Biography ~ new for 2022
‘He Went About doing Good’ by David Elder
The life of Dr Edward Thomas Wilson of Cheltenham has never before been told. Overshadowed both by his son, the Antarctic explorer who perished with Captain Scott at the South Pole, and his brother, renowned for his heroic attempt to rescue General Gordon at Khartoum, his story is intriguingly complex. A municipal pioneer of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he instigated modern medical practices, such as isolation fever hospitals, district nursing and clean drinking water. A supporter of science and art he opened the museum which now bears his family’s name, and promoted libraries and the local School of Art. A founder of the local camera club (the sixth oldest in the country) he pioneered photomicrography as an amateurs’ pursuit, and contributed to numerous associations, not least as President of the Cheltenham Natural Science Society. ‘No man has done so much as he to stimulate and promote the intellectual life of the town’ proclaimed one of his obituaries in 1918, while the epitaph on his gravestone reads simply, ‘He went about doing good’. Drawing on previously unpublished material and sources, this is the first in-depth biography of one of life’s ‘quiet’ heroes. January 2022, xiv, 276pp, illustrated (some colour) paperback, £15.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-25-3.
Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke: an Elizabethan Writer and her World by Julia Allen and Christine Bennett
The authors take a fresh approach to the telling of Mary Sidney's fascinating story. She was a remarkable woman who spent a significant part of her life at Wilton House. Married at the age of fifteen to one of England's richest men, she was close to Queen Elizabeth I. As she lived at a time of political and religious change, her story is told against that background. The untimely death of her beloved brother, the courtier and poet, Sir Philip Sidney, altered the course of her life. Mary Sidney became a trend-setter, forging a pathway for women writers: a talented poet, a skilful translator and editor and an influential patron of the arts. She wrote a version of Antony and Cleopatra. Her metrical psalms inspired poets, including a distant relative, George Herbert. Her legacy is traced to the wider world and the poetry of New England. Closer to home her relationship to key figures of the day is explored: James I, William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser, to name a few. Mary Sidney Herbert's contribution to literature has never been sufficiently acknowledged but this book redresses that neglect and offers an engaging insight into an influential woman's life. March 2022, x, 189pp, illustrated paperback, £12.95, ISBN 978-1-914407-32-1.