General book blog.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. New York. 2007. Knopf. Translated From The Russian By Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky. 1273 pages. Jacket image: Cathedral Square in the Kremlin by Fyodor Alexeyev. October 2007. 0307266931.



 From Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the best-selling, award-winning translators of ANNA KARENINA and THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, comes a brilliant, engaging, and eminently readable translation of Leo Tolstoy's master epic. WAR AND PEACE centers broadly on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, and follows three of the best-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count, who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves behind his family to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman, who intrigues both men. As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy vividly follows characters from diverse backgrounds - peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers - as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving - and human - figures in world literature. Pevear and Volokhonsky have brought us this classic novel in a translation remarkable for its fidelity to Tolstoy's style and cadence and for its energetic, accessible prose. With stunning grace and precision, this new version of War and Peace is set to become the Tolstoy Leo definitive English edition.


COUNT LEO TOLSTOY was born in central Russia. After serving in the Crimean War, he retired to his estate and devoted himself to writing, fanning, and raising his large family. His novels and outspoken social polemics brought him world fame.


Together, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Gogol. They were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize, and their translation of Dostoevsky's DEMONS was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.





Berlin, Isaiah. The Hedgehog and the Fox. London. 1953. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 86 pages. hardcover.


hedgehog and the fox weidenfeld and nicolsonFROM THE PUBLISHER -


Isaiah Berlin, Fellow of All Souls and former Fellow of New College, Oxford, has long enjoyed a considerable reputation on both sides of the Atlantic. His brilliant lectures on ‘Freedom and its Betrayal’, recently broadcast, have introduced him to an even wider public. In this essay on the sources of Tolstoy’s historical scepticism he deals vividly and originally with a little-known subject that is today specially relevant. Leo Tolstoy held uncompromising views about the laws and writing of history, and embodied these in the celebrated epilogue to War and Peace, as well as in the philosophical digressions interpolated here and there. These ‘theoretical asides’ have found little favour with the majority of Tolstoy’s critics. The epilogue tends to be spoken of as a prolix and irrelevant general discussion, a tedious sermon which, whatever its contemporary impact, now seems pedestrian and superfluous. Mr. Berlin does not share this view. Tolstoy’s reflections on history seem to him a great deal more original and sharp than the conventional comments of his critics. This essay is an attempt to relate Tolstoy’s analysis of history to his changing view, both conscious and semi-conscious, of life and art. Mr. Berlin provides evidence of a seldom remarked influence upon Tolstoy exercised by a celebrated early enemy of democracy, Joseph de Maistre. Tolstoy is known to have read the Savoyard publicist when he was writing WAR AND PEACE. Both Tolstoy and de Maistre were, to some extent, aristocratic dilettanti in open revolt against the rationalism and optimism of their own times. Their views, which often appeared to their contemporaries as merely perverse and obscurantist efforts to retard the inevitable march of enlightenment, seem, in the middle of the twentieth century, much more realistic and formidable. Both Tolstoy and de Maistre delighted in formulating solutions to problems in terms as unpalatable as possible to the majority of their contemporaries. But, whatever may be thought of the answers, or of their authors’ motives for urging them, the questions seem a good deal more ominous today than a century ago. Tolstoy put these question with characteristic force and directness, and at the same time made it impossible for himself to solve them, for reasons which this essay attempts to make clear.


The New American Library/Mentor edition:


The Hedgehog and The Fox by Isaiah Berlin. New York. 1957. New American Library/Mentor. M198. 128 pages. May 1957.


mentor hedgehog and the foxFROM THE PUBLISHER -



   Man's Fate. Is man the captain of his destiny or is he the victim of inexorable forces which combine to crush his individuality? Does any man -- or woman -- really mold history? These pertinent questions which plagued the author of WAR AND PEACE are now brilliantly examined by the noted English scholar and philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, the editor of THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT: THE 18TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHERS.





