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 If  on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. New York. 1981. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Translated From The Italian By William Weaver. 260 pages. Jacket design by Rubin Pfeffer Jacket photograph by Benn Mitchell. 0151436894.

 

0151436894FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Beguiling and frustrating, IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER draws the reader in with each chapter, and at just the right moment Italo Calvino has a surprise for you. 'The catalogue of forms is endless. ' This quotation from Calvino's INVISIBLE CITIES applies equally to his imaginative flights in the present novel, his first In many years. Far from being a dead form, the novel here is shown as capable of endless mutations. IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, author, ambiance, style; each breaks off with the first chapter, at a moment of suspense. A labyrinth, no less, in which two readers, male and female, pursue the story lines that Intrigue them. Thus, 'If on a winter's night a traveler' by Italo Calvlno gets Inextricably mixed up with 'Outside the town of Malbork,' a work of unquestionably Polish origin, redolent of somewhat carbonized onions. As the book branches out into known and unknown literatures, including a translation from an extinct language, the author, not without malice, rings the changes of contemporary literature with virtuoso versatility. The two be- wildered readers tie their own knots and end up in a king-size bed for parallel readings. They are the true heroes of the tale: for what would writing be without responsive readers? Would it be at all?

 

 

 

Calvino Italo Italo Calvino (October 15, 1923 - September 19, 1985) was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979). Italo Calvino was born in Santiago de Las Vegas, Cuba, to botanists Mario Calvino and Evelina Mameli. (His brother was Floriano Calvino, a famous geologist.) The family soon moved to its homeland Italy, where Italo lived most of his life. They moved to Sanremo, on the Italian Riviera, where his father had come from (his mother came from Sardinia). The young Italo became a member of the Avanguardisti (a fascist youth organization in which membership was practically compulsory) with whom he took part in the occupation of the French Riviera. He suffered some religious troubles, as his relatives were openly atheist in a largely Catholic country. He was sent to attend a Waldensian private school. Calvino met Eugenio Scalfari (later a politician and the founder of the major Italian newspaper La Repubblica), with whom he would remain a close friend. In 1941 Calvino moved to Turin, after a long hesitation over living there or in Milan. He often humorously described this choice, and used to describe Turin as ‘a city that is serious but sad.’ In 1943 he joined the Partisans in the Italian Resistance, in the Garibaldi brigade, with the battlename of Santiago. With Scalfari he created the MUL (liberal universitarian movement). Calvino then entered the (still clandestine) Italian Communist Party. Calvino graduated from the University of Turin in 1947 with a thesis on Joseph Conrad and started working with the official Communist paper L’Unità. He also had a short relationship with the Einaudi publishing house, which put him in contact with Norberto Bobbio, Natalia Ginzburg, Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini. With Vittorini he wrote for the weekly Il Politecnico (a cultural magazine associated with the university). Calvino then left Einaudi to work mainly with L’Unità and the newborn communist weekly political magazine Rinascita. He worked again for the Einaudi house from 1950, responsible for the literary volumes. The following year, presumably to advance in the communist party, he visited the Soviet Union. The reports and correspondence he produced from this visit were later collected and earned him literary prizes. In 1952 Calvino wrote with Giorgio Bassani for Botteghe Oscure, a magazine named after the popular name of the party’s head-offices. He also worked for Il Contemporaneo, a Marxist weekly. From 1955 to 1958 Calvino had an affair with the actress Elsa de’ Giorgi, an older and married woman. Calvino wrote hundreds of love letters to her. Excerpts were published by Corriere della Sera in 2004, causing some controversy. In 1957, disillusioned by the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary, Calvino left the Italian Communist party. His letter of resignation was published in L’Unità and soon became famous. He found new outlets for his periodic writings in the magazines Passato e Presente and Italia Domani. Together with Vittorini he became a co-editor of Il Menabò di letteratura, a position which Calvino held for many years. Despite severe restrictions in the US against foreigners holding communist views, Calvino was allowed to visit the United States, where he stayed six months from 1959 to 1960 (four of which he spent in New York), after an invitation by the Ford Foundation. Calvino was particularly impressed by the ‘New World’: ‘Naturally I visited the South and also California, but I always felt a New Yorker. My city is New York.’ The letters he wrote to Einaudi describing this visit to the United States, were first published as ‘American Diary 1959-1960’ in the book Hermit in Paris in 2003. In 1962 Calvino met the Argentinian translator Esther Judith Singer (Chichita) and married her in 1964 in Havana, during a trip in which he visited his birthplace and met Ernesto Che Guevara. This encounter later led him to contribute an article on the 15th of October 1967, a few days after the death of Guevara, describing the lasting impression Guevara made on him. Back in Italy, and once again working for Einaudi, Calvino started publishing some of his cosmicomics in Il Caffè, a literary magazine. Vittorini’s death in 1966 influenced Calvino greatly. He went through what he called an ‘intellectual depression’, which the writer himself described as an important passage in his life: ‘. I ceased to be young. Perhaps it’s a metabolic process, something that comes with age, I’d been young for a long time, perhaps too long, suddenly I felt that I had to begin my old age, yes, old age, perhaps with the hope of prolonging it by beginning it early’. He then started to frequent Paris, where he was nicknamed L’ironique amusé. Here he soon joined some important circles like the Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle) and met Roland Barthes and Claude Lévi-Strauss, in the fermenting atmosphere that was going to evolve into 1968’s cultural revolution (the French May). During his French experience, he also became fond of Raymond Queneau’s works, which would influence his later production. Calvino had more intense contacts with the academic world, with notable experiences at the Sorbonne (with Barthes) and at Urbino’s university. His interests included classical studies: Honoré de Balzac, Ludovico Ariosto, Dante, Ignacio de Loyola, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Cyrano de Bergérac, and Giacomo Leopardi. At the same time, not without surprising Italian intellectual circles, Calvino wrote novels for Playboy’s Italian edition (1973). He became a regular contributor to the important Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. In 1975 Calvino was made Honorary Member of the American Academy, and the following year he was awarded the Austrian State Literary Prize for European literature. He visited Japan and Mexico and gave lectures in several American towns. In 1981 he was awarded the prestigious French Légion d’Honneur. During the summer of 1985, Calvino prepared some notes for a series of lectures to be delivered at Harvard University in the fall. However, on 6 September, he was admitted to the ancient hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, where he died during the night between the 18 and 19 September of a cerebral hemorrhage. His lecture notes were published posthumously as Six Memos for the Next Millennium in 1988. His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic reminiscent of fairy tales (Our Ancestors, Cosmicomics), although sometimes his writing is more ‘realistic’ and in the scenic mode of observation (Difficult Loves, for example). Some of his writing has been called ‘postmodern’, reflecting on literature and the act of reading, while some has been labeled ‘magical realist’, others fables, others simply ‘modern’. Twelve years before his death, he was invited to and joined the Oulipo group of experimental writers. He wrote: ‘My working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language.’.

 

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 Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen. New York. 1995. New Press. 372 pages. Cover illustration by Jeff Danziger. 156584100x.

 

Not only a revealing look some forgotten American history, but at how American history has traditionally been taught in our schools.

 

156584100xFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

High School students hate history. When they list their favorite subjects, history always comes in last. They consider it 'the most irrelevant' of twenty-one school subjects; 'bo-o-o-oring' is the adjective most often applied. James Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian Institution surveying twelve leading high school textbooks of American history. What he found was an embarrassing amalgam of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation pure and simple, weighing in at an average of four-and-a-half pounds and 888 pages. In response he has written LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, in part a telling critique of existing textbooks but, more importantly, a wonderful retelling of American history as it should - and could -be taught to American students. Beginning with pre-Columbian American history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, and the My Lai massacre, Loewen supplies the conflict, the suspense, unresolved drama, and connection with current-day issues so appallingly missing from textbook accounts. Loewen James WA treat to read and a serious critique of American education, LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME is for anyone who has ever fallen asleep in history class.

