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Islandia: A Poem by Maria Negroni. Barrytown. 2001. Station Hill Press/Barrytown Ltd. Translated from the Spanish by Anne Twitty. Bilingual Edition. 171 pages. paperback. 1886449155.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 ‘Islandia is an extraordinary cycle of poems written in two very different and contrasting forms - the Nordic, masculine, epic style of the prose poems, and the Mediterranean, feminine, mannered lyric style of the others. Anne Twitty’s translation of this masterful cycle has itself been carried out with great mastery.’ - Esther Allen, translator of Octavio Paz, Rosario Castellanos, and Jorge Luis Borges. ‘The saga of Scandinavians, who - in flight or exile - founded Islandia, is counterpointed by the ironic verses of a female speaker who is also a shipwreck, a fugitive, and a seeker-inventor of islands. In this work, destinies cross—that of vehement navigators among the whales and mists, and that of a writer who, telling the saga of others, assumes and discards a sumptuous mask.’ - Julio E. Miranda, Domingo Hoy, Caracas. ‘With remarkable beauty, a major poet deciphers a landscape and a language embedded in the most profound Latin American tradition.’ - Tomás Eloy MartInez, author of Santa Evita. ‘A female voice brilliantly deconstructs the masculine constellation: epic/adventure/war. A severely wrought patina makes for a sense of excavation, out of which rises a different, female, spirit of adventure. In the words of the H.D. epigraph: ‘We are discoverers / of the not-known / the unrecorded; we have no maps.’ - Rosmarie Waidrop, author of The Reproduction of Profiles. ‘It is not easy to find a form for journey… for there is no poetry without cost.’ So say the ongoing voices in Maria Negroni’s remarkable and innovative book-length poem. It is a compelling work, deftly connecting embodied experience to history and a cornucopia of language.’ - Sophie Cabot Black, author of The Misunderstanding of Nature.

 

 María Negroni was born October 9, 1951 in Rosario, Argentina. She has published eleven books of poetry, three collections of essays, and two novels, as well as works in translation from French and English. Her work has appeared internationally in literary journals, including Diario de Poesía, Página 12, The Paris Review, Circumference, and Bomb, among others. She has been awarded two Argentine National Book Awards, for her collection of essays Ciudad Gótica (1996) and her poetry collection Viaje de la noche (1997). Her book of poems Islandia, in Anne Twitty’s translation, received a PEN Translation Award in 2001. She has been a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Fundación Octavio Paz, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and others. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Winner of the following awards - International Prize for Essay Writing from Siglo XXI, 2002 PEN Award for best book of poetry in translation, for Islandia, 2000-2001 Octavio Paz Fellowship for Poetry, 1997 Argentine National Book Award, for El viaje de la noche, 1994 Guggenheim Fellowships. Anne Twitty is a writer, interpreter and translator who lives in New York City. She was for some years editor of the Epicycle section of Parabola Magazine, where some of her essays were published. Anne Twitty’s translations of selections from Maria Negroni’s works have appeared in Hopscotch, Mandorla, The Paris Review and on-line at www.archipelago.org. Her translation of Night Journey (El viaje de la noché) appeared in a bilingual edition published by Princeton University Press in 2002. 

 

 

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The Day Is Born Of Darkness by Mikhail Dyomin. New York. 1976. Knopf. Translated From The Russian By Tony Kahn. keywords: Autobiography Crime Criminals Prison Translated Russia. 371 pages. Jacket design by Lidia Ferrara. 0394491661. April 1976.

FROM 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.

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 & Robert Conquest. New York. 1966. Random House. keywords: Literature England. 247 pages.

A very funny story about male subterfuge and the war between the sexes, precisely the kind of story that Kingsley Amis tells so well. 

FROM 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.

