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(10/27/2014) The Return Of William Shakespeare by Hugh Kingsmill. London. 1929. Duckworth & Company. hardcover. 254 pages. keywords: Literature England Shakespeare.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This is the fantastic tale of an insignificant scientist, Albert Henry Butt, who discovers a way to bring the dead back to life. He is able to bring back anyone who has ever lived, but only if he knows exactly when and where the person was born. The character, Melmouth, a Shakespeare fan, talks Butt into bringing the elusive Shakespeare back to life. So, Butt reanimates the Shakespeare living in 1607, when Melmouth believes Shakespeare was at his most influential. However, Shakespeare cannot cope with modern life and 1607 was a time when he was in a deep depression. He has an emotional breakdown. By the time Shakespeare recovers, the unavoidable physical decay of his body begins. Will the mystery of Shakespeare be uncovered?.

Hugh Kingsmill Lunn (21 November 1889 – 15 May 1949), who dropped his last name for professional purposes, was a versatile British writer and journalist. Writers Arnold Lunn and Brian Lunn were his brothers. Hugh Kingsmill Lunn was born in London and educated at Harrow School and the University of Oxford. After graduating he worked for a brief period for Frank Harris, who edited the publication Hearth and Home in 1911/2, alongside Enid Bagnold; Kingsmill later wrote a debunking biography of Harris, after the spell had worn off. He began fighting in the British Army in World War I in 1916, and was captured in France the next year. After the war, he began to write, initially both science fiction and crime fiction. In the 1930s he was a contributor to the English Review; later he wrote a good deal of non-fiction for this periodical's successor, the English Review Magazine. His large output includes criticism, essays and biographies, parodies and humour, as well as novels, and edited a number of anthologies. He is remembered for saying 'friends are God's apology for relations', with a notable flavour of Ambrose Bierce. The dictum was subsequently used by Richard Ingrams for the title of his memoir of Kingsmill's friendships with Hesketh Pearson and Malcolm Muggeridge, two intimate friends whom he influenced greatly.Muggeridge drew a darker attitude from Kingsmill's sardonic wit. Dawnist was Kingsmill's word for those infected with unrealistic or utopian idealism — the enemy as far as he was concerned. Kingmill’s works include: The Will To Love (1919) novel, The Dawn's Delay (1924) stories, Blondel (1927), Matthew Arnold (1928) biography, After Puritanism, 1850-1900 (1929), An Anthology Of Invective And Abuse (1929), The Return of William Shakespeare (1929) novel, Behind Both Lines (1930) autobiographical, More Invective (1930) anthology, The Worst of Love (1931) anthology, After Puritanism (1931), Frank Harris (1932) biography, The Table Of Truth (1933), Samuel Johnson (1933) biography, The Sentimental Journey (1934) biography of Charles Dickens, The Casanova Fable: A Satirical Revaluation (1934) with William Gerhardi, What They Said At The Time (1935) anthology, Parents and Children (1936) anthology; Brave Old World (1936) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, A Pre-View Of Next Year's News (1937) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, Skye High: The Record Of A Tour Through Scotland In The Wake Of The Samuel Johnson And James Boswell.(1937) travel, with Hesketh Pearson, Made On Earth (1937) anthology on marriage, The English Genius: a survey of the English achievement and character (1938) editor, essays by W. R. Inge, Hilaire Belloc, Hesketh Pearson, William Gerhardi, E .S. P. Haynes, Douglas Woodruff, Charles Petrie, J. F. C. Fuller, Alfred Noyes, Rose Macaulay, Brian Lunn, Rebecca West, K. Hare, T. W. Earp, D. H. Lawrence (1938) biography, Next Year's News (1938) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, Courage (1939) anthology, Johnson Without Boswell: A Contemporary Portrait of Samuel Johnson (1940) editor, The Fall (1940), This Blessed Plot (1942) travel, with Hesketh Pearson, The Poisoned Crown (1944) essays on genealogies, Talking Of Dick Whittington (1947) travel, with Hesketh Pearson), The Progress Of A Biographer (1949), The High Hill of the Muses (1955) anthology, The Best of Hugh Kingsmill: Selections from his Writings (1970) edited by Michael Holroyd, Bernard Shaw, His Life and Personality.

 

 

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(10/28/2014) Every Day Drinking by Kingsley Amis. London. 1983. Hutchinson & Company. hardcover. 119 pages. Cover illustration by Merrily Harpur. Text illustrations by Merrily Harpur. keywords: Literature England Drink. 0091547105.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Apart from being one of Britain’s most distinguished living writers, Kingsley Amis is recognized as a considerable expert on the art and pleasure of drinking. His interest in the subject is not the limited one of the wine snob, devoted to the fine vintages of Burgundy and Bordeaux, but ranges over the whole field of everyday drinking, from British beer to the most exotic apentifs and liqueurs and from the distillation of single malt whisky and the mixing of the perfect martini to the effective handling of wine waiters and the nursing of a hangover. The pieces in this delightful and informative collection, in short, are concerned with the whole business of drink and drinking, from the manufacture and preparation of the alcoholic substances themselves to the pleasure - and occasional pain - of consuming them, all described with Kingsley Amis’s characteristic blend of knowledge and wit.

Kingsley 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.

 

 

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(10/29/2014) Two Murders In My Double Life by Josef Skvorecky. New York. 2001. Farrar Straus Giroux. hardcover. 175 pages. Jacket design by Lynn Buckley. His 1st Novel Written In English. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 0374280258.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In Josef Škvorecký’s first novel written in English, the narrator lives in two radically dissimilar worlds: the exile world of the post-Communist Czech Republic where old feuds, treacherous betrayals, and friendships persevere; and the comfortable, albeit bland world of middle-class Canada. Murder intrudes upon both world. One features a young female sleuth, a college beauty queen, jealousy in the world of academia, and a neat conclusion. The other is a tragedy caused by evil social forces and philosophies, in which a web of lies insidiously entangles Sidonia, the narrator’s wife. A brilliantly stylish tour de force in which the bright, sarcastic comedy of one tale sharply contrasts with the dark, elegiac bitterness of the other, TWO MURDERS IN MY DOUBLE LIFE confirms Škvorecký’s reputation as a versatile and engaging writer. Josef Škvorecký (September 27, 1924 – January 3, 2012) was a Czech-Canadian writer and publisher who spent much of his life in Canada.