 

 

 American Book Award-winner James W. Loewen taught race relations at the University of Vermont. In addition to Lies My Teacher Told Me, he has written The Truth About Columbus, and (with Charles Salles) Mississippi: Conflict and Change, the first integrated state history textbook. He lives in Washington, D.C.

 

  

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 The Day Is Born Of Darkness by Mikhail Dyomin. New York. 1976. Knopf. Translated From the Russian By Tony Kahn. 371 pages. Jacket design by Lidia Ferrara. 0394491661. April 1976.

 

day is born of darknessFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Mikhail Dyomin was only 16 when he went to jail for the first time, for evading a compulsory wartime work order. But it was the beginning for him of a 15-year career as a professional criminal, as an inhabitant of one of the strangest and least-known societies on the face of the earth - the Soviet underworld. This extraordinary first-person account of his life there - as a thief, as a convict, as a writer of prison ballads sung in camps from Magadan to the Aral Sea - is an authentic voice out of Russia's lower depths, brilliantly evocative of the color and violence that still lurk behind Communism's stolid gray facade, an engrossing tale of adventure, and probably the fullest picture yet given of life on the wrong side of the law in the Soviet Union. Here in riveting detail are the realities of outlaw existence: the battles in prison ; the tricks of housebreaking, con games, train robbery; the arcana of convict life, from instructions for making a deck of cards out of blood and bread, to tips on eating nettles. Here are the gypsy camps, the brothels and thieves' dens, the black markets and village fairs and long, lonely trains howling into the Asian night, the whole exotic rogue's-world of crime. And here are the characters Dyomin encountered, fought with, loved: Queen Margo, the sophisticated and monumentally connected Grande Dame of Crime; Saloma the Onanist, ultimate prison camp escapist; Khasan, the homicidal cardshark, with his court of cutthroat lovers; the author's deadly enemy Snuffles, whom he finally kills, and dozens more. Dyomin's first robbery, his attendance at the all-European Thieves' Conference in Lvov, his chilling run-in with political terrorists, his narrow escapes, murders, love affairs, imprisonments - adventure piled on adventure, and all recounted with the energy, style, and rolling pace of a born storyteller. THE DAY IS BORN OF DARKNESS ends with the author's discharge from a Siberian labor camp, his dream of becoming a published poet about to come true. Once on the outside, he went on to write five more books under the name Dyomin, becoming a popular and successful writer. In 1971, he quietly defected during a visit to Paris, where he now lives and writes.

 

 

Dyomin Mikhail Mikhail Dyomin has taken his writing name from the forged identity papers he was forced to use while in hiding within the Soviet criminal underground. He was born Georgy Trifonov in 1926. His mother belonged to the pre-revolutionary nobility; his father, a top Red Army commissar in the Civil War, fell into disfavor and was persecuted during the Stalinist era. Dyomin was first arrested in 1942, at the age of sixteen, for disobeying a compulsory work order. Sentenced to two years of hard labor in a Moscow foundry, he was finally given a medical discharge. He worked for a while as an advertising artist, until an office-wide investigation by the secret police sent him fleeing, without identity papers, into the underground. There he lived for several years, working with a pickpocket gang and 'riding the rails. ' After his arrest, he spent six years in some of the most notorious Arctic camps--as a member of the criminal elite--and during this time earned a name for himself as a 'scribbler' of prison songs and poems. Dyomin's first literary scholarship was earned upon his release from the Siberian camp, when his fellow inmates took up a collection to see him through his first book. In the fifteen years following his release, he published six books; he became a member of the Writers' Union and was by all measures a successful, popular author. Yet, he was dissatisfied with the restrictions imposed by state censorship, and during a visit to France some years ago, he quietly defected. He now lives in a small apartment in Paris, where he continues to write.

  

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 The Egyptologists by Kingsley Amis and Robert Conquest. New York. 1966. Random House. 247 pages.

 

A very funny story about male subterfuge and the war between the sexes, precisely the kind of story that Kingsley Amis, this time with the help of Robert Conquest, tells so well. 

 

egyptologistsFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Every Thursday night in certain parts of London, husbands kiss their wives and then hurry off to attend the weekly meeting of a certain exclusive learned society. Jekyll-like, these men shed their air of scholarly absorption as they near headquarters-a building situated at a specially selected hard-to-find address, where a plaque, inscribed in specially designed hard-to-decipher lettering, reads: METROPOLITAN EGYPTOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Should the reader be at first in some doubt as to the real nature of the activities of the Egyptologists, it is only to be expected. The members' expertise in camouflage and deception has baffled the most perceptive people, and at various times the Society has been suspected of engaging in espionage, in drug-smuggling, in the activity implied by its all-male membership-and even in Egyptology. Why does the Society protect itself so vigilantly against inquiring outsiders? What is the significance of the safeguards listed in Article 22 of its Constitution? And what goes on behind the locked doors of its Isis Room? Hint: if even a fraction of the lecherous males of the world adopted the brilliant masquerade conceived by the authors in this engaging farce, learned societies would proliferate by the thousands.

 

 

Amis Kingsley Kingsley Amis, born in London in 1922, was educated at the City of London School and St. John's College, Oxford. During World II he was a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals. From 1949 to 1961 he was Lecturer in English at various universities in Great Britain, and also fulfilled an appointment as Visiting Lecturer at Princeton in 1958-59. Mr. Amis won immediate attention with his first novel, Lucky Jim, and has since written four others, as well as a collection of short stories, two books of poetry and a critical survey of science fiction.

 

 

 

 

Conquest Robert Born in 1917, Robert Conquest was educated at Winchester and Oxford, served in a line regiment in World War II and afterward in the British Diplomatic Service, Since 1956 he has interspersed free-lance writing with academic appointments at the London School of Economics and the Columbia University Russian Institute, among others, He has also been the Literary Editor of the Spectator. Mr. Conquest is the author of two books of poems, a science-fiction novel, five works of Soviet political and literary themes, and, with Kingsley Amis, has edited the science-fiction 'Spectrum' anthologies.

 

 

 

 

 

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 Wizard Of The Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. New York. 2006. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Gikuyu by The Author. 771 pages. Jacket illustration & design by Peter Mendelsund. 037542248x. August 2006.

 

Ngugi's most important novel since PETALS OF BLOOD, WIZARD OF THE CROW is an extraordinary novel of twentieth-century Africa, that is by turns spiritual, funny, historical, fantastical, harrowing, and ultimately deeply human.

 

037542248xFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

From the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic-a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature. In exile now for more than twenty years, Ngugi wa Thiong'o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time, the power and scope of his work garnering him international attention and praise. His aim in WIZARD OF THE CROW is, in his own words, nothing less than 'to sum up Africa of the twentieth century in the context of two thousand years of world history. ' Commencing in 'our times' and set in the 'Free Republic of Aburlria,' the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburlrian people. Among the contenders: His High Mighty Excellency; the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom; the corrupt Christian Ministry; and the nefarious Global Bank. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, WIZARD OF THE CROW reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity. Informed by richly enigmatic traditional African storytelling, WIZARD OF THE CROW is a masterpiece, the crowning achievement in Ngugi wa Thiong'o's career thus far.

 

 

 Ngugi wa Thiongo

 Ngugi wa Thiong'o has taught at Amherst College, Yale University, and New York University. He is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and is director of the university's International Center for Writing and Translation. His books include PETALS OF BLOOD, for which he was imprisoned by the Kenyan government in 1977. He lives in Irvine, California.

 

 

 

 

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 Thinking It Through: An Introduction To Contemporary Philosophy by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Oxford/New York. 2003. Oxford University Press. 412 pages. Jacket design by Mary Belibasakis. 0195160282.

