A Look at the List – Mahinder Kingra

As we move towards our new season of books (those publishing between March and August this year), we asked our acquiring editors to give us a little preview of their list. Here’s the first in the series, from Editor-in-Chief Mahinder Kingra.


My list of books for our Spring-Summer 2019 list is easily the most diverse one I’ve had since I started acquiring books for Cornell. They range in subject across continents and millennia and on such disparate topics as early medieval objects, the holy women of the Capetian court, Parisian cemeteries, Victorian skin, Soviet cinema, and effective restaurant management. Among the books I have sponsored are the first volume in our Corpus Juris series on humanities and the law; two translations from the German (a detailed, transatlantic history of copyright and a riveting investigation of how empathy can take us to dark places within ourselves); and a history of medieval magic.


As thrilled as I am to see all of these in print, one book I want to single out on my list is Joe O’Callaghan’s Alfonso X, the Justinian of His Age. Although the term is overused as a superlative in publishing, this is indeed a magisterial account of the comprehensive legal code established under the direction of thirteenth-century Castilian monarch, Alfonso “el Sabio” (the Wise). What makes this book particularly special is that it brought Joe O’Callaghan back to Cornell University Press as an author after forty-four years. In 1975, we published Joe’s hugely ambitious first book, A History of Medieval Spain, which has been in print ever since and continues to be used in courses around the world to this day. When Joe approached me about his equally ambitious book on Alfonso X’s legal code, I jumped at the chance to welcome Joe back to the Cornell UP family. It’s been a great honor working with Joe on this book, and I look forward to sending him the first copy, wrapped in the handsome jacket designed by Richanna Patrick, in April.

Mahinder Kingra is Editor in Chief and official bon vivant at Cornell University Press.

A Look at the List – Mahinder Kingra