A weekly look over the shoul­ders of our scholar-re­view­ers

THE (Times Higher Education) - - BOOK OF THE WEEK -

Maria Del­gado, pro­fes­sor and di­rec­tor of re­search, Royal Cen­tral School of Speech and Drama, Univer­sity of Lon­don, is read­ing Núria Tri­ana-Toribio’s Span­ish Film Cul­tures: The Mak­ing and Un­mak­ing of Span­ish Cin­ema (BFI Pal­grave, 2016). “With Pe­dro Almod­ó­var shoot­ing his 21st film, Do­lor y Glo­ria/Pain and Glo­ria, I have turned to this eru­dite ac­count of the emer­gence of Spain’s film in­dus­try over the pe­riod from 1986 to 2011. His films haven’t fit­ted eas­ily into the brand of so­cial re­al­ism that the Span­ish Film Academy has tended to re­ward. Ex­am­in­ing the cen­tral role of the academy, the book looks at strategies em­ployed to pro­tect film-mak­ing post-Franco, pro­mote cer­tain trends and gen­res, and shape what con­sti­tute ‘good’ films through the an­nual Goya awards. A vi­sion of Span­ish cin­ema, where the Cata­lan was in ef­fect marginalised, was sold both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, through the boom years of early democ­racy and into the post2007 eco­nomic cri­sis.”

A. W. Pur­due, vis­it­ing pro­fes­sor in his­tory at Northum­bria Univer­sity, is read­ing E. F. Ben­son’s The Com­plete Mapp and Lu­cia (Wordsworth Clas­sics, 2011). “Th­ese three nov­els are set among the mid­dle-aged leisured elite in the small town of Tilling, closely based on Rye, im­me­di­ately af­ter the First World War. Lu­cia, re­cently wi­d­owed, moves to the town, bring­ing in tow her bach­e­lor friend Ge­orgie; she fears he may wish to marry her, and is re­lieved, if slightly miffed, when she dis­cov­ers his dread of such a re­la­tion­ship. She quickly arouses jeal­ousy and re­sent­ment in El­iz­a­beth Mapp, the reign­ing ar­biter of so­cial and cul­tural life. As Keith Cara­dine points out in his per­cep­tive in­tro­duc­tion, sex hov­ers over the book, but that ‘hor­rid thing’ is never ac­knowl­edged, giv­ing the book a flavour as camp as a Carry On film. This, per­haps, re­flects the au­thor’s own ex­pe­ri­ence, since Ben­son came from the some­what ex­otic mé­nage of an Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, in which his fa­ther seems to have been the only con­sis­tent het­ero­sex­ual.”

John Pritchard, di­rec­tor of strate­gic plan­ning, Durham Univer­sity, is read­ing Max McKe­own’s The Strat­egy Book (2nd edi­tion, FT Pub­lish­ing, 2015). “The premise of this clearly ar­tic­u­lated guide is that strat­egy is about shap­ing a de­sired fu­ture. At a time of un­prece­dented tur­bu­lence in higher ed­u­ca­tion, this book there­fore ad­dresses a broad and per­ti­nent sub­ject, al­though it frames it pri­mar­ily with ref­er­ence to the cor­po­rate world. The au­thor main­tains that the es­sen­tial el­e­ments of strategising are con­cerned with an­swer­ing the fun­da­men­tal ques­tions of ‘where are we, where do we want to go, what must be done, how to do it and how to mea­sure progress’. While not ad­dress­ing the par­tic­u­lar­i­ties of a univer­sity cul­ture that now fre­quently eats strat­egy for break­fast, it pro­vides a use­ful re­source and toolkit of tech­niques to help ad­dress the chal­lenges we face at this crit­i­cal junc­ture.”

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