Cruikshank, who also illustrated Dickens’ Mudfog Papers (1837-38), and Sketches by Boz which was first published in 1836. The 1839 edition of Sketches by Boz from the EFL is also available as a digital version.





To explore more digitized copies of texts available across the Bodleian and college libraries when searching SOLO, filter the collection type by digitized copies.




Links to Full Works

Austen, J. (1833). Sense and Sensibility : A Novel.
Dickens, C., & Cruikshank, G. (1838). Oliver Twist; Or, The Parish Boy’s Progress.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, & Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. (1824). Posthumous Poems.

Wordsworth, W., Coleridge, S., Rees, O., & Biggs, N. (1800). Lyrical Ballads, : With Other Poems. In Two Volumes. Volume 1Volume 2


  • Butler, J. (2003). Poetry 1798-1807: Lyrical Ballads and Poems, in Two Volumes. In S. Gill (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Wordsworth (Cambridge Companions to Literature, pp. 38-54). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Looser, D. (2017). The Making of Jane Austen. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

This digital exhibition has been curated by Emma Jambor – EFL Graduate Trainee 2019-20

New Books April 2020

Whilst the EFL is closed to readers, the library has been expanding its access to e-books. This post will explore some of the newest e-book acquisitions from the past month. The selection focused on are recent publications on a variety of subjects.

Alexandra Socarides. 2020. In Plain Sight: Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Poetry and the Problem of Literary History.
Recently acquired are several new e-books from the Oxford Scholarship Online series. From this series, Socarides’ In Plain Sight focuses on the erasure of female American poets from the nineteenth-century literary history. Socarides also explores why only Emily Dickinson’s work was remembered. The book analyses the conventions of American women’s poetry and how it was circulated, and how this influenced the erasure of their work.

Erin A. McCarthy. 2020. Doubtful Readers: Print, Poetry, and the Reading Public in Early Modern England.
Another new addition from the Oxford Scholarship Online series is McCarthy’s work Doubtful Readers. The work focuses on the print and publication of early modern poetry. It explores how publishers attempted to make work more accessible to readers who had been restricted by social circles in manuscript. McCarthy considers how poetry was shaped by printing traditions, and itself shaped by these traditions. The book demonstrates how the actions of publishers during this period had a longstanding impact on texts and literary histories.

Megan Cavell & Jennifer Neville (eds.). 2020. Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition: words, ideas, interactions.
Riddles at work
features a variety of writers who examine the poetic tradition of riddles in Early Medieval England and its neighbours. Riddles are treated individually and as part of a larger culture. Through examining riddles both in Latin and Old English, new ways to consider riddles are highlighted. A variety of themes and approaches are considered in Riddles at work to demonstrate that there is no right way to read riddles, resultantly, there are many interesting approaches which can be taken.

Madeleine Callaghan & Anthony Howe (eds.) 2020. Romanticism and the letter.
Romanticism and the letter
explores letter writing in Britain during the Romantic period. It contains essays from a range of contributors, who focus on a variety of topics including theories of letter writing, epistolary culture and specific authors including Wordsworth, Austen, Shelley and Byron. The work demonstrates how the usage of letters varies for individual writers and letters. It also shows how letters present interesting insights into the culture of the Romantic period.

Sandie Byrne. 2020. Poetry and class.
In this study, Byrne explores how class is represented in English poetry from the fourteenth century to present day through specific case studies. Byrne uses examples from all class levels, whilst also examining dialect and accent to explore how the role of class influenced production and reception of poetry. The work explores the factors which enable and obstruct the production of poetry such as patronage, print and education.


Barry Ahearn. 2020. Pound, Frost, Moore, and poetic precision: science in modernist American poetry.
Ahearn’s study examines the work of three American poets, Pound, Frost and Moore alongside the demand that poetry should aspire to maintain scientific precision. Through analysing the varying individual approach to this demand by each poet Ahearn explores how this influenced other areas of culture and twentieth-century modern American literature.


The full list of new e-books can be found on the new digital book display on the EFL LibraryThing catalogue which highlights the newest acquisitions: The digital display is updated regularly with links through to the e-books, and the list can be refined by topics and series. In addition, you can continue to recommend and request books using our form at:

Irish Mythology, Fairy & Folk Tales

For March, the EFL has on display texts which engage with the mythic past of Ireland through writing about fairy and folk tales. These narratives have arisen from Irish cultural traditions and shape thoughts about national identity.

Ireland has a long cultural tradition of engaging with the mythical past, folklore and fairies through the creation of narratives and stories. Tales would have been passed around when people gathered together to share stories. It was very much an oral narrative tradition.

