Newsletter 132 – September 2007


Number 132 – September 2007 – ISSN 1470-1863

Back to School – Writing – Literature

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0— ‘The Way We Write’ – pro authors speak

Would you like to know how prize-winning
authors actually go about the business of

Barbara Baker decided to interview authors
of children’s fiction, novelists, play and
screen writers, poets, and short story writers.

Here they reveal the secrets of the trade.
You might be surprised to know that almost
all of them still compose by hand using a
pen and paper – though they put the results
into a word-processor for editing later.

More fascinating details, plus some useful
advice on getting published for the first time.

The Way We Write

0— Pub quiz – Question #1

Zn is the chemical symbol of which element?

0— ‘Design Without Boundaries’

This book has been out for a while, but
I have only just managed to catch up with it.

[That’s thanks to the people ordering it from
Amazon via our graphic design pages.]

It’s a wonderful collection of essays, reviews,
designer profiles, and interviews by Rick
Poyner. He covers all the main names and
events of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Neville Brody, Peter Saville, Paul Rand,
Milton Glaser, David Carson, Emigre, and
even big design studios such as Pentagram,
Tomato, and Why Not.

They are all subject to a close analytic
scrutiny which is sympathetic to their
strengths but doesn’t hesitate to spell
out what he sees as weaknesses.

It’s a bracing and energetic read, with
tremendously wide UK and US coverage. He’s
also particularly good at revealing the
economics and the politics of commercial
design businesses.

Design Without Boundaries

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

Williams and Conference are types of what?

0— ‘A New History of Jazz’ – brand new book

Jazz critic and cultural historian John White
looks at the latest edition of Alyn Shipton’s
monumental reference work.

It’s a series of essays, biographies, and
potted histories which trace the development
of this one indigenous US art form – going
from its early roots to the present day.

En route there are special features on
big bands, singers, pianists, and the best
performances on CD.

Can be used like an encyclopedia, or read
like a series of separate articles.

A New History of Jazz

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

What is the name given to a baby elephant?

0— ‘Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life’

This biography came out a few years ago, but
it’s been updated to take into account recently
discovered materials.

Lyndall Gordon is a professional biographer
who obviously knows Woolf’s work inside out.

Her account of the life doesn’t bother with
conventional chronology. Instead, she looks at
some of the major themes in Woolf’s life and
offers detailed readings of her major works.

The good part of her approach is that she knows
the major works so thoroughly – the weakness is that
this sometimes substitutes for historical research.

Something for the specialist maybe, but if
you want help in understanding ‘The Waves’
and ‘To the Lighthouse’ – it’s all here.

Virginia Woolf: A Writer’s Life

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

What scale is used to measure wind velocity?

0— ‘E-Learning in FE’ – new book

This is a *very* practical guide to what’s
possible in e-learning, using the most
common tools at a teacher’s disposal.

It starts with Word documents – to which
comments can be attached, in the form of
audio files if required.

Then on to software for making quizzes,
web quests, and other forms of interactive

It also covers the options for virtual
learning environments (VLEs) and adds a
tour of the ready-made teaching materials
available at government web sites.

This is a very good guide to the latest
developments in computer-based learning.

E-Learning in FE

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

In Roman numerals what is MD + MD

0— ‘The Intellectuals and the Masses’

John Carey (formerly Merton professor of
Literature at Oxford University) is something
of a rare bird.

He actually supports the common people against
the intellectual elite in whose halls he spent
his professional life.

This book is a salvo against literary modernists
such as D.H.Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, T.S.Eliot,
and their kind. And he knows they were good writers.

But he argues that they were contaminated with
a fear of the masses, and a loathing of the sort
of suburban existence in which many people passed
their entire lives.

It’s great fun to read – because he takes
pleasure in extracting ridiculous quotes
from their work, revealing snobbism, racism,
sexism, and even worse – including Wyndham
Lewis’s support for Hitler’s plans for
mass extermination.

Cultural criticism at its most combative!

The Intellectuals and the Masses

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

How many sides has a trapezium?

0— ‘Canonising Hypertext’ – new book

This is a heavyweight read for those people
interested in hypertext fiction and its
possible relation to the traditions of
English Literature.

It’s also about theories of classroom teaching,
the use of IT (and hypertext in particular)
as a learning medium.

And it also dips its toes into the waters of
modern critical theory – as well as what has
been written about non-linear narratives.

It will suit eLearning teachers, literary
theorists, post-modernists, and students who
like experimental literary work.

Not an easy reading experience – but an
interesting challenge if you need one.

Canonising Hypertext

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

In tennis what is a score of 40 all called?

0— ‘Victorian Literature and Culture’ – new

This is a study resource for anyone engaged
with nineteenth century literary studies.

It covers all the main novelists – Dickens,
Eliot, Thackery, Hardy – the poets Tennyson,
Browning, and Hopkins – and even writers
of non-fiction such as Ruskin, Carlyle,
and John Stuart Mill.

There are also essays on cultural and thematic
matters such as education, public health,
politics, religion, and ‘the woman question’.

It’s easy to read, and has full lists of
further reading and learning resources.

Victorian Literature and Culture

0— Pub quiz – Question #8

What metal is an alloy of copper and zinc?

0— Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ – new book

If you saw Coppola’s film ‘Apocalypse Now!’
you’ll know that it was based on Joseph Conrad’s
famous novella ‘Heart of Darkness’.

If you’re studying English Literature you’ll
also know that this is one of the important
texts of the early twentieth century.

If you want help in understanding its
complexities and its historical context,
this book is designed to provide you with
all the details you need.

It has political, historical, and intellectual
background, plus biographical notes on Conrad.

Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

Which card game is also a prison van?

0— ‘Charles Dickens’ – introductory studies

If you’re an A level student, an undergraduate,
or even a teacher embarking on Charles Dickens,
this is an interesting compilation of resources.

It combines a potted biography, a study of the
major works, and a look at some of the themes
which Dickens almost made his own.

Prisons, personal redemption, social injustice,
unforgettable comic characters, and deft plot
twists – it’s all here.

Plus a look at Dickens’s London, doctors,
education, and theatrical entertainments.

Charles Dickens: a critical guide

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

Which is the largest state in the USA?

0— Reader’s Letters and Corrections

Peter Kettle writes from East Sussex to say:

“Many thanks. Life would be the poorer without Mantex!”

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 Zn is the chemical symbol of which element?

#2 Williams and Conference are types of what?

#3 What is the name given to a baby elephant?

#4 What scale is used to measure wind velocity?
ANSWER: Beaufort

#5 In Roman numerals what is MD + MD

#6 How many sides has a trapezium?

#7 In tennis what is a score of 40 all called?

#8 What metal is an alloy of copper and zinc?

#9 Which card game is also a prison van?
ANSWER: Black Maria

#10 Which is the largest state in the USA?
ANSWER: Alaska

0— Coming soon

Vita Sackville-West – a biography

Blogging, Citizenship and the Media

Vita and Harold – letters

The Edwardians – a novel

More small Dictionaries

(c) Copyright 2007, MANTEX
All Rights Reserved

PO Box 100 Tel +44 0161 432 5811
M20 6GZ UK

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