 

Kwame Anthony Appiah is one of our most articulate public intellectuals. This book provides a clearly-written and jargon-free introduction to modern philosophy.

 

0195160282FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

THINKING IT THROUGH is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence, including the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language. Noted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to 'do' philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs--or being a follower of a particular thinker--Appiah argues that 'the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry. ' Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, THINKING IT THROUGH is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More importantly, Appiah not only explains what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving students examples that they can use in their own attempts to navigate the complex issues confronting any reflective person in the twenty-first century. Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work, THINKING IT THROUGH guides students through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges their understanding of the central questions of human life. REVIEWS - 'The distinguishing mark of this work, which will set it clearly apart from all the best introductory books of this kind, is the way it makes deep and insightful connections among the various topics. It introduces the reader to all the main problems of contemporary philosophy, and makes philosophical concepts come alive in systematic exploration of the deep thoughts and difficult arguments to which Appiah gives lucid access. '--Neil Tennant, The Ohio State University. 'An extraordinarily successful introduction to philosophy: wise, witty and deeply engaging. '--Paul Boghossian, New York University. 'This book is excellent, one of the best of its kind that I've seen. It accomplishes what few general introductions to philosophy even attempt: to integrate contemporary discussion and argument into a treatment of our perennial problems without losing sight of their roots. '--David Sosa, University of Texas at Austin.

 

 

 

Appiah Kwame Anthony Kwame Anthony Akroma-Ampim Kusi Appiah was born in London but moved as an infant to Ghana, where he grew up. His father, Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, a lawyer and politician, was also, at various times, a Member of Parliament, an Ambassador and a President of the Ghana Bar Association; his mother, the novelist and children's writer, Peggy Appiah, whose family was English, was active in the social, philanthropic and cultural life of Kumasi, where they lived. His three younger sisters Isobel, Adwoa and Abena, were born in Ghana. As a child, he spent a good deal of time in England, staying with his grandmother, Dame Isobel Cripps, widow of the English statesman Sir Stafford Cripps. Kwame Appiah was educated at the University Primary School at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; at Ullenwood Manor, in Gloucestershire, and Port Regis and Bryanston Schools, in Dorset; and, finally, at Clare College, Cambridge University, in England, where he took both B. A. and Ph. D. degrees in the philosophy department. His Cambridge dissertation explored the foundations of probabilistic semantics; once revised, these arguments were published by Cambridge University Press as Assertion and Conditionals. Out of that first monograph grew a second book, For Truth in Semantics, which dealt with Michael Dummett's defenses of semantic anti-realism. Since Cambridge, he has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Harvard universities and lectured at many other institutions in the United States, Germany, Ghana and South Africa, as well as at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; and he is now a member of the Princeton University faculty, where he is a member of the Philosophy Department and the University Center for Human Values. Professor Appiah has also published widely in African and African-American literary and cultural studies. In 1992, Oxford University Press published In My Father's House, which deals, in part, with the role of African and African-American intellectuals in shaping contemporary African cultural life. His current interests range over African and African-American intellectual history and literary studies, ethics and philosophy of mind and language; and he has also taught regularly about African traditional religions; but his major current work has to do with the philosophical foundations of liberalism and with questions of method in arriving at knowledge about values. Professor Appiah joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 as Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. In 1996, he published Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race with Amy Gutmann; in 1997 the Dictionary of Global Culture, co-edited with Henry Louis Gates Jr. Along with Professor Gates he has also edited the Encarta Africana CD-ROM encyclopedia, published by Microsoft, which became the Perseus Africana encyclopedia in book form. This is now available in a revised multi-volume edition from Oxford University Press. In 2003, he coauthored Bu Me B?: Proverbs of the Akan, an annotated edition of 7,500 proverbs in Twi, the language of Asante. He is also the author of three novels, of which the first, Avenging Angel, was largely set at Clare College, Cambridge, and he reviews regulalry for the New York Review of Books. In 2004, Oxford University Press published his introduction to contemporary philosophy entitled Thinking It Through. In January 2005, Princeton University Press published The Ethics of Identity and in February 2006 Norton published Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, which won the 2007 Arthur Ross Award of the Council on Foreign Relations. In January 2008, Harvard University Press will publish his Experiments in Ethics, based on his 2005 Flexner lectures at Bryn Mawr. Professor Appiah has homes in New York city and near Pennington, in New Jersey, which he shares with his partner, Henry Finder, Editorial Director of the New Yorker magazine. In 2007, he is the President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association and he will take on the task of Chairing the Executive Board of the American Philosophical Association in 2008. He is also currently Chair of the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies.

 

 

 

 

 

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 The Delicate Prey and Other Stories by Paul Bowles. New York. 1950. Random House. 307 pages. Jacket design by E. McKnight Kauffer.

 

I first discovered the existence of Paul Bowles in an essay by Gore Vidal. At the time I was a teenager working in a small used bookstore where a large portion of my meager earnings wound up going right back to the store for books. I asked the proprietor of the store if we had any books by Paul Bowles. She pulled a volume from the shelf behind the counter saying 'Yes, and it is a first edition.' At the time I could not understand why anyone would buy a hardcover book when a paperback edition of that same book existed, but since there was no paperback copy of the book in the store I put down the cash to purchase this first edition. This was the first first edition I even purchased knowing that it was actually a first edition, and it was a good start to my book collecting mania... These are amazing stories that reminded me in some ways of Poe, but with an even stronger sense of horror. Highly recommended !

 

delicate prey and other storiesFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

Despite the fact that many of them have appeared in out-of-the-way places, the stories of Paul Bowles have already created a sensation among critics and low and fellow-writers. Of the seventeen stories in this volume, all but one are set in Arab North Africa, the Far East or Latin America. They share an almost Gothic preoccupation with violence - particularly that violence arising out of the clash of the Westerner with the alien world of the East.

 

 

Bowles Paul Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 – November 18, 1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. Following a cultured middle-class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris in the 1930s. He studied music with Aaron Copland, and in New York wrote music for various theatrical productions, as well as other compositions. He achieved critical and popular success with the publication in 1949 of his first novel The Sheltering Sky, set in what was known as French North Africa, which he had visited in 1931. In 1947 Bowles settled in Tangier, Morocco, and his wife, Jane Bowles followed in 1948. Except for winters spent in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) during the early 1950s, Tangier was his home for the remaining 52 years of his life. Paul Bowles died in 1999 at the age of 88. His ashes are buried in Lakemont Cemetery in upstate New York.

 

 

 

 

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 Jesse James: Last Rebel Of The Civil War by T. J. Stiles. New York. 2002. Knopf. 511 pages. Jacket photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Jacket design by Steven Amsterdam. 0375405836.

 

Jesse James as a member of a death squad? This book provides a totally new look at an American legend. T. J. Stiles shows us a Jesse James who was not only a product of very intensely political times, but also the creation of a 'media-machine' by way of an ex-Confederate journalist named John Newman Edwards.

 

0375405836FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

A brilliant biography of Jesse James, and a stunning reinterpretation of an American icon. Stripped of the familiar myths surrounding him, James emerges a far more significant figure: ruthless, purposeful, intensely political; a man who, in the midst of his crimes and notoriety, made himself a spokesman for the renewal of the Confederate cause during the bitter decade that followed Appomattox. Traditionally, Jesse James has been portrayed as a Wild West bandit, a Robin Hood of sorts. But in this meticulously researched, vividly written account of his life, he emerges as far more complicated. Raised in a fiercely pro-slavery atmosphere in bitterly divided Missouri, he began at sixteen to fight alongside some of the most savage Confederate guerrillas. When the Civil War ended, his violent path led him into the brutal conflicts of Reconstruction. We follow James as he places himself squarely in the forefront of the former Confederates' bid to capture political power with his reckless daring, his visibility, his partisan pronouncements, and his alliance with a rising ex-Confederate editor, John Newman Edwards, who helped shape James's image for their common purpose. In uniting violence and the news media on behalf of a political cause, James was hardly the quaint figure of legend. Rather, as his life played out across the racial divide, the rise of the Klan, and the expansion of the railroads, he was a forerunner of what we have come to call a terrorist. T. J. Stiles has written a memorable book-a revelation of both the man and his time.