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. 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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The Politics Of Heroin In Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy. New York. 1972. Harper & Row. keywords: Asia Politics America Heroin Drugs Crime. 464 pages. Jacket design by Apteryx Studio. 0060129018.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   An exhaustive history that traces the growing, processing, transporting, and distribution of narcotics since the end of World War II. A landmark book of investigative reporting and history. The fabled Golden Triangle, where Laos, Thailand, and Burma meet, long a traditional opium-growing area, now provides 70 percent of the world's illicit supply of heroin. And many elements in the governments of these countries, and in the government of South Vietnam - most of which are supported by U. S. military and financial aid - are deeply (and lucratively) involved in the growing, processing, transport, and distribution of narcotics. How has this situation come about? Basing their narrative on firsthand research in Asia and Europe, the authors trace the whole story since the end of World War II. They demonstrate that during the First Indochina War (1946-1954) the security of Saigon and its environs and the loyalty of the hill tribes depended on profits from and some protection for the opium traffic. Similarly, it became necessary for the United States, when it took over the French commitment in 1954, to look the other way in the matter of the involvement in the drug traffic of succeeding Vietnamese regimes. After Diem's downfall in 1963 it became apparent that money from the rackets--especially narcotics--was vital to any regime's survival.    The authors found that in Laos, opium crops found their way from the hill villages into a secret base at Long Tieng; in Burma, the CIA financed remnants of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Army, which later became self-supporting by taking over 90 pecent of the opium shipments from the rebel Shan States of Burma; that in Thailand, shaky regimes relied on American support and opium money to help bolster their stability. They also found that the Mafia, working through Corsican criminal syndicates from Marseille, had established outposts in Southeast Asia for its international narcotics smuggling operations during the French occupation. In spite of recent well-publicized seizures of massive shipments of heroin from Southeast Asia, heroin continues to flood the country, spreading into every level of this society and shredding the fabric of everyday life. U. S. government estimates of the number of addicts has leaped from 315,000 in 1969 to over 560,000 in 1972. This book puts all the pieces of this ghastly puzzle together, and then maps the possible avenues out of the horror, suggesting that America may have to choose between our commitments in Southeast Asia and getting heroin out of our high schools. In 1971, at the age of twenty-five, Alfred W. McCoy set out on an eighteen-month trip to Europe and Asia to investigate the global heroin trade. The resultant book, THE POLITICS OF HERON IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, brought him international recognition as a groundbreaking theorist of the politics and economics of drug trafficking. Its publication also embroiled him in a controversy with the Central Intelligence Agency Incensed by McCoy's charges that the agency had covered up the involvement of our Indochinese allies in heroin trafficking and had itself participated in aspects of the drug trade, the CIA tried to suppress the book before its release. Twenty years of research have led to this revised and updated edition of McCoy's classic. In it, he concludes that, with global production and consumption of narcotics at record levels and heroin use in America on the rise, it is time to confront the failure of the U. S. government's drug policy. 'Driven by a myopic moralism' since the legal sale of narcotics was banned in the early 1920s, U. S. policymakers, McCoy observes, have refused to recognize that their repression of the drug trade has only served to make it grow. Now dispersed across continents as a result of prohibition, the illicit drug trade is more resistant to suppression than ever before. The heroin problem will worsen, according to McCoy, until the U. S. government also puts an end to the CIA's involvement in the narcotics trade, which since World War II has been an integral part of the agency's efforts to maintain U. S. power abroad. If Congress had imposed restraints on CIA covert operations two decades ago, McCoy argues, it 'might have prevented the agency's complicity in the disastrous cocaine and heroin epidemics of the 1980s. This remarkable expose of official U. S. hypocrisy in its approaches to one of the world's greatest social problems offers an analysis that is destined to influence the public debate on drugs for years to come.

Alfred W. McCoy is professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Educated at Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Yale, he has spent the past twenty years writing about the politics and history of Southeast Asia. He is the author of several books on the Philippines, one of which won the country's National Book Award, and the editor of Southeast Asia Under Japanese Occupation. An internationally recognized expert on drug trafficking and organized crime, he is also the author of DRUG TRAFFIC: NARCOTICS ANA1 ORGANIZED CRIME IN AUSTRALIA.

Cathleen B. Read is studying for a Ph. D. in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.

Leonard P. Adams II has published several scholarly articles and is a Ph. D. candidate in Chinese history at Yale University. A landmark book of investigative reporting and history.

 

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0195160282Thinking 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 came out a couple of years ago and it provides a clearly-written and jargon-free introduction to modern philosophy.

FROM 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

Born May 8, 1954

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 ?cole des Hautes ?tudes 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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delicate prey and other storiesThe 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 communicating to me an even stronger sense of horror alsong with a sense of the incomprehensibility of different cultures. Highly recommended !

FROM 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

Born December 30, 1910

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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0375405836Jesse 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 gives us a totally new look at an old 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, who had a great deal to do with the 'Jesse James' image.