Berlin IsaiahSir Isaiah Berlin (6 June 1909 – 5 November 1997), British of Russian-Jewish origin, was a social and political theorist, philosopher and historian of ideas, ‘thought by many to be the dominant scholar of his generation’. He excelled as an essayist, conversationalist and raconteur; and as a brilliant lecturer who improvised, rapidly and spontaneously, richly allusive and coherently structured material. He translated works by Ivan Turgenev from Russian into English and, during the war, worked for the British Diplomatic Service. In its obituary of the scholar, The Independent stated that ‘Isaiah Berlin was often described, especially in his old age, by means of superlatives: the world's greatest talker, the century's most inspired reader, one of the finest minds of our time ... there is no doubt that he showed in more than one direction the unexpectedly large possibilities open to us at the top end of the range of human potential’. In 1932, at the age of 23, he was elected to a prize fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford. From 1957 to 1967, he was Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1963 to 1964. In 1966, he played a crucial role in founding Wolfson College, Oxford, and became its first President. He was appointed a CBE in 1946, knighted in 1957, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1971. He was President of the British Academy from 1974 to 1978. He also received the 1979 Jerusalem Prize for his writings on individual freedom. The annual Isaiah Berlin Lectures are held at the Hampstead Synagogue and both Wolfson College and the British Academy each summer. Berlin's work on liberal theory and on value pluralism has had a lasting influence. HENRY HARDY, editor of the four-volume series of Sir Isaiah’s collected essays, took his B. Phil, and D. Phil, from Wolfson College, and is now an editor and publisher. His edition of selected writings by Arnold Mallinson, Quinquagesimo Anno, was published under his own imprint in 1974. ROGER HAUSHEER is a member of Wolfson College, Oxford, and is studying the philosophy of J.G. Fichte. At present he is also Lecturer in British Studies at the University of Giessen, West Germany.





Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux. Boston. 2001. Houghton Mifflin. 424 pages. Jacket design by John Gall. Jacket photograph by Tommy Steele. 0618095012. May 2001.





   Welcome to the Hotel Honolulu, a down-at-the-heels tourist place on a back street two blocks from the beach at Waikiki, where middle America stays and dreams. Like the Canterbury pilgrims, every guest in this eighty-room hotel has come in search of something - sun, love, happiness, unnamable longing - and everyone has a story. Honeymooners, vacationers, wanderers, mythomaniacs, soldiers, and families all land at the Hotel Honolulu. But the hotel is as suited to being a crime scene as a love nest. Fortunately, our keen-eyed narrator, a writer down on his luck, is there to relate all the comings and goings. He's lost money, friends, house, and family, and he has no experience running a hotel. But all that doesn't stop Buddy, the boozy owner of the place - the last of a dying breed - from signing him on as manager. It isn't long before the hotel expands to encompass the narrator's whole universe. His original plan of escape from a life of the mind becomes something altogether different: a way to return to the world he left, the world of imagined life. No one but Paul Theroux could write this romp of a book, with its acutely drawn characters and canny insights into a place that is often viewed as a simple island paradise. In this unforgettable novel, Theroux shows us a funny, languid floating world, island style. This is the essence of Hawaii as it has never been depicted, and it is also the heart of America. Theroux Paul


Paul Edward Theroux (born April 10, 1941) is an American travel writer and novelist, whose best known work of travel writing is perhaps The Great Railway Bazaar (1975). He has published numerous works of fiction, some of which were made into feature films. He was awarded the 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel The Mosquito Coast. He is the father of British authors and documentary makers Louis Theroux and Marcel Theroux, the brother of authors Alexander Theroux and Peter Theroux, and uncle to the American actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux.






Hasek, Jaroslav. The Good Soldier Schweik. Garden City. 1930. Doubleday Doran. Illustrated by Joseph Lada. Translated from the Czech by Paul Selver. 448 pages. hardcover.



good soldier schweik doubleday doran 1930FROM THE PUBLISHER -


Poor Schweik. How simple-minded he is. Possibly even a lunatic. For how else could.he fail to recognize the matchless wisdom of his sergeant, his lieutenant, his colonel, and even his king, who all agree it is his noble duty to serve as a solid target for an enemy bullet. Can the author be so bold as to suggest that this miserable nobody, this disgraceful malingerer, this grain of sand in the great military machine, is the true hero of our times?. . . In all of the literature of war there is no more deadly weapon than Schweik’s blank gaze as he listens to a vital order, then marches resolutely away in the wrong direction. For in Schweik’s vision of the world -a world in which it is good to live and bad to die- lies a force that can topple empires and reduce the inspiring spectacle of war to bloody absurdity. The brilliant satire of this masterpiece does more than delight the reader; it casts the healing light of sanity upon the festering wounds of this war-torn century. ‘The reader is reminded of Swift, Gogol, Dickens. . . . Hasek makes our present-day beatniks, bohemians, and would-be satirists seem very small beer by comparison.’ -LONDON TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT.  (original title: Osudy Dobreho Vojaka Svejka Za Svetove Valky).  