 

  

Stiles T J A native of rural Minnesota, T. J. Stiles studied history at Carleton College and Columbia University. His writings about American history include articles in Smithsonian, essays in the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post, and a five-volume series of primary-source anthologies.

 

 

 

 

 

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 The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and The Hidden History Of The Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker. Boston. 2000. Beacon Press. 433 pages. Jacket design: Sara Eisenman. Jacket art, clockwise from top left: 'Many poor women imprisoned, and hanged for Witches,' 1655, Rare Books Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations; 'A Negro hung alive by the Ribs to a Gallows. 0807050067.

 

0807050067FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 The culture of the Atlantic in an era of rapid expansion of trade, and the influence of sailors, slaves, pirates, and others in the creation of a new global economy. The notion of pirates as a free-enterprise and somewhat democratic alternative to the indentured sailors and more-or-less captive roving workforce options of the time is truly thought provoking. I'll never see pirates in quite the same way again. The intersection of aspects of the slave trade and the growing abolitionist movement with the developing Atlantic culture is a fascinating story told well by Linebaugh and Rediker. Certainly my favorite book of 2000 and one of my all-time favorites. 'For most readers the tale told here will be completely new. For those already well acquainted with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the image of that age which they have been so carefully taught and cultivated will be profoundly challenged. ' - David Montgomery, author of Citizen Worker. Long before the American Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a motley crew of sailors, slaves, pirates, laborers, market women, and indentured servants had ideas about freedom and equality that would forever change history. THE MANY HEADED-HYDRA recounts their stories in a sweeping history of the role of the dispossessed in the making of the modern world. When an unprecedented expansion of trade and colonization in the early seventeenth century launched the first global economy, a vast, diverse, and landless workforce was born. These workers crossed national, ethnic, and racial boundaries, as they circulated around the Atlantic world on trade ships and slave ships, from England to Virginia, from Africa to Barbados, and from the Americas back to Europe. Marshaling an impressive range of original research from archives in the Americas and Europe, the authors show how ordinary working people led dozens of rebellions on both sides of the North Atlantic. The rulers of the day called the multiethnic rebels a 'hydra' and brutally suppressed their risings, yet some of their ideas fueled the age of revolution. Others, hidden from history and recovered here, have much to teach us about our common humanity.

 

 

Linebaugh Peter and Rediker Marcus

 Peter Linebaugh, professor of history at the University of Toledo, is a contributing editor of ALBION'S FATAL TREE and author of THE LONDON HANGED. A member of the Midnight Notes Collective, he lives in Toledo, Ohio.

Marcus Rediker, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, winner of the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Prize and the Organization of American Historians' Merle Curti Social History Award. He is a contributing author of WHO BUILT AMERICA? and lives in Pittsburgh.

 

 

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Happy Birthday, Turk! A Kayankaya Mystery by Jakob Arjouni. New York. 1993. Fromm International. Translated from the German by Anselm Hollo. 154 pages. Jacket design by Linda Kosarin. 0880641487.

 

 

0880641487FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A Turkish worker is stabbed to death in Frankfurt’s red-light district—certainly no reason for the police to work overtime, Kemal Kayankaya, however, has a different attitude. A 26-year-old of Turkish birth but German upbringing, he doesn’t speak Turkish but looks it, has a German passport and first-hand experience of resentment against foreigners. He is also a private investigator, hired to find the killer and the motive for the crime. Like his literary forefathers Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade, he is a loner, but as a Turk, not because he has an option. Yet he is not unarmed; with an irreverent and hilarious sense of humor Kayankaya goes about his search, all the while drinking too much, encountering obnoxious policemen and easy women, After twists and turns he finally runs into a drug ring built on the exploitation of Turkish immigrants. The influence of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett on Jakob Arjouni is impossible to miss; the plot moves quickly, the action thrills, the characters are unforgettable, and the milieu is painted so realistically that it immediately comes to life for the reader.

 

 

 

 

Arjouni JakobJakob Arjouni was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, in 1964. After having spent several years in France, he recently moved to Berlin. He is the author of novels, plays, and radio plays. With the publication of HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TURK! Arjouni was immediately recognized as Germany’s outstanding mystery writer, Already translated into eight languages, this is the first volume of the best-selling Kayankaya series to be published by Fromm international.

 

 

 

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My Wife's The Least of It by William Gerhardi. London. 1938. Faber & Faber. 544 pages.  hardcover.    

 

 

my wifes the least of it no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   William Gerhardi originally intended to call this novel MY WIFE: A STUDY IN INSANITY, a title which horrified his publisher Faber & Faber. It is the story of an elderly man by the name of Charles Baldridge and his efforts to write a successful film script to save himself from insolvency in a journey from comedy to tragedy, nightmare and then farce. Michael Holroyd praised the book as ‘an illustration, detail by dire detail, minute by minute, of our life in time. The film world symbolizes the visible surface of things divorced from all poetic implications. It is actual, but unreal.' 

 

 Gerhardi William William Alexander Gerhardie (1895-1977) was a British (Anglo-Russian) novelist and playwright. Gerhardie (or Gerhardi: he added the ‘e’ in later years as an affectation) was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s (Evelyn Waugh told him ‘I have talent, but you have genius’). H.G Wells was a ferocious champion of his work. His first novel Futility, was written while he was at Cambridge and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting (or attempting to fight) the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of ‘waiting’ later made famous by Samuel Beckett in WAITING FOR GODOT, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, THE POLYGLOTS is probably his masterpiece (although some argue for DOOM). Again it deals with Russia (Gerhardie was strongly influenced by the tragi-comic style of Russian writers such as Chekhov who he wrote a study of while in College). He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography ‘The Casanova Fable’, his friendship with Hugh being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus. After World War II Gerhardie’s star waned, and he became unfashionable, and although he continued to write, he had nothing published after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two ‘definitive collected works’ published by Macdonald (in 1947-49 and then revised again in 1970-74). More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest ‘Pronounced jer (as Ger in Gerald) hardy, with the accent on the a: jer-har’dy. This is the way I and my relatives pronounce it, tho I am told it is incorrect. Philologists are of the opinion that it should be pronounced with the g as in Gertrude. I believe they are right. I, however, cling to the family habit of mispronouncing it. But I do so without obstinacy. If the world made it worth my while I would side with the multitude.’ (Charles Earle Funk, What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936).

 

 

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Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs by Ann-Janine Morey. University Park. 2014. Penn State University Press. 176 pages. July 2014. hardcover.  123 duotones. 8 × 9.  9780271063317 

9780271063317FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Ann-Janine Morey’s book is a treasure trove of postcard photographs created by ordinary people. Together these document what Morey calls the ‘romance’ of dogs and humans—a story of love, domination, primitivism, and ‘Edenic longings’—embodied in the presence of the dog among humans.’ —Teresa Mangum, University of Iowa. ogs are as ubiquitous in American culture as white picket fences and apple pie, embracing all the meanings of wholesome domestic life—family, fidelity, comfort, protection, nurturance, and love—as well as symbolizing some of the less palatable connotations of home and family, including domination, subservience, and violence. In Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves, Ann-Janine Morey presents a collection of antique photographs of dogs and their owners in order to investigate the meanings associated with the canine body. Included are reproductions of 115 postcards, cabinet cards, and cartes de visite dating from 1860 to 1950. These photographs feature dogs in family portraits, childhood snapshots, hunting pictures, and a variety of studio settings. They offer poignant testimony to the American romance with dogs and show how the dog has become part of cultural expressions of race, class, and gender. Animal studies scholars have long argued that our representation of animals in print and in the visual arts has a profound connection to our lived cultural identity. Other books have documented the depiction of dogs in art and photography, but few have reached beyond the subject’s obvious appeal. Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves draws on animal, visual, and literary studies to present an original and richly contextualized visual history of the relationship between Americans and their dogs. Though the personal stories behind these everyday photographs may be lost to us, their cultural significance is not.

