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The Gallery - August

Welcome to THE GALLERY where we invite you to browse some of the beautiful literature we have in stock here in the Plymouth Proprietary Library.

All of these books are available to borrow and you will be pleased to know we don't specify a date for their return, hence our policy of not issuing library fines.

Complimentary coffee, cake and a tour of the Library will be available at all of our Coffee Mornings on the second Saturday of each month for anyone interested in joining. Annual membership is £60 - payable by cheque or cash - with a reduced rate of £30 for under 25's or students.

Hawker of MorwenstowHawker of Morwenstow
Portrait of a Victorian Eccentric
by Piers Brendon

This illuminating biography of Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-75) unravels fully the famous Cornish parson-poet's rich personality. Drawing on a mass of unpublished material, Piers Brendon re-creates one of the most bizarre of Victorian lives, revealing the mixture of truth, over-simplification and falsehood in the legend which has built up around him.

The popular account depicts Hawker as a youth of wild high spirits who delighted in hoaxes and practical jokes. As an Oxford undergraduate he won the Newdigate Poetry Prize and married his rich 41-year-old godmother. In 1834 he became vicar of Morwenstow and spent the rest of his life in his desolate country parish on the storm-swept coast of north Cornwall. He was a charitable, hard-working Anglo-Catholic but, owing to the remoteness of his position and lack of sympathy from his parishioners, his true genius became warped and he succumbed to wayward eccentricity.


His dress was, to say the least, unorthodox, and he became obsessed with antiquarian lore, lending a haunting reality to the arcane superstitions which he cultivated. He entertained no doubt whatever about the active agency of demons and angels, ghosts and brownies. He talked to birds, invited his nine cats into church and excommunicated one of them when it caught a mouse on Sunday. Out of the timbers of wrecked ships he built a hut, a forbidding sanctuary perched on the high cliff-edge, where he invoked mystic visions and composed romantic poetry.

Piers Brendon here rescues Hawker from legend, and his fascinating book substitutes character for caricature. An even more interesting and idiosyncratic Hawker emerges, scarred and moulded by the stark isolation of his hostile seaboard benefice, a man of remarkable insight and compassion, who submitted in strange ways to his calling, and who, it turns out, proves to have been a true prophet in his yearning exclamation: 'what a life mine would be if it were all written and published in a book.'



The Three Lives of Dylan ThomasThe Three Lives of Dylan Thomas
by Hilly Janes

Dylan Thomas was one of the most extraordinary poetic talents of the twentieth century. Poems such as 'Do not go gentle into that good night' regularly top polls of the nation's favourites and his much-loved play Under Milk Wood has never been out of print. Thomas lived a life that was rarely without incident and died a death that has gone down in legend as the epitome of Bohemian dissoluteness. In The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas, journalist Hilly Janes explores that life and its extraordinary legacy through the eyes of her father, the artist Alfred Janes, who was a member of Thomas's inner circle and painted the poet at three key moments: in 1934, 1953 and, posthumously, 1964. Using these portraits as focal points, and drawing on a personal archive that includes drawings, diaries, letters and new interviews with omas's friends and descendants, The Three Lives of Dylan Thomas plots the poet's tempestuous journey from his birthplace in Swansea to his early death in a New York hospital in 1953. In this innovative and powerful narrative, Hilly Janes paints her own portrait: one that ventures beneath Thomas's reputation as a feckless, disloyal, boozy Welsh bard to reveal a much more complex character.



The Assassination Bureau

The Assassination Bureau, Ltd
by Jack London

London’s suspense thriller focuses on the fine distinction between state- justified murder and criminal violence in the Assassination Bureau—an organization whose mandate is to rid the state of all its enemies.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


The Conan Doyle Historical RomancesThe Conan Doyle Historical Romances
by Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary output is prodigious. During his writing career Sir Arthur wrote twenty-one novels and over 150 short stories. He also published nonfiction, essays, articles, memoirs and three volumes of poetry. He left thousands of letters to the press, his mother (about 1500 letters), family, friends and acquaintances, including Winston Churchill, P. G. Wodehouse, Theodore Roosevelt, and Oscar Wilde. Jeffrey and Valerie Meyers, editors of The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Reader: From Sherlock Holmes to Spiritualism (2002) 


The Winter QueenThe Winter Queen
The Story of Elizabeth Stuart
by Josephine Ross

Elizabeth Stuart (19 August 1596 - 13 February 1662) was Electress Palatine and briefly Queen of Bohemia as the wife of Frederick V, Elector Palatine.
Due to her husband's reign in Bohemia lasting for just one winter, Elizabeth is often referred to as The Winter Queen.



Dame Agnes WestonDame Agnes Weston
by Doris Gulliver

Born in London, the daughter of a barrister, Weston was influenced from her teenage years onward by the Rev James Fleming.

In 1868 she took up hospital visiting and parish work in Bath, and through beginning a correspondence with a seaman who asked her to write to him, developed into the devoted friend of sailors, superintendent of the Royal Naval Temperance Society, and co-founder (with Sophia Wintz) of three Royal Sailors' Rests (two in Plymouth and one in Portsmouth), or clubs for sailors, by the start of the First World War. She published a monthly magazine, Ashore and Afloat, and established temperance societies on naval ships. She published Life Among the Bluejackets in 1909.


The Summer Before the WarThe Summer Before the War
by Helen Simonson

It is late summer in East Sussex, 1914. Amidst the season's splendour, fiercely independent Beatrice Nash arrives in the coastal town of Rye to fill a teaching position at the local grammar school. There she is taken under the wing of formidable matriarch Agatha Kent, who, along with her charming nephews, tries her best to welcome Beatrice to a place that remains stubbornly resistant to the idea of female teachers. But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape, and the colourful characters that populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For the unimaginable is coming – and soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small town goes to war.




The Seeds of TreasonThe Seeds of Treason
by Ted Allbeury

Jan Massey Head of British Intelligence in Berlin falls in love with Anna Kholkov wife of a KGB officer. When she is arrested Massey is forced into betraying his country.

Arthur Johnson a signalman working in Massey's Berlin office has other reasons for betraying his country as does Eric Mayhew at GCHQ in the UK. At GCHQ's American counterpart the NSA James Vick is manipulated into betrayal by the apparently unattainable Kirstin Swenson who works for the KGB.

Four people - with different motivations and in different circumstances - all betray their countries. But Massey refuses to betray the woman he loves... and as the fragile counter-intelligence network starts reacting to the ripples of Massey's treason so the four stories begin to connect.

'Ted Allbeury without doubt ranks among the finest genre writers I've read' - Glenn Meade



Opening Hours

Monday 10.30am to 7.00pm
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Wednesday Closed all day
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Sunday Closed all day

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William Cookworthy

Memoir of William Cookworthy
By his grandson


Historic Books and tea in the drawing room
Plymouth History Festival 2017