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Figuring Out Jefferson

This being the week of President's Day, we thought we would ask one of our favorite authors, Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, about her recent reading on the third president.
Q: We at UVA Press, along with Maurizio Valsania, were delighted to learn that you were reading his latest book, The Limits of Optimism: Thomas Jefferson's Dualistic Enlightenment. How did you come to his work?

Gordon-Reed: My good friend Peter Onuf of the University of Virginia had read the book in manuscript and suggested I read it.

Q: Jefferson is well known as an enlightenment thinker. Did anything in Valsania's book surprise you?

Gordon-Reed: Well, it’s such a fresh take on Jefferson. It moves beyond the “He was a man of contradictions” approach. That is true, but as Valsania shows, a lot of what Jefferson says and does hangs together.


LBJ Wins PROSE Award

Winners of the 36th PROSE Awards were announced on February 2, and our electronic imprint, Rotunda, was honored for its digital edition of The Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson, which won 2011 Best eProduct in the Humanities.



Enter the First Ladies, 2012

Undoubtedly one of the brightest spots in the tedious, tendentious slog of the Republican presidential debates came in Jacksonville, Florida on January 26, when Wolf Blitzer asked the candidates which of their wives would be the best First Lady. The Twitt-O-Sphere went wild, howling at Gingrich's gaffe that made him sound like he was evaluating all his wives for the job.


Grab a Lifeboat

The still-unfolding story of the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship run aground off the coast of the Tuscan island Giglio, has reminded us of dangers, and remedies, nearly as old as seafaring itself. Reports of the thousands of passengers' struggle to escape made us think of John Stilgoe, whose book Lifeboat is the definitive study of one of the fixtures of survival at sea. Stilgoe took a few minutes from his duties as Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape at Harvard to answer our questions about the sinking ship and the enduring role played by the smaller boat you never thought you'd have to use.


UPCC Opens Its Doors

The University of Virginia Press is among a group of 70 scholarly publishers that are participating in the University Press Content Consortium (UPCC), which offers readers a new way to locate and browse e-books.  You will find e-book editions of many of Virginia's most recent titles here.


A Tip for that Wild Boar

For those of you who would like to start the new year with a different sort of dish, Golden-Bristled Boar author Jeffrey Greene passes along the following recipe for Jabalí en adobo, which serves 6 to 8  as part of a selection of tapas.


Salomé Live

A reading of Joseph Donohue's new translation of Oscar Wilde's one-act tragedy Salomé was staged at Charlottesville's Live Arts theater on December 2, 2011. This clip comes at a crucial moment in the play's action, when Salomé, having danced for her stepfather Herodias, reveals to him what the price will be.


Belzoni Was Here

Because it had been too long since we'd been on a trip, and because we're not always busy selling books, we decided to go to London this past summer. Naturally we ended up at the British Museum. We knew that Giovanni Belzoni (1778-1824), subject of a new biography by Ivor Noël Hume, had brought back from Egypt many of the museum's most prized artifacts, including the bust of Ramesses II. What we were not prepared for was the sight of Belzoni's name actually carved into those works (as the vacation photo to the left shows).

Aside from coming up with possibly the greatest haul of Egyptian artifacts ever to reach the West, Belzoni is perhaps most famous for sparking controversy among critics who feel this former circus "strong man" was more vandal than archaeologist. The Wall Street Journal notes this same contradiction in their new review of the Noël Hume biography : " in this entertaining and graceful account of Belzoni's adventures, Mr. Hume opens a window on the raffish days of early Egyptology, when an Italian giant towered over his competitors."


Salomé at Live Arts

Join the University of Virginia Press and Joseph Donohue at Live Arts on Friday, December 2nd at 7:30 pm for a staged reading of this new translation of Salomé, directed by UVA Department of Drama Professor Kate Burke.


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