  Morey Ann JanineAnn-Janine Morey is Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Studies at James Madison University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich. New York. 2001. I-Books. 246 pages. May 2001. paperback. Cover illustration & design by Steranko. 0743413164.  

 

0743413164FROM THE PUBLISHER -

  No one knew who she was, where she came from, or why she had entered their lives. All they really knew about her was that she possessed a terrifying beauty-and that each time she appeared, a man died horribly.

 

 

Woolrich Cornell  Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich (4 December 1903 – 25 September 1968) was an American novelist and short story writer who sometimes wrote under the pseudonyms William Irish and George Hopley. His biographer, Francis Nevins Jr., rated Woolrich the fourth best crime writer of his day, behind only Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler. A check of film titles reveals that more film noir screenplays were adapted from works by Woolrich than any other crime novelist, and many of his stories were adapted during the 1940s for Suspense and other dramatic radio programs. Born in New York City, Woolrich's parents separated when he was young. He lived for a time in Mexico with his father before returning to New York City to live with his mother, Claire Attalie Woolrich. He attended Columbia University but left in 1926 without graduating when his first novel, Cover Charge, was published. Cover Charge was one of six Jazz Age novels inspired by the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He soon turned to pulp and detective fiction, often published under his pseudonyms. For example, William Irish was the byline in Dime Detective Magazine (February, 1942) on his 1942 story ‘It Had to Be Murder’, (source of the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie Rear Window) and based on H. G. Wells' short story ‘Through a Window’. François Truffaut filmed Woolrich's The Bride Wore Black and Waltz Into Darkness in 1968 and 1969, respectively, the latter as Mississippi Mermaid. Ownership of the copyright in Woolrich's original story ‘It Had to Be Murder’ and its use for Rear Window was litigated before the United States Supreme Court in Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990). Woolrich was homosexual and sexually active in his youth. In 1930, while working as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, Woolrich married Violet Virginia Blackton (1910–65), daughter of silent film producer J. Stuart Blackton. They separated after three months, and the marriage was annulled in 1933. Woolrich returned to New York where he and his mother moved into the Hotel Marseilles (Broadway and West 103rd Street). He lived there until her death on October 6, 1957, which prompted his move to the Hotel Franconia (20 West 72nd Street). In later years, he socialized on occasion in Manhattan bars with Mystery Writers of America colleagues and younger fans such as writer Ron Goulart, but alcoholism and an amputated leg (caused by an infection from a too-tight shoe which went untreated) left him a recluse. He did not attend the premiere of Truffaut's film of his novel The Bride Wore Black in 1968, even though it was held in New York City. He died weighing 89 pounds. He is interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Woolrich bequeathed his estate of about $850,000 to Columbia University, to endow scholarships in his mother's memory for writing students. Woolrich's novels written between 1940 to 1948 are considered his principal legacy. During this time, he definitively became an author of novel-length crime fiction which stand apart from his first six works, written under the influence of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most of Woolrich's books are out of print, and new editions have not come out because of estate issues. However, new collections of his short stories were issued in the early 1990s. Woolrich died leaving fragments of an unfinished novel, The Loser; fragments have been published separately and also collected in Tonight, Somewhere in New York (2005).

 

 

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On Earth: Last Poems and an Essay by Robert Creeley. Berkeley. 2006. University of California Press. 89 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Sandy Drooker. 0520247914.  

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

0520247914   Robert Creeley, one of the most significant American poets of the twentieth century, helped define an emerging counter-tradition to the prevailing literary establishment--a postwar poetry originating with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and others. When Robert Creeley died in March 2005, he was working on what was to be his final book of poetry. In addition to more than thirty new poems, many touching on the twin themes of memory and presence, this moving collection includes the text of the last paper Creeley gave--an essay exploring the late verse of Walt Whitman. Together, the essay and the poems are a retrospective on aging and the resilience of memory that includes tender elegies to old friends, the settling of old scores, and reflective poems on mortality and its influence on his craft. On Earth reminds us what has made Robert Creeley one of the most important and affectionately regarded poets of our time.

 

Creeley Robert  Robert Creeley (May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005) was an American poet and author of more than sixty books. He is usually associated with the Black Mountain poets, though his verse aesthetic diverged from that school's. He was close with Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Ed Dorn. He served as the Samuel P. Capen Professor of Poetry and the Humanities at State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1991, he joined colleagues Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Raymond Federman, Robert Bertholf, and Dennis Tedlock in founding the Poetics Program at Buffalo. Creeley lived in Waldoboro, Maine, Buffalo, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island where he taught at Brown University. He was a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis. New York. 2014. Knopf. 306 pages. September 2014. hardcover. Jacket design by Peter Mendelsund. 9780385353496.  

 

9780385353496FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From one of England's most renowned authors, an unforgettable new novel that provides a searing portrait of life-and, shockingly, love-in a concentration camp. Once upon a time there was a king, and the king commissioned his favorite wizard to create a magic mirror. This mirror didn't show you your reflection. It showed you your soul-it showed you who you really were. The wizard couldn't look at it without turning away. The king couldn't look at it. The courtiers couldn't look at it. A chestful of treasure was offered to anyone who could look at it for sixty seconds without turning away. And no one could. The Zone of Interest is a love story with a violently unromantic setting. Can love survive the mirror? Can we even meet each other's eye, after we have seen who we really are? In a novel powered by both wit and pathos, Martin Amis excavates the depths and contradictions of the human soul.

 

Amis Martin  Martin Amis is the author of eleven previous novels, the memoir Experience, and two collections of stories and six of nonfiction, most recently The Second Plane. He lives in London.

 

 

 

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A Plague of Pythons by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1965. Ballantine Books. 158 pages. September 1965. paperback.

 

ballantine plague of pythons u2174FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   FREDERIK POHL - At somewhere in his forties, Fred Pohl should hardly qualify for grand old man of anything. But he could. For at least thirty of those forty-odd years he has been writing, reading, agenting, editing, collaborating, commenting and generally holding the field of science fiction together with an enthusiasm that remains unabated. Which is all very well but it does mean that full-length, original novels from Fred Pohl have become a relatively rare thing. (A PLAGUE OF PYTHONS is much expanded from the magazine version). It is a book about a future development which, hopefully, will never, ever come to pass. But with Fred Pohl, you never know. Look what happened to THE SPACE MERCHANTS (we understand advertisers still read it to pick up tips on far out slogans). Or SLAVE SHIP (all kinds of developments in ethology indicate we’ll soon be talking to the animals). And so on. Watch out. 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

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The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley by Robert Creeley. Berkeley. 2013. University of California Press. 467 pages.  hardcover.  9780520241602.  

 

9780520241602FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Robert Creeley is one of the most celebrated and influential American poets. A stylist of the highest order, Creeley imbued his correspondence with the literary artistry he brought to his poetry. Through his engagements with mentors such as William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound, peers such as Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac, and mentees such as Charles Bernstein, Anselm Berrigan, Ed Dorn, Susan Howe, and Tom Raworth, Creeley helped forge a new poetry that re-imagined writing for his and subsequent generations. This first-ever volume of his letters, written between 1945 and 2005, document the life, work, and times of one of our greatest writers, and represent a critical archive of the development of contemporary American poetry, as well as the changing nature of letter-writing and communication in the digital era.