Within the mythological narratives there is often a focus on romantic heroes and ruthless gods, reminiscent of Norse and Greek mythology. James Stephens (1880-1950) focused on retelling these narratives. His Irish Fairly Tales (1924) focuses on the heroic figure Fionn mac Cumhaill, a legendary mythical hunter, and the challenges he and his followers must overcome. This is often referred to as the Fenian Cycle of myths. The edition is accompanied with illustrations by Arthur Rackham which bring the narrative to life.

First illustration from the Bodleian copy of Irish Fairy Tales – written by James Stephens, illustrated by Arthur Rackham

In the nineteenth century there is a strong interest in Irish fairy tales from Irish writers.  Through exploring mythological and fantastical topics writers were able to connect with their cultural routes when their own nationality was becoming more complex, and with the advances in modernity and technology. Thomas Crofton Crocker (1798-1854) was an Irish antiquary who was especially interested in and devoted to the study of ancient Irish poetry and folklore. His first volume of Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland (1834) went to six editions, and was translated by the Brothers Grimm into German.

Yeats (1865-1939) was also able to connect with his heritage through writing about Irish folklore and fairy tales. In his early career he produced many collected works of fairy tales. He spent fourteen years of his early life in London and through these works he was able to reaffirm his Irish nationality.  His collections Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888) and Irish Fairy Tales (1892), draw upon a range of sources to illustrate fairies including the trooping fairies, changelings, solitary fairies, ghosts and witches.

Jane Wilde (1821-1896) also saw mythology as important for Irish culture. In the preface to her collection Ancient Legends of Ireland (1887), she writes: ‘…the legends have a peculiar and special value as coming direct from the national heart ’. Her tales explore a variety of Irish myths and legends from earlier generations.

Alfred Graves (1846-1931) was a poet and writer, and father to Robert Graves. He was president of the Irish Literary Society for several years. In The Irish Fairy Book (1910) a variety of narratives and poems are brought together from writers who were also drawn to the subject matter of fairies and folklore including Jane Wilde and Tennyson. In the Spectator for his obituary it was written: ‘Mr Graves not only wrote songs but stirred up fresh public interest in the old folk-songs of Ireland, Wales and the Highlands, and, moreover, induced musicians and singers to become interested too’.

Bibliography & Further Reading

  • Gantz, J. 1981. Early Irish Myths and Sagas.
  • Carrassi, V. & Wren, K. 2012. The Irish Fairy Tale: A Narrative Tradition from the Middle Ages to Yeats and Stephens.

This exhibition has been curated by Emma Jambor – EFL Graduate Trainee 2019-20

New Books February 2020

As we leave LGBTQ history month and go into Women’s History Month, the EFL have gathered a selection of the newest books in our library that focus on the lives of women, or on queer lives.

Maaza Mengiste. 2020. The Shadow King.

Set during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King follows the women who longed to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead, so take action in the war. The novel focuses on the narratives of women soldiers who were written out of African history.



Moulton, Mo. 2019. Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World For Women.

Moulton’s biography follows a group of women who studied at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1912 and later created the ‘Mutual Admiration Society’.  They were barred from receiving degrees although taking part in classes and exams until 1920 when they were awarded degrees retrospectively.The book explores a handful of these women’s lives, their friendships, and the opportunities they had which allowed them to pioneer into modernity.


Bradway, T. & McCallum, E. L. 2019. After Queer Studies: Literature, Theory and Sexuality in the 21st Century.

After Queer Studies explores the literary influences that helped queer theory develop in academic thought, and what continues to shape its evolution as a critical practice. The book examines the interdisciplinary origins of queer studies and how queer studies has shaped concerns in literary thought and ways of interpreting and examining texts.



Looby, C. 2017. “The Man Who Thought Himself a Woman” and Other Queer Nineteenth Century Short Stories.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the nineteenth century—the century when, it has been said, sexuality as such (and various taxonomized sexual identities) were invented—is the period when American short stories were invented, and when they were the queerest.” – Looby, 2017.

In this collection edited by Looby, narratives from a range of nineteenth century American writers, of all genders and fame, are brought together to highlight a range of queer depictions in short stories.Topics explored include sexual desire, gender density and erotic attachment, to reveal the queerness of nineteenth century literature.

Kim, J. J. 2017. Queer Difficulty in Art and Poetry.

This anthology treats ‘queer’ not as an identity, but as an activity through considering the ways of understanding the difficulty of the epistemology of the closet. The essays focus on a range of subjects including botany, photography, painting, film and poetry. Through close analysis of these items and critical theories the book offers a new approach to queer studies.


For more new arrivals and further reading, browse through the EFL LibraryThing and books tagged with February 2020, or LGBT.