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Om forfatteren

Jenny Uglow is an editor at Chatto & Windus and lives in Canterbury, England
Image credit: Photograph: Eamonn McCabe

Værker af Jenny Uglow

Associated Works

North and South (1855) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver7,442 eksemplarer
Mary Barton (1848) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver2,685 eksemplarer
The Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver1,492 eksemplarer
Shaking a Leg: Collected Journalism and Writings (1997) — Redaktør — 273 eksemplarer
Cousin Phillis (1863) — Forord, nogle udgaver261 eksemplarer
Granta 65: London (1999) — Bidragyder — 222 eksemplarer
Illyrian Spring (1935) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver208 eksemplarer
Cranford and Other Stories (1851) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver; Introduktion, nogle udgaver183 eksemplarer
Curious, If True: Strange Tales by Mrs. Gaskell (1995) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver106 eksemplarer
The Virago Book of Ghost Stories: The Twentieth Century, Volume 1 (1987) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver78 eksemplarer

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I am fascinated by the history of science and technology, and I found this long and very thoroughly researched book to be a real treat. I hadn’t realised until reading it how closely the leading lights of British science and industry were connected to each other in the late 1700s.

But close they were, and often met monthly in an informal association called the Lunar Society (because they met on nights with a full moon).

Just a list of those who came to those meetings is almost sufficient to show what an immensely talented group they were, and how much they influenced the development of technology and knowledge in that period:

ERASMUS DARWIN, grandfather of Charles Darwin, but also a hugely important figure in the intellectual world of the time. A practising medical doctor, who also made many inventions and wrote several long descriptions of the natural world in the form of poetry. His views on evolution weren’t as well grounded as those of his more famous grandson, but were nevertheless very advanced for his time.

JOSIAH WEDGEWOOD, famous for his creation of beautiful English ceramics, but also as I found out from this book, a major force in the establishment of Britain’s network of navigiable canals. His interest in developing canals came from the fact that he was sick of his beautiful pottery being broken when being transported over the terrible unmade roads of the time. On the smooth waters of a canal, his precious cargos would be far more likely to survive the journey.

JAMES WATT of steam engine fame. Watt didn’t by any means invent the first steam engine, but he developed many significant improvements which greatly increased their efficiency and power, as well as making smaller engines possible. Initially only used in mining, Watt’s more efficient engines eventually saw use in the early textile industry in Britain, which made use of his engines to drive the powered looms in factories.

MATTHEW BOULTON, prominent in manufacturing, and for a long time Watt’s business partner. I get the impression that Boulton was the optimistic, outgoing character in the partnership compared with Watt. Without Boulton, Watt may never have achieved any success.

JOSEPH PRIESTLY the chemist, the first person to isolate the gas oxygen (though he clung to the old ‘phlogiston’ theory and so called it ‘de-phlogisticated air’). I also discovered from this book that he was a prominent preacher with radical views. So radical that eventually his house and laboratory were destroyed by a mob and he eventually left England for the Americas.

As well as these five, there were at least seven other men prominent in the Lunar Society over the years. Alas, they were all men, but their wives, sisters and daughters also played their part in the intellectual ferment of the time, and it is interesting that most of these men seemed very willing, even eager, to have their daughters as well as their sons educated.

The closeness of the relationships between these people may be indicated by the fact that Erasmus Darwin’s son married a Wedgwood daughter, and one of their sons was the more familiar Charles Darwin of evolutionary reknown.

A very interesting book, but I do need to say that I found it a difficult read as an ebook, mainly because there are so many characters and so many of their friends, acquaintances and relations mentioned that I did often find it difficult to remember who everyone was. I almost needed a ‘cheat-sheet’ or a ‘dramatis personae’ by my side. It would have been easier to cope with a paper book, I think, in that it’s very easy with a physical book to flip back and forth to scan for forgotten names and passages. So much so that, even though I now own the ebook, I think I’ll go looking for a paper copy to put on my shelf.

Highly recommended if you are at all interested in the history of technology.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
davidrgrigg | 10 andre anmeldelser | Mar 23, 2024 |
This is a extremely interesting survey of the British home front during the Napoleonic wars. Different social classes, geographical situations, and political affiliations are separated into individual chapters, but the result is a vibrant mosaic. The strategy is too follow individuals and families through their own (often private) writings. Some of this persons show up again and again as the war progresses and as different aspects of its effects on society are discussed.
 
Markeret
sjnorquist | 8 andre anmeldelser | Feb 28, 2023 |
For years, prints inherited from her parents hung in Uglow’s house, enjoyed but not actively considered. This book is a result of Uglow’s research into Cyril Power, who created The Eight print, and his partner for his most artistically productive years, Sybil Andrews, who made Bringing In the Boat.

