Thursday, May 16, 2013

(Non-Liturgical) Book Notice: The Gentlemen's Clubs of London

While this admittedly isn't liturgical, I am going to make a rare exception to that rule for I know this is likely of interest to many of our readers -- and I also happen to know that some events which have taken place within the context of traditional liturgical societies have occurred within some of these very places (the Traveller's Club particularly comes to mind) and further that some of our readers are members of these same London clubs (I seem to recall that one reader once very kindly offered to take me to his club, the Athenaeum, whenever I was next in London).

The matter of which I speak is a book which is an updated edition of Anthony LeJeune's classic account of The Gentlemen's Clubs of London. (American readers should know that the connotation which is sometimes held with regard to a so-called "gentleman's club" within the North American context is not at all what is meant here suffice it to say. One might instead think of an association more akin with a private country club, but set within the context of urban London, England.)

(Here is the cover to the original edition:)

This particular edition is now updated with full colour plates of "Clubland" -- which is to say, the famed clubs of London, England -- alongside the classic text of LeJeune around the clubs themselves -- 29 are covered within this new edition.

LeJeune's commentary (which is by no means dry and is filled with wonderful snippets and accounts from the London club scene and culture) itself makes the book worthwhile; but it is the addition of the colour photos of the clubs that makes this updated work especially interesting. (In fact, if you already own the original edition of LeJeune's work, my recommendation is this: keep that edition but also acquire this new one and set them on your bookshelf side by side. There are some variations and they will make a wonderful compliment to one another.) If there was one bit of text which I think might be representative of the book and give you a sense of what you could expect, it is this, taken from the introduction:

A good club is much more than a mere catering establishment. It should be a refuge from the vulgarity of the outside world, a reassuringly fixed point, the echo of a more civilised way of living, a place where (as was once said of an Oxford college) people still prefer a silver salt-cellar which doesn't pour to a plastic one which does.

Here are a few views from within the book which will show you what else you might expect:

For whatever reason, it seems prohibitively expensive to presently order this book on North American sites, and so I might recommend you use the where it is priced at £32.07 (approximately $49.00 USD).

Product details:

Hardcover, 252 pages
Stacey International
ISBN-10: 190676820X
ISBN-13: 978-1906768201

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