FROM 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

Born July 29, 1964

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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037542248xWizard 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.

FROM 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

Born January 5, 1938

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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0807050067The 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.

FROM 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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epitaph of a small winner noondayEpitaph Of A Small Winner by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis. New York. 1952. Noonday Press. Drawings by Shari Frisch. Translated from the Portuguese by William L. Grossman. 223 pages. Cover: Shari Frisch. (original title: Memorias postumas de Bras Cubas).

THE POSTHUMOUS MEMOIRS OF BRAS CUBAS by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, also translated as EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER, is a Brazilian classic. The narrator of the story is Bras Cubas, who unfortunately for him, is now dead.

FROM THE PUBLISHER –

Funny and profound are these reflections and musings of a man from beyond the grave. Satirical, witty, completely human in feeling, EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER is that rarest of works, a book which is at the same time both profound and thoroughly delightful. It tells the story of Braz Cubas, a wealthy Carioca, or rather it is Braz, now dead, who tells his story. For EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER is a posthumous memoir, the memories of a ghost, a man who now beyond life can view it with dispassion - the illicit love affairs, the political ambitions, the jealousies and hatreds which comprised his sixty-four years. But though the grave has given Braz distance, it has not dampened his sense of humor. On the contrary, it has sharpened it; Braz Cubas is certainly the wittiest ghost in literature. Most ghosts take themselves far too seriously; but not Braz. If he has returned to haunt mankind, it is by means of laughter. He is the spirit of satire moving among us, pointing out our idiosyncrasies and foibles. 'Machado de Assis, son of a poor mulatto of Rio, became the most illustrious of Brazilian writers. His work brings to mind at once Anatole France and Lawrence Sterne, yet is nonetheless original. ' - Andre Maurois. 'A master of psychology and of an ironic brand of humour.' Samuel Putnam. 

 

Assis Joaquim Maria Machado De

Born June 21, 1839

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, often known as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho, (June 21, 1839, Rio de Janeiro-September 29, 1908, Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian novelist, poet and short-story writer. He is widely regarded as the most important writer of Brazilian literature. However, he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime. Machado's works had a great influence on Brazilian literary schools of the late 19th century and 20th century. Jose Saramago, Carlos Fuentes, Susan Sontag and Harold Bloom are among his admirers and Bloom calls him 'the supreme black literary artist to date. ' Son of Francisco Jose de Assis (a mulatto housepainter, descendent of freed slaves) and Maria Leopoldina Machado de Assis (a Portuguese washerwoman), Machado de Assis lost both his mother and his only sister at an early age. Machado is said to have learned to write by himself, and he used to take classes for free will. He learned to speak French first and English later, both fluently. He started to work for newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, where he published his first works and met established writers such as Joaquim Manuel de Macedo. Machado de Assis married Carolina Xavier de Novais, a Portuguese descendant of a noble family. Soon the writer got a public job and this stability permitted him to write his best works. Machado de Assis began by writing popular novels which sold well, much in the late style of Jose de Alencar. His style changed in the 1880s, and it is for the sceptical, ironic, comedic but ultimately pessimistic works he wrote after this that he is remembered: the first novel in his 'new style' was Epitaph for a Small Winner, known in the new Gregory Rabassa translation as The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (a literal translation of the original title, Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas). In their brilliant comedy and ironic playfulness, these resemble in some ways the contemporary works of George Meredith in the United Kingdom, and Eca de Queiros in Portugal, but Machado de Assis' work has a far bleaker emotional undertone. Machado's work has also been compared with Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Machado de Assis could speak English fluently and translated many works of William Shakespeare and other English writers into Portuguese. His work contains numerous allusions to Shakespearean plays, John Milton and influences from Sterne and Meredith. He is also known as a master of the short story, having written classics of the genre in the Portuguese language, such as O Alienista, Missa do Galo, 'A Cartomante' and 'A Igreja do Diabo. ' Along with other writers and intellectuals, Machado de Assis founded the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1896 and was its president from 1897 to 1908, when he died. The translator, Dr. William L. Grossman, is of all things an authority on transportation law and economics. Called to Brazil in 1948 as head of the economics department of a Brazilian college, he learned Portuguese, and, fascinated by the works of Machado de Assis, spent his academic holidays translating Epitaph of a Small Winner. Dr. Grossman has returned to this country as a transportation consultant and professor at New York University.

