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(09/26/2014) The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. New York. 1951. Farrar Straus & Young. hardcover. 376 pages. Cover: Stefan Salter. Translated from the Italian by Angus Davidson. keywords: Literature Translated Italy 20th Century.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The Conformist tells an intense story, building from climax to climax. It keeps the reader absorbed in continuous physical and psychological action as it unravels the twists and turns of a man snared in his own destiny. It is the story of the life, loves and fate of Marcello Clerici, a high Fascist official called upon to act as a spy. His iron and bitter desire is to become not a rebel set apart from others, but a conformist in step with the crowd. So strong is his resolve and so sinister his motives that he will embrace any evil in his struggle for conformity. His fiancé says to him, looking at him with a kind of strange curiosity, ‘Most people want to be different from everyone else. but you are just the opposite: anyone would think you wanted to be like everyone else.’ All over the world and in your own community are men who falsely conform, and they are men you will recognize. Moravia has drawn a brilliant and uncompromising portrait of a type he deplores and fears. By far the finest and most important novel Moravia has written, it shows with great skill and without pity the irrational tides that sweep a man through life to shipwreck or to landfall. The character drawing is intricate and persuasive, and the book is remarkable for its many scenes, all precisely selected, that reveal motive through action. Above all, this is a story, fast and absorbing; but whether it is read as a story, as a study of the influence of sex on political behavior or as a commentary on normal life in a totalitarian regime, it is dramatic and unforgettable. Every novel Alberto Moravia has written has been building up to THE CONFORMIST. More dramatic and earthy than THE WOMAN OF ROME, more poignant than Two ADOLESCENTS, and more personal than CONJUGAL LOVE, it is his greatest book, and one of the finest novels to come out of Europe in our time.

 

And there is the Signet edition to consider -

Paperback. 318 pages. November 1953. S1071. Translated from the Italian by Angus Davidson.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The New Novel by the author of Woman of Rome. ‘One of the best writers in the world today.’ – Time. This uncompromising novel of the life, loves and fate of an agent of the Italian Secret Police during the 1930’s is a profound and exciting story on every level. As a melodrama of intrigue, treachery and murder, it ranks with the finest suspense fiction. And as a penetrating portrait of a man whose falseness to his true nature destroys the very security he seeks, it is gripping and revealing. More dramatic and earthy than The Woman of Rome, more poignant than Two Adolescents and more personal than Conjugal Love, The Conformist ranks as a masterpiece. ALBERTO MORAVIA is one of the most brilliant contemporary Italian novelists. He has achieved international fame with his books The Woman of Rome (Signet #5844), Conjugal Love (Signet 922), Two Adolescents (Signet #960) and The Fancy Dress Party. Farrar, Straus & Young publish the original American editions of his novels.
 

Alberto Moravia, born Alberto Pincherle (November 28, 1907 – September 26, 1990) was an Italian novelist and journalist. His novels explored matters of modern sexuality, social alienation, and existentialism. He is best known for his debut novel Gli indifferenti (published in 1929), and for the anti-fascist novel Il Conformista (The Conformist), the basis for the film The Conformist (1970) by Bernardo Bertolucci. Other novels of his translated to the cinema are Il Disprezzo (A Ghost at Noon or Contempt) filmed by Jean-Luc Godard as Le Mépris (Contempt) (1963); La Noia (Boredom), filmed with that title by Damiano Damiani in 1963 and released in the US as The Empty Canvas in 1964; and La Ciociara filmed by Vittorio de Sica as Two Women (1960). Cedric Kahn's L'Ennui (1998) is another version of La Noia. He was an atheist. He once remarked that the most important facts of his life had been his illness, a tubercular infection of the bones that confined him to a bed for five years, and Fascism, because they both caused him to suffer and do things he otherwise would not have done. ‘It is what we are forced to do that forms our character, not what we do of our own free will.’ His writing was marked by its factual, cold , precise style, often depicting the malaise of the bourgeoisie, and was rooted in the tradition of nineteenth-century narrative, underpinned by high social and cultural awareness. In his world, where inherited social, religious and moral beliefs are no longer acceptable, he considered sex and money the only basic criteria for judging social and human reality. Moravia believed that writers must, if they were to be successful in representing reality, ‘assume a moral position, a clearly conceived political, social, and philosophical attitude’ but also that, ultimately, - ‘A writer survives in spite of his beliefs.’ Between 1959 and 1962 Moravia was President of the worldwide association of writers, PEN International.

 

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(09/24/2014) Stephen Hero by James Joyce. New York. 1944. New Directions. hardcover. 234 pages. Frontispiece portrait by Augustus John. Edited from the manuscript in the Harvard College Library, and introduction and editorial note, by Theodore Spencer. keywords: Literature Ireland Joyce Ireland Literature.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   STEPHEN HERO is an early version of Joyce’s PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, probably completed about 1906. It is said that when the manuscript came back to Joyce after rejection by the twentieth publisher, he threw it into the fire, from which his wife was able to rescue only a portion. The 383 pages which first came to light were edited by the late Theodore Spencer and published by New Directions in 1944 through the courtesy of the Harvard College Library; they gave a long, connected section of the original – a sequence complete in itself. The first printing was immediately exhausted and a second, very large one lasted only several years. When twenty-five additional manuscript pages, forming a complete short incident, were found, New Directions held up reprinting so that they could be included. Edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon, the Joyce bibliographers, who also contribute an interesting foreword, the new section is here printed with the permission of the Yale University Library. It throws new light on Joyce’s attitudes and, like the rest, makes excellent reading in itself. STEPHEN HERO differs extensively from the published text of PORTRAIT both in content and it treatment; it includes many characters and incidents later cut for the sake of compression. It is more an autobiography of Joyce and less an objectivized novel. As such it throws valuable light on the development of his extraordinary genius. As a human document it is profoundly moving – the candid story of a sensitive and brilliant young Irishman’s struggle against conventions of the Dublin of his day. The new incident, which precedes the earlier published sequence in time, takes this young Irishman into cities of central Ireland, which Joyce nowhere else describes, and shows them and persons he met there with flashing insight and vividness. The main manuscript rebegins shortly after Stephen (Joyce) enters the national University, and breaks off just as his emancipation from all that the University implies reaches a kind of climax. The love interest, only briefly sketched in PORTRAIT, is developed at some length in STEPHEN HERO, and also there is much detailed material about Joyce’s family background. Perhaps because Joyce was instinctively so superb a literary craftsman, the writing of STEPHEN HERO gives little indication of being a first draft. Passage after passage offer memorable examples of his pure and powerful prose style. His wit and irony are a continual delight, particularly in Stephen’s conversations which are very fully reproduced, and in his satiric comments on people and their ideas. In addition to the new foreword which ties the new manuscript to the one originally published, Professor Spencer’s long introductory essay is reprinted. It tells the history of the manuscript, compares its structure and technique with that of the final version, analyzes its principal themes and underscores its special literary values. The volume contains relevant illustrations.