Creeley Robert  Robert Creeley (1926-2005) published more than sixty books of poetry, prose, essays, and interviews in the United States and abroad. His many honors included the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University.

Rod Smith is the author of several collections of poetry, including Deed (2007), editor of the journal Aerial, publisher of Edge Books, and manager of Bridge Street Books in Washington, D.C.

Peter Baker is Professor of English and Cultural Studies at Towson University in Maryland. He is the author or editor of six previous volumes, including Detecting Detection: International Perspectives on the Uses of a Plot (2012).

Kaplan Harris is Associate Professor of English at St. Bonaventure University. He has published widely on twentieth-century poetry, including recent articles on Susan Howe, Ted Berrigan, Hannah Weiner, and Kevin Killian.

 

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A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolaño. New York. 2014. New Directions. 109 pages.  hardcover. Jacket photograph by Allen Frame. Jacket design by Erik Rieselbach.  Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer.  9780811223355.  

 

9780811223355FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Published in Spanish right before Bolaño's death, A Little Lumpen Novelita percolates with a fierce and tender love of women. ‘Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime’: so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome. Orphaned overnight as a teenager—’our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us’—she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, and drifts into bad company. Her younger brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns how low she can fall. Electric and tense with foreboding, with its jagged, propulsive short chapters beautifully translated by Natasha Wimmer, A Little Lumpen Novelita delivers a surprising, fractured fairy tale of seizing control of one’s fate.

 

Bolaño Roberto Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile. At fifteen, he moved with his family to Mexico and there became a Trotskyite and a journalist. In 1973, he returned to Chile and enlisted in Allende’s party but was imprisoned for a week after the military coup. He then went to El Salvador, where he knew the poet Roque Dalton, then to Mexico, and finally Spain where he worked as a dishwasher, waiter, night watchman, garbageman, longshoreman, and salesman until the 80’s when he could make enough money to support himself by writing, and publishing. In 1999 he won the extremely prestigious Herralde & el Rómulo Gallego Award, considered the Latin American Nobel Prize (García Márquez and Vargas Llosa have been other winners.) He died of liver failure in Barcelona, and is survived by his wife and two children.

 

 

 

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Black Diamond by Zakes Mda. London. 2014. Seagull Books. 315 pages.  hardcover. Jacket design by Samandini Banerjee.  9780857422224.  

 

9780857422224FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this novel by celebrated South African writer Zakes Mda, Kristin Uys, a tough magistrate who lives alone with her cat in the Roodepoort district of Johannesburg, goes on a one-woman crusade to wipe out prostitution in her town. Her reasons are personal, and her zeal is fierce. Her main targets are the Visagie Brothers, Stevo and Shortie, who run a brothel, and although she fails to take down the entire establishment, she manages to nail Stevo for contempt of court, serving him a six-month sentence. From Diepkloof Prison, the outraged Stevo orchestrates his revenge against the magistrate, aided and abetted by the rather inept Shortie and his former nanny, Aunt Magda. Kristin receives menacing phone calls and her home is invaded and vandalized—even her cat isn’t spared the threats—and the chief magistrate has no choice but to assign a bodyguard to protect her. To Kristin’s consternation, security guard Don Mateza moves into her home and trails her everywhere. This new arrangement doesn’t suit Don’s longtime girlfriend Tumi, a former model and successful businesswoman, who is intent on turning Don into a Black Diamond—a member of the wealthy new black South African middle class. And Don soon finds that his new assignment has unexpected  complications that Tumi simply does not understand. In Black Diamond, Mda tackles every conceivable South African stereotype, skillfully turning them upside down and exposing their ironies—often hilariously. This is a clever, quirky novel, in which Mda captures the essence of contemporary life in a fast-changing urban world.

Mda Zakes  Zakes Mda is professor of creative writing in the Department of English at Ohio University, and a South African novelist, poet, and playwright.

 

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Things: A Story of the Sixties and A Man Asleep by Georges Perec. Boston. 2014. David Godine. 224 pages.  paperback.  9781567921571.  

 

9781567921571FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   With the American publication of Life, a User's Manual in 1987, Georges Perec was immediately recognized in the U.S. as one of this century's most innovative writers. Now Godine is pleased to issue two of his most powerful novels in one volume: Things, in an authoritative new translation, and A Man Asleep, making its first English appearance. Both provoked strong reactions when they first appeared in the 1960s; both which speak with disquieting immediacy to the conscience of today's readers. In each tale Perec subtly probes our obsession with society's trappings the seductive mass of things that crams our lives, masquerading as stability and meaning. Jerome and Sylvie, the young, upwardly mobile couple in Things, lust for the good life. 'They wanted life's enjoyment, but all around them enjoyment was equated with ownership.' Surrounded by Paris's tantalizing exclusive boutiques, they exist in a paralyzing vacuum of frustration, caught between the fantasy of 'the film they would have liked to live' and the reality of life's daily mundanities. In direct contrast with Jerome and Sylvie's cravings, the nameless student in A Man Asleep attempts to purify himself entirely of material desires and ambition. He longs 'to want nothing. Just to wait, until there is nothing left to wait for. Just to wander, and to sleep.' Yearning to exist on neutral ground as 'a blessed parenthesis,' he discovers that this wish is by its very nature a defeat. Accessible, sobering, and deeply involving, each novel distills Perec's unerring grasp of the human condition as well as displaying his rare comic talent. His generosity of observation is both detached and compassionate.