JOSEF SKVORECKY was born in Bohemia, emigrated to Canada in 1968, and was for many years a professor of English at Erindale College, University of Toronto. He and his wife, the novelist Zdena Salivarova, ran a Czech-language publishing house, Sixty-Eight Publishers, in Toronto, and were long-time supporters of Czech dissident writers before the fall of communism in that country. Skvorecky’s novels include THE COWARDS, MISS SILVER’S PAST, THE BASS SAXOPHONE, THE ENGINEER OF HUMAN SOULS, and DVORAK IN LOVE. He was the winner of the 1980 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1984 Governor General’s Award for fiction in Canada. Škvorecký's fiction deals with several themes: the horrors of totalitarianism and repression, the expatriate experience, and the miracle of jazz.

 

 

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(10/30/2014) I Want It Now by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1969. Harcourt Brace & World. hardcover. 255 pages. keywords: Literature England.

FROM 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.

Kingsley 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.

 

 

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(10/31/2014) Fireworks by Angela Carter. London. 1974. Quartet Books. hardcover. 122 pages. Jacket design by The Green Bay Packers Art Co. keywords: Literature England Women. 0704320436.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Here is the ritualism of Tokyo where lovers ponder the intangible reflections of themselves, ‘reflections of nothing but appearances, in a city dedicated to seeming’, and ‘the velvet nights spaked with menace’ of a wasted London, poised on the brink of destruction. In these extraordinary tales Angela Carter pinpoints the symbolism of the city streets and weaves allegories around forests and jungles of strange and erotic landscapes of the imagination.

Angela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, picaresque and science fiction works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth, in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature. She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. They divorced after twelve years. In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in NOTHING SACRED (1982) that she ‘learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised.’ She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DOCTOR HOFFMAN (1972). She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son. As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in SHAKING A LEG. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen: The Company of Wolves (1984) and THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1987). She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens. However, only a synopsis survives. Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.

 

 

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(10/18/2014) My Enemy's Enemy by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1963. Harcourt Brace & World. hardcover. 224 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon Studios. keywords: Literature England. 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   There are surprises in this first collection of stories by one of the most prominent members of England’s new generation of writers. Satire is here, along with characteristically apt and original turns of phrase, but the tone is more sober than that in any of Kingsley Amis’s four novels, and we discover fresh aspects of a talent that until now has seemed predominantly comic. The closing phases of the war in Europe provide a background for two short stories and a novella about a Corps of Signals company in Belgium, which dramatize with acerb irony the dismay felt by adherents of the old order as a radically different England begins to emerge from the conflict. There are other ironies in three contrasting stories set in postwar England: sad and wry in an account of strife between a sluttish young woman and a detestable social worker; gentler in a swift sketch portraying a girl of eighteen on her first date with an office superior; overtly compassionate in a substantial and beautifully modulated tale about a man in his sixties who discovers fresh truths about himself and human nature in general when he attends the funeral of the woman he has loved. The final story, in which an aficionado of science fiction successfully tries his own hand at that mode, brings to a subtly disturbing close a volume of uncommon interest and variety.

Kingsley 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.

 

 

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(10/19/2014) The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. New York. 1977. Norton. hardcover. 602 pages. Painting by Domenica di Michelino, ‘Dante and His Poem’ (detail). Jacket design by Mike McIver. Translated by John Ciardi. keywords: Literature Translated Italy Poetry. 0393044726.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This brilliant, standard translation of one of the great classics of Western literature is now made available in a single-volume hardcover edition, for the first time complete and in final form. Although Dante is one of the two who 'divide the world between them,' the world had to wait until now for a truly accessible translation of Dante into spoken English. Archibald MacLeish describes Ciardi's version as 'a text with the clarity and sobriety of a first-rate prose translation wich at the same time suggests in powerful and unmistakable ways the run and rhythm of the great original. .a spectacular achievement.'

Durante degli Alighieri (Dante 1265–1321), was a major Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. In Italy he is called il Sommo Poeta (‘the Supreme Poet’) and il Poeta. He, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also called ‘the three fountains’ and ‘the three crowns’. Dante is also called ‘the Father of the Italian language’.

Poet, educator, critic, John Ciardi has won countless awards, much praise, and a strong following for his own poetry. He was the poetry editor of the Saturday Review for sixteen years, director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference for seventeen years, and an essayist of both wit and powerful insight.

 

 

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(10/20/2014) Open Doors and Three Novellas by Leonardo Sciascia. New York. 1992. Knopf. hardcover. 295 pages. August 1992. Jacket design by Carol Devine Carson. Translated from the Italian by Marie Evans. Joseph Farrell & Sacha Rabinovitch. keywords: Literature Translated Sicily Italy. 0394589793.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From the late Leonardo Sciascia, four brief but virtuoso novellas that confirm his preeminence as one of Italy’s greatest contemporary writers. Using past and present real-life events as the points of departure for his fiction, Sciascia’s self- styled racconti-inchiesti, or investigative tales, are as emotionally condensed as they are linguistically rich. In the title novella, Sciascia transports us to Palermo; it is 1937. It is here that the politics of fascism, with its policy of ‘closed doors,’ collide with those of socialism, whose doors are ostensibly open. As we ponder the fate of a man on trial for the triple murder of his wife, his former employer, and the successor to his job, it is not so much the verdict that keeps us in suspense as the sentence the accused may face from the presiding judge. In Death and the Knight, a police deputy wearily approaching the end of his career finds himself in confrontation with a radical student group—an encounter that leads him down a path of fear and paranoia, the repercussions of which linger long after the story’s chilling conclusion. The ironically titled A Straightforward Tale presents, in an astonishingly brief period of time, every possible perspective on the mysterious death of a diplomat who has been found slumped over his desk, pen in hand, the piece of paper in front of him containing nothing but the words ‘I have found.’ And in 1912 + 1, a wealthy and beautiful contessa is put on trial for the murder of the handsome young orderly who had forced his attentions on her. In writing that is beautifully textured, an brilliantly incorporating psychological suspense and indelible character portraits into the larger spheres of politics and history, Leonardo Sciascia reemerges, once and for all, as an enduring and eloquent voice in contemporary Italian literature.

The late novelist and essayist Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989) was one of Italy’s greatest contemporary writers, His critically acclaimed fiction has been translated into a number of languages and has also been turned into films, the most recent of which, Open Doors, based on the novella contained in this quartet, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1990.