By focusing on the story of two artists primarily remembered (if at all) for their linocuts, Uglow opens up the avant-garde artistic world in London between 1920 and 1940, most of which has now been forgotten. Uglow narrates the lives and describes the art of Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power, most active between 1925, when they formed part of the “Grosvenor School”, to 1938. I had heard of neither before reading this book, but have a general interest in the inter-war period, having read several social histories. This book enlarged my understanding of the period.
Initially providing twin biographies, the book starts slowly by alternating between Sybil’s and Cyril’s stories, building the lives of the two individuals prior to their meeting in 1919 when Sybil is twenty one and Cyril who is about 26 years older, has married, has four children, a struggling architectural career and has published a book on medieval architecture. Uglow manages this initial chronological unevenness by expanding upon Sybil’s ancestors in and around Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
Having worked as a teacher and learned about art as an amateur for about three years (conventional drawings and watercolours), being befriended by Cyril who informally taught her (and probably became her lover), Sybil moved to London in autumn 1922 to attend an Art School. Cyril follows in 1923, deserting his family (but not divorcing, as a Catholic), although he continued to provide some financial support.

Uglow describes London in 1923, the culture and the coming of modernity, the “Jazz Age”, after the austerity of the Great War and the immediate post-war period. This allows the book to also provide a social history of London, as Andrews and Power were interested in depicting modern social and sporting activities such as ice skating, motor racing and funfairs, as well as modern life in the form of mechanised workers and the London Underground (the “tube”), as shown in prints of the station platforms, escalators and trains.
However Andrews and Power must make a living, as well as create art, and so from 1925 with the encouragement of Claude Flight both teach art at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art, and sell linocut prints, to which they had been introduced by Flight. The description of the technical and artistic development of their linocut style, which they seem to have developed jointly, together with the subject matter and approach to sales is explored whilst interweaving their biographical stories and asides about their milieu.
In 1933 they held their first joint exhibition, displaying monotype prints, as well as their now well known linocuts. Monotypes seem a move back from the modernity of linocuts, and all Andrews’ monotype pictures were lost in a gallery warehouse fire, but Cattawade Bridge by Power looks more realistic, although the colouring is post-modern. (Uglow describes a monotype as “a curious creature – not a print, as it can’t be produced in multiples, and not a painting, as it is ‘printed’. In a way it is a reverse painting. Using printer’s ink or oils straight from the tube, ... painted directly onto a metal plate to get the tones and lights ... wanted.”)
Life is lived fully, and Uglow describes concert going, holidays, music making, which provide the inspiration for their art, as well as the work involved in printing and selling their art. An intense period of work and living to 1938, changes by fear of war and Andrews deciding that she no longer wants to live in London. A move to the New Forest by Andrews, with Power only visiting at weekends gradually changes their relationship, and war comes with Andrews working in a military boat building team, where she meets her future husband, and so Power leaves (returning to his wife after more than twenty years apart). This is dynamically and impressionistically described, with plenty of illustrations of the art described (black and white) and some photos.
There follows a brief description of Andrews and Power’s subsequent lives, with Power dying in 1951 and Power moving to the west coast of Canada with her husband, where making a living was hard until interest in the Grosvenor School arose in the 1970’s, and where she died in 1992.

The cover of my Faber edition is a mashup of Andrews’ Racers and Power’s The Escalator.

I received a Netgalley copy of this book, but this review is my honest opinion.
Postscript February 2022, I have bought the beautifully produced Faber hardback edition, which benefits from plenty of colour reproductions of the prints. Upon reflecting on how much I have thought back to this book in the intervening months, I have upped my rating to four and a half stars.
… (mere)
½
1 stem
Markeret
CarltonC | Oct 28, 2021 |
Wandered off and won't be back for now. I skipped through about the first third of this. The start was rocky because I don't remember much about the Charles I era and the names and places and events were flying at me. The author clearly thinks she has a handle on Charles II's personality. Some of that came through and it was very interesting contemplating the Restoration which was less bloody than you might expect. The new king's early morning tennis playing was new to me. I may need a more stripped down book examining one aspect of the period. English historians of this time are so spoiled for choice with the letter writing.… (mere)
 
Markeret
Je9 | 14 andre anmeldelser | Aug 10, 2021 |

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Værker
22
Also by
10
Medlemmer
2,932
Popularitet
#8,740
Vurdering
4.0
Anmeldelser
53
ISBN
82
Sprog
1
Udvalgt
6

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