 

 

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demonsDemons by Fyodor Dostoevsky. New York. July 1994. Knopf. Newly Translated From The Russian By Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. 733 pages. Jacket illustration from GODS' MAN by Lynd Ward. Jacket design by Archie Ferguson. 0679423141.

My favorite Dostoevsky novel . Dostoevsky has been blasted by both the left and the right for this book, a prophetic novel of the impact of revolutionary nihilism in Russia shortly before the time of the Russian Revolution. Lenin even makes a brief appearance.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 Completed in 1872, DEMONS is rivaled only by THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV for the place of Dostoevsky’s greatest work. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose acclaimed translations of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, and NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have become the standard versions in English, now give us a brilliant new rendering of this towering masterpiece, previously translated as THE POSSESSED. Dostoevsky first conceived of the book as a ‘novel-pamphlet’ in which he intended to ‘say everything’ about the new Russian nihilists, the growing group of anti-czarist political terrorists. The present novel grew out of an actual event in the winter of 1869: Ivan Ivanov, a student at the Petrov Agricultural Academy in Moscow and a man of strong character, had broken with his fellow young revolutionaries and was subsequently murdered by a small group of them headed by Sergei Nechaev. Around this crime and the ensuing trial of the Nechaevists in the summer of 1871, Dostoevsky constructed this superbly nuanced work, inexhaustibly rich in character and circumstance, which he also intended as a broad condemnation of the legion of ideas, or ‘demons,’ that had migrated from the West and were threatening the soul of the Russian nation. His magnificent achievement has, proven to be one of the most powerfully prophetic statements about Russia’s political destiny, not only in his own day but in ours as well. Like all of Dostoevsky’s great novels, Demons is also a ‘philosophical tale. ’ As it reveals its many faces-comic, satirical, symbolic, and tragic-it enacts the drama of the promethean revolt of modern humanity against the institutions and values of tradition, and offers a brilliant investigation into the workings of the human will and the nature of evil. With this glorious new version all the stunning idiosyncrasies of the Russian original are available to English readers for the first time. RICHARD PEVEAR and LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. They are married and live in France. This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven. This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven.

Dostoevsky Fyodor

Born November 11, 1821

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the context of the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. He began writing in his 20s, and his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was 25. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). His output consists of eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. RICHARD PEVEAR and LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. They are married and live in France. . (original title: Besy, 1872). This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven.

 

 

 

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locosLocos: A Comedy Of Gestures by Felipe Alfau. New York. 1936. Farrar & Rinehart. 307 pages

Talk about an unappreciated classic. Written in English by a Spaniard living in New York, this book languished in limbo from 1936 until it was reissued by The Dalkey Archive in 1988. From a cafe in Madrid to the pickpocket convention this book is a real gem and was way ahead of its time.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

The interconnected stories that form this novel take place in a Madrid as exotic as the Baghdad of the 1001 Arabian Nights and feature unforgettable characters in revolt against their young ‘author. ’ ‘For them,’ he complains, ‘reality is what fiction is to real people; they simply love it and make for it against my almost heroic opposition. By the end of this book my characters are no longer a tool for my expression, but I am a helpless instrument of their whims and absurd contretemps. In short, my characters have taken seriously the saying that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ and I have failed in my attempts to convince them of the contrary. ’ These fables of identity are enchanting despite Alfau’s frequent reminders that these are mere puppets, figures of the imagination; nor can the reader fail to find, despite Alfau’ s mock warning, ‘beneath a more or less entertaining comedy of meaningless gestures, the vulgar aspects of a common tragedy. ’ First published in 1936 and undeservedly neglected for the last fifty years, LOCOS anticipated the ‘magic realism’ of the Latin Americans as well as the inventions of such later writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Flann O’Brien, John Barth, and Donald Barthelme. Modern readers are now in a better position to appreciate Alfau’s ingenuity and art, and to wonder how such a book, whose place in modem fiction is now so clear, could have gone unrecognized for so many years.