 

 

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(10/21/2014) We Sell Drugs: The Alchemy of US Empire by Suzanna Reiss. Berkeley. University of California Press. paperback. 330 pages. August 2014. American Crossroads, 39. 6 x 9. 1 map, 12 images. keywords: History. 9780520280786.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This history of U.S.-led international drug control provides new perspective on the economic, ideological, and political foundations of a Cold War American empire. We Sell Drugs is grounded in the transnational geography and political economy of the coca leaf and coca-derived commodities market stretching to the U.S. from Peru and Bolivia. Coca was one of two seminal substances in international drug control. More than a narrow account of the biography of a famous plant and its equally famous derivative products—Coca-Cola and cocaine—Suzanna Reiss situates these commodities within a landscape of drug production and consumption. Examining efforts to control the circuits through which coca traveled, Reiss provides a geographic and legal anchor for considering the historical construction of designations of legality and illegality. The book also argues that the legal status of any given drug is premised on who grew, manufactured, distributed, and consumed it and not on the qualities of the drug itself. Drug control is part of a powerful toolbox for ordering international trade, national economies, and society’s habits and daily lives. In a historical landscape animated by struggles over political economy, national autonomy, colonialism, and racial equality, We Sell Drugs insists on the socio-historical underpinnings of designations of legality to explore how drug control became a weapon for ordering domestic and international affairs.

Suzanna Reiss is assistant professor of history at the University of Hawai’i Manoa.

 

 

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(10/22/2014) Johnson Without Boswell by Hugh Kingsmill. New York. 1941. Knopf. hardcover. 318 pages. keywords: Literature England Biography Samuel Johnson.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Boswell’s LIFE OF JOHNSON is in some respects a first draft of Boswell’s autobiography. Some say that Boswell resurrected Johnson; others that Johnson lies imprisoned in Boswell’s book. How Boswell posthumously possessed Johnson and, like a great theatrical director, produced him for an audience of readers as a tremendous John Bull character, was brilliantly indicated by an anthology called JOHNSON WITHOUT BOSWELL , put together in 1940 by Hugh Kingsmill.’ - an extract from Michael Holroyd’s Biography Lecture on the Orange Word Stage at the Hay festival, June 9, 2002.

Hugh Kingsmill Lunn (21 November 1889 – 15 May 1949), who dropped his last name for professional purposes, was a versatile British writer and journalist. Writers Arnold Lunn and Brian Lunn were his brothers. Hugh Kingsmill Lunn was born in London and educated at Harrow School and the University of Oxford. After graduating he worked for a brief period for Frank Harris, who edited the publication Hearth and Home in 1911/2, alongside Enid Bagnold; Kingsmill later wrote a debunking biography of Harris, after the spell had worn off. He began fighting in the British Army in World War I in 1916, and was captured in France the next year. After the war, he began to write, initially both science fiction and crime fiction. In the 1930s he was a contributor to the English Review; later he wrote a good deal of non-fiction for this periodical's successor, the English Review Magazine. His large output includes criticism, essays and biographies, parodies and humour, as well as novels, and edited a number of anthologies. He is remembered for saying 'friends are God's apology for relations', with a notable flavour of Ambrose Bierce. The dictum was subsequently used by Richard Ingrams for the title of his memoir of Kingsmill's friendships with Hesketh Pearson and Malcolm Muggeridge, two intimate friends whom he influenced greatly.Muggeridge drew a darker attitude from Kingsmill's sardonic wit. Dawnist was Kingsmill's word for those infected with unrealistic or utopian idealism — the enemy as far as he was concerned. Kingmill’s works include: The Will To Love (1919) novel, The Dawn's Delay (1924) stories, Blondel (1927), Matthew Arnold (1928) biography, After Puritanism, 1850-1900 (1929), An Anthology Of Invective And Abuse (1929), The Return of William Shakespeare (1929) novel, Behind Both Lines (1930) autobiographical, More Invective (1930) anthology, The Worst of Love (1931) anthology, After Puritanism (1931), Frank Harris (1932) biography, The Table Of Truth (1933), Samuel Johnson (1933) biography, The Sentimental Journey (1934) biography of Charles Dickens, The Casanova Fable: A Satirical Revaluation (1934) with William Gerhardi, What They Said At The Time (1935) anthology, Parents and Children (1936) anthology; Brave Old World (1936) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, A Pre-View Of Next Year's News (1937) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, Skye High: The Record Of A Tour Through Scotland In The Wake Of The Samuel Johnson And James Boswell.(1937) travel, with Hesketh Pearson, Made On Earth (1937) anthology on marriage, The English Genius: a survey of the English achievement and character (1938) editor, essays by W. R. Inge, Hilaire Belloc, Hesketh Pearson, William Gerhardi, E .S. P. Haynes, Douglas Woodruff, Charles Petrie, J. F. C. Fuller, Alfred Noyes, Rose Macaulay, Brian Lunn, Rebecca West, K. Hare, T. W. Earp, D. H. Lawrence (1938) biography, Next Year's News (1938) humour, with Malcolm Muggeridge, Courage (1939) anthology, Johnson Without Boswell: A Contemporary Portrait of Samuel Johnson (1940) editor, The Fall (1940), This Blessed Plot (1942) travel, with Hesketh Pearson, The Poisoned Crown (1944) essays on genealogies, Talking Of Dick Whittington (1947) travel, with Hesketh Pearson), The Progress Of A Biographer (1949), The High Hill of the Muses (1955) anthology, The Best of Hugh Kingsmill: Selections from his Writings (1970) edited by Michael Holroyd, Bernard Shaw, His Life and Personality.

 

 

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(10/23/2014) Black Legacies: Race and the European Middle Ages by Lynn T. Ramey. Gainesville. University Press of Florida. hardcover. 192 pages. September 2014. 9 x 6. keywords: History Race. 9780813060071.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘A provocative study of western racial attitudes Ramey adds an important, likely controversial, and well-written scholarly challenge to the argument that racism in the West was the product of nineteenth-century science ‘—Hamilton Cravens, coeditor of Race and Science. ‘The significance of this book extends beyond the medieval past Black Legacies shows that behind myths of knights in shining armor and fair maidens lies a contested literary and cultural history of medievalism that troubles understandings of race Uncorrected Proof from the nineteenth century to today ‘—Russ Castronovo, author of Beautiful Democracy. Black Legacies looks at color-based prejudice in medieval and modern texts in order to reveal key similarities Bringing far-removed time periods into startling conversation, this book argues that certain attitudes and practices present in Europe’s Middle Ages were foundational in the development of the western concept of race Using historical, literary, and artistic sources, Lynn Ramey shows that twelfth- and thirteenth-century discourse was preoccupied with skin color and the coding of black as ‘evil’ and white as ‘good ‘ Ramey demonstrates that fears of miscegenation show up in all medieval European societies She pinpoints these same ideas in the rhetoric of later centuries Mapmakers and travel writers of the colonial era used medieval lore of ‘monstrous peoples’ to question the humanity of indigenous New World populations, and medieval arguments about humanness were employed to justify the slave trade Ramey even analyzes how race is explored in films set in medieval Europe, revealing an enduring fascination with the Middle Ages as a touchstone for processing and coping with racial conflict in the West today.