Perec Georges  Georges Perec (7 March 1936 – 3 March 1982) was a French novelist, filmmaker, documentalist and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. Perec was born the only son of Icek Judko and Cyrla (Schulewicz) Peretz – Polish Jews who had emigrated to France in the 1920s – in a working-class district of Paris. He was a distant relative of the Yiddish writer Isaac Leib Peretz. Perec's father, who enlisted in the French Army during World War II, died in 1940 from unattended gunfire or shrapnel wounds, and Perec's mother perished in the Nazi Holocaust, probably in Auschwitz after 1943. Perec was taken into the care of his paternal aunt and uncle in 1942, and in 1945 he was formally adopted by them. He started writing reviews and essays for La Nouvelle Revue française and Les Lettres nouvelles, prominent literary publications, while studying history and sociology at the Sorbonne. In 1958/59 Perec served in the army (XVIIIe Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes), and married Paulette Petras after being discharged. They spent one year (1960/1961) in Sfax (Tunisia), where Paulette worked as a teacher. In 1961, Perec began working at the Neurophysiological Research Laboratory in the unit's research library funded by the CNRS and attached to the Hôpital Saint-Antoine as an archivist, a low-paid position which he retained until 1978. A few reviewers have noted that the daily handling of records and varied data may have had an influence on his literary style. In any case, Perec's work on the reassesment of the academic journals under subscription was influenced by a talk about the handling of scientific information given by Eugene Garfield in Paris and he was introduced to Marshall McLuhan by Jean Duvignaud. Perec's other major influence was the Oulipo, which he joined in 1967, meeting Raymond Queneau, among others. Perec dedicated his masterpiece, La Vie mode d'emploi (Life A User's Manual) to Queneau, who died before it was published. Perec began working on a series of radio plays with his translator Eugen Helmle and the musician Philippe Drogoz in the late 60s; less than a decade later, he was making films. His first work, based on his novel Un Homme qui dort, was co-directed by Bernard Queysanne, and won him the Prix Jean Vigo in 1974. Perec also created crossword puzzles for Le Point from 1976 on. La Vie mode d'emploi (1978) brought Perec some financial and critical success—it won the Prix Médicis—and allowed him to turn to writing full-time. He was a writer in residence at the University of Queensland, Australia in 1981, during which time he worked on the unfinished 53 Jours (53 Days). Shortly after his return from Australia, his health deteriorated. A heavy smoker, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died the following year, only forty-five years old; his ashes are held at the columbarium of the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Many of his novels and essays abound with experimental word play, lists and attempts at classification, and they are usually tinged with melancholy. Perec's first novel, Les Choses (Things: A Story of the Sixties) was awarded the Prix Renaudot in 1965. His most famous novel, La Vie mode d'emploi (Life A User's Manual), was published in 1978. Its title page describes it as ‘novels’, in the plural, the reasons for which become apparent on reading. La Vie mode d'emploi is an immensely complex and rich work; a tapestry of interwoven stories and ideas as well as literary and historical allusions, based on the lives of the inhabitants of a fictitious Parisian apartment block. It was written according to a complex plan of writing constraints, and is primarily constructed from several elements, each adding a layer of complexity. The 99 chapters of his 600-page novel, move like a knight's tour of a chessboard around the room plan of the building, describing the rooms and stairwell and telling the stories of the inhabitants. At the end, it is revealed that the whole book actually takes place in a single moment, with a final twist that is an example of ‘cosmic irony’. It was translated into English by David Bellos in 1987. Some critics have cited the work as an example of postmodern fiction. Perec is noted for his constrained writing: his 300-page novel La disparition (1969) is a lipogram, written without ever using the letter ‘e’. It has been translated into English by Gilbert Adair under the title A Void (1994). The silent disappearance of the letter might be considered a metaphor for the Jewish experience during the Second World War. Since the name ‘Georges Perec’ is full of ‘e’s, the disappearance of the letter also ensures the author's own ‘disappearance’. His novella Les revenentes (1972) is a complementary univocalic piece in which the letter ‘e’ is the only vowel used. This constraint affects even the title, which would conventionally be spelt Revenantes. An English translation by Ian Monk was published in 1996 as The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex in the collection Three. It has been remarked by Jacques Roubaud that these two novels draw words from two disjoint sets of the French language, and that a third novel would be possible, made from the words not used so far (those containing both ‘e’ and a vowel other than ‘e’). W ou le souvenir d'enfance, (W, or the Memory of Childhood, 1975) is a semi-autobiographical work which is hard to classify. Two alternating narratives make up the volume: one, a fictional outline of a totalitarian island country called ‘W’, patterned partly on life in a concentration camp; and the second, descriptions of childhood. Both merge towards the end when the common theme of The Holocaust is explained. ‘Cantatrix sopranica L. Scientific Papers’ is a spoof scientific paper detailing experiments on the ‘yelling reaction’ provoked in sopranos by pelting them with rotten tomatoes. All the references in the paper are multi-lingual puns and jokes, e.g. ‘(Karybb & Szyla, 1973)’. David Bellos, who has translated several of Perec's works, wrote an extensive biography of Perec: Georges Perec: A Life in Words, which won the Académie Goncourt's bourse for biography in 1994. The Association Georges Perec has extensive archives on the author in Paris. In 2013, Perec's initially rejected novel ‘Gaspar pas mort’ (Gaspar is not dead), which was believed to be lost, was found by David Bellos amongst papers in the house of Perec's friend Alain Guérin. Asteroid no. 2817, discovered in 1982, was named after Perec. In 1994, a street in the 20th arrondissement of Paris was named after him, rue Georges-Perec. The French postal service issued a stamp in 2002 in his honour; it was designed by Marc Taraskoff and engraved by Pierre Albuisson. For his work, Perec won the Prix Renaudot in 1965, the Prix Jean Vigo in 1974, the Prix Médicis in 1978. 

 

 

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Missing Person by Patrick Modiano. Boston. 2014. David Godine. 168 pages.  paperback. 9781567922813.  

 

9781567922813FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Winner of the Prix Goncourt In this strange, elegant novel, winner of France's premier literary prize, Patrick Modiano portrays a man in pursuit of the identity he lost in the murky days of the Paris Occupation, the black hole of French memory. For ten years Guy Roland has lived without a past. His current life and name were given to him by his recently retired boss, Hutte, who welcomed him, a onetime client, into his detective agency. Guy makes full use of Hutte's files - directories, yearbooks, and papers of all kinds going back half a century - but his leads are few. Could he really be the person in that photograph, a young man remembered by some as a South American attache? Or was he someone else, perhaps the disappeared scion of a prominent local family? He interviews strangers and is tantalized by half-clues until, at last, he grasps a thread that leads him through the maze of his own repressed experience. On one level Missing Person is a detective thriller, a 1950s film noir mix of smoky cafes, illegal passports, and insubstantial figures crossing bridges in the fog. On another level, it is also a haunting meditation on the nature of the self. Modiano's sparce, hypnotic prose, superbly translated by Daniel Weissbort, draws his readers into the intoxication of a rare literary experience.

 

Modiano Patrick  Jean Patrick Modiano (born 30 July 1945) is a French novelist and recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. He previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have been celebrated in and around France.

 

 

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Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano. Boston. 2014. David Godine. 128 pages.  paperback. 9781567925388.  

 

9781567925388FROM THE PUBLISHER -

9781567925388  Patrick Modiano, winner of the Prix Goncourt, constructs 'a haunting tale of quiet intensity' (Review of Contemporary Fiction). It parallels the story of Jean B., a filmmaker who abandons his wife and career to hole up in a Paris hotel, with that of Ingrid and Rigaud, a refugee couple he'd met twenty years before, and whose mystery continues to haunt him. 

 

Modiano Patrick  Jean Patrick Modiano (born 30 July 1945) is a French novelist and recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. He previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have been celebrated in and around France.

 

 

 

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The Iron Sickle A Sueno and Bascom Mystery by Martin Limon. New York. 2014. Soho Crime. 309 pages.  hardcover. Jacket design by James Iacobelli. Jacket photo by Paul Bucknall.  9781616953911.  

 

9781616953911FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Early one rainy morning, the head of the 8th United States Army Claims Office in Seoul, South Korea, is brutally murdered by a Korean man in a trench coat carrying a small iron sickle hidden in his sleeve. The attack was a complete surprise, carefully planned and clinically executed. Against orders, CID agents Sergeant George Sueno and Ernie Bascom start investigating. Somehow, each person they speak to has not yet been interviewed. The 8th Army isn't great at solving cases, but they aren't that bad either. As the search continues, they realise not everyone wants the case solved.

 

 

 

Limon Martin  Martin Limón retired from military service after twenty years in the US Army, including ten years in Korea. He is the author of six previous books in the Sergeant George Sueño series: JADE LADY BURNING, SLICKY BOYS, BUDDHA'S MONEY, THE DOOR TO BITTERNESS, THE WANDERING GHOST, and GI BONES. He lives in Seattle.

 

 

 

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Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. New York. 1954. Mentor/New American Library. 430 pages. September 1954. paperback.  Introduction by Sculley Bradley.  

 

mentor leaves of grass ms117FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   AMERICA SPEAKS. These are the incomparable poems of one of America’s greatest poets - an exuberant, passionate man who loved his country and wrote of it as no other has ever done. Singer, thinker, visionary and citizen extraordinary - this was Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass is his enduring testament to a land whose vitality was the touchstone of his genius.

 

 

Whitman Walt Walter ‘Walt’ Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet,  essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and—in addition to publishing his poetry—was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. He died at age 72 and his funeral became a public spectacle. Whitman's sexuality is often discussed alongside his poetry. Though biographers continue to debate his sexuality, he is usually described as either homosexual or bisexual in his feelings and attractions. However, there is disagreement among biographers as to whether Whitman had actual sexual experiences with men. Whitman was concerned with politics throughout his life. He supported the Wilmot Proviso and opposed the extension of slavery generally. His poetry presented an egalitarian view of the races, and at one point he called for the abolition of slavery, but later he saw the abolitionist movement as a threat to democracy.

 

 

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Her Stories by Virginia Hamilton. New York. 1995. Blue Sky/Scholastic. hardcover. 128 pages.  Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. 0590473700.