Other editions:



0140182748The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War by Jaroslav Hasek. New York. 1974. Penguin Books. 752 pages. paperback. 0140182748. Cover illustration by Josef Lada. Original Illustrations by Josef Lada. Translated from the Czech & With An Introduction by Cecil Parrott.






sc good soldier schweik ct176Hasek, Jaroslav. The Good Soldier Schweik. New York. 1963. Signet/New American Library. Translated From The Czech By Paul Selver. Illustrations By Josef Lada. Foreword By Leslie A. Fiedler. 429 pages. paperback. CT176. Cover: James Hill.










0690001231.jpg  penguin good soldier schweik 1946  0434313750  9780140449914




Hasek JaroslavJaroslav Hašek (April 30, 1883 – January 3, 1923) was a Czech humorist, satirist, writer and anarchist best known for his novel The Good Soldier Švejk, an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier in World War I and a satire on the ineptitude of authority figures, which has been translated into sixty languages. He also wrote some 1,500 short stories. He was a journalist, bohemian, and practical joker. Hašek was born in Prague, Bohemia (then within Austria-Hungary, now part of the Czech Republic), the son of high-school math teacher Josef Hašek and his wife Katerina. Poverty forced the family, with three children - another son Bohuslav, three years Hašek's younger, and an orphan cousin Maria - to move often, more than fifteen times during his infancy. He never knew a real home, and this rootlessness clearly influenced his life of wanderlust. When he was thirteen, Hašek's father died from excessive alcohol intake, and his mother was unable to raise him firmly. The teenage boy dropped out of high school at the age of 15 to become a druggist, but eventually graduated from business school. He worked briefly as a bank clerk in 1903, before embarking a career as a freelance writer and journalist. At the end of 1910/early 1911 he was also a dog salesman (a profession he was to attribute to his hero Švejk and from which some of the improbable anecdotes told by Švejk are drawn). In 1906 he joined the anarchist movement, having taken part in the 1897 anti-German riots in Prague as a schoolboy. He gave regular lectures to groups of proletarian workers and, in 1907, became the editor of the anarchist journal Komuna. As an anarchist in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his movements were closely monitored by the police and he was arrested and imprisoned on a regular basis; his offenses include numerous cases of vandalism and at least one case of assaulting a police officer, for which he spent a month in prison. He satirized the lengths to which the Austro-Hungarian police would go to entrap suspected political subversives in the opening chapters of The Good Soldier Švejk. Hašek met Jarmila Mayerová in 1907, and fell in love with her. However, due to his bohemian lifestyle, her parents found him an unsuitable match for their daughter. In response to this, Hašek attempted to back away from his radical politics and get a settled job as a writer. When he was arrested for desecrating a flag in Prague, Mayerová's parents took her into the country, in hope that this would end their relationship. This move was unsuccessful in that it failed to end the affair, but it did result in Hašek renewing his focus on writing. In 1909 he had sixty-four short stories published, over twice as many as in any previous year, and he was also named as the editor of the journal The Animal World. This job did not last long, however, as he was soon dismissed for publishing articles about imaginary animals which he had dreamed up (though this furnished further material for Švejk). On May 23 1910, he married Jarmila Mayerová. The marriage proved an unhappy one and lasted little more than a year. Mayerová went back to live with her parents in 1911 after he was caught trying to fake his own death. At the outbreak of World War I, Hašek lived periodically with cartoonist Josef Lada, who later illustrated the Good Soldier Švejk. Eventually he was drafted and joined the army; some of the characters in Švejk are based on people he met during the war. He did not spend long fighting in the front line, being captured by the Russians on September 24 1915. At the camp in Totskoye he contracted typhus but later on had a more comfortable existence. In June 1916 he was recruited as a volunteer to join the Czechoslovak Brigade, a unit of mainly Czech volunteers that were fighting the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This unit was later to become known as the Czechoslovak Legions. There he acted respectively as a clerk, journalist, soldier and recruitment agent until February 1918. In March 1918 the Czechoslovak Legions embarked on a journey to join the Western Front via Vladivostok. Hašek disagreed with this move and opted to leave the legion in favour of Czech and Russian revolutionaries. From October 1918 he joined the Red Army, mainly working as a recruiter and propaganda writer. In 1920 he remarried (although still married to Jarmila). He eventually returned to Prague in December 1920. However, in some circles he was not a popular figure, being branded a traitor and a bigamist, and struggled to find a publisher for his works. Before the war, in 1912, he had published the book The Good Soldier Švejk and other strange stories (Dobrý voják Švejk a jiné podivné historky) where the figure of Švejk appeared for the first time; but it was only after the war in his famous novel that Švejk became a sancta simplicitas, a cheerful idiot who joked about the war as if it were a tavern brawl. By this time, Hašek had become gravely ill and dangerously overweight. He no longer wrote, but dictated the chapters of Švejk from his bedroom in the village of Lipnice, where he died in on January 3 1923 of heart failure.