And then, there is the 1955 New Directions edition - hardcover. 251 pages.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   STEPHEN HERO is an early version of Joyce’s PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, probably completed about 1906. It is said that when the manuscript came back to Joyce after rejection by the twentieth publisher, he threw it into the fire, from which his wife was able to rescue only a portion. The 383 pages which first came to light were edited by the late Theodore Spencer and published by New Directions in 1944 through the courtesy of the Harvard College Library; they gave a long, connected section of the original – a sequence complete in itself. The first printing was immediately exhausted and a second, very large one lasted only several years. When twenty-five additional manuscript pages, forming a complete short incident, were found, New Directions held up reprinting so that they could be included. Edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon, the Joyce bibliographers, who also contribute an interesting foreword, the new section is here printed with the permission of the Yale University Library. It throws new light on Joyce’s attitudes and, like the rest, makes excellent reading in itself. STEPHEN HERO differs extensively from the published text of PORTRAIT both in content and it treatment; it includes many characters and incidents later cut for the sake of compression. It is more an autobiography of Joyce and less an objectivized novel. As such it throws valuable light on the development of his extraordinary genius. As a human document it is profoundly moving – the candid story of a sensitive and brilliant young Irishman’s struggle against conventions of the Dublin of his day. The new incident, which precedes the earlier published sequence in time, takes this young Irishman into cities of central Ireland, which Joyce nowhere else describes, and shows them and persons he met there with flashing insight and vividness. The main manuscript rebegins shortly after Stephen (Joyce) enters the national University, and breaks off just as his emancipation from all that the University implies reaches a kind of climax. The love interest, only briefly sketched in PORTRAIT, is developed at some length in STEPHEN HERO, and also there is much detailed material about Joyce’s family background. Perhaps because Joyce was instinctively so superb a literary craftsman, the writing of STEPHEN HERO gives little indication of being a first draft. Passage after passage offer memorable examples of his pure and powerful prose style. His wit and irony are a continual delight, particularly in Stephen’s conversations which are very fully reproduced, and in his satiric comments on people and their ideas. In addition to the new foreword which ties the new manuscript to the one originally published, Professor Spencer’s long introductory essay is reprinted. It tells the history of the manuscript, compares its structure and technique with that of the final version, analyzes its principal themes and underscores its special literary values. The volume contains relevant illustrations. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family that experienced increasing financial difficulties during his childhood. After attending Clongowes Wood College and Belevedere College (both Jesuit institutions) in Dublin, he entered the Royal University, where he studied languages and philosophy. Upon his graduation, in 1902, Joyce left Ireland for France but returned the following year because his mother was dying. In 1904 he met Nora Barnacle (they fell in love on June 16, ‘Bloomsday’), and in October of that year they went together to Europe, settling in Trieste. In 1909 and again in 1912 Joyce made unsuccessful attempts to publish Dubliners, a collection of fifteen stories that he intended to be ‘a chapter of the moral history of my country focused on Dublin, ‘the centre of paralysis.’ In 1914 Dubliners finally appeared, followed by the semiautobiographical novel A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, a reworking of an earlier manuscript, STEPHEN HERO. During the First World War Joyce and Nora lived in Zurich; in 1920 they moved to Paris, where Ulysses was published in 1922. FINNEGANS WAKE, Joyce’s most radical and complex work, began appearing in installments in 1928 and was published in its entirety in 1939. After the German occupation of Paris, Joyce and Nora (who were married in 1931) moved to Zurich, where he died in January. His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, ‘For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.’

 

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

 

 

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(09/23/2014) The Years Of Bloom: James Joyce In Trieste, 1904-1920 by John McCourt. Madison. 2000. University Of Wisconsin Press. hardcover. 306 pages. Jacket by Graham Thew Design. Front photograph (Joyce in Trieste, 1920) courtesy Vivien Igoe. Back photograph courtesy Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte, Trieste. keywords: James Joyce Trieste Biography Literature. 0299169804.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Since the publication of Richard Ellmann’s JAMES JOYCE in 1959, Joyce has received remarkably little biographical attention. THE YEARS OF BLOOM, based on extensive scrutiny of previously unused sources and informed by the author’s intimate knowledge of the culture and dialect of Trieste, is possibly the most important work of Joyce biography since Ellmann, recreating this fertile period in Joyce’s life with an extraordinary richness of detail and depth of understanding. In Trieste, Joyce wrote most of the stories in DUBLINERS, turned Stephen Hero into A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, and began ULYSSES. Echoes and influences of Trieste are rife throughout ULYSSES and FINNEGANS WAKE. Though Trieste had become a sleepy backwater by the time Ellmann visited there in the 1950s, McCourt shows that in the waning years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the city was a teeming imperial port, intensely cosmopolitan and polyglot. There Joyce experienced the various cultures of central Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. He knew many Jews, who collectively provided much of the material for the character of Leopold Bloom. He encountered continental socialism, Italian irredentism, Futurism, and various other political and artistic movements whose subtle influences McCourt traces with literary grace and scholarly rigour. THE YEARS OF BLOOM, a rare landmark in the crowded terrain of Joyce studies, will instantly take its place as a standard work.

John McCourt was born in Dublin in 1965 and educated at Belvedere College and University College Dublin. Since 1991 he has lived in Trieste, where he teaches at the University of Trieste and where he founded and directs the annual Trieste Joyce School. He is the author of JAMES JOYCE: A PASSIONATE EXILE (an illustrated biography), DUBLINERS: A GUIDE TO TEXT ANALYSIS, and, with Renzo Crivelli, JOYCE IN SVEVO’S GARDEN.

 

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(09/16/2014) The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives by Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev. New Haven. 1999. Yale University Press. 366 pages. hardcover. 0300078064. Jacket illustration by John MacDonald. keywords: Espionage England Russia KGB History

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This lively account of Soviet intelligence activity in Great Britain from the close of World War I to the late 1950s is based on newly released documents from KGB archives-documents so highly valued they were dubbed the 'crown jewels.' Adding richly to our understanding of Soviet intelligence, this book offers new insights into the activities of infamous British pro-Soviet spies as well as lesser-known spymasters and recruiters.

 

 

 

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(09/17/2014) The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. New York. 1999. Basic Books. 700 pages. hardcover. 0465003109. Jacket design by Michael Accordino. keywords: KGB History Espionage

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The Sword and the Shield is based on one of the most extraordinary intelligence coups of recent times: a secret archive of top-level KGB documents smuggled out of the Soviet Union which the FBI has described, after close examination, as the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source. Its presence in the West represents a catastrophic hemorrhage of the KGB’s secrets and reveals for the first time the full extent of its worldwide network. Vasili Mitrokhin, a secret dissident who worked in the KGB archive, smuggled out copies of its most highly classified files every day for twelve years. In 1992, a U.S. ally succeeded in exfiltrating the KGB officer and his entire archive out of Moscow. The archive covers the entire period from the Bolshevik Revolution to the 1980s and includes revelations concerning almost every country in the world. But the KGB's main target, of course, was the United States. Though there is top-secret material on almost every country in the world, the United States is at the top of the list. As well as containing many fascinating revelations, this is a major contribution to the secret history of the twentieth century. Among the topics and revelations explored are: The KGB’s covert operations in the United States and throughout the West, some of which remain dangerous today. KGB files on Oswald and the JFK assassination that Boris Yeltsin almost certainly has no intention of showing President Clinton. The KGB’s attempts to discredit civil rights leader in the 1960s, including its infiltration of the inner circle of a key leader. The KGB’s use of radio intercept posts in New York and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s to intercept high-level U.S. government communications. The KGB’s attempts to steal technological secrets from major U.S. aerospace and technology corporations. KGB covert operations against former President Ronald Reagan, which began five years before he became president. KGB spies who successfully posed as U.S. citizens under a series of ingenious disguises, including several who attained access to the upper echelons of New York society. 

Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and Chair of the Faculty of History at Cambridge University.

 

 

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(09/18/2014) Bad Blood: A Crime Novel by Arne Dahl. New York. 2013. Pantheon. hardcover. 345 pages. August 2013. Jacket photograph by Santiago Carrasquilla. Jacket design by Pablo Delcan. Translated from the Swedeish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. keywords: Mystery Sweden Literature Translated. 9780375425363.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In Arne Dahl’s riveting follow-up to Misterioso, the Intercrime team is assigned the task of tracking down an American serial killer on the loose in Sweden—quietly, and as quickly as possible. When a Swedish literary critic is found tortured to death in a janitor’s closet at Newark International Airport, the police realize that the murderer made off with the victim’s ticket and boarded a flight to Stockholm. Swedish authorities are placed on high alert, but the killer manages to slip through the customs dragnet and vanishes into the night. With no clear motive in sight, Detectives Paul Hjelm and Kerstin Holm of Intercrime’s A-Unit take over the investigation. They learn that the method of torture used was not only a highly specialized means of extracting information secretly developed during the Vietnam War—allowing the victim to whisper, but not to scream—but also that it was the modus operandi of an allegedly deceased homicidal maniac known only as the Kentucky Killer. As additional victims are discovered on the outskirts of Stockholm and the terror grows, the team finds itself coming up empty-handed. Hjelm and Holm fly to New York, hoping to discover both the killer’s identity and the source of his interest in Sweden. What they quickly learn, searching through the past, is that bad blood always comes back around.

