Culture Articles

‘The Cambridge Companion to Quakerism’, edited by Stephen W Angell and Pink Dandelion

18 July 2019 | by Reg Naulty

Close-up of the cover. | Cambridge University Press

The big surprise in this book is that unprogrammed Friends number only about ten per cent of the world’s Friends. Kenya has the greatest number of Quakers, followed by the USA, and Bolivia. Kenya once had 1,500 Quaker schools, although some have been taken over by the government. Kenya, Bolivia,...

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‘Beginner’s Luck’, by UA Fanthorpe

FREE 18 July 2019 | by Philip Gross

Close-up of the cover. | Bloodaxe Books.

What constitutes a voice – that outward-and-audible sign of being who we are? Finding our voice always matters, but it has a special meaning in a poet’s case. The thing that makes the reader say ‘Ah, yes, that’s so-and-so’ in a couple of lines, that’s the writer’s ...

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‘Bury the Chains: The British struggle to abolish slavery’, by Adam Hochschild

18 July 2019 | by Helen Porter

Close-up of the cover. | Pan.

In 2014 I read Adam Hochschild’s To End All Wars, his brilliantly-written ‘story of protest and patriotism in the first world war’, which served as a useful corrective to the centenary commemorations. Bury the Chains is not a new book but it is tragic, compelling and as empowering as the...

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‘Adam Smith: What he thought and why it matters’, by Jesse Norman

04 July 2019 | by Richard Seebohm

A close-up of the book cover. | allen lane.

Jesse Norman’s new book is a bravura manifesto of how our politics and economics should be run. Many of us may have heard of The Wealth of Nations with its conceptualisation of markets and the ‘invisible hand’ that steers them. But Adam Smith also wrote its later chapters with...

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There Never Was Such A Goose

27 June 2019 | by Jonathan Wooding

'Goose, get out of this reflection, without me.' | Biel Morro / Unsplash.

And think of your clay-pit lake, its bright water a black slate spectral with depth – inerrant, I believe, in fabulous mockery, pauce ańd inflamed with sprung forms.

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‘Hester and Sophie’ by John Lampen

27 June 2019 | by Alice Hardy

Close-up of book cover. | 'Hester and Sophie' by John Lampen.

There is a scene about halfway through this book where one of the main characters, Hester, and her mum are talking about the Quaker view on God and spirituality. I said, “Him?” “Well, her if you like – or even it. I don’t think of God as a big Daddy...

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Art thou in darkness?

20 June 2019 | by Dana Littlepage Smith

'It was less of a walk than a stutter / of feet edging across the floor / as if she was navigating the rim / of a volcano.' | Cristian Newman / Unsplash.

Mind it not, for if thou doest it will fill thee more, but stand still and act not, and wait in patience till Light arises out of Darkness – James Nayler It was less of a walk than a stutter of feet edging across the floor as if she was navigating...

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Light in Darkness: The mystical philosophy of Jakob Böhme Coventry Cathedral (Until 5 July)

20 June 2019 | by Andrew Marsh

Portrait of Jakob Böhme by Christoph Gottlob Glymann. | Wikimedia Commons.

Why should anyone care about natural philosophy? This exhibition – an artistic and historical interpretation of Jakob Böhme and his work – offers an explanation. The display is superbly curated and animated by: Lucinda Martin, Universität Erfurt; Cecilia Muratori, University of Warwick; and Claudia Brink, State Art Collections, Dresden, Germany,...

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Living Adventurously: Experiencing Quaker testimonies in Spirit and in the world

20 June 2019 | by Yvonne Dixon

Close-up of the booklet cover. | The Kindlers.

‘Live adventurously’ is a Quaker Advice that trips easily off the tongue, but I suspect that many of us are more comfortable in familiar settings and in the company of those people we see as being of our own kind. This latest title in the series of booklets produced by...

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‘William Penn: A life’ by Andrew R Murphy

13 June 2019 | by Michael Wright

A close-up of the book cover. | 'William Penn: A life'.

William Penn’s reputation is that of a Quaker saint. His words are often quoted by Friends, as is the anecdote of George Fox telling Penn to wear his sword as long as he could. He is renowned for his ‘Holy Experiment’ seeking to establish in Pennsylvania a political environment...

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