LYNN T. RAMEY is associate professor of French at Vanderbilt University She is the author of Christian, Saracen and Genre in Medieval French Literature: Imagination and Cultural Interaction in the French Middle Ages and coeditor of Race, Class, and Gender in ‘Medieval’ Cinema.

 

 

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(10/25/2014) One Fat Englishman by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1964. Harcourt Brace World. hardcover. 192 pages. Jacket design by Janet Halverson. keywords: Literature England.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Roger, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?’ says Helene Bang, a beautiful Danish-American to the hero of the funniest novel Kingsley Amis has yet written. ‘Why are you so awful?’ Part of the awfulness of Roger Micheldene, an English publisher at large in the United States, is snobbery. (‘Very angst-producing, being a snob,’ says Roger.) There are also the seven deadly sins, of which he considers himself qualified in gluttony, sloth, and lust, and distinguished in anger. As he spends an October week or two shuttling between New York and the environs of Budweiser College in Pennsylvania, his snobbery and gluttony and anger are too rampant to leave much room for sloth, and his lust for the dazzling Helene drives him to extremes. Turning his relentless gaze upon the American way of life, Kingsley Amis has been inspired to create other notable figures: the precocious undergraduate author of a way-out novel, who proposes to goad Roger into behaving spontaneously; an earnest young priest, who incurs Roger’s loathing by assuring him that his soul is at variance with God; an alcoholic literary agent’s nymphomaniacal wife, who occasionally succeeds in distracting Roger from Helene.

They are presented with glee and gusto and the keenest wit, but it is Roger Micheldene - at once a prototype of the insufferable Englishman and a brilliantly realized individual sufficiently human to win our sneaking sympathy – who dominates a supremely entertaining comedy of bad manners.

 

Kingsley 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.

 

 

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(10/14/2014) New Maps Of Hell: A Survey Of Science Fiction by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1960. Harcourt Brace & Company. hardcover. 161 pages. keywords: Science Fiction Literature England.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this hilarious, inspiring and provocative series of essays, Kingsley Amis introduces every reader to the wonders and value of science fiction writing. He surveys the magnificent panorama of this world of fact and fantasy, of Jules Verne and H G Wells, of madly ingenious inventions and cosmic disaster, of bug-eyed monsters and credible human experiments, of revolutionary inventions and awesome transformations, of exploration of the outer reaches of space, and of strange worlds within the universe. New Maps of Hell is a warm and witty exploration of a world many readers may be yet to discover.

Kingsley 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.

 

 

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(10/15/2014) The Golden Age Of Science Fiction by Kingsley Amis (editor). London. 1981. Hutchinson & Company. hardcover. 370 pages. keywords: Science Fiction Anthology. 009145770x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   An anthology of science fiction short stories by Anthony Boucher, Philip Latham, Frederick Pohl, Brian W. Aldiss, James Blish, Kurt Vonnegut, J. G. Ballard, Robert Sheckley, H. Beam Piper, Cordwainer Smith, Arthur C. Clarke, Harry Harrison, Damon Knight, Isaac Asimov, F. L. Wallace, Jerome Bixby, Poul Anderson. Kingsley Amis locates "the golden age of science fiction" somewhere between its flowering in the late 40s and the lapse into self-consciousness in the early 60s. The stories in this anthology, which includes most of the greatest names in science fiction, come from the years 1949-62. They offer an astonishingly varied range, but all of them illustrate Amis's summing up of the achievements of the ‘golden age’: In the words of Kingsley Amis, ‘what they wrote was far more inventive, more fictional, fictitious, fictive than any other kind of fiction.’

Kingsley 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.

 

 

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(10/17/2014) Spectrum V: A Fifth S. F. Anthology by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest (editors). London. 1966. Gollancz. hardcover. 272 pages. keywords: Science Fiction Anthology England.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The SPECTRUM science fiction anthologies edited by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest have been hailed, one after another, as being unquestionably at the top of their class. Appealing both to the regular science fiction addict and also to the casual reader, this new collection, the fifth in the series, presents a cross-section of science-fiction ideas to tickle and stimulate every palate. The eight stories deal, amongst other things, with how humanity can graduate into Galactic society; why 28 days on the Moon can change entirely a spaceman’s fundamental concept of life; how strange plants on a distant planet reproduce; and how, scientifically, the impossible can be achieved in about two weeks! The authors are F. L. Wallace; Walter M. Miller; Raymond F. Jones; James H. Schmitz; Tom Godwin; Theodore L. Thomas; Paul Ash and Richard Ashby. As usual, Amis and Conquest have started the Anthology with a provoking commentary on science fiction as a genre and, as in previous books in the series, nearly every story is published here for the first time in volume form.

 

 

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(07/19/2014) Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe by Simon Winder. New York. Farrar Straus Giroux. 551 pages. hardcover. 9780374175290. Jacket design and illustration by Oliver Munday. keywords: History Hapsburg Europe

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A charmingly personal history of Hapsburg Europe, as lively as it is informative, by the author of Germania For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off-through luck, guile and sheer mulishness-any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere-indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without them. Danubia, Simon Winder's hilarious new book, plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Full of music, piracy, religion and fighting, it is the history of a strange dynasty, and the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna. Readers who discovered Simon Winder's storytelling genius and infectious curiosity in Germania will be delighted by the eccentric and fascinating tale of the Habsburgs and their world.

 

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(08/02/2014) A Treatise On Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz. New York. 2001. Ecco Press. 125 pages.. hardcover. 0060185244. Jacket design by Angela Voulangas.  Translated from the Polish by the Author & Robert Hass. keywords: Poetry Poland Translated Literature.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Milosz began his remarkable A TREATISE ON POETRY in the winter of 1955 and finished it in the spring of 1956. It was published originally in parts in the Polish émigré journal Kultura. Now it is available in English for the first time in this expert translation by the award-winning American poet Robert Hass. A TREATISE ON POETRY is a great poem about some of the most terrible events in the twentieth century. Divided into four sections, the poem begins at the end of the nineteenth century as a comedy of manners and moves with a devastating momentum through World War I to the horror of World War II. Then it takes on directly and plainly the philosophical abyss into which the European cultures plunged. ‘Author's Notes’ on the poem appear at the end of the volume. A stunning literary composition, these notes stand alone as brilliant miniature portraits that magically re-create the lost world of prewar Europe. A TREATISE ON POETRY evokes the European twentieth century, its comedy and terror and grief, with the force and expressiveness of a great novel. A tone poem to a lost time, a harrowing requiem for the century's dead, and a sober meditation on history, consciousness, and art: here is a masterwork that confronts the meaning of the twentieth century with a directness and vividness that are without parallel. 