Arne Dahl is an award-winning crime novelist and literary critic. He lives in Sweden.

 

 

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(09/19/2014) Emergency Poems by Nicanor Parra. New York. 1972. New Directions. hardcover. 154 pages. Cover: Gertrude Huston. Bilingual. Translated from the Spanish by Miller Williams. keywords: Literature Translated Poetry Chile Latin America.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   EMERGENCY POEMS is the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra’s second bilingual collection published by New Directions. The spare, often grim irony of the first, Poems and Antipoems (1967) - a wide selection gleaned from his four earliest books - established his reputation with a North American reading public used to the more formal language of conventional Spanish-speaking poets. Since then he has traveled extensively in this country, teaching, lecturing, and reading from his own work; while in Chile he received the 1969 Premio Nacional de Literatura (National Literary Prize) for his Obra Gruesa, from which many of the pieces in EMERGENCY POEMS are drawn. In his introduction to this latest collection, Miller ‘Williams, the translator, comments that Parra’s ‘poetry has moved and expanded as the imagination behind it has since the publication of POEMS AND ANTIPOEMS. Those who are familiar with Parra’s work will find the humor more sharply honed and darker, the anger closer to the surface and sometimes breaking through, the language tighter, the compassion deeper and the statements more political-or anyway more social.'

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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(09/20/2014) The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Toronto. 1999. Broadview Press. 720 pages. paperback. 1551112434. Cover: Photo by William Notman, 1867. Edited by Steve Farmer. keywords: Literature Mystery England 19th Century

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘This superbly edited and richly documented edition of what T.S. Eliot described as ‘the first and greatest of English detective novels’ is the definitive and indispensable edition of The Moonstone.’ William Baker, Professor of English, Northern Illinois University. ‘The Moonstone, one of Wilkie Collins’s most popular and successful novels, has never been out of print since its first publication in 1868. Is another edition needed? The answer, in the case of Professor Farmer’s scholarly and impeccably edited text, must be a resounding yes. Invaluable for his survey of past and present reactions to the story, and for his own insights, the edition also includes historical and background material and a well-chosen collection of relevant contemporary documents — always an important feature of Broadview Literary Texts. This Moonstone will surely prove another winner for Broadview’s list.’ Catherine Peters, author of The King of Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. Intrigue, investigations, thievery, drugs and murder all make an appearance in Wilkie Collins’s classic who-done-it, The Moonstone. Published in serial form in 1868, it was inspired in part by a spectacular murder case widely reported in the early 1860s. Collins’s story revolves around a diamond stolen from a Hindu holy place. On her eighteenth birthday, Rachel Verinder receives the diamond, but by the following morning the stone has been stolen again. As the story unravels through multiple eyewitness accounts, the elderly Sergeant Cuff — with a face ‘sharp as a hatchet’ — looks for the culprit. One of Collins’s best-loved novels, with an exciting plot moved along by deftly-drawn characters and elegant pacing, The Moonstone was also turned into a play by Collins; the play appears as an appendix to this edition.

William Wilkie Collins, the eldest son of the lands cape painter William Collins, was born in London in 1824. After private education at Highbury he spent three years with his parents in Italy, and in 1841 was articled by his father to a London firm of tea traders. He secretly wrote a novel (published later as Antonino) using all the local information he had acquired in Rome. This pleased his father so much that Wilkie Collins was liberated from the tea warehouse and entered at Lincoln’s Inn, being called to the bar in 1851. Before this, however, his father died, and in 1848 Wilkie Collins first appeared in print as his biographer. 1851 was the year in which he met Charles Dickens, and from this time may be dated his vocation to letters as a profession. He contributed to Household Words and Dickens’ other periodicals; The Woman in White, which was a tremendous success when published in book form in 1860, was previously serialized by Dickens. It was this book which made him famous as one of the first English writers of detective fiction. As well as this novel and The Moonstone (1868), his best known books are The Queen of Hearts (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866), and The Black Robe (1881). He died in 1889. Steve Farmer, of the Department of English at Arizona State University, has also edited Collins’s Heart and Science for this series.

 

 

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(09/21/2014) Writers from the Other Europe - Boxed Set by Philip Roth (general editor). New York. 1980. Penguin Books. Includes: THIS WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER by Tadeusz Borowski (Introduction by Jan Kott), A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH by Danilo Kis (Introduction by Joseph Brodsky), LAUGHABLE LOVES by Milan Kundera (Introduction by Philip Roth), and SANATORIUM UNDER THE SIGN OF THE HOURGLASS by Bruno Schulz (Introduction by John Updike). keywords: Literature Eastern Europe Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia Hungary.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  

 

LAUGHABLE LOVES by Milan Kundera - Here are seven dazzling stories of sexual comedy by Czechoslovakia’s foremost contemporary writer. Praised by literary figures as diverse as Jean-Paul Sartre, Louis Aragon, and Philip Roth, Milan Kundera is master of graceful illusion and illuminating surprise. In one of these tales a young man and his girl pretend that she is a stranger he picked up on a road. only to become strangers to each other in reality as their game proceeds. In another, a teacher fakes piety in order to seduce a devout girl, then jilts her and yearns for God. In yet another, girls wait in bars, on beaches, and on station platforms for the same lover, a middle-aged Don Juan gone home to his wife. Games, fantasies, and schemes abound in all of the stories while different characters react in varying ways to the sudden release of erotic impulses. As one critic has noted, Kundera’s stories are dances. experienced by Chekhov. X-rayed by Freud.’ ‘What is so often laughable, in the stories of Kundera’s Czechoslovakia, is how grimly serious just about everything turns out to be, jokes and games and pleasure included; what’s laughable is how terribly little there is to laugh at with any joy.’ - From the Introduction by Philip Roth. Cover design by Neil Stuart. Cover photograph by Bill Longcore.

A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH by Danilo Kis - ‘From the outside the storm [in Yugoslavia] over A Tomb for Boris Davidovich seems all the more peculiar because this book has literally nothing to do with Yugoslavia and its internal situation. None of its characters are Yugoslav: They are Poles, Russians, Rumanians, Irish, Hungarians; most of them are of Jewish origin. None of them ever set foot in Yugoslavia. Basically, A Tomb for Boris Davidovich is an abbreviated fictionalized account of the self-destruction of that berserk Trojan horse called Comintern. The only thing that its passengers—the heroes of Danilo Kis’s novel—have in common with this small country is the ideology that this country professes today and in the name of which they were murdered yesterday. Apparently, that was enough to infuriate the faithful.’ - From the Introduction by Joseph Brodsky. ‘A Tomb for Boris Davidovich bears traces of Orwell’s 1984 and Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, but it has its own special flair, particularly since it comes to us from someone who is there, on the other side.’ - The New Leader. ‘It’s an absolutely first-rate book, one of the best things I’ve ever seen on the whole experience of communism in Eastern Europe, but more than that, it’s really a first-rate novel.’ – Irving Howe. Cover design by Neil Stuart.

SANATORIUM UNDER THE SIGN OF THE HOURGLASS by Bruno Schulz - ‘Schulz was one of the great writers. [His] verbal art strikes us—stuns us, even—with its overload of beauty. Schulz himself was a hidden man, in an obscure Galician town, born to testify to the paradoxical richness, amid poverty of circumstance, of our inner lives.’ - John Updike. In this brilliant, intensely illuminated book Bruno Schulz evokes a glorious, throbbing world through a magical combination of personal myth, fantasy, and highly sensual language. With an Introduction by John Updike written especially for this edition, Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass is the final work of the Polish writer who was killed by the Nazis during World War II. An earlier volume of his stories, The Street of Crocodiles, is also published in Penguin’s Writers from the Other Europe Series. ‘One of the most original imaginations in modern Europe.’ - Cynthia Ozick. ‘If Schulz had been allowed to live out his life, he might have given us untold treasures, but what he did in his short life was enough to make him one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived.’ - Isaac Bashevis Singer. Cover design by Neil Stuart. Cover illustration by Bruno Schulz.