Angier, Carole. Speak, Silence: In Search of W. G. Sebald. London. 2021. Bloomsbury Circus. 9781526634795. 619 pages. hardcover. Cover design by David Mann.  


9781526634795FROM THE PUBLISHER -


The long-awaited first biography of W. G. Sebald. W. G. Sebald was one of the most extraordinary and influential writers of the twentieth century. Through books including The Emigrants, Austerlitz and The Rings of Saturn, he pursued an original literary vision that combined fiction, history, autobiography and photography and addressed some of the most profound themes of contemporary literature: the burden of the Holocaust, memory, loss and exile. The first biography to explore his life and work, Speak, Silence pursues the true Sebald through the memories of those who knew him and through the work he left behind. This quest takes Carole Angier from Sebald's birth as a second-generation German at the end of the Second World War, through his rejection of the poisoned inheritance of the Third Reich, to his emigration to England, exploring the choice of isolation and exile that drove his work. It digs deep into a creative mind on the edge, finding profound empathy and paradoxical ruthlessness, saving humour, and an elusive mix of fact and fiction in his life as well as work. The result is a unique, ferociously original portrait.Angier Carole



Carole Angier is the author of Jean Rhys: Life & Work (shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize) and The Double Bond: A Life of Primo Levi. She was educated at the universities of McGill, Oxford and Cambridge. She taught academic and life writing for many years and has edited several books of refugee writing. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.





Hurston, Zora Neale. You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays. New York. 2022. Amistad. 9780063043855. Edited and with an introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Genevieve West. 451 pages. hardcover. Jacket art: Jessica Coppet. Jacket design: Stephen Brayda.  


9780063043855FROM THE PUBLISHER -


Spanning more than 35 years of work, the first comprehensive collection of essays, criticism, and articles by the legendary author of the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston, showcasing the evolution of her distinctive style as an archivist and author. You Don’t Know Us Negroes is the quintessential gathering of provocative essays from one of the world’s most celebrated writers, Zora Neale Hurston. Spanning more than three decades and penned during the backdrop of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance, Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the military, and school integration, Hurston’s writing articulates the beauty and authenticity of Black life as only she could. Collectively, these essays showcase the roles enslavement and Jim Crow have played in intensifying Black people’s inner lives and culture rather than destroying it. She argues that in the process of surviving, Black people re-interpreted every aspect of American culture—“modif[ying] the language, mode of food preparation, practice of medicine, and most certainly religion.” White supremacy prevents the world from seeing or completely recognizing Black people in their full humanity and Hurston made it her job to lift the veil and reveal the heart and soul of the race. These pages reflect Hurston as the controversial figure she was—someone who stated that feminism is a mirage and that the integration of schools did not necessarily improve the education of Black students. Also covered is the sensational trial of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy Black woman convicted in 1952 for killing her lover, a white doctor. Demonstrating the breadth of this revered and influential writer’s work, You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays is an invaluable chronicle of a writer’s development and a window into her world and mind.Hurston Zora Neale


Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled. Her many books include DUST TRACKS ON A ROAD; THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD; JONAH'S GOURD VINE; MOSES, MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN; MULES AND MEN; and EVERY TONGUE GOT TO CONFESS.





Harvey, David . The Limits to Capital. London/New York. 2018. Verso. 9781788731010. 478 pages. paperback. Design by Alex Stikeleather.


9781788731010FROM THE PUBLISHER -


A major rereading of Marx’s critique of political economy. Now a classic of Marxian economics, The Limits to Capital provides one of the best theoretical guides to the history and geography of capitalist development. In this edition, Harvey updates his seminal text with a substantial discussion of the turmoil in world markets today. Delving into concepts such as “fictitious capital” and “uneven geographical development,” Harvey takes the reader step by step through layers of crisis formation, beginning with Marx’s controversial argument concerning the falling rate of profit andHarvey David closing with a timely foray into the geopolitical and geographical implications of Marx’s work.


David Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography, CUNY Graduate Center; author of many books, including A Brief History of Neoliberalism (OUP) and The Condition of Postmodernity (Blackwell).