Alfau Felipe

Born August 24, 1902

Felipe Alfau (1902–1999), was a Spanish American (Catalan American) novelist and poet. Like his contemporaries Luigi Pirandello and Flann O'Brien, Alfau is considered a forerunner of later postmodern writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, and Gilbert Sorrentino. Born in Barcelona, Alfau emigrated with his family at the age of fourteen to the United States, where he lived the remainder of his life. Alfau earned a living as a translator; his sparse fictional and poetic output remained obscure throughout most of his life. Alfau wrote two novels in English: LOCOS: A COMEDY OF GESTURES and CHROMOS. LOCOS — a metafictive collection of related short stories set in Toledo and Madrid, involving several characters that defy the wishes of the author, write their own stories, and even assume each others' roles — was published by Farrar and Rinehart in 1936. The novel, for which Alfau was paid $250, received some critical acclaim, but little popular attention. The novel was republished in 1987 after an editor for the small publisher Dalkey Archive Press found the book at a barn sale in Massachusetts, read it, and contacted Alfau after finding his telephone number in the Manhattan phone book. The novel's second incarnation was modestly successful, but Alfau refused payment, instructing the publisher to use the earnings from LOCOS to fund some other unpublished work. When asked if he had written any other books, Alfau provided the manuscript for CHROMOS, which had been resting in a drawer since 1948. CHROMOS, a comic story of Spanish immigrants to the United States contending with their two cultures, went on to be nominated for the National Book Award in 1990. Alfau also wrote a book of poetry in Spanish, SENTIMENTAL SONGS (La poesia cursi), written between 1923 and 1987 and published in 1992, and a book of children's stories, OLD TALES FROM SPAIN, written in 1929.

 

 

 

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short account of greek philosophy perennial p138A Short Account of Greek Philosophy by G. F. Parker. New York. 1969. Harper Perennial. P138. 194 pages. Cover design by Ted Bernstein.

A readable summary of Greek philosophy.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Each year sees an increased number of students entering the upper forms of our schools, our colleges and our universities. Most are not only studying some subject or subjects in depth but are also following a course of General or Liberal Studies. Many have no first-hand or formal acquaintance with Classical thought and are constantly meeting references to Greek philosophers and common philosophical terms. They are also discovering that, however important and interesting their particular subjects, there is a great deal of truth in the words of Sir Karl Popper: ‘We are not students of some subject matter but students of problems. And problems cut right across the borders of any subject matter or discipline. ’ The history of man’s thought recognizes no arbitrarily erected barriers. There are, too, the ‘students’ who are not formally enrolled in any educational establishment and who are traveling each year to Greece in unprecedented numbers to explore at first hand the more palpable remains of Classical and pre-Classical ages. Excellent guide books for the traveler are already numerous and continue to multiply. But however good the guide books, one cannot easily capture the spirit o, say, Heracleitus or Democritus or Plato as one wanders round an ancient temple site or modern museum. It has been my intention to provide information and some common ground for students, whatever their subjects of study or interests may be. Plato and Aristotle cannot be ignored; nor can they be understood except in relation to their times and their predecessors, the pre-Socratic philosophers. And the pre-Socratics are not merely important; they are intellectually exciting and have a certain affinity with our present age. ' – From the Preface by the author.

 

 

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0618134247Dark Star Safari: Overland From Cairo To Cape Town by Paul Theroux. Boston. 2003. Houghton Mifflin. 472 pages. Jacket photograph by Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos, Inc. 0618134247. March 2003.

Paul Theroux is a national treasure. Publishers should be offering him huge advances, although I know that they don’t. I would take a trip with him just about anywhere, and what I mean by taking a trip with him is that I would read anything he chooses to write. His travel books are particularly interesting. Theroux understands that travel is struggle, inconvenience, boredom, and hardship, the essential elements of ‘adventure’. Don't pick up any of his travel books if you want to read about local cuisines, ruins, and churches. But if you are up for an adventure with a companion who truly engages creatively with his surroundings and likes to reflect on what he is reading while he is traveling, then Paul Theroux is for you. Consider the opening sentence from DARK STAR SAFARI - ‘All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again. ’ Theroux often avoids doing it the easy way. His observations on the questionable value of paternalistic foreign aid are particularly interesting, and his picture of Africa, while as personal as one can get, feels true on a universal level at the same time. Once again, a thought-provoking and truly enjoyable book from Paul Theroux.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s best travel writers, Paul Theroux takes us on the ultimate journey through the world’s most complex and mysterious continent. In the travel-writing tradition that made Paul Theroux’s reputation, DARK STAR SAFARI is a rich and insightful book whose itinerary is Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town: down the Nile, through Sudan and Ethiopia, to Kenya, Uganda, and ultimately to the tip of South Africa. Going by train, dugout canoe, ‘chicken bus,’ and cattle truck, Theroux passes through some of the most beautiful - and often life-threatening - landscapes on earth. This is travel as discovery and also, in part, a sentimental journey. Almost forty years ago, Theroux first went to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now he stops at his old school, sees former students, revisits his African friends. He finds astonishing, devastating changes wherever he goes. ‘Africa is materially more decrepit than it was when I first knew it,’ he writes, ‘hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you can’t tell the politicians from the witch doctors. Not that Africa is one place. It is an assortment of motley republics and seedy chiefdoms. I got sick, I got stranded, but I was never bored. In fact, my trip was a delight and a revelation. ’ Seeing firsthand what is happening across Africa, Theroux is as obsessively curious and wittily observant as always, and his readers will find themselves on an epic and enlightening journey. DARK STAR SAFARI is one of his bravest and best books.

