Everyone enjoys a good paperback. The fun, cheerful alternative to its stuffy corset-wearing older sister the hardback, a paperback re-issue offers the reader a book that is critically acclaimed and has proved itself in the marketplace. With this in mind, we’ve put together a selection of our favourite Yale paperback releases of 2014, engaging titles which offer fresh perspectives on popular subjects.
In this fascinating exploration of friendship through the ages, one of the most thought-provoking philosophers of our time tracks historical ideas of friendship, gathers a diversity of friendship stories from the annals of myth and literature, and provides unexpected insights into our friends, ourselves, and the role of friendships in an ethical life. A. C. Grayling roves the rich traditions of friendship in literature, culture, art and philosophy, bringing into his discussion familiar pairs as well as unfamiliar – Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Huck Finn and Jim.
‘An intelligent, loving tribute to the virtues, values and varieties of friendship.’ – Iain Finlayson, The Times
The magnificent Danube both cuts across and connects central Europe, flowing through and alongside ten countries: Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. Travelling its full length from east to west, against the river’s flow, Nick Thorpe embarks on an inspiring year-long journey that leads to a new perspective on Europe today. Immersing himself in the Danube’s waters during daily morning swims, Thorpe likewise becomes immersed in the histories of the lands linked by the river.
‘In this leisurely amalgam of travelogue and history, Nick Thorpe … has done the Danube and its ancient people proud.’ – Ian Thomson, Sunday Telegraph
What is it to be a work of art? Renowned author and critic Arthur Danto addresses this fundamental question. Part philosophical monograph and part meditation, What Art Is challenges the popular interpretation that art is an indefinable concept, instead bringing to light the properties that constitute universal meaning. Danto argues that despite varied approaches, a work of art is always defined by two essential criteria: meaning and embodiment, as well as one additional criterion contributed by the viewer: interpretation. Danto crafts his argument in an accessible manner that engages with both philosophy and art across genres and eras.
‘Danto is an elegant and erudite writer, and his sentences go down smoothly.’ – Deborah Solomon, New York Times Book Review
This ‘little history‘ takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myth to graphic novels, from The Canterbury Tales to Harry Potter. John Sutherland is perfectly suited to the task. He has researched, taught and written on virtually every area of literature, and his infectious passion for books and reading has defined his own life. Now he guides young readers and the grown-ups in their lives on an entertaining journey ‘through the wardrobe’ to a greater awareness of how literature can transport us and help us to make sense of what it means to be human.
‘As a guidebook, it’s a cracker. What Sutherland has to offer is formidable breadth of reading, a generous spirit and a rebounding enthusiasm for his subject.’ – Sam Leith, Spectator
What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? In this delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors.
‘An ideal introductory guide to critical analysis, and a thoroughly enjoyable reminder of Eagleton’s own skill and subtlety as a reader.’ – Felicity James, Times Higher Education Supplement