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The Saint Of Incipient Insanities by Elif Shafak. New York. 2004. Farrar Straus Giroux. 0374253579.  353 pages. hardcover. Cover design by Charlotte Strick. 

 

0374253579FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

THE SAINT OF INCIPIENT INSANITIES is the comic and heartbreaking story of a group of twenty-something friends, and their never-ending quest for fulfillment. Omer, Abed and Piyu are roommates, foreigners all recently arrived in the United States. Omer, from Istanbul, is a Ph.D. student in political science who adapts quickly to his new home, and falls in love with the bisexual, suicidal, intellectual chocolate maker Gail. Gail is American yet feels utterly displaced in her homeland and moves from one obsession to another in an effort to find solid ground. Abed pursues a degree in biotechnology, worries about Omer’s unruly ways, his mother’s unexpected visit, and stereotypes of Arabs in America; he struggles to maintain a connection with his girlfriend back home in Morocco. Piyu is a Spaniard, who is studying to be a dentist in spite of his fear of sharp objects, and is baffled by the many relatives of his Mexican-American girlfriend, Algre, and in many ways by Algre herself. Keenly insightful and sharply humorous, THE SAINT OF INCIPIENT INSANITIES is a vibrant exploration of love, friendship, culture, nationality, exile and belonging.

 

 

Shafak ElifElif Safak (or Shafak, born 25 October 1971, Strasbourg, France) is an outspoken Turkish author, columnist, speaker and academic. ‘As Turkey's bestselling female writer, Shafak is a brave champion of cosmopolitanism, a sophisticated feminist, and an ambitious novelist who infuses her magical-realist fiction with big, important ideas...’.Critics have named her as ‘one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary Turkish and world literature’. Her books have been published in more than 40 countries, and she was awarded the honorary distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2010. Shafak has published thirteen books, nine of which are novels. She writes fiction in both Turkish and English. Shafak blends Western and Eastern traditions of storytelling, bringing out the myriad stories of women, minorities, immigrants, subcultures, youth and global souls. Her writing draws on diverse cultures and literary traditions, reflecting a deep interest in history, philosophy, Sufism, oral culture, and cultural politics. Shafak also has a keen eye for black humour, with ‘a particular genius for depicting backstreet Istanbul.’

 

 


 

 

 

Darkness by Bharati Mukherjee. New York. 1985.  Penguin Books. 0140079300. Paperback Original.  208 pages. 

 

0140079300FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

At once sly and tragic, these twelve extraordinary stories chart the complex and shifting lives of the new immigrants to America - some helpless, some hopeless, others ambitious, beautiful, all striving for something they can't quite name, something more.... 'Mukherjee writes with beautiful precision...neaty needlepointing a malevolent world.' THE VILLAGE VOICE An early collection of acclaimed short stories by the award-winning author of The Middleman and Other Stories (which won the National Book Critics Award for Fiction). Mukherjee brilliantly illuminates the complex and shifting lives of America's new immigrants in these 12 stories.

 

 

