Miss Sparrow

Helpful votes received on reviews: 99% (200 of 203)
Location: London


Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,257,524 - Total Helpful Votes: 200 of 203
Pevsner - The Early Life: Germany and Art by Stephen Games
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read, 21 April 2010
This book defies any expectations you may have had about studies of the 1920s and 30s. Through the personality of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, it vividly brings to life issues that existed in Germany in the Weimar years and that came to the fore in the study of art and architecture history.

Why were rebellious young Germans obsessed by medievalism? What attracted them to bad Renaissance art? How did these two interests relate to the modern world? This book explains.

It also talks about the extraordinary dilemma that existed for Jews who wanted to be German, so they could escape from their Russian and Polish origins, but who could never be German enough to satisfy the German… Read more
Sweet Songs of Zion by John Betjeman
Sweet Songs of Zion by John Betjeman
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Betjeman couldn't decide if he was a religious man or not. From his student days onwards he was always a member of the Church of England; he was also active on various parish councils, but he was constantly assailed by his own rationalism. What bothered him most was the question of what might happen to him after he died: it was an ugly choice - annihilation or hell.

In this amazing book, composed of almost 30 radio talks that he gave towards the end of his life, Betjeman finally found a way to come terms with the Church - by exploring it through the medium that he felt closest to: poetry - or, more exactly, the religious poetry of the hymn.

How did hymns come to be… Read more
Trains and Buttered Toast: Selected Radio Talks by John Betjeman
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
This is the most enjoyable Betjeman book I've ever read - a book that's so good, it ought to be part of the English Literature curriculum. More than that: it ought to be read by everyone applying for British citizenship! In the course of 360 pages, Betjeman plunges you into what he regarded as the major issues of English identity - issues of aesthetics, civic duty, relations with authority, and individuality.

I suppose that all these ideas are contained in Betjeman's poetry, but there one tends to get distracted into noticing rhythm and metre and scansion. And Betjeman's poetic ideas are smaller. Here, although the writing is often lyrical, he addresses topics in a much more… Read more