Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Unassuming film director focus of new MUP book

Thorold Dickinson, director of classic films such as Gaslight and The Queen of Spades is the focus of a new book by Manchester University Press.

The book is the first ever analysis of this much neglected director, and will be a treasure to fans, or those studying relevant film and media courses.

Peter Swaab, who co-edited the book with Philip Horne discusses the director in an article published in The Times this week.
Read the article online for FREE.

And, why not check out a new blog post on The Telegraph's blog page by Philip Horne, focusing on the work of Thorold Dickinson.

The Barbican will show The Queen of Spades and Secret People on 5 October; and Gaslight and The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on 6 October.

REVIEWED: Shakespeare and laughter by Indira Ghose

The Times Higher Education Supplement has done a great review of Indira Ghose's Shakespeare and laughter.

It begins:-

"Indira Ghose's adroit, engaging study begins with a moment of consternation. When invited by a newspaper to nominate the "funniest Brit of all time", the nation chose not Shakespeare but Eric Morecambe - and by a landslide. How could this be? For intelligent, reflective adults (or Daily Mirror readers, at least) to think more highly of the man who gave us "You can't see the join!" than the creator of Twelfth Night suggests misprision. But, as Ghose implies, the choice is hardly surprising. Laughter is a communal affair. We laugh more readily when in company than alone, and most of all when the source of the humour is present; and we do so as much to signal our willingness to share the fun as we do at anything intrinsically 'funny'. "

Read the full review here.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

REVIEWED: Andrew Van der Vlies' South African textual cultures

The Times Literary Supplement published a full page review (p.23) of South African textual cultures in its September 5th issue. Reviewer Elizabeth Lowry writes:-

"What's white and black and read all over? The answer to this question, wittily posed and elegantly argued by Andrew van der Vlies in this original new study, is of course, 'South African literature'.... "

For more information on the book, including ordering details, visit the webpage.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


This new series published by Manchester University Press responds to the growing interest in disability as a discipline worthy of historical research.

The series has a broad international historical merit, encompassing issues that include class, race, gender, age, war, medical treatment, professionalisation, environments, work, institutions and cultural and social aspects of disablement; including representations of disabled people in literature, film, art and the media. We welcome all proposals from a wide range of geographical locations and time periods.

For more information, contact:-

Dr Julie Anderson
CHSTM, University of Manchester
2nd Floor, Simon Building
Brunswick Street
Manchester M13 9PL

Professor Walton Schalick
Dept. of Medical History and Bioethics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1300 University Avenue, 1410
Madison, WI 53706

To submit a proposal/manuscript, contact:

Emma Brennan
Commissioning Editor, History
Manchester University Press
Oxford Road
Manchester M139 9NR

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Launch of Sociology and Social Worlds Series

Sociology and Social Worlds is a brand new series published jointly by Manchester University Press and The Open University. The series was launched last week at the annual CRESC conference at St Hughs college, Oxford.

Each of the three books in the series engages with a key theme to examine the ways in which social worlds are constructed and mediated. Each title is explained in more detail on the MUP website.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

OAPEN - a new frontier?

I went to Goettingen in Germany at the start of this week, to kick off OAPEN, a project in open access publishing. It is quite cutting edge, as it is looking at open access in humanities monographs, where other open access projects look at journals in the sciences.

Ten years ago people were trumpeting that the publication of electronic versions of books online was the beginning of the end for the book. I remember feeling then, as I do now, that this was not the case at all. The digital publishing arena affords publishers an overwhelming range of new possibilities. Manchester University Press is a willing and enthusiastic participant in Google’s book search. We sell ebooks, albeit in fairly small numbers. We are deeply involved in exploring the cost saving advantages of digital printing. We have also provided online versions of our journals for nearly ten years.

With OAPEN, however, we are going one step further. Many people might see that step as heading towards the death of the book. We are exploring the possibilities of open access book publishing. We hope to publish books online, free of charge, with no access restrictions. I find that concept satisfyingly revolutionary. After all, you hardly ever come across a “real” book for free. Certainly you might be given catalogues, proofs or advance reading copies, but they are almost always promotional tools, aiming to sell a “proper” print run or a “proper” book.

Why on earth would a publisher be trying to do this? Surely it is hammering a nail into a publisher shaped coffin? There are strong reasons for investigating the open access route. Scientific journals have been trialling open access publishing for a few years now. The open access movement has many times called for important research to be made publicly available for the greater good.

The pressure which was initially placed on scientific journals publishers is now being directed towards the humanities and social sciences. We, as HSS publishers, need to ensure that we are ready for that pressure. We need to have considered the implications fully, and the only way to achieve that effectively is by joining together in a project such as OAPEN.

But I think that there is a better reason than simply responding to pressure. We are a University Press. As such we exist to further the aims of the University and the wider academic community. Specifically we exist to disseminate the results of academic research. We do this primarily by taking the results of such research, sending it for peer review, copy editing, proof reading, typesetting, indexing, printing and binding and so on. All of this costs money, so we charge for the resulting book.

Surely online, freely accessible monographs are better disseminated than costly, limited, printed ones? It is our duty therefore, as University Presses, to see whether we can give access.

Commercial presses would certainly not see the argument in the same way – although they may well end up in a form of Open Access publishing. There is a growing body of evidence that says that publication online of a freely accessible version of a book increases sales of the printed version. We certainly believe that to be the case and any book we publish in Open Access will have a printed version too. There may well be a shift in the funding models for research, which ends with grant giving bodies paying publishers for their publishing services. Authors themselves may pay, probably with departmental money. Quite how the finances will work is very uncertain. Finding a sustainable model for University Presses is one of the primary aims of OAPEN.

OAPEN will also embrace many new technologies along the way, and these could create an enhanced product – live linking of citations, better quality illustrations, perhaps even wiki style amendments and comments to online publications.

I don’t think we are about to see the end of the book – this is a project aimed at saving the monograph, and along the way we might just make it better.

I will keep you informed.

Ben Stebbing
Head of Sales and Marketing
Manchester University Press

See also

And the Ithaka Report