THIS WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER by Tadeusz Borowski - Published in Poland after World War II, Tadeusz Borowski’s concentration-camp stories show atrocious crimes becoming an unremarkable part of a daily routine. Prisoners eat, work, sleep, and fall in love a few yards from where other prisoners are systematically slaughtered. The will to survive overrides compassion, and the line between the normal and the abnormal wavers, then vanishes. At Auschwitz an athletic field and a brothel flank the crematoriums. Himself a concentration-camp victim, Borowski understood what human beings will do to endure the unendurable. As one critic observed: ‘Borowski looks at the concentration camp as if it were first of-all a community of men and women, governed by unalterable instincts and formed by necessary habits. The constant need for human contact—in the persecutors as well as in the condemned—the clinging to ridiculous hopes and useless possessions; and at the same time the grotesque corruptions that become accepted as the consequence of the gift for survival. These terse descriptions, almost anecdotal in form, become an oblique commentary on the negotiations we conduct daily in our own, civilized ways.’ Cover design by Neil Stuart. Cover illustration by Christophe Davis.
 

 

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(09/11/2014) Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn. Boston. 2014. David R. Godine. 181 pages. hardcover. 9781567925111. keywords: Craft

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The good life that society prescribes -- the untrammeled pursuit of wealth and fame, leisure and consumption -- often leaves some essential part of us malnourished. We may be capable, competent individuals yet find ourselves starved for avenues of engagement that provide more satisfying sustenance. Furniture making, practiced as a craft in the twenty-first century, is a decidedly marginal occupation. Yet the view from the periphery can be illuminating. For woodworker Peter Korn, the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one's own volition -- whether in the arts, the kitchen, or the marketplace -- is exactly what generates the authenticity, meaning, and fulfillment for which many of us yearn. In this moving account, Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution. This is not a 'how-to' book in any sense. Korn wants to get at the why of craft in particular, and the satisfactions of creative work in general, to understand their essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing book. 'Peter Korn writes that his work as a furniture-maker tries to accomplish three goals: integrity, simplicity, and grace. Fortunately, these qualities are also what distinguish his writing. In this book, he gives the reader an almost tangible sense of what it takes to be a creative craftsman, a homo faber, a maker of things, which is one of the central elements of the human condition. But he does much more than that: he explores what the search for self and for belonging entails in our rapidly changing times.' --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 'Peter Korn's brilliant new book resonates with me as a visual artist in a profound way. I share his passion for craft and admire his ability to take a plank of wood and fashion anything he sets his mind to. Throughout the centuries, furniture makers and painters have shared a set of belief systems centered on craft. The pleasure and calm that I get as a painter fashioning a complicated work from colored dirt on canvas is, I believe, the same pleasure and peace that Peter Korn and his students get as craftsmen.' --Chuck Close.

 

 

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(09/12/2014) The Bat: The First Harry Hole Thriller by Jo Nesbø. London. 2012. Harvill Secker. 374 pages. paperback. 9781846556005. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. keywords: Mystery Norway Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The first Inspector Harry Hole novel. Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.

Jo Nesbø’s books, translated into forty-seven languages, have sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide. His previous Harry Hole novels include THE REDBREAST, NEMESIS, THE DEVIL’S STAR THE SNOWMAN, and THE LEOPARD, and he is the author of HEADHUNTERS and several children’s books. He has received the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel. He is also a musician, songwriter, and economist and lives in Oslo.

 

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(09/13/2014) Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports by S. L. Price. Gainesville. 2014. University Press of Florida. 288 pages. paperback. 9780813049687. keywords: Baseball Cuba

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In an artful pastiche of observation, personal narrative, interviews, and investigative reporting, S.L. Price, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, describes sports and athletes in today's Cuba. On his journeys to the island, Price finds a country that celebrates sports like no other and a regime that uses games as both symbol and weapon in its dying revolution. He finds Olympic and world champion boxers, track stars, volleyball and baseball players, but he also finds that with Castro's revolution staggering beneath the weight of a great depression, Cuba's famed sports system is imploding. Athletes are defecting by plane and raft. Superstars bike to games and legends like boxer Teofilo Stevenson are forced to lost themselves in a bottle of rum. Beyond an examination of sports in the hothouse of revolution, Pitching Around Fidel presents a vibrant and realistic portrait of Cuba today, complete with sex-happy tourists, blackouts, Fidel's famous former lover, and a black-power fugitive wanted in the U.S. for murder and hijacking. At once a biting travelogue and a meditation on sports in both America and Cuba, Pitching Around Fidel is a valuable document about a time and place that is close to fading away. 'Fascinating.'--Chicago Tribune. 'Unprecedented. Astonishing.'--Miami Herald. 'A rarity: a balanced, compassionate, intimate journal of Cuba's slow, agonizing decay.'--Sports Illustrated. 'Price describes a lovely, proud, impoverished people caught in [a] repressive system that destroys thousands as it celebrates a handful.'--Kirkus 'Takes the wider view, poking its nose into the politics and culture of Cuba every few pages. Price has an easy, lyrical style that elevates his work beyond the usual sports fare.'--Business Week. 'Fascinating, sometimes hilarious, often heart-wrenching.'--Philadelphia Inquirer. 'Easily the most engaging book on Cuban sports--if not Cuba--published in many years.'--Baseball America. 'Offers a rare and provocative tour of the world's most remarkable sports culture. It's an unforgettable story of supremely gifted athletes, the utter madness of politics, and the scent of big money across the sea.'--Carl Hiaasen. 'Price is one of the finest writers on sports anywhere.'--USA Today.

 

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(09/14/2014) Tiny Game Hunting: Environmentally Healthy Ways to Trap and Kill the Pests in Your House and Garden New Edition by Hilary Dole Klein and Adrian M. Wenner. Berkeley. 2001. University of California Press. 268 pages. paperback. 9780520221079. Line drawings by Courtlandt Johnson. keywords: Pests Ecology

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Every year Americans use a staggering five hundred million pounds of toxic pesticides in and around their homes, schools, parks, and roads-a growing health risk for people and the environment. But are these poisons really necessary? This book, appealing to the hunter in us all, shows how to triumph in combat with pests without losing the war to toxic chemicals. Tiny Game Hunting, written in a lively and entertaining style and illustrated with detailed drawings, gives more than two hundred tried-and-true ways to control or kill common household and garden pests without using toxic pesticides.

 

 

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(09/15/2014) Route 66: A Road to America's Landscape, History, and Culture (Plains Histories) by Markku Henriksson. Lubbock. 2014. Texas Tech University Press. 269 pages. paperback. 9780896728257. Cover design by Ashley Beck. Foreword by Susan A. Miller. Plains Histories. keywords: Highways America History Transportation Route 66

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Markku Henriksson was growing up in Finland, the song '(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66' was one of only two he could recognize--in English or Finnish. It was not until 1989 that Henriksson would catch his first glimpse of the legendary highway. It was enough to lure Henriksson four years later to the second international Route 66 festival in Flagstaff. There he realized that Route 66 was the perfect basis for a multidisciplinary American Studies course, one that he has been teaching at the University of Helsinki ever since. Forming the soul of this work--and yielding a more holistic and complex picture than any previous study--are Henriksson's 1996 (east to west) and 2002 (west to east) journeys along the full length of the Route and his mastery of the literature and film that illuminate the Route's place in Americana. Not a history of the road itself and the towns along the way, Henriksson's perspective offers insight into America and its culture as revealed in its peoples, their histories, cultures, and music as displayed along the Mother Road. Editorial Reviews Review Route 66 is a love letter to America's Main Street. For all its historical and cultural context, this is, ultimately, a Finn's celebration of that fantasy of the American Road. --Susan A. Miller, from the foreword.

McDonnell Douglass Chair of American Studies at the University of Helsinki, Markku Henriksson has lectured on Route 66 in Estonia, Sweden, and Canada, as well as Finland and the United States.