Mukherjee BharatiBharati Mukherjee (July 27, 1940 – January 28, 2017) was an American writer and professor emerita in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley. Of Bengali origin, Mukherjee was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. She later travelled with her parents to Europe after Independence, only returning to Calcutta in the early 1950s. There she attended the Loreto School. She received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1959 as a student of Loreto College, and subsequently earned her M.A. from the University of Baroda in 1961. She next travelled to the United States to study at the University of Iowa. She received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1963 and her Ph.D. in 1969 from the department of Comparative Literature. After more than a decade living in Montreal and Toronto in Canada, Mukherjee and her husband, Clark Blaise returned to the United States. She wrote of the decision in "An Invisible Woman," published in a 1981 issue of Saturday Night. Mukherjee and Blaise co-authored Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977). They also wrote the 1987 work, The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India Tragedy (Air India Flight 182). In addition to writing numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, Mukherjee taught at McGill University, Skidmore College, Queens College, and City University of New York before joining Berkeley.Bharati Mukherjee (July 27, 1940 – January 28, 2017) was an American writer and professor emerita in the department of English at the University of California, Berkeley. Of Bengali origin, Mukherjee was born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. She later travelled with her parents to Europe after Independence, only returning to Calcutta in the early 1950s. There she attended the Loreto School. She received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta in 1959 as a student of Loreto College, and subsequently earned her M.A. from the University of Baroda in 1961. She next travelled to the United States to study at the University of Iowa. She received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1963 and her Ph.D. in 1969 from the department of Comparative Literature. After more than a decade living in Montreal and Toronto in Canada, Mukherjee and her husband, Clark Blaise returned to the United States. She wrote of the decision in "An Invisible Woman," published in a 1981 issue of Saturday Night. Mukherjee and Blaise co-authored Days and Nights in Calcutta (1977). They also wrote the 1987 work, The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India Tragedy (Air India Flight 182). In addition to writing numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, Mukherjee taught at McGill University, Skidmore College, Queens College, and City University of New York before joining Berkeley. Mukherjee has gone on record that she considers herself an American writer, and not an Indian expatriate writer. In a 1989 interview with Ameena Meer, Mukherjee said: "I totally consider myself an American writer, and that has been my big battle: to get to realize that my roots as a writer are no longer, if they ever were, among Indian writers, but that I am writing about the territory about the feelings, of a new kind of pioneer here in America. I’m the first among Asian immigrants to be making this distinction between immigrant writing and expatriate writing. Most Indian writers prior to this, have still thought of themselves as Indians, and their literary inspiration, has come from India. India has been the source, and home. Whereas I’m saying, those are wonderful roots, but now my roots are here and my emotions are here in North America."

 


 

 

 

Half-Truths & One-And-A-Half Truths by Karl Kraus. Montreal. 1976. Engendra Press. hardcover. 128 pages. Design by Anthony Crouch. Edited and translated from the German by Harry Zohn. 0919830005.

 

0919830005FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   ‘This, and only this, is the substance of our civilization: the speed with which stupidity sucks us into its vortex.’ An intrepid guardian of the truth in an age drowning in lies, Karl Kraus (1874-1936), the great Viennese editor, moralist, polemicist and pacifist - and perhaps the foremost aphorist of modern times - unrelentingly assailed those powers whom he regarded as the mainspring of a Europe in an advanced state of putrefaction. Journalists, nationalists, warmongers, ‘psychoanais’ – all who corrupted the quality of life through their defilement of language found themselves on the receiving end of satiric barbs launched by the outraged humanitarian, who (true satirist that he was) measured everything he witnessed against unbending standards. ‘Hate must make a person productive; otherwise one might as well love.’ Karl Kraus was a passionate lover as well as a productive hater; HALF-TRUTHS & ONE-AND-A-HALF TRUTHS strikes a balance between aphoristic sayings born of contempt or indignation and those having their source in more positive – though no less intense – feelings and concerns. The process of artistic creation, the role of the satirist, the significance of language (‘the divining rod which finds sources of thought’) and the mysteries inherent in the relationship between the sexes are some of the themes on which Kraus expressed himself aphoristically; Professor Zohn’s selection and translation have resulted in one of the more quotable books to have appeared in the English language in recent years

 

 

Kraus KarlKARL KRAUS (1874-1936) was a major influence on the intellectual life of Vienna, whose seminal thinkers and artists have profoundly changed twentieth-century thought. On some of them Kraus’s influence was fundamental. Indeed, as the critic George Steiner recently noted, ‘without Kraus, Wittgenstein’s philosophy might well have been nonexistent.’ Kraus is difficult to classify in any category; he stands unique in world literature. Many critics believe him to be the greatest satirist since Swift; he was also one of the most brilliant aphorists. As a critic of society, in violent opposition to the all-pervading corruption of the spirit in public life, he was without equal. The four contributors to In These Great Times are natives of Vienna. 

