John Mulgan’s novel Man Alone has a special place in New Zealand literature and these first two books present collections of his letters home. Also an interesting mix with a biography on Bishop Selwyn, essays on early New Zealand photography and an insight into health and fitness in the 40’s and 50’s.
Journey to Oxford / John Mulgan ; edited by Peter Whiteford. “The ship was now drawing away from the land and pointing out across the round curve of the Pacific, behind us the last of the Gulf islands with the sun shining on its high bush hills and steep cliffs, beyond that again the blue line of the land, well down in the sea. I knew that last island and had sailed round it on a still summer day, a wild fearful place with a toll of two shipwrecks, and the break of seas on it day after day. It had been very warm and peaceful then, and the sail had hardly moved with the wind, and now it all looked very wonderful and beautiful. There are few people that have seen this country that do not want to look on it again.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
A good mail : letters of John Mulgan / selected and edited by Peter Whiteford. “The enigmatic figure of John Mulgan remains a striking presence in New Zealand culture, his sole novel, Man Alone, a landmark in the emergence of local literature. A GOOD MAIL presents a generous selection of his letters home – letters to those he cared about, but from whom he felt a permanent separation. When he left New Zealand in 1933, he had declared ‘I think I’m going to have the best year of my life’. These letters tell his story.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
A controversial churchman : essays on George Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield, and Sarah Selwyn / edited by Allan Davidson.
“New Zealand’s first Anglican bishop, George Selwyn, was a towering figure in the young colony. Denounced as a ‘turbulent priest’ for speaking out against Crown practices that dispossessed Māori, he brought a vigorous approach to episcopal leadership. These essays offer new insights into Selwyn’s role in developing pan-Anglicanism, strengthening links between the Church of England and the Episcopal and Anglican Churches in North America, and his time as Bishop of Lichfield (1868–78). His place in Treaty history, as a political commentator and a valuable source of historical information, is recognised. George Selwyn left a large imprint on New Zealand church and society. This collection both honours and critiques a controversial bishop.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Early New Zealand photography : images and essays / edited by Angela Wanhalla and Erika Wolf.“We are all participants in an increasingly visual culture, yet we rarely give thought to the ways that photographs shape our experience and understanding of the world and historical past. This book looks at a range of New Zealand photographs up to 1918 and analyses them as photo-objects, considering how they were made, who made them, what they show and how our understanding of them can vary or change over time. In the course of the book, they explore a host of issues related to the development of photography in New Zealand. World War I is the end point, as it coincided with profound cultural shifts with the expansion of the mass illustrated press and the rise of consumer photography, as well as a change in New Zealand’s place in the world.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Strong, beautiful and modern : national fitness in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, 1935-1960 / Charlotte Macdonald.
“In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a wave of state-sponsored ‘national fitness’ programmes swept Britain and its former colonies. Following revelations of the Nazi enthusiasm for government-backed sports and the organisation of mass leisure, the programmes quickly foundered. They probably laid, however, the foundations for the twentieth century’s obsession with fitness – a key facet of modern life. Drawing on extensive research, and written in vivid, lively prose, STRONG, BEAUTIFUL AND MODERN is an historical investigation into the way that people and their governments think about their health and well-being, and how those historical views have shaped our modern life.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)