 

 

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(09/08/2014) Hermann Hesse's Fictions of the Self: Autobiography and the Confessional Imagination by Eugene L. Stelzig. Princeton. 1988. Princeton University Press. 346 pages. hardcover. 0691067503. keywords: Literary Critism Hermann Hesse Germany Literature

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This masterful synthesis of criticism and biography surveys all of Hermann Hesse's major works and many of his minor ones in relation to the intricate psychological design of his entire life history. Eugene Stelzig examines what it means to be an ‘autobiographical writer’ by considering Hesse's fictions of the self as an exemplary instance of the relationship between life and art and between biography and autobiography. In a graceful and inviting style, he frees this major confessional writer from the confines of German culture and the status of ‘cult figure’ of the 1960s, and situates him in the tradition of world literature and in a variety of literary, psychological, philosophical, and religious contexts. Three introductory chapters on autobiography and Hesse set the stage for a chronological study. Then follows a penetrating analysis of the balance between biographical fact and confessional fantasy in Hesse's long career, from the failed autobiography of his first literary success, Beneath the Wheel, through the protracted midlife crisis of the grotesque Steppenwolf period, to the visionary autobiography of his magisterial fictional finale, The Glass Bead Game.

 

 

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(09/07/2014) Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus. Brooklyn. 2013. Archipelago Books. 245 pages. paperback. 9781935744887. Cover design by David Bullin. Selected and translated from the Dutch by David Colmer. With an afterword by Cees Nooteboom. keywords: Poetry Literature Dutch The Netherlands Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Beautifully translated from the Dutch by David Colmer, the IMPAC Award-winning translator of Gerbrand Bakker's The Twin, Hugo Claus's poems are remarkable for their dexterity, intensity of feeling, and acute intelligence. From the richly associative and referential 'Oostakker Poems' to the emotional and erotic outpouring of the 'mad dog stanzas' in 'Morning, You,' from his interpretations of Shakespeare's sonnets to a modern adaptation of a Sanskrit masterpiece, this volume reveals the breadth and depth of Claus's stunning output. Perhaps Belgium's leading figure of postwar Dutch literature, Claus has long been associated with the avant-garde: these poems challenge conventional bourgeois mores, religious bigotry, and authoritarianism with visceral passion. The prose, poetry, and paintings of Hugo Claus (1929-2008) were as influential as they were groundbreaking. His novels include Wonder (Archipelago Books), The Sorrow of Belgium, his magnum opus of postwar Europe, as well as Desire, The Swordfish, Mild Destruction, Rumors, and The Duck Hunt. In addition to his writing, he was a painter, playwright, and director. Claus was the recipient of seven state prizes in Belgium, the Prize for Dutch Literature, and the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding for his body of work.

 

 

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(09/05/2014) Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art by Jordana Moore Saggese. Berkeley. 2014. University of California Press. 222 pages. hardcover. 9780520276246. Cover design by Sandy Drooker. keywords: Art Basquiat America

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Before his death at the age of twenty-seven, Jean-Michel Basquiat completed nearly 2,000 works. These unique compositions-collages of text and gestural painting across a variety of media-quickly made Basquiat one of the most important and widely known artists of the 1980s. Reading Basquiat provides a new approach to understanding the range and impact of this artist's practice, as well as its complex relationship to several key artistic and ideological debates of the late twentieth century, including the instability of identity, the role of appropriation, and the boundaries of expressionism. Jordana Moore Saggese argues that Basquiat, once known as ?the black Picasso,' probes not only the boundaries of blackness but also the boundaries of American art. Weaving together the artist's interests in painting, writing, and music, this groundbreaking book expands the parameters of aesthetic discourse to consider the parallels Basquiat found among these disciplines in his exploration of the production of meaning. Most important, Reading Basquiat traces the ways in which Basquiat constructed large parts of his identity-as a black man, as a musician, as a painter, and as a writer-via the manipulation of texts in his own library. 'A brilliant book and a great read. At long last, a deeply researched text on Basquiat's project.' -Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 'Challenging prevailing assumptions about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Saggese argues that Basquiat's practice was as much conceptual as expressive. Reading Basquiat turns the focus from the artist's lifestyle to his work and the ways in which his approach to appropriation and improvisation addressed the artistic discourse of the 1980s. With this book, Saggese changes the conversation about Basquiat and African Americans' participation in contemporary art.' -John P. Bowles, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jordana Moore Saggese is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art in the Visual Studies Program at California College of the Arts.

 

 

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(09/04/2014) The Lizard's Tale by Jose Donoso. Evanston. 2011. Northwestern University Press. 205 pages. hardcover. 9780810127029. Jacket design by Marianne Jankowski. Translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine. Edited by Julio Ortega. keywords: Literature Chile Latin America Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Winner of 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation. José Donoso was the leading Chilean representative of the Latin American ‘Boom’ of the sixties and seventies that included Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Manuel Puig, among others. Written as a draft in 1973, set aside, and forgotten, The Lizard’s Tale was discovered among Donoso’s papers at Princeton University by his daughter after his death. Edited for publication by critic and poet Julio Ortega, it was published posthumously in Spanish under the title Lagartija sin cola in 2007. Suzanne Jill Levine, who knew Donoso and translated two of his earlier works, brings the book to an English-language audience for the first time. Defeated and hiding in his Barcelona apartment, painter Antonio Muñoz-Roa—clearly Donoso’s alter ego—relates the story of his flight with Luisa, his cousin, lover, and benefactor, after his scandalous desertion from the ‘Informalist’ movement (a witty reference to a contemporary Spanish art movement and possibly an allusion to the Boom as well), in which he had been a member of a certain standing. Frustrated, old, and alone, the artist looks back on his years in the small town of Dors, a place he unsuccessfully tried to rescue from the crushing advance of modernity, and on the decline of his own family, also threatened by the changing times. In Levine’s able hands, Donoso’s clear prose shines through, forming a compact, powerful, and still-relevant meditation on the commercialization of art and the very places we inhabit.

 

 

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(08/27/2014) Hauptmann's Ladder: A Step-by-Step Analysis of the Lindbergh Kidnapping by Richard T. Cahill Jr.. Kent. 2014. Kent State University Press. 402 pages. paperback. 9781606351932. Cover image courtesy of the New Jersey State Police Museum. True Crime History (Kent State). keywords: Crime America Lindbergh Kidnapping

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1936, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. Almost all of America believed Hauptmann guilty; only a few magazines and tabloids published articles questioning his conviction. In the ensuing decades, many books about the Lindbergh case have been published. Some have declared Hauptmann the victim of a police conspiracy and frame-up, and one posited that Lindbergh actually killed his own son and fabricated the entire kidnapping to mask the deed. Because books about the crime have been used as a means to advance personal theories, the truth has often been sacrificed and readers misinformed. Hauptmann's Ladder is a testament to the truth that counters the revisionist histories all too common in the true crime genre. Author Richard T. Cahill Jr. puts the true back in true crime, providing credible information and undistorted evidence that enables readers to form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions. Cahill presents conclusions based upon facts and documentary evidence uncovered in his twenty years of research. Using primary sources and painstakingly presenting a chronological reconstruction of the crime and its aftermath, he debunks false claims and explodes outrageous theories, while presenting evidence that has never before been revealed. Hauptmann's Ladder is a meticulously researched examination of the Lindbergh kidnapping that restores and preserves the truth of the crime of the century.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. received a B.A. in history and political science from Mount Saint Mary College and a J.D. from Albany Law School. His professional experience includes clerking for a criminal court judge, serving as both an assistant district attorney and a criminal defense attorney, and practicing civil law.

 

 

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(09/01/2014) 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. New York. 2008. Farrar Straus Giroux. 898 pages. hardcover. 9780374100148. Jacket art - Gustave Moreau, 'Jupiter and Semele', oil on canvas. Jacket design by Charlotte Strick. Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. Keywords: Literature Chile Latin America South America Translated.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño’s life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa - a fictional Juárez - on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.

 

 

 

   Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed ‘by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time’ (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times),’ and as ‘the real thing and the rarest’ (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela Award and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50.

 

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(08/29/2014) Murder on the Thirty-First Floor by Per Wahlöö. London. 2012. Vintage Books. 215 pages. paperback. 9780099554769. Cover photograph: ER Productions/Corbis. Translated from the Swedish by Sara Death. keywords: Mystery Translated Sweden Scandinavia

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Chief Inspector Jensen investigates a bomb threat made to the nation's publishing conglomerate, supposedly in retaliation for a murder. 