 

Harry Zohn is a native of Vienna and currently chairman of the department of Germanic and Slavic languages at Brandeis University, where he has taught since 1951. The many books which he has written or edited include a study of Karl Kraus (1971), and the Austrian reader Der farbenvolle Untergang. Among the works which Professor Zohn has translated may be mentioned The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Sigmund Freud’s Delusion and Dream, Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations, Marianne Weber’s Max Weber: A Biography, and selections from the German satirist Kurt Tucholsky. Professor Zohn holds the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit awarded by the Federal Republic of Germany, and is a member of the Austrian P.E.N. Club.


 

 

 

Viga-Glums Saga with Tales of Ogmund Bash and Thorvald Chatterbox by John McKinnell (translator). Edinburgh. 1987. Canongate Books/UNESCO. 160 pages. paperback. 0862410843. Unesco collection of representative works. 

 

 

0862410843FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Set amid the power struggles of 10th-century Iceland, VIGA-GLUMS SAGA is a tale of cunning, courage, and unscrupulous ambition. Glum, a tough and self-assertive realist, vanquishes his oppressors to regain his ancestral home, and enjoys wealth and power for forty years. Yet in old age and defeat he shows a steadfast courage more admirable than the successful aggression of his youth, and his verses reveal a dignity and pathos in direct contrast to the sly cunning of his triumphant rivals. A distinguished addition to The New Saga Library (General Editor Hermann Pálsson), this translation is based on the version in the Mödruvallabók codex of the mid-14th century.

 

 

John McKinnell is a lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Durham. His published work includes articles on Old English poetry, Chaucer, and medieval drama, as well as Icelandic literature and manuscripts.

 


 

 

 

The Empire's Old Clothes by Ariel Dorfman. New York. 1983. Pantheon Books. Translations From The Spanish By Clark Hansen. 225 pages. Cover: Jeffrey J. Smith. 0394527232. May 1983.

 

 

The intersection of popular culture and politics provides fertile ground for Ariel Dorfman's exploration of some of our cultural icons... And why does the Lone Ranger wear that mask anyway?

 

 

 

0394527232FROM THE PUBLISHER -

Nothing could seem more innocent than Babar the Elephant, the Lone Ranger, Donald Duck, or the Reader's Digest. Yet, in this daring book, Ariel Dorfman explores the hidden political and social messages behind the smiling faces that inhabit these familiar books, comics, and magazines. In so doing, he provides a stunning map to the secret world inside the most successful cultural symbols of our time. Dorfman first examines the meteoric rise of Babar the Elephant from orphan to king of the jungle and the way stories like his teach the young a rosy version of underdevelopment and colonialism. He then turns to purely American comic-book figures and shows how Donald Duck, the Lone Ranger, Superman, and other heroes offer a set of simple, disarming answers to the deepest dilemmas of our time without ever calling an established value into question. Along the way, with wit and a wily style, he raises a series of always provocative questions: Why does the Lone Ranger really have that mask? Why do Disney comics teem with uncles and nephews but no mothers and fathers? How could a comic book help overthrow a government? How does an adult's' magazine like the Reader's Digest continually transform us into children? Here is a book that will appeal to those who want to understand the connection between politics and culture, between Ronald Reagan and Mickey Mouse, between economic theories of development and children's literature. It is for those who are fascinated by the mass media, for parents and teachers who are worried about what their children are watching and reading, for anyone who wants to understand the way ideas are produced and manipulated in the twentieth century.

 

 

Dorfman ArielBorn in 1942, Ariel Dorfman was a professor of journalism and literature in Chile during the Allende period, where he also produced popular television shows, new comic books, a magazine for adolescents, his own novels, essays, and poetry, and co-authored the popular HOW TO READ DONALD DUCK, which has now appeared in thirteen languages around the world. Since the 1973 coup against Allende, he has been in exile and now lives in the Washington, D. C. area. He contributes regularly to the leading newspapers of Latin America and Europe as well as to the Village Voice and other publications here. Pantheon is also publishing Widows, his novel about disappeared' people.

 

 

 


 

 

 

I Want It Now by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1969. Harcourt Brace & World. hardcover. 255 pages. 