Czeslaw Milosz was born in Lithuania in 1911. His books of poetry in English include The Collected Poems, 1931-1987, UNATTAINABLE EARTH, THE SEPARATE NOTEBOOKS, PROVINCES, BELLS IN WINTER, and SELECTED POEMS. He was a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980.

 

 

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(08/05/2014) Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World by Catherine Barnett and Tiphanie Yanique (editors). New Adams. 2014. Tupelo Press. 368 pages. April 2014. paperback. 9781936797400. Cover design by Josef Beery. keywords: Literature Anthology Poetry World English

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Poetry Foundation's Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute. POETS IN THE WORLD Series, Ilya Kaminsky, Series Editor. In this unprecedented anthology, acclaimed poets from around the world select poems from their countries of origin, poems all in English but springing from widely varied voices, histories, and geographies. Readers will find eloquence, urgency, and enchantment. These poems confirm English to be vital and evolving, deployed by revered and emerging poets in Aotearoa/New Zealand (selected by Hinemoana Baker) and Australia (by Les Murray), Canada (by Todd Swift), the Caribbean (by Ishion Hutchinson and five other Caribbean poets), Ghana (by Kwame Dawes), India (by Sudeep Sen), and South Africa (by Rustum Kozain).

Catherine Barnett is author of two books of poems: The Game of Boxes (Graywolf, 2012), winner of the James Laughlin Award, and Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James, 2004). Her honors include a Whiting Writer's Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches at Barnard College, the New School, and New York University, and is currently visiting professor in the Hunter College MFA Program.

Tiphanie Yanique is author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf, 2010). Her writing won the 2011 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, a Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Fulbright, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her novel Land of Drowning will be published by Riverhead/Penguin in 2014. She is from the Virgin Islands and is a professor in the MFA program at the New School.

 

 

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(08/15/2014) Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Hidden Wars of the American West by Rebecca Solnit. Berkeley. 2014. University of California Press. 408 pages. paperback. 9780520282285. Cover design by Sandy Drooker. keywords: History America West Politics

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'A beautiful, absorbing, tragic book.'-Larry McMurtry. In 1851, a war began in what would become Yosemite National Park, a war against the indigenous inhabitants. A century later - in 1951 - and a hundred and fifty miles away, another war began when the U.S. government started setting off nuclear bombs at the Nevada Test Site. It was called a nuclear testing program, but functioned as a war against the land and people of the Great Basin. In this foundational book of landscape theory and environmental thinking, Rebecca Solnit explores our national Eden and Armageddon and offers a pathbreaking history of the west, focusing on the relationship between culture and its implementation as politics. In a new preface, she considers the continuities and changes of these invisible wars in the context of our current climate change crisis, and reveals how the long arm of these histories continue to inspire her writing and hope. 'A beautiful, absorbing, tragic book. Rebecca Solnit tells this story with the passion and clarity it deserves.'-Larry McMurtry. 'The product of a stunningly original and expansive imagination. Savage Dreams ties together the histories of Yosemite National Park and the Nevada Test Site. to illuminate the political stakes of how we think about, and act upon, the landscape.' -SF Weekly. 'Savage Dreams summons us to the campfires of resistance.'-Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz. 'Savage Dreams is about many things: despoliation and restoration, finding a voice between contemporary noise and silence, making friends and enemies. Most of all, though, it may be about a journey into history: about how understanding history and making it are not really very different.'-Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces. 'A wonderful and important book, weaving past and present, politics and spirituality, land and history, pleasure and outrage, esthetics and activism, into a map where we as Americans find ourselves today. Intellectually challenging but beautifully written and eminently readable, Savage Dreams has both heart and teeth.' -Lucy Lippard, author of Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory.

Rebecca Solnit is the author of many books, including Storming the Gates of Paradise, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas.

 

 

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(10/06/2014) Antipoems: New & Selected by Nicanor Parra. New York. 1985. New Directions. hardcover. 208 pages. Jacket photograph by Layle Silbert. design by Denise Breslin. Edited by David Unger Various Translators From The Spanish. keywords: Poetry Translated Latin America Chile Literature. 0811209598.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ANTIPOEMS: NEW AND SELECTED, a fresh bilingual gathering aswell as retrospective of the work of Chile’s foremost poet, reintroduces him to North American readers after thirteen years. Though he has been hardly unproductive, the politics of his homeland have channeled his inventiveness into new modes of expression, which remind us of the sometimes sly hermeticism of Italian writers, Eugenio Montale and Elio Vittorini among them, during the Fascist regime. As Frank MacShane makes clear in his introduction, Parra has not tried to escape repression, but by ‘using his wit and his humor, he has shown how the artist can still speak the truth in troubled times.’ Since much of Parra’s early work is now out of print, editor David Unger has included many of the poems which influenced North American poets such as Ferlinghetti and Merton in the ‘50s and ‘60s, some in new or revised translations. Of Parra’s more recent work, there are generous selections from Artifacts (1972), Sermons and Preachings of the Christ of Elqui (1977), New Sermons and Preachings of the Christ of Elqui (1979), Jokes to Mislead the Police (1983), Ecopoems (1983), Recent Sermons (1983), and a section of ‘Uncollected Poems’ (1984). ANTIPOEMS: NEW AND SELECTED is edited by David Unger, who contributed many of the translations to Enrique Lihn’s THE DARK ROOM AND OTHER Poems (New Directions, 1978). Professor Frank MacShane of Columbia University, in his critical introduction, gives a full evaluation of a poet who ‘is unquestionably one of the most influential and accomplished in Latin America today, heir to the position long held by his countryman, Pablo Neruda.’ CONTENTS: Introduction by Prank MacShane; Editor’s Note by David Unger; from Poemas y antipoemas/Poems and Antipoems (1954); from Nebulosa/Nebula (1950); from Versos de salon/Salon Verses (1962); from Canciones rusas/Russian Songs (1967); from Ejercicios respiratorios/Breathing Exercises (1964-66); from La camisa de fuerza/The Straitjacket (1968); Los Professores/The Teachers (1971); from Poemas de emergencia/Emergency Poems (1972); from Artefactos/Artifacts (1972); Memorias de un ataud/Memories of a Coffin (1975); from Sermones y prédicas del Cristo de Elqui/The Sermons and Preachings of the Christ of Elqui (1977); from Nuevos sermones y prédicas del Cristo de Elqui/New Sermons and Preachings of the Christ of Elqui (1979); from Chistes parRa desorientar a la policia/Jokes to Mislead the Police (1983); from Ecopoemas/Eco poems (1983); from Ultimos sermones/Recent Sermons (1983); from Poemas inéditos/Uncollected Poems (1984); Index of titles (Spanish); Index of titles (English).