Per Wahlöö (1926-1975) was a Swedish writer and journalist, who published with his wife Maj Sjöwall the widely translated series novels of Martin Beck and his colleagues at the Central Bureau of Investigation in Stockholm. Its style has been described as ‘reportal. spare, disciplined and full of sharply observed detail. .’ The critic and awarded mystery writer H.R.F. Keating selected Roseanna (1965) in 1987 for his list of the one hundred best crime novels. Several of the books have also been adapted into screen. Per Wahlöö was born in Göteborg, the son of Waldemar and Karin (Svensson) Wahlöö. After graduating from the University of Lund in 1946, he worked as a journalist, covering criminal and social issues for a number of newspapers and magazines. In the 1950s Wahlöö was engaged in radical political causes, activities that resulted in his deportation from Franco's Spain in 1957. Before becoming a full-time writer, he wrote a number of television and radio plays, and was managing editor of several magazines. As a novelist Wahlöö made his debut with HIMMELSGETEN (1959), which was followed by others dealing with abuses of power and the dark side of the society. Wahlöö's science fiction thrillers include MORD PÅ 31 (1965, THE THIRTY-FIRST FLOOR), which was filmed as Kamikaze in 1989, starring the director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in his final screen role. The story was set in a futuristic Germany. STÄLSPRANGET (1968, STEEP SPRING) depicted a deadly plague in Sweden. The protagonist in both novels was Chief Inspector Jensen. GENERALERNA (1965), a trial novel set in a military state, reflected Wahlöö's views on dictatorship. LASTBILEN (1962) was published in the United States as A NECESSARY ACTION and in Britain as THE LORRY. UPPDRAGET (1963), set in a Latin American country, gained an international success. It was translated into English under the title The Assignment. In 1961 Wahlöö met Maj Sjöwall when they were working for magazines published by the same company. At that time Wahlöö was married, Sjöwall was a single parent of a daughter. They became lovers and married. The carefully planned crime novel series was created in the evenings, after their children had been put to bed. Starting from ROSEANNA (1965), their project ended ten years and ten books later with TERRORISTERNA (1975). According to Wahlöö, their intention was to ‘use the crime novel as a scalpel cutting open the belly of the ideological pauperized and morally debatable so-called welfare state of the bourgeois type.’ The narrative focused on realistic police routine and teamwork – rather the deductive leaps of a Hercule Poirot type individual – and was compared to Georges Simenon. The first three novels, ROSEANNA, a story of rape-murder of an American girl whose body in found in a Swedish canal, THE MAN WHO WENT UP IN SMOKE (1966) and THE MAN ON THE BALCONY (1967), were straightforward police procedural novels. They introducing the central characters – the solid, methodical detective Martin Beck with failing marriage, ex-paratrooper Lennart Kollberg, who hates violence and refuses to carry a gun, Gunvald Larsson, wildman and a drop-out from high society, Einar Rönn from the rural north of Sweden and patrolmen Kristiansson and Kvant, the necessary comic pair. Beck considers himself ‘stubborn and logical, and completely calm’. He lives in a small apartment in Stockholm with his wife, Inga, and two children. In the following books Beck's relationship with his wife deteriorates, and he begins an affair with the liberal Rhea Nilsen. THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN (1968), about the investigation of the murder of eight occupants of a Stockholm bus, was made into a film in 1973, directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Walter Matthau, Bruce Dern, and Lou Gossett. The story was set in San Francisco. The film shared its Bay area locale with Dirty Harry (1971), but was otherwise more downbeat. At the end of THE LOCKED ROOM (1972), Sjöwall and Wahlöö show their sympathy towards a bank robber; however, they abhor sexual violence. In COP KILLER (1974) Lennart Kollberg writes his resignation, because of his socialist world view. The later novels, and especially the last, THE TERRORIST, is a bitter analysis of the welfare state, and openly sides with criminals-as-revolutionaries. At the end, Beck is deeply ambivalent about remaining a policeman, because he fears that he is contributing to the violent nature of Swedish society rather than preventing it. The novel was published after Wahlöö's death in Stockholm on June 23, 1975. Though a joint venture, the book was mostly written by Wahlöö, who was already very ill. Wahlöö's other works include translations into Swedish of some Ed McBain's 87th Precinct procedural novels and Noel Behn's political thriller THE KREMLIN LETTER, filmed by John Huston in 1970. With Sjöwall he also edited the literature magazine Peripeo, and wrote a comparative study of police methods in Sweden, the United States, Russia, and England. ‘He was an extreme Left-winger with a taste for popular sport,’ said the English mystery writer Julian Symons of Wahlöö, ‘and his interest in British football. was passionate. The books he wrote with Maj Sjöwall represents an attempt to bring his political feelings into a literary form with a wide appeal.’

 

 

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(08/28/2014) Mining Capitalism: The Relationship between Corporations and Their Critics by Stuart Kirsch. Berkeley. 2014. University of California Press. 314 pages. paperback. 9780520281714. keywords: Capitalism Corporations

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Corporations are among the most powerful institutions of our time, but they are also responsible for a wide range of harmful social and environmental impacts. Consequently, political movements and nongovernmental organizations increasingly contest the risks that corporations pose to people and nature. Mining Capitalism examines the strategies through which corporations manage their relationships with these critics and adversaries. By focusing on the conflict over the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea, Stuart Kirsch tells the story of a slow-moving environmental disaster and the international network of indigenous peoples, advocacy groups, and lawyers that sought to protect local rivers and rain forests. Along the way, he analyzes how corporations promote their interests by manipulating science and invoking the discourses of sustainability and social responsibility. Based on two decades of anthropological research, this book is comparative in scope, showing readers how similar dynamics operate in other industries around the world. 'Mining Capitalism is excellent. It makes a much-needed contribution to understanding our contemporary historical moment. Kirsch adeptly moves his focus between close-to-the-ground descriptions of corporate practices and persuasive claims about the ways that corporations work to control meaning and money.'-Kim Fortun, author of Advocacy After Bhopal. 'Kirsch presents a richly detailed study of global corporate attitudes towards natural resources and the politics that inform indigenous social movements facing global capitalist interests. This is a vivid account of how the globalization of nature affects societies that have vastly different understandings of what natural resources mean.'-Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication. 'Mining Capitalism takes us from the devastation of a river to the courtrooms and commissions where activists and thieves reimagine its truth and consequences. This is a thrilling story, and everyone should read it. As both participant and perceptive observer, Kirsch offers us engaged anthropology at its very best.'-Anna Tsing, coeditor of Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon.

Stuart Kirsch is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Reverse Anthropology: Indigenous Analysis of Social and Environmental Relations in New Guinea (2006).

 

 

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(08/26/2014) Rambling On: An Apprentice's Guide to the Gift of the Gab by Bohumil Hrabal. Prague. 2014. Karolinum Press/Charles University. 352 pages. hardcover. 9788024623160. Translated from the Czech by David Short. keywords: Literature Czech Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Rambling On is a collection of stories set in Hrabal's Kersko. Several of the stories were written before the 1968 Soviet invasion of Prague but had to be reworked when they were rejected by Communist censorship during the 1970s. This edition features the original, uncensored versions of those stories. 'Hrabal embodies as no other the fascinating Prague. He couples people's humor to baroque imagination.' (Milan Kundera).

Novelist Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and spent decades working at a variety of laboring jobs before turning to writing in his late forties. From that point, he quickly made his mark on the Czech literary scene; by the time of his death he was ranked with Jaroslav Hašek, Karel Capek, and Milan Kundera as among the nation's greatest twentieth-century writers. Hrabal's fiction blends tragedy with humor and explores the anguish of intellectuals and ordinary people alike from a slightly surreal perspective. His work ranges from novels and poems to film scripts and essays.

