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Fred Inglis's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Fred Inglis recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Fred Inglis's favorite book recommendations of all time.

A selection of the best of three decades of writing about poetry, a celebration of the "tenacious curiosity" (Los Angeles Times) of the Nobel laureate

Whether autobiographical, topical, or specifically literary, these writings circle the central preoccupying questions of Seamus Heaney's career: "How should a poet properly live and write? What is his relationship to his own voice, his own place, his literary heritage, and the contemporary world?"

Along with a selection from Heaney's three previous collections of prose (Preoccupations, The Government of the...
Recommended by Fred Inglis, and 1 others.

Fred InglisI could happily have chosen any of his books, but I went for this collection of essays because I don’t want to be accused of being negative about the whole cult of celebrity. Seamus Heaney is part of my redress against this. One positive thing celebrities can do for us is to dramatise those values and meanings which we think of as important and commendable. They can do that in the tormented way... (Source)

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In this extensive inquiry into the sources of modern selfhood, Charles Taylor demonstrates just how rich and precious those resources are. The modern turn to subjectivity, with its attendant rejection of an objective order of reason, has led—it seems to many—to mere subjectivism at the mildest and to sheer nihilism at the worst. Many critics believe that the modern order has no moral backbone and has proved corrosive to all that might foster human good. Taylor rejects this view. He argues that, properly understood, our modern notion of the self provides a framework that more than compensates... more
Recommended by Fred Inglis, Charles Morris, and 2 others.

Fred InglisWhat is so powerful and marvellous about Taylor’s book is what the title announces – this deep question of where do we get our ideas of ourselves from? And the answer is history. (Source)

Charles MorrisIn the last 30 years economics has been colonising every science. Even something like education all comes down to incentives, and that mind-set has become pervasive. (Source)

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John Brewer's landmark book brings to life the rich cultural life of eighteenth-century England. He describes how literature, painting, music, and the theater related to a public increasingly avid for them; how artists used, or were used by, publishers, plagiarists, impresarios, and managers; and how contemporary ideas of taste combined with patriotic fervor and shrewdly managed commerce to create a vibrant, dynamic national culture.

"A magnificent achievement. . . . Enormous in its scope, astute in its choices of examples, learned in its resources, but written with an almost...
Recommended by Fred Inglis, and 1 others.

Fred InglisYes, if we hitch these two books together then you get some idea of why my own book starts off in the middle of the 18th century. One of the things that Geertz notes is that the people of renown he was looking at from eras like Elizabethan England and the pre-modern monarchs of the North African 18th century all act as from the sacred importance of the court and the glow it gives off. (Source)

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In essays covering everything from art and common sense to charisma and constructions of the self, the eminent cultural anthropologist and author of The Interpretation of Cultures deepens our understanding of human societies through the intimacies of "local knowledge." A companion volume to The Interpretation of Cultures, this book continues Geertz's exploration of the meaning of culture and the importance of shared cultural symbolism. With a new introduction by the author. less
Recommended by Fred Inglis, and 1 others.

Fred InglisClifford Geertz is a much travelled American, who is probably the greatest anthropologist of the last 60 or 70 years. Local Knowledge, as the title tells you, is based on the insistence that life is lived locally and that you find culture in action locally. Attempts to generalise right across the world are going to mislead you. In his book there are two or three essays which I had by me as my... (Source)

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The Paris of the 1860s and 1870s was supposedly a brand-new city, equipped with boulevards, cafés, parks, and suburban pleasure grounds—the birthplace of those habits of commerce and leisure that constitute "modern life." Questioning those who view Impressionism solely in terms of artistic technique, T. J. Clark describes the painting of Manet, Degas, Seurat, and others as an attempt to give form to that modernity and seek out its typical representatives—be they bar-maids, boaters, prostitutes, sightseers, or petits bourgeois lunching on the grass. The central question of The... more
Recommended by Andrew Graham-Dixon, Fred Inglis, and 2 others.

Andrew Graham-DixonIt was very very hard to find a book that connected art with society in the way that Clark connected the art of the nineteenth century to the society in which it was produced. (Source)

Fred InglisThe second stage of my history of celebrity focuses on Paris at this time. A new kind of phenomenon is beginning to declare itself, which is the process whereby the fashion industry becomes industrialised and the whole novel notion of glamour attaches itself to people who are known and recognised. T J Clark wrote his wonderful book to study how the great painters of the day, people like Manet,... (Source)

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