Nicanor Parra Sandoval (born 5 September 1914) is a Chilean poet, mathematician, and physicist. He is considered an influential poet in Chile and throughout Latin America. Some rank him among the most important poets of Spanish language literature. Parra describes himself as an ‘anti-poet,’ due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function; after recitations he exclaims ‘Me retracto de todo lo dicho’ (‘I take back everything I said’). Parra, the son of a schoolteacher, was born in 1914 in San Fabián de Alico, Chile, near Chillán in southern Chile. He comes from the artistically prolific Parra family of performers, musicians, artists, and writers. His sister, Violeta Parra, was a folk singer, as was his brother Roberto Parra Sandoval. In 1933, he entered the Instituto Pedagógico of the University of Chile, and qualified as a teacher of mathematics and physics in 1938, one year after his first book, Cancionero sin Nombre, appeared. After teaching in Chilean secondary schools, in 1943 he enrolled in Brown University in the United States to study physics. In 1948, he attended Oxford University to study cosmology. He returned to Chile as a professor at the Universidad de Chile in 1946. Since 1952, Parra has been professor of theoretical physics in Santiago and has read his poetry in England, France, Russia, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. He has published several books. Parra chooses to leave behind the conventions of poetry; his poetic language renounces the refinement of most Latin American literature and adopts a more colloquial tone. His first collection, Poemas y Antipoemas (1954) is a classic of Latin American literature, one of the most influential Spanish poetry collections of the twentieth century. It is cited as an inspiration by American Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg. On December 1, 2011, Parra won the Spanish Ministry of Culture's Cervantes Prize, the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world. On June 7, 2012, he won the Premio Iberoamericano de Poesía Pablo Neruda.

 

 

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(10/07/2014) Black Venus by Angela Carter. London. 1985. Chatto & Windus/Hogarth Press. hardcover. 121 pages. Jacket design by Don Macpherson. keywords: Literature England Women. 0701139641.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Extraordinary and diverse people inhabit this rich, ripe, occasionally raucous collection of short stories. Some are based on real people - Jeanne Duval, Baudelaire’s handsome and reluctant muse who never asked to be called the Black Venus, trapped in the terminal ennui of the poet’s passion, snatching at a little lifesaving respectability against all odds. Edgar Allen Poe, with his face of a tragic actor, demonstrating in every thought and deed how right his friends were when they said ‘No man is safe who drinks before breakfast.’ And Lizzie Borden, lying in bed one hot summer’s night in a turn-of-the-century New England mill town, dreaming about parricide. And some of these people are totally imaginary. Such as the seventeenth century whore, transported to Virginia for thieving, who turns into a good woman in spite of herself among the Indians, who have nothing worth stealing. And a girl, suckled by wolves, strange and indifferent as nature, who will not tolerate returning to humanity. To say nothing of the ‘infant prodigy of the pans’, the child chef who teaches himself French from cookery books (‘A for asperges. And one of them - ‘Call me the Golden Herm’ - takes off from a clue about the ambiguous nature of the changeling prince in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ who causes so much trouble between Oberon and Titania. Angela Carter wonderfully mingles history, fiction, invention, literary criticism, high drama and low comedy in a glorious collection of stories as full of contradictions and surprises as life itself. Angela Carter was born in 1940. She read English at Bristol University, spent two years living in Japan and from 1976-8 was a Fellow in Creative Writing at Sheffield University. She was visiting professor in the Writing Programme at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1980-81, and writer in residence at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, in 1984. Her first novel, SHADOW DANCE, was published in 1965, to be followed by THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1967, John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), SEVERAL PERCEPTIONS (1968, Somerset Maugham Award), HEROES AND VILLAINS (1969), LOVE (1971), THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DR HOFFMAN (1972), THE PASSION OF NEW EVE (1977) and NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS (1984). Angela Carter has also published two collections of stories, Fireworks (1974) and THE BLOODY CHAMBER (1979, Cheltenham Festival of Literature Award); and two works of non-fiction, THE SADEIAN WOMAN: AN EXERCISE IN CULTURAL HISTORY (1979) AND NOTHING SACRED (1982), a collection of her journalism from New Society and elsewhere. She also wrote, with Neil Jordan, the script for the film The Company of Wolves (1984).

Angela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, picaresque and science fiction works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth, in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature. She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. They divorced after twelve years. In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in NOTHING SACRED (1982) that she ‘learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised.’ She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DOCTOR HOFFMAN (1972). She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son. As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in SHAKING A LEG. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen: The Company of Wolves (1984) and THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1987). She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens. However, only a synopsis survives. Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.

 

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(10/08/2014) Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter. New York. 1996. Henry Holt. hardcover. 462 pages. April 1996. Jacket illustration by John Wesrmark. Introduction by Salman Rushdie. keywords: Literature England Women. 0805044620.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From early reflections on jazz and Japan, through vigorous refashionings of vampires and werewolves, to stunning snapshots of real-life outcasts and the glorious but tainted world of ‘the rich and famous,’ this complete collection of Angela Carter’s short stories gathers together four published books-’Fireworks,’ ‘The Bloody Chamber,’ ‘Black Venus,’ ‘American Ghosts’ and ‘Old World Wonders’-with her early work and uncollected stories. ‘A strange, compelling book. an undoubted success.’ -The New York Times.

Angela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, picaresque and science fiction works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth, in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature. She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. They divorced after twelve years. In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in NOTHING SACRED (1982) that she ‘learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised.’ She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DOCTOR HOFFMAN (1972). She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son. As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in SHAKING A LEG. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen: The Company of Wolves (1984) and THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1987). She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens. However, only a synopsis survives. Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.