 

 

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(08/25/2014) Vanishing Lung Syndrome by Miroslav Holub. Oberlin. 1990. Oberlin College Press. 84 pages. paperback. 0932440525. Cover: Painting by Paul Klee, 'Flora on the Rocks,' 1940. Design by Stephen J. Farkas, Jr. Translated from the Czech by David Young and Dana Habova. FIELD Translation Series 16. keywords: Poetry Literature Czech Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Vanishing Lung Syndrome confirms Holub's special status as one of Europe's leading poets and as a rare mediator between scientific and literary modes of discourse. This book is darkly witty and mordantly accurate; it documents, among other things, the ignorance, folly and brutality abroad in our world. But it also brims with tenderness, humor, and occasional gleams of hope.

Miroslav Holub (13 September 1923 – 14 July 1998) was a Czech poet and immunologist. Miroslav Holub's work was heavily influenced by his experiences as an Immunologist, writing many poems using his scientific knowledge to poetic effect. His work is almost always unrhymed, so lends itself easily to translation. It has been translated into more than 30 languages and is especially popular in the English-speaking world. Although one of the most internationally well-known Czech poets, his reputation continues to languish at home. Holub was born in Plzen. His first book in Czech was Denní služba (1958), which abandoned the somewhat Stalinist bent of poems earlier in the decade (published in magazines). In English, he was first published in the Observer in 1962, and five years later a Selected Poems appeared in the Penguin Modern European Poets imprint, with an introduction by Al Alvarez and translations by Ian Milner and George Theiner. Holub's work was lauded by many, including Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, and his influence is visible in Hughes' collection Crow (1970). In addition to poetry, Holub wrote many short essays on various aspects of science, particularly biology and medicine (specifically immunology) and life. A collection of these, titled The Dimension of the Present Moment, is still in print. In the 1960s, he published two books of what he called 'semi-reportage' about extended visits to the United States. He has been described by Ted Hughes as ‘one of the half dozen most important poets writing anywhere.’

 

 

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(08/24/2014) Interludes by Miguel de Cervantes. New York. 1964. Signet/New American Library. 160 pages. January 1964. CT209. paperback.  Cover: Lambert.  Translated From The Spanish & With A Foreword By Edwin Honig. keywords: Signet Classic Paperback Spain Translated Literature 16th Century

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Published the year before the author's death, and long unavailable to American readers, these short plays represent a pure, untrammeled expression of Cervantes' literary genius. Freed from the complicated mechanics of plot, he concentrates his powers on the area of his greatest mastery - the creation 'of living, breathing, and, above all, magnificently vocal characters. Deceived husbands and straying wives, ambitious politicians and ingenious frauds, garrulous prostitutes and respectable pimps.. It crowds his stage with unforgettable characters who, combined, present a superbly barbed depiction of manners and morals in early - sixteenth - century Spain and a timeless portrayal of the never - ending human comedy. 'These eight short plays are among the most beguiling things Cervantes ever wrote,' comments Edwin Honig, who goes on to say that 'what he achieves in the interludes is something very close to the concentrative spirit of poetry and something characteristically dramatic as well..  dramatic in the way that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are dramatic.. '. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (29 September 1547 (assumed) – 22 April 1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern European novel, is a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that the language is often called la lengua de Cervantes (‘the language of Cervantes’). He was dubbed El Príncipe de los Ingenios (‘The Prince of Wits’). In 1569, Cervantes moved to Rome where he worked as chamber assistant of Giulio Acquaviva, a wealthy priest who became a cardinal during the following year. By then, Cervantes had enlisted as a soldier in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment and continued his military life until 1575, when he was captured by Algerian corsairs. After five years of slavery he was released on ransom from his captors by his parents and the Trinitarians, a Catholic religious order. He subsequently returned to his family in Madrid. In 1585, Cervantes published a pastoral novel named La Galatea. Because of financial problems, Cervantes worked as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector. In 1597, discrepancies in his accounts of three years previous landed him in the Crown Jail of Seville. In 1605, he was in Valladolid, just when the immediate success of the first part of his Don Quixote, published in Madrid, signaled his return to the literary world. In 1607, he settled in Madrid, where he lived and worked until his death. During the last nine years of his life, Cervantes solidified his reputation as a writer; he published the Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels) in 1613, the Journey to Parnassus (Viaje al Parnaso) in 1614, and in 1615, the Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses and the second part of Don Quixote. Carlos Fuentes noted that, ‘Cervantes leaves open the pages of a book where the reader knows himself to be written.’

 

 

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(08/22/2014) The Hunter: Parker Volume 1 by Richard Stark. San Diego. 2014. IDW Publishers. 206 pages. hardcover. 9781613776599. With a Foreword and Illustrations by Darwin Cooke. Edited by Scott Dunbier. keywords: Mystery Pulp Hard-boiled America

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1962, Donald E. Westlake, writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark, created what would become one of the most important and enduring crime fiction series ever produced — Parker. Westlake wrote more than 20 Parker novels, many considered classics of the genre, and a number of which have transitioned to the big screen. Most notable of these is Point Blank, directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin, released in 1967. Westlake received many accolades during his distinguished career, including being named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writer's of America, that prestigious organization's highest honor. Darwyn Cooke has adapted four Parker books as graphic novels so far. The first three, The Hunter, The Outfit, and The Score have all won Eisner and Harvey Awards. He will be providing all-new color illustrations for The Hunter, the first in a series of hardcover prose novels released in chronological order and featuring Cooke's art. The Hunter, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest. Betrayed by the woman he loves and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind — to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him!.

 

 

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(08/21/2014) The End of the Poem: Oxford Lectures by Paul Muldoon. New York. 2006. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 406 pages. hardcover. 9780374148102. Jacket design by Gretchen Achilles. keywords: Poetry Literary Criticism

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In The End of the Poem, Paul Muldoon, 'the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War' (The Times Literary Supplement), presents engaging, rigorous, and insightful explorations of a diverse group of poems, from Yeats's 'All Souls' Night' to Stevie Smith's 'I Remember' to Fernando Pessoa's 'Autopsychography.' Here Muldoon reminds us that the word 'poem' comes, via French, from the Latin and Greek: 'a thing made or created.' He asks: Can a poem ever be a freestanding, discrete structure, or must it always interface with the whole of its author's bibliography--and biography? Muldoon explores the boundlessness, the illimitability, created by influence, what Robert Frost meant when he insisted that 'the way to read a poem in prose or verse is in the light of all the other poems ever written.' And he writes of the boundaries or borders between writer and reader and the extent to which one determines the role of the other. At the end, Muldoon returns to the most fruitful, and fraught, aspect of the phrase 'the end of the poem': the interpretation that centers on the 'aim' or 'function' of a poem, and the question of whether or not the end of the poem is the beginning of criticism. Irreverent, deeply learned, often funny, and always stimulating, The End of the Poem is a vigorous and accessible approach to looking at poetry anew.

 

 

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(08/20/2014) The Fall of Saints: A Novel by Wanjiku wa Ngugi. New York. Atria Books. 277 pages. February 2014. hardcover. 9781476714912. Cover design by Alan Dingman. keywords: Mystery Kenya Africa Women

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this stunning debut novel, a Kenyan expat living the American dream with her husband and adopted son soon finds it marred by child trafficking, scandal, and a problematic past. Mugure and Zack seem to have the picture-perfect family: a young, healthy son, a beautiful home in Riverdale, New York, and a bright future. But one night, as Mugure is rummaging through an old drawer, she comes across a piece of paper with a note scrawled on it-a note that calls into question everything she's ever believed about her husband. A wandering curiosity may have gotten the best of Mugure this time as she heads down a dan­gerous road that takes her back to Kenya, where new discoveries threaten to undo her idyllic life. She wonders if she ever really knew the man she married and begins to piece together the signs that were there since the beginning. Who was that suspicious man who trailed Zack and Mugure on their first date at a New York nightclub? What about the closing of the agency that facilitated the adoption of their son? The Fall of Saints tackles real-life political and ethical issues through a striking, beautifully rendered story. This extraordinary novel will tug at your heart and keep it racing until the end.

 

 

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(08/19/2014)  The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham. New York. 2014. The Penguin Press. hardcover. 419 pages. Jacket Design By Ben Wiseman. keywords: Literary Criticism Ireland Literature ULYSSES James Joyce. 9781594203367.

FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

   ‘A great story - how modernism brought down the regime of censorship - told as a great story. Kevin Birmingham’s imaginative scholarship brings Joyce and his world to life. There is a fresh detail on nearly every page.’ - Louis Menand, Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Metaphysical Club. For more than a decade, the book that literary critics now consider the most important novel in the English language was illegal to own, sell, advertise or purchase in most of the English-speaking world. James Joyce’s big blue book, Ulysses, ushered in the modernist era and changed the novel for all time. But the genius of Ulysses was also its danger: it omitted absolutely nothing. All of the minutiae of Leopold Bloom’s day, including its unspeakable details, unfold with careful precision in its pages. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice immediately banned the novel as ‘obscene, lewd, and lascivious.’ Joyce, along with some of the most important publishers and writers of his era, had to fight for years to win the freedom to publish it. The Most Dangerous Book tells the remarkable story surrounding Ulysses, from the first stirrings of Joyce’s inspiration in 1904 to its landmark federal obscenity trial in 1933. Literary historian Kevin Birmingham follows Joyce’s years as a young writer, his feverish work on his literary masterpiece, and his ardent love affair with Nora Barnacle, the model for Molly Bloom. Joyce and Nora socialized with literary greats like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot and Sylvia Beach. Their support helped Joyce fight an array of anti-vice crusaders while his book was disguised and smuggled, pirated and burned in the United States and Britain. The long struggle for publication added to the growing pressures of Joyce’s deteriorating eyesight, finances and home life. Salvation finally came from the partnership of Bennett Cerf, the cofounder of Random House, and Morris Ernst, a dogged civil liberties lawyer. With their stewardship, the case ultimately rested on the literary merit of Joyce’s master work. The sixty-year-old judicial practices governing obscenity in the United States were overturned because a federal judge could get inside Molly Bloom’s head. Birmingham’s archival work brings to light new information about both Joyce and the story surrounding Ulysses. Written for ardent Joyceans as well as novices who want to get to the heart of the greatest novel of the twentieth century, The Most Dangerous Book is a gripping examination of how the world came to say yes to Ulysses. Kevin Birmingham received his PhD in English from Harvard, where he is a Lecturer in History & Literature and an instructor in the university's writing program. His research focuses on twentieth-century fiction and culture, literary obscenity and the avant-garde. He was a bartender in a Dublin pub featured in Ulysses for one day before he was unceremoniously fired. This is his first book.

 

 

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(08/18/2014) The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis by Odysseus Elytis. Baltimore. 1997. Johns Hopkins University Press. 596 pages. hardcover. 0801849241. Jacket design by Glen Burris. Jacket Illustration: 'The Clear Truth,' collage by Odysseus Elytis. Translated from the Greek by Jeffrey Carson and Nikos Sarris. Introduction and Notes by Jeffrey Carson. keywords: Poetry Greece Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Jeffrey Carson--a poet himself with a kindred sensibility to Elytis's--has admirably succeeded in bringing across the Greek poet's lyrical voice and the richness of his diction. This first translation of Elytis's complete works is accurate and elegant, a work of diligence and love that affords the English-speaking reader a picture of the evolution of the poet's work.’--Dorothy M-T. Gregory, The Ionian University, Corfu. In awarding Odysseus Elytis the 1979 Nobel Prize in literature, the Swedish Academy declared that he had been selected ‘for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clearsightedness modern man's struggle for freedom and creativeness.’ Elytis was largely unknown outside his native Greece before winning literature's highest honor, and much of his work has not been widely available in English. The Collected Poems is the first collection in any language, including Greek, of Elytis's complete poetry, a body of work marked by a profound love of hope, freedom, beauty, and Greek tradition. Twenty years in preparation, this volume includes his early poems, influenced in equal parts by surrealism and the landscape and climate of Greece and the Aegean Sea; his long, epic poem connecting Greece's--and his own--Second World War experience to the myth of the eternal Greek hero, Song Heroic and Mourning for the Lost Second Lieutenant of the Albanian Campaign; his most ambitious work, The Axion Esti, which the Swedish Academy praised as ‘one of 20th-century literature's most concentrated and ritually faceted poems’; and his mature poetry, from Maria Nephele, a poem in two voices, to his last collection, West of Sorrow, written the summer before his death in 1996 at age 84. Throughout his long career as a poet, Elytis remained true to his vision of a poetry that addresses the power of language and links Greece's two thousand years of myth and history with the social and psychological demands of the modern age. Renowned for their astonishing lyricism and profound optimism, Elytis's poems employ surreal imagery and a remarkable variety of forms to capture the natural, sun-soaked beauty of Greece and to give voice to the contemporary Greek--and to a more universally human--consciousness. PRAISE FOR ODYSSEUS ELYTIS: ‘Perhaps the most pervasive presence throughout his work. is the physical experience of Greece: the sun's intense illumination, the seas strewn with jewel-like islands, the life of its proud people beneath the invasion of 20th-century culture and politics. From these Elytis crafts powerful and sparkling lyrics, sometimes bitter, often full of wonder and celebration.’ -- Christian Science Monitor. ‘Elytis is a paragon of enthusiasm, of protean moods, multiple forms; his purpose, in essence: the deification of the sun and the body of man.’ -- Hudson Review. ‘A poet of large achievement. His work. has a kind of passionate optimism about the possibilities of his small Aegean world.’ -- New York Review of Books.

 

 

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The Neglected Books Page

25 June 2019

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • The Fire Escape, by Susan Kale (1960)

    The paperback editions of The Fire Escape trumpet its message: “The tragic, unvarnished story of a prostitute.” Which is a bit like plastering the banner line, “The Story of a Cockroach” across the cover of The Metamorphosis: yes, well, I guess you could say it is, but that’s actually missing the point in a pretty... Read more

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  • Blitz Writing: Night Shift and It Was Different at the Time, by Inez Holden (2019)

    As a rule, I don’t cover in print books on this site: the fact that a book is in print is proof that it may be underappreciated, but it’s certainly not forgotten. However, I have to make an exception in the case of the Handheld Press’s recent release of two of Inez Holden’s three books... Read more

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  • Journey Through a Lighted Room, by Margaret Parton (1973)

    I knew I was going to like Margaret Parton’s memoir, Journey Through a Lighted Room, on page two, when she writes of reflecting upon a Quaker meeting while “wandering aimlessly about the garden with a vodka and tonic in hand.” This is the story of a woman who wasn’t ashamed by the fact that she... Read more

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  • The Mere Living, by B. Bergson Spiro (Betty Miller) (1933)

    Had The Mere Living not been largely forgotten by now, it would undoubtedly be saddled with an shakeable and unfavorable comparison to Virginia Wolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. For both are circadian novels (taking place within the space of a single day) set in London and both really heavily on the use of a stream of consciousness... Read more

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  • My Heart for Hostage, by Robert Hillyer (1942)

    I feel a little trepidation in writing about My Heart for Hostage. It may be the closest thing to a perfect book that I’ve come across in nearly 13 years of working on this site. It’s so good that early in reading it, I felt a frisson of fear that Robert Hillyer would not be... Read more

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  • Linked in the Lutheran Underworld, from Direction North, by John Sykes (1967)

    It is not that I am a particularly avid drinker, but one partial to a glass of beer or a glass or two of wine with a meal, and then a lift at the start of the evening—apart from specific drinking occasions; but since I came to Finland I have been goaded almost to a... Read more

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  • The Rabbit’s Umbrella, by George Plimpton (1955)

    The rabbit with the umbrella in George Plimpton’s children’s book, The Rabbit’s Umbrella, is every bit as real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny: that he might exist matters more than that he actually does. In this case, the rabbit, plus three robbers, shouting parrots, and a giant dog named Lump serve as bait... Read more

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  • The Bloater, by Rosemary Tonks (1968)

    The bloater of Rosemary Tonks’ title is an opera singer, and The Bloater itself is a bit like Così fan tutte updated for the Swinging Sixties. Min, married to George, who seems to have a bird on the side, is being pursued by the Bloater (he never gets a real name), while she contemplates if... Read more

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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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