 

 

i want it nowFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Ronnie Appleyard’s stock-in-trade as a successful and ambitious TV interviewer is sincerity, a quality he’s an expert on though values little, Yet a stab at candour seems in order when confronted by the altogether unnerving strangeness of Simon Quick, the girl he discovers at a party - barefoot, boyise and heiress to uncountable millions. As he accompanies her through the Hades of lavish, under-catered parties and submits to the dispiriting global entertainments of the extremely rich and their calculated patronage, Ronnie is for once uncertain of his motives, Surely it must be Simon’s money he’s after? What is there about this wild, erratic girl but her money that could possibly puncture his resilient cynicism? I WANT IT NOW is Kingsley Amis’s funniest book since LUCKY JIM. At its centre is a relationship which, in its struggle to overcome the self-consciousness and the clichés of the so-called ‘permissive’ society, illuminates with devastating accuracy and wit the precarious role of honesty in a success-addicted age.

 

 

Amis KingsleyKingsley Amis was born in South London in 1922 and was educated at the City of London School and at St John’s College, Oxford, of which he is an Honorary Fellow. Between 1949 and 1963 he taught at the University College of Swansea, Princeton University and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He started his career as a poet and has continued to write in that medium ever since. His novels include LUCKY JIM (1954). TAKE A GIRL LIKE YOU (1960), THE ANTI-DEATH LEAGUE (1966), ENDING UP (1974), THE ALTERATION (1976), JAKE’S THING (1978) and STANLEY AND THE WOMEN (1984). His novel, THE OLD DEVILS, won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1986. Among his other publications are NEW MAPS OF HELL, a survey of science fiction (1960), RUDYARD KIPLING AND HIS WORLD (1975) and THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION (1981). He published his COLLECTED POEMS in 1979, and has also edited THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF LIGHT VERSE and THE FABER POPULAR RECITER. Kingsley Amis was awarded the CBE in 1981.

 


 

 

 

0802018149Hrolf Gautreksson: A Viking Romance by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards (translators). Toronto and Buffalo. 1972. University of Toronto Press. 149 pages.  hardcover. The cover drawing is adapted from a carving on a medieval cabinet door in the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik.  Translated from the Icelandic by Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards.  0802018149 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

  HROLF GAUTREKSSON, appearing here for the first time in an English translation, is a fourteenth-century Icelandic ‘novel’ in which features of the sagas of earlier centuries are seen in the process of blending with the conventions and characteristics of the European romance. It is interesting as an example of a hybrid literary genre, and tells of the derring-do and successes of a young Viking hero who becomes a king and marries a rather unusual queen. The story takes the reader from Scandinavia to Russia to England and Ireland, through a world of primitive Christianity in which people who are still unmistakably Vikings live in a strangely chivalrous society of jousts, feasts, and courtly love. The underlying moral theme is about moderation and excess, but this is also an entertaining adventure story. The translation is preceded by an introduction by Professors Pálsson and Edwards which discusses the work as a piece of fiction and as an example of the literary tradition of which it is a part.

Palsson HermannHERMANN PALSSON studied Icelandic at the University of Iceland, and Celtic at University College, Dublin. He was a Visiting Professor at University of Toronto in 1967-1968 and was also Reader in Icelandic at the University of Edinburgh, where he taught since 1950.

PAUL EDWARDS studied English at Durham, and Celtic and Icelandic at Cambridge. For ten years he taught in Africa, was also a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Edinburgh, having taught there since 1963.

 


 

 

 

Ulysses by James Joyce. Paris. 1925. Shakespeare & Company. 7th Printing. 736 pages. hardcover.

 

A day in the life of Leopold Bloom and an Odyssey for our times. One of the major works of 20th century literature.