 

 

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(10/09/2014) American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street by Paula Rabinowitz. Princeton. 2014. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 390 pages. September 2014. Jacket painting: Guy Pene Du Bois, ‘Portia in a Pink Blouse,’ 1942. Jacket design by Pamela Lewis Schnitter. keywords: Publishing Paperbacks Pulp America. 9780691150604.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘There is real hope for a culture that makes it as easy to buy a book as it does a pack of cigarettes.'--a civic leader quoted in a New American Library ad (1951) American Pulp tells the story of the midcentury golden age of pulp paperbacks and how they brought modernism to Main Street, democratized literature and ideas, spurred social mobility, and helped readers fashion new identities. Drawing on extensive original research, Paula Rabinowitz unearths the far-reaching political, social, and aesthetic impact of the pulps between the late 1930s and early 1960s. Published in vast numbers of titles, available everywhere, and sometimes selling in the millions, pulps were throwaway objects accessible to anyone with a quarter. Conventionally associated with romance, crime, and science fiction, the pulps in fact came in every genre and subject. American Pulp tells how these books ingeniously repackaged highbrow fiction and nonfiction for a mass audience, drawing in readers of every kind with promises of entertainment, enlightenment, and titillation. Focusing on important episodes in pulp history, Rabinowitz looks at the wide-ranging effects of free paperbacks distributed to World War II servicemen and women; how pulps prompted important censorship and First Amendment cases; how some gay women read pulp lesbian novels as how-to-dress manuals; the unlikely appearance in pulp science fiction of early representations of the Holocaust; how writers and artists appropriated pulp as a literary and visual style; and much more. Examining their often-lurid packaging as well as their content, American Pulp is richly illustrated with reproductions of dozens of pulp paperback covers, many in color. A fascinating cultural history, American Pulp will change the way we look at these ephemeral yet enduringly intriguing books.

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. Her books include Black & White & Noir: America’s Pulp Modernism, and she is the coeditor of Habits of Being, a four-volume series on clothing and identity.

 

 

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(10/10/2014) The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. Princeton. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 519 pages. Cover illustration by Andrea Dezsö. Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö. keywords: Folktales Germany Translated. 9780691160597.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as 'Rapunzel,' 'Hansel and Gretel,' and 'Cinderella' would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö. From 'The Frog King' to 'The Golden Key,' wondrous worlds unfold--heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique--they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms' later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes's introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms' prefaces and notes. A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.

Jack Zipes is the translator of 'The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm' (Bantam), the editor of 'The Great Fairy Tale Tradition' (Norton), and the author of 'Grimm Legacies' (Princeton), among many other books. He is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. Andrea Dezsö is a visual artist who works across a broad range of media. Her permanent public art is installed in two NYC subway stations, at CUNY Fiterman Hall, and at the US Embassy in Bucharest. Dezsö exhibits in museums and galleries worldwide and is associate professor of art at Hampshire College.

 

 

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(10/11/2014) What Became Of Jane Austen? And Other Questions by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1971. Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich. hardcover. 223 pages. keywords: Literature England. 0151958602.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Although Kingsley Amis’s reputation rests mainly on his novels, he has since 1955 established himself as one of England’s wittiest and most trenchant essayists and critics. The remarkable variety of his ideas and interests makes the present volume as stimulating and recurrently surprising as it is enjoyable. There is literary criticism of writers as diverse as Hans Christian Andersen, Jules Verne, and Miss Austen herself (Janeites will take umbrage), and of novels from SORRELL AND SON to PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT and LOLITA (‘one of the troubles with LOLITA is that, so far from being too pornographic, it is not pornographic enough’). There are articles on such widely assorted topics as horror movies, fictional detectives, and the National Eistedfodd of Wales, and accounts of the author’s experiences as judge at a beauty contest, with a poet named Dylan Thomas, and with one named Yevgeny Yevtushenko. And there are assorted fragments of autobiography (a reminiscence of the first school he attended, a memoir of his father) and confession (why he wrote a James Bond novel, why he left the Left). This is, in short, a miscellany, and a bracing one; its arrangement is not random, and it should be read straight through rather than browsed in. Kingsley Amis’s characteristically witty, challenging, sometimes enraging voice proves also to be that of a rationalist, a moralist, a man of good sense – and a writer of some of the best prose of our day.

Kingsley 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 was 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 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.

 

 

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(10/04/2014) The Killing Of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers. New York. 2010. Knopf. hardcover. 569 pages. November 2010. Front-of-jacket image - ‘Retreat of Major Marcus Reno’s Command’ (detail) by Amos Bad Heart Bull. Jacket design by Jason Booher. keywords: History America Native American Crazy Horse. 9780375414466.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   He was the greatest Indian warrior of the nineteenth century. His victory over General Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 was the worst defeat inflicted on the frontier Army. And the death of Crazy Horse in federal custody has remained a controversy for more than a century. THE KILLING OF CRAZY HORSE pieces together the many sources of fear and misunderstanding that resulted in an official killing hard to distinguish from a crime. A rich cast of characters, whites and Indians alike, passes through this story, including Red Cloud, the chief who dominated Oglala history for fifty years but saw in Crazy Horse a dangerous rival; No Water and Woman Dress, both of whom hated Crazy Horse and schemed against him; the young interpreter Billy Garnett, son of a fifteen-year-old Oglala woman and a Confederate general killed at Gettysburg; General George Crook, who bitterly resented newspaper reports that he had been whipped by Crazy Horse in battle; Little Big Man, who betrayed Crazy Horse; Lieutenant William Philo Clark, the smart West Point graduate who thought he could ‘work’ Indians to do the Army’s bidding; and Fast Thunder, who called Crazy Horse cousin, held him the moment he was stabbed, and then told his grandson thirty years later, ‘They tricked me! They tricked me!’ At the center of the story is Crazy Horse himself, the warrior of few words whom the Crow said they knew best among the Sioux, because he always came closest to them in battle. No photograph of him exists today. The death of Crazy Horse was a traumatic event not only in Sioux but also in American history. With the Great Sioux War as background and context, drawing on many new materials as well as documents in libraries and archives, Thomas Powers recounts the final months and days of Crazy Horse’s life not to lay blame but to establish what happened.

Thomas Powers is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and writer best known for his books on the history of intelligence organizations. Among them are INTELLIGENCE WARS: AMERICAN SECRET HISTORY FROM HITLER TO AL-QAEDA; HEISENBERG’S WAR: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE GERMAN BOMB; and THE MAN WHO KEPT THE SECRETS: RICHARD HELMS AND THE CIA. For most of the last decade Powers kept a 1984 Volvo at a nephew’s house in Colorado, which he drove on frequent trips to the northern Plains. He lives in Vermont with his wife, Candace.

 

 

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(10/03/2014) Paperbacks, U. S. A.: A Graphic History, 1939-1959 by Piet Schreuders. San Diego. 1981. Blue Dolphin Enterprises. paperback. 259 pages. September 1981. Translated from the Dutch by Josh Pachter. keywords: Books Publishing American Mass Markets History.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this informative and entertaining description of the first 20 years of paperback history, the emphasis is on the way these early books looked, and especially on their covers: who made them, how they were produced, and how they changed over two decades. Piet Schreuders, editor and designer of two popular Dutch magazines (Furore and the Poezenkrant), spent five years researching the roots of this cultural phenomenon and found, besides shameless plagiarism, amateurish drawings and commercially-bred bad taste, a wealth of sensitive, human, original and unique design and art.

