As you read this, someone, somewhere on the planet, is writing a book about Augustine of Hippo. On the internationally recognised standard of hugeness, it is unchallengeable (because fortunately unfalsifiable) that if you collected all who had written about him and told them to bunch up close, they would fill the Isle of Wight, and their books and articles laid flat would occupy an area the size of Wales. There’s some justification for this endless industry, because Augustine is fascinating. In the fifth century CE he produced the first surviving extended psychological autobiography (maybe he even invented the genre), and he is the single most influential theologian in the Western Latin Church – which means that Catholics and Protestants are equally in his intellectual debt, for better or worse. His written output was prodigious, and a most exciting surprise is that some of it has only been rediscovered in the last couple of decades, in remote European libraries.
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'Amis clearly belongs to the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do school of pedagogy. More or less everything he says is demonstrably contradicted by elements of his own work, be they here or elsewhere.'
'The bar is set high at the outset, and readers are primed to wonder if Mikhail can make his case.'
Does Alan Mikhail's new life of the Sultan Selim I really overturn 'shibboleths that have held sway for a millennium'? Caroline Finkel investigates.
'Shopkeepers even cut out their names from shop paper bags and pasted them onto their books’ endpapers to feign wealth and gain cultural capital, as seen in a book owned by William Straw, a grocer.'
@laurenohagan91 on the Edwardian bookplate fashion.