 

ulysses 7th printingFROM THE PUBLISHER -    

 

ULYSSES is a novel by James Joyce, first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on February 2, 1922, in Paris. It is considered one of the most important works of Modernist literature. ULYSSES chronicles the passage through Dublin by its main character, Leopold Bloom, during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. The title alludes to the hero of Homer’s Odyssey, and there are many parallels, both implicit and explicit, between the two works June 16 is now celebrated by Joyce’s fans worldwide as Bloomsday. ULYSSES totals 250,000 words from a vocabulary of 30,000 words, with most editions containing between 644 and 1000 pages. Divided into 18 ‘episodes’, as they are referred to in most scholarly circles, the book has been the subject of much controversy and scrutiny since its publication, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual ‘Joyce Wars’. ULYSSES’s groundbreaking stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring and highly experimental prose - full of puns, parodies, allusions - as well as for its rich characterizations and broad humour, has made the book perhaps the most highly regarded work in Modernist writing.

 

Joyce JamesJames Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family that experienced increasing financial difficulties during his childhood. After attending Clongowes Wood College and Belevedere College (both Jesuit institutions) in Dublin, he entered the Royal University, where he studied languages and philosophy. Upon his graduation, in 1902, Joyce left Ireland for France but returned the following year because his mother was dying. In 1904 he met Nora Barnacle (they fell in love on June 16, ‘Bloomsday’), and in October of that year they went together to Europe, settling in Trieste. In 1909 and again in 1912 Joyce made unsuccessful attempts to publish Dubliners, a collection of fifteen stories that he intended to be ‘a chapter of the moral history of my country focused on Dublin, ‘the centre of paralysis.’ In 1914 Dubliners finally appeared, followed by the semiautobiographical novel A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, a reworking of an earlier manuscript, STEPHEN HERO. During the First World War Joyce and Nora lived in Zurich; in 1920 they moved to Paris, where Ulysses was published in 1922. FINNEGANS WAKE, Joyce’s most radical and complex work, began appearing in installments in 1928 and was published in its entirety in 1939. After the German occupation of Paris, Joyce and Nora (who were married in 1931) moved to Zurich, where he died in January. His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, ‘For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.’

 


 

 

 

Brown's Requiem by James Ellroy. New York. 1981. Avon Books. 256 pages. Cover art by Crane. 0380787415.

 

0380787415FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Fritz Brown's L. A. --and his life--are masses of contradictions, like stirring chorales sung for the dead. A less-than-spotless former cop with a drinking problem--a private eye-cum-repo man with a taste for great music--he has been known to wallow in the grime beneath the Hollywood glitter. But Fritz Brown's life is about to change, thanks to the appearance of a racist psycho who flashes too much cash for a golf caddie and who walked away clean from a multiple murder rap. Reopening this cas could be Fritz's redemption; his welcome back to a moral world and his path to a pure and perfect love. But to get there, he must make it through a grim, lightless place where evil has no national borders; where lies beget lies and death begets death; where there's little tolerance for Bach or Beethoven and deadly arson is a lesser mortal sin; and where a P. I. 's unhealthy interest in the past can turn beautiful music into funeral dirge.

 

 

Ellroy JamesJames Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international best sellers. His novel American Tabloid was Time magazine’s Best Book (fiction) of 1995; his memoir, My Dark Places, was a Time Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book for 1996. His novel The Cold Six Thousand was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book for 2001. Ellroy lives in Los Angeles.

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Roman Way by Edith Hamilton. New York. 1932. Norton. 281 pages.

 

roman way no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   In this informal history of Roman civilization, Edith Hamilton vividly depicts the Roman life and spirit as they are revealed in the greatest writers of the time. Among these literary guides are Cicero, who left an incomparable collection of letters; Catullus, the quintessential poet of love; Horace, the chronicler of a cruel and materialistic Rome; and the Romantics Virgil, Livy, and Seneca. The story concludes with the stark contrast between high-minded Stoicism and the collapse of values witnessed by Tacitus and Juvenal. 

Hamilton Edith

 

 

Edith Hamilton won the National Achievement Award in 1950, received honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from Yale University, the University of Rochester, and the University of Pennsylvania, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1957 she was many an honorary citizen of Athens and was decorated with the Golden Cross of the Order of Benefaction by King Paul of Greece.

 

 


 

 

 


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