The River Between by James Ngugi. London. 1965. Heinemann. 175 pages. Jacket design by Brian Russell.


river betweenFROM THE PUBLISHER -


   When Waiyaki had been born again in the manner of his people, his father, Chege, told him the legend of the founding of the tribe and about the black messiah who would one day come to reclaim the land of Kenya for its people. Chege believed in the old ways, but he knew the value of the white man’s education and he sent Waiyaki to school, where he worked beside the children of Christian tribesmen from the other side of the valley. Gradually Waiyaki realized that his people could only be saved if the men from both sides of the river united to accept the best of the old and the new beliefs. Circumcision, of girls as well as boys, was an essential ritual for the purity of the tribe. The missionaries disapproved of the practice and when Muthoni, the daughter of a Christian leader, died after she had defied her father and taken part in the initiation rites, they brought the split between the people into the open by refusing to accept circumcised children at their school. Waiyaki found himself condemned both for his white man s education and for his faith in the old traditions. James Ngugi’s first novel, WEEP NOT, CHILD, told of the early days of the Emergency as seen by a small child. The River Between takes us back to the problems at the root of the uprising. It represents a considerable advance in Ngugi’s development as a writer, and in 1962 it was given the highest award offered by the East African Literature Bureau’s Committee for Creative Writing.


Ngugi wa ThiongoNgugi wa Thiong'o (James Ngugi, born January 5, 1938) is a Kenyan author, formerly working in English and now working in Gikuyu. His work includes novels, plays, short stories, and essays, ranging from literary and social criticism to children's literature. He is the founder and editor of the Gikuyu-language journal, Mutiiri. In 1977, Ngugi embarked upon a novel form of theater in his native Kenya which sought to liberate the theatrical process from what he held to be ‘the general bourgeois education system’, by encouraging spontaneity and audience participation in the performances. Ngugi's project sought to ‘demystify’ the theatrical process, and to avoid the ‘process of alienation [which] produces a gallery of active stars and an undifferentiated mass of grateful admirers’ which, according to Ngugi, encourages passivity in ‘ordinary people’. Although Ngaahika Ndeenda was a commercial success, it was shut down by the authoritarian Kenyan regime six weeks after its opening. Ngugi was subsequently imprisoned for over a year. Adopted as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, the artist was released from prison, and fled Kenya. In the United States, he taught at Yale University for some years, and has since also taught at New York University, with a dual professorship in Comparative Literature and Performance Studies, and the University of California, Irvine. Ngugi has frequently been regarded as a likely candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His son is the author Mukoma wa Ngugi. Ngugi was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru in Kiambu district, Kenya, of Kikuyu descent, and baptised James Ngugi. His family was caught up in the Mau Mau War; his half brother Mwangi was actively involved in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, and his mother was tortured at Kamriithu homeguard post. He received a B.A. in English from Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda, in 1963; during his education, a play of his, THE BLACK HERMIT, was produced in Kampala in 1962. He published his first novel, WEEP NOT, CHILD, in 1964, which he wrote while attending the University of Leeds in England. It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African. His second novel, THE RIVER BETWEEN (1965), has as its background the Mau Mau rebellion, and described an unhappy romance between Christians and non-Christians. THE RIVER BETWEEN is currently on Kenya's national secondary school syllabus. His novel A Grain of Wheat (1967) marked his embrace of Fanonist Marxism. He subsequently renounced English, Christianity, and the name James Ngugi as colonialist; he changed his name back to Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and began to write in his native Gikuyu and Swahili. The uncensored political message of his 1977 play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I WILL MARRY WHEN I WANT) provoked then Vice President Daniel arap Moi to order his arrest. While detained in the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, he wrote the first modern novel in Gikuyu, Caitaani mutharaba-Ini (DEVIL ON THE CROSS), on prison-issued toilet paper. After his release, he was not reinstated to his job as professor at Nairobi University, and his family was harassed. Due to his writing about the injustices of the dictatorial government at the time, Ngugi and his family were forced to live in exile. Only after Arap Moi was voted out of office, 22 years later, was it safe for them to return. His later works include Detained, his prison diary (1981), DECOLONISING THE MIND: THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE IN AFRICAN LITERATURE (1986), an essay arguing for African writers' expression in their native languages, rather than European languages, in order to renounce lingering colonial ties and to build an authentic African literature, and MATIGARI (1987), one of his most famous works, a satire based on a Gikuyu folktale. In 1992 he became a professor of Comparative Literature and Performance Studies at New York University, where he held the Erich Maria Remarque Chair. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature as well as the Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine. On August 8, 2004, Ngugi returned to Kenya as part of a month-long tour of East Africa. On August 11, robbers broke into his apartment: they assaulted both the Professor and his wife, and stole money and a computer. Since then, Ngugi has returned to America, and in the summer 2006 the American publishing firm Random House published his first new novel in nearly two decades, WIZARD OF THE CROW, translated to English from Gikuyu by the author. On November 10, 2006, while in San Francisco at Hotel Vitale at the Embarcadero, Ngugi was harassed and ordered to leave the hotel by an employee. The event led to a public outcry and angered the Kenyan community in the San Francisco Bay area and abroad, prompting an apology by the hotel.






Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes. New York. 2003. Ecco Press. Translated From The Spanish By Edith Grossman. Introduction By Harold Bloom. Jacket design & photograph by David High & Ralph Del Pozzo, High Design, NYC. 0060188707. November 2003.




   Edith Grossman’s definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece. Widely regarded as the world’s first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. Unless you read Spanish, you’ve never read DON QUIXOTE. ‘Though there have been many valuable English translations of Don Quixote, I would commend Edith Grossman’s version for the extraordinarily high quality of her prose. The Knight and Sancho are so eloquently rendered by Grossman that the vitality of their characterization is more clearly conveyed than ever before. There is also an astonishing contextualization of Don Quixote and Sancho in Grossman’s translation that I believe has not been achieved before. The spiritual atmosphere of a Spain already in steep decline can be felt throughout, thanks to her heightened quality of diction. Grossman might be called the Glenn Gould of translators, because she, too, articulates every note. Reading her amazing mode of finding equivalents in English for Cervantes’s darkening vision is an entrance into a further understanding of why this great book contains within itself all the novels that haveCervantes Miguel de followed in its sublime wake. ’ - From the Introduction by Harold Bloom.


Miguel de Cervantes was born on September 29, 1547, in Alcala de Henares, Spain. At twenty-three he enlisted in the Spanish militia and in 1571 fought against the Turks in the battle of Lepanto, where a gunshot wound permanently crippled his left hand. He spent four more years at sea and then another five as a slave after being captured by Barbary pirates. Ransomed by his family, he returned to Madrid but his disability hampered him; it was in debtor’s prison that he began to write DON QUIXOTE. Cervantes wrote many other works, including poems and plays, but he remains best known as the author of DON QUIXOTE. He died on April 23, 1616.


Grossman EdithEdith Grossman is the acclaimed translator of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, Mayra Montero, and many other distinguished Spanish-language writers. Her translation of DON QUIXOTE is widely considered a masterpiece. The recipient of numerous prizes for her work, she was awarded the Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation by PEN in 2006, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008. Currently a Guggenheim Fellow, she lives in New York City.








The Hills Were Joyful Together by Roger Mais. London. 1953. Jonathan Cape. 288 pages. Jacket design from a painting by the author. The Author: from a Self-Portrait in Oils.


Roger Mais writes of poor people in Jamaica. His tales are moving and unforgettable. 


hills were joyful together jonathan cape 1953FROM THE PUBLISHER -


   The author is a Jamaican and his novel is set in Jamaica. Its characters, who belong to the submerged nine-tenths of the population, are strangers to writers of books for tourists and to the tourists themselves, but not to the police nor to politicians at election times. Roger Mais, having lived and worked among them for most of his 47 years, knows them intimately; and his story, concerned with a small community of the industrious, the shiftless, the pious and the lawless, is as close to reality as art can depict it. Naive and savage, generous and cunning, sensitive and gross, their violence repels while their simple tenderness attracts. Their high spirits, their humour, their love of singing and dancing, are here contrasted with their primitive barbarity in scenes which evoke terror and pity, tears and laughter. In a style that soars into lyrical beauty and plumbs the depths of squalid tragedy, this is a novel of great power by a writer whose sincerity is not to be denied.



Mais RogerROGER MAIS was born at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1905. One of his great-grandfathers was sentenced to the stocks for harbouring runaway slaves. His education was sketchy and unorthodox, but liberal. He is unmarried, and is a painter, as well as a writer, and THE HILLS WERE JOYFUL TOGETHER is his first novel. His recreations are reading, the theatre and music. He says that his most interesting experience was going to jail for six months under Defence Regulations, for writing an article which was considered adverse to the War Effort, but was really only asking for a more liberal constitution (and got it). He wrote this first novel, he says, very quickly, and because he had to; ‘it had been gestating for years.'






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