Oxford is a city that with a rich history and receptive memory: a crossroads where the Thames changes its name to Isis; land of the ford, Tolkien, Murdoch, and Bayley; home of Pressed Steel to the east and a certain medieval University on its left-facing bank. The quintessential—yet entirely unique—university town. Or is it?
You’ll want to consider this before departing on your own pilgrimage, with art publisher and writer James Attlee, in our free e-book for the month of March, Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey.
Isolarion takes its title from a type of fifteenth-century map that isolates a particular area in order to present it in detail, and that’s just what the book does for Oxford’s Cowley Road. Drawing from sources ranging from Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy and Cage’s 4’33” to readings of Lucretius and contemporary art, our guide engages with every aspect of Cowley Road’s eclectic culture: pornography emporiums, sensory deprivation tanks, halal shops, and car factories included. Accompanied by a notebook and a tape recorder, Attlee records the immediate details of his surroundings and revels in the allegorical depths of the everyday. The result? This eloquent hymn in praise of the invigorating, complex nature of the twenty-first century city and the ultimate East Oxford book.
“An iridescent picture of a new Oxford that no guide book has yet captured.”—New York Times
“Attlee’s reading is deep and wide and engagingly circuitous, and this book frequently provides the delights of discovery that make any adventure worth undertaking.”—Bookforum
Curious? Read an excerpt. Or download your free copy of Isolarion today (and through the end of the month)—and if you like what you read, consider accompanying Attlee on another voyage: this one by moonlight.