0590473700FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition. Each story focuses on the role of women - both real and fantastic - and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows.

 

Hamilton VirginiaNewbery Award winner Virginia Hamilton is one of the most beloved and respected writers in the field of contemporary fiction for young people. Her novel SWEET WHISPERS, BROTHER RUSH, published by Philomel Books, received the Coretta Scott King Award, the Boston Globe—Horn Book Award and was named a Newbery Honor Book and an American Book Awards Honor Book. Publishers Weekly hailed it as a ‘superb book, convincing and profoundly affecting.’ A LITTLE LOVE, also published by Philomel, was a Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book. Ms. Hamilton has also won the Newbery, National Book Award and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for M.C. HIGGINS, THE GREAT. Ms. Hamilton was married to the poet and anthologist Arnold Adoff.

 

 

 

 

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The Case Against Tomorrow by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1956. Ballantine Books. 152 pages.  paperback. 206.  

 

ballantine case against tomorrow 206FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   TOMORROW.   Frederik Pohl has a disconcerting habit of turning the world on itself. In four short stories and two novelettes the results are hilarious, biting, provocative and startling—depending on what strange reach of the imagination he is exploring. For instance: Have you ever daydreamed about having anything, absolutely anything, you wanted? Yachts, country estates, swimming-pools, cars, luxurious foods, gowns, jewels, servants—anything you care to name. It’s easier than you suspect. You don’t need money. All you need—all anybody needs—is enough worldly goods. If this sounds ridiculous, read what happens when robot production lines turn the world into a consumers’ paradise. It’s not impossible. It’s not even too far off. And you’d better be ready. Not that Mr. Pohl has a grudge against the future, but he comes at it backwards (so to speak), thereby throwing the present into high relief. But in any case, whether his subject is consumer goods, overpopulation, baseball, segregation, Mars or a wicked little ‘yes-no’ machine, Frederik Pohl is practically required reading for any science-fiction fan worthy of the name, and an excellent reason for becoming one.

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

 

 

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The Collected Poems Of Robert Creeley, 1975-2005 by Robert Creeley. Berkeley. 2006. University of California Press. 662 pages.  hardcover.  9780520241596.  

 

9780520241596FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This definitive collection showcases thirty years of work by one of the most significant American poets of the twentieth century, bringing together verse that originally appeared in eight acclaimed books of poetry ranging from Hello: A Journal (1978) to Life & Death (1998) and If I were writing this (2003). Robert Creeley, who was involved with the publication of this volume before his death in 2005, helped define an emerging counter-tradition to the prevailing literary establishment-the new postwar poetry originating with Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofsky and expanding through the lives and works of Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and others. The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1975-2005, essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century American poetry, will stand together with The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1975-2000, will be essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century American poetry.

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Creeley Robert  Robert Creeley (1926-2005) published more than sixty books of poetry, prose, essays, and interviews in the United States and abroad. His many honors included the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Distinguished Professor in the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University.

 

 

 

 

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Firefly by Severo Sarduy. Brooklyn. 2013. Archipelago Books. 171 pages.  paperback.  Paperback Original. Translated from the Spanish by Mark Fried.  9781935744641.  

 

9781935744641FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Available for the first time in English, Firefly is Sarduy's most autobiographical work. The story follows the coming-of-age of a precocious and exuberant boy with an oversized head and underdeveloped sense of direction, who views the world as a threatening conspiracy. Told in breathless and lyrical prose, the vel is a loving rendition of a long-lost home, a meditation on exile and an allegory of Cuba's isolation in the world. Firefly responds to the questions of the 'Boom' generation, pushing the conventions of authors like Vargas Llosa or Garcia Marquez.

 

 

 

 

Sarduy Severo  Severo Sarduy (Camagüey, Cuba; February 25, 1937 – Paris; June 8, 1993) was a Cuban poet, author, playwright, and critic of Cuban literature and art. Sarduy went to the equivalent of high school in Camagüey and in 1956 moved to Havana, where he began a study of medicine. With the triumph of the Cuban revolution he collaborated with the Diario libre and Lunes de revolución, pro-marxist papers. In 1960 he traveled to Paris to study at the Ecole du Louvre. There he was connected to the group of intellectuals who produced the magazine Tel Quel, particularly to philosopher François Wahl, with whom he was openly involved. Sarduy worked as a reader for Editions du Seuil and as editor and producer of the Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française. In 1972 his novel COBRA won him the Medici Prize. He was among the most brilliant essayists writing in Spanish and ‘a powerful baroque narrator, full of surprising resources.’ As a poet, he was considered one of the greatest of his time. He was also a more or less secret painter; a major retrospective of his work was held at the Reina Sofía Museum of Madrid after his death. He died due to complications from AIDS just after finishing his autobiographical work Los pájaros de la playa. Along with José Lezama Lima, Virgilio Piñera, and Reinaldo Arenas, Sarduy is one of the most famous Cuban writers of the twentieth century; some of his works deal explicitly with male homosexuality and transvestism.

 

 

 

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The Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R. Delany. New York. 1965. Ace Books. 124 pages.  paperback. Cover by Kelly Freas.  Paperback Original.  

 

ace ballad of beta 2 04722FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Between the distant stars lay terror.  Anthropology student Joneny was sent out on a quest he didn’t want: to find the meaning of the Ballad of Beta-2. For the ballad was the only clue that even hinted at what had happened to spaceship Beta-2’s missing crew of galactic colonists. Joneny’s search for the answer led him on a course of indescribable terror - and to a miraculous understanding.

 

Delany Samuel R  Samuel Ray Delany, Jr., also known as ‘Chip’, is an American author, professor and literary critic. His work includes a number of novels, many in the science fiction genre, as well as memoir, criticism, and essays on sexuality and society. His science fiction novels include BABEL-17, THE EINSTEIN INTERSECTION (winners of the Nebula Award for 1966 and 1967 respectively), NOVA, DHALGREN, and the RETURN TO NEVÈRŸON series. After winning four Nebula awards and two Hugo awards over the course of his career, Delany was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2002. Between 1988 and 1999 he was a professor of comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Between 1999 and 2000 he was a professor of English at SUNY Buffalo. Since January 2001 he has been a professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he is Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program.

 

 

 

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A Stranger In The Village: Two Centuries Of African-American Travel Writing by Farah J. Griffin and Cheryl J. Fish (editors). Boston. 1998. Beacon Press. hardcover. 366 pages.  Jacket design by Sara Eisenman. Jacket photo: Bessie Coleman, first African-American female aviator. 080707120x.

080707120xFROM THE PUBLISHER -

   James Baldwin in Paris, Audre Lorde in the Soviet Union, Langston Hughes in Mexico, Martin Delany in Nigeria, June Jordan in the Bahamans. While much of the black experience in America has been characterized by movement, most attention has been focused on the forced migration of the slave trade and the great migration from the South to northern cities. But there is a rich tradition of writing by African-Americans who have traveled abroad in search of new opportunities, political insight pleasure, and adventure. From sailors to missionaries to leaders of nationalist movement, this unique collection documents a tradition of African-American travel writing throughout two centuries. It includes a nineteenth-century sailor’s account of his amazing adventures to ‘the ends of the world’; a female ‘doctress’ on the Panamanian frontier; the observations of Claude McKay on a newly formed Soviet Union; and Ntozake Shange’s musings from Nicaragua on the power of Motown to overcome boundaries of language and custom. A rich, expansive collection, A STRANGER IN THE VILLAGE offers a new perspective on what it has meant to be a black American.

 

 

Griffin Farah J and Fish Cheryl J

 

Farah J. Griffin, author of WHO SET YOU FLOWIN’?, is assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cheryl J, Fish, author of several articles on women and African-American travelers, is assistant professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY.

 

 

 

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