28 August 2010


I strolled into Blackwells the other day to get the diary for the next academic year; and thought I'd just check what was on show to earn money for publishers on the back of the late Mr Newman. Well, there are several glossies, of which the only one that appealed to me was one published by Gracewing and done by the sisters of the Way, who are the guardians of Littlemore. I commend it. I suggest that you think twice before buying any of the others. If you need confirmation of my commendation, I need only say that this little book has a preface by Dr Ker, the expert on Newman.

There appeared to be no copies of Dr Ker's own definitive biography of Newman. This is perfectly ridiculous. I made enquiries of an attendant,who assured me that copies were on the way. This shortage may be the result of masses of sensible people having bought up the last print. More probably, it results from incompetence somewhere in the book trade. Conceivably, there is a plot to move a lot of the glossies by sparing them competition. This is tragic. People are surely more likely to be buying Newman books in the weeks building up to the beatification than just after it, and Ker's book, as Chadwick observed, could well be the Newman book for several generations.

And Ker's book is perfectly brilliant; it received a rave review from Henry 'Patrimony' Chadwick. It has the gift of telling the story of Newman and of his thought largely in Newman's own words. By the way: it used to be available in paperback. I trust that there will not be some seedy plot to unload lots of much more expensive hardback copies on the reading public.

In the next month, as our satanic media gleefully spread misrepresentations galore about Newman, it will be most unfortunate if intelligent enquirers do not have access to the definitive Newman biography.


Gregory the Eremite said...

Shops may be unwilling to re-stock the hardback edition when the new paperback edition is set to arrive on the 1st September.

The hardback is still available at Amazon...

rick allen said...

It is a shame that so much of Newman's work is hard to get.

Though it's a poor substitute, much of his most important writing is available here:


It is my hope that these coming events may inspire us to listen to him rather than argue about him.

Ernest said...

Last term there were lectures on Newman in the Philosophy Faculty at Oxford, and Ker's analyses featured prominently in them. (He has also written perceptively on Newman's philosophy - just google or use OxLip or similar if you have it.)

David said...

What a pity that you judge the whole booktrade to be incompetent or worse by your Blackwell experience. Had you visited ST PAULS (NO apostrophe by the convention of the Society of St Paul!) Bookshop in Westminster, or even telephoned or visited on line, you would have found a whole section devoted to Newman with Ian Ker's book among a host of others about and by JHN. Instead you have encouraged more people to buy on line rather than from real bookshops - and you should realise what the end result of that will be. (I suppose I must declare an interest as Manager!)