 

 

 

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(09/30/2014) Heavy Traffic & High Culture: New American Library as Literary Gatekeeper in the Paperback Revolution by Thomas L. Bonn. Carbondale. 1989. Southern Illinois University Press. hardcover. 241 pages. keywords: Books Publishing New Ameican Library. 0809314789.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This is a book about the magical names in literature, about the literary heritage of a nation balanced against a backdrop of big business; it is the story of New American library from 1946 to 1961 and of Victor Weybright, the publisher whose talismanic phrase, ‘luster and lucre,’ characterizes both the cultural and financial formu1a that guided this giant paperback house. The book is based on the editorial correspondence at NAL from the company’s beginning in 1945 until just after its purchase by the Times-Mirror Company. Generally ignoring financial, marketing, and production records, the files that form the core of this book concentrate on interoffice memoranda to and from editorial staff and feature letters to and from authors, agents, publishers, and readers. Bonn shows how Weybright and copublisher Kurt Enoch advanced NAL from a poor, scarcely tolerated relation - as were all paperback reprinters - in the publishing family to a prestigious, even proprietary publisher, initiating contracts and discovering new talent. By the middle of the l950s, many hardcover publishing houses were accepting original manuscripts based on their anticipated mass market paperback sales. Bonn employs the ‘gatekeeper’ theory of communication to account for much of NAL’s success, citing Weybright as chief gatekeeper. Explaining this theory as Weybright applied it, Bonn notes that ‘the tension on the gate’s spring is created by the cultural contribution the work is likely to make tempered by its projected balance sheet.’ Weybright brought harmony to the conflicting interests of culture vs. commerce; his goal was ‘heavy traffic, high culture’ or John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway and others at the dimly remembered 25 cents per copy. Bonn focuses on Weybright’s dealings with Bennett Cerf and Random House, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Alfred A. Knopf, and other hardback houses to show how NAL acquired titles. In this book, notable for its previously unpublished correspondence by major figures, Bonn scores another triumph by examining the phenomenon of paperback abridgment. These letters reveal the reactions of James M. Cain, James Jones, and Robert Penn Warren when paperback economics killed as many as half of their words. Well-founded fear of censorship, these files reveal, consumed much money and time, yet of all of the books on the NAL list, only Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre was judged obscene in a courtroom. The works of James M. Cain were challenged, as were those of Faulkner, until he won his 1950 Nobel Prize. Weybright also faced a continuing battle with certain authors over paperback covers. The editor’s views as to what would sell books frequently conflicted with the opinions of his authors. William Styron acquiesced to Weybright with some grace, but the cover conflict between NAL and James T. Farrell was bitter; the rift between NAL and J. D. Salinger over covers for The Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories grew so acrimonious that both sides lost when Salinger severed his relationship with the company. NAL published the great—William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, J. D. Salinger - and the big money-makers - Erskine Caldwell, Ian Fleming, Mickey Spillane. This ideal arrangement enabled the innovative paperback publishing company to make a profit even as it made a gigantic cultural contribution.

Thomas L. Bonn, Librarian at the State University of New York, College at Cortland, is the author of Paperback Primer: A Guide for Collectors and Under Cover: An Illustrated History of American Mass Market Paperbacks.

 

 

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(09/29/2014) The Tale Of Tsar Saltan by Alexander Pushkin. New York. 1996. Dial Press. hardcover. 32 pages. Illustrated by Gennady Spirin. Based On A Translation From The Russian by Pauline Hejl. keywords: Childrens Russia Literature. 0803720017.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

  

 Betrayed by her jealous sisters, a Tsarina and her infant son are marooned on a barren island until a magical swan helps them regain their rightful heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(09/28/2014) Saints And Strangers by Angela Carter. New York. 1986. Viking Press. hardcover. 126 pages. September 1986. Jacket design by Melissa Jacoby. Jacket painting The Peaceable Kingdom circa 1840-1845 by Edward Hicks. keywords: Literature England Women. 0670811394.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Spellbinding, entrancing, vital-all the words critics used to describe Carter’s Nights at the Circus apply as well to this thrilling collection by ‘the poet of the short story.’ - Lisa St. Aubin de Teran. The saints and strangers of Angela Carter’s title are those who, in the words of the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts, would colonize the New World. And in this dazzling collection of short fiction, the focus is on the New World of both fact and the imagination. Three of these eight stories are set in America-’The Fall River Axe Murders’ is a haunting cinematic prologue to that most celebrated of nineteenth-century crimes; ‘Our Lady of the Massacre’ depicts (in a completely authentic voice) the adventures of an eighteenth-century indentured servant who is kidnapped by the Indians and married to a chieftain; ‘The Cabinet of Edgar Allen Poe’ brings its obsessed hero to a kind of crippled life; and a fourth, ‘Black Venus,’ brilliantly reimagines the relationship of Charles Baudelaire to his Caribbean Creole mistress, a daughter of the New World languishing in the Old. In other stories, we are transported to the steppes of Central Asia (‘The Kiss’). an Alpine village full of mysterious happenings (‘Peter and the Wolf’), an enchanted forest (‘Overture and Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream’), and an Edwardian kitchen (‘The Kitchen Child’). In each case, we are caught by the tale-spinning magic that distinguishes Angela Carter’s best work. Yet these stories do more than dazzle us with glittering prose and eccentric flights of fancy. Each speaks with an achingly human voice and embraces the frailty and mystery of the flesh. Whether they are saints or strangers, the subjects of Angela Carter’s latest book are unforgettable.

Angela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, picaresque and science fiction works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth, in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature. She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. They divorced after twelve years. In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in NOTHING SACRED (1982) that she ‘learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised.’ She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DOCTOR HOFFMAN (1972). She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son. As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in SHAKING A LEG. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen: The Company of Wolves (1984) and THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1987). She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens. However, only a synopsis survives. Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.

 

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25 June 2019

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  • The Autobiography of Ethel Firebrace, by Gay Taylor and Malachi Whitaker (1937)

    In The Autobiography of Ethel Firebrace, Malachi Whitaker and Gay Taylor offered the world a feminine match for H. H. Bashford’s really good man, Augustus Carp, Esq. Lost now to literary history, Ethel Firebrace was prolific novelist of the early 20th century, churning out dozens and dozens of works such as Clothed in White Samite,... ...

  • The Well-Meaning Young Man, by Luise and Magdalen King-Hall (1930)

    I decided to read The Well Meaning Young Man after stumbling across this passage: Horatio Swann, the famous portrait painter, was at his wit’s end. Harry Ames, the well-known scene designer, was at his wit’s end. The Russian chauffeur, Boris, was lying upstairs under a neat check bedspread, in a bedroom of the inn, suffering... Read more

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