Theroux Paul 

Born: April 10, 1941

PAUL THEROUX is the internationally acclaimed author of such travel books as THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR, THE OLD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS, SUNRISE WITH SEAMONSTERS, and THE KINGDOM BY THE SEA. His many novels include HOTEL HONOLULU, KOWLOON TONG, MY OTHER LIFE, and MILLROY THE MAGICIAN. His novels SAINT JACK, THE MOSQUITO COAST, and HALF MOON STREET have been made into successful feature films. Theroux resides in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

 

 

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(01/29/2015) Abominable Earthman by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1963. Ballantine Books. 159 pages.  paperback.   

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Frederik Pohl writes top-flight science fiction in so many areas that it is sometimes difficult to select what is best among such thickets of barbed humor. Nevertheless in the course of ten years, Ballantine Books has managed to publish six collections of pure, undiluted Frederik Pohl:  ALTERNATING CURRENTS, THE CASE AGAINST TOMORROW, TOMORROW TIMES SEVEN, THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD, TURN LEFT AT THURSDAY, and now THE ABOMINABLE EARTHMAN. Anyone lucky enough to have obtained the above now owns many stones which have become classics in the field (not to mention his novels, since they are mentioned inside). And, for three good reasons, there will be more. Because Mr. Pohl continues to write.   Because we are firmly devoted to the best in science fiction. And because we are particularly enchanted with a future which envisions us wandering hand-in-hand with Fred Pohl into the slightly acidulated sunset of his wonderful imagination. 

 

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 Avon Bard series of Latin American literature was a unique publishing venture for its time, for any time really. Their assemblage of extraordinary titles from authors all over Latin America translated by many of the finest translators -  Gregory Rabassa, Harriet De Onis, Barbara Shelby Merello, and Alfred MacAdam to name a few - allowed an American reading public to experience a literature that had not benefited from the level of exposure that some other world literatures had traditionally enjoyed. The professed goal of the imprint was to publish “distinguished Latin American Literature”, and that they did.

 

   During the 1950’s New American Library (specifically their Mentor imprint) was the only mass market paperback publisher to have an educational department focused on getting titles into the secondary school market. When Avon’s editor-in-chief, Charles R. Bryne, first announced the formation of the Bard imprint in May of 1955, Avon began the first paperback publisher to follow New American Library’s lead. The idea was that the Bard line would offer a list of books of high literary quality to be sold primarily in bookstores and in the secondary school market.

   Avon began by pulling titles from their own backlist to help create the line, and Bard's first titles were The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyaim and The Meaning and Psychology of Dreams by Wilhelm Stekel. Unfortunately, a lack of editorial focus and concentrated sales effort handicapped Bard’s growth from the onset, and it took a little while before the line got off to its half-hearted start in 1957. It probably did not help that the Hearst Corporation purchased a controlling interest in Avon in June of 1959. Literary mass market paperback publishing could not have been a priority for Hearst and company.

 

   In 1963 Avon hired a young Peter Mayer as “education editor.” Mayer’s decision to acquire the paperback rights for Call it Sleep by Henry Roth, a critically acclaimed but out-of-print novel, and to publish it in a mass market format with rounded corner edges, turned out to be a smart move. The book sold over a million copies and put Peter Mayer on the map as an innovative editor. In 1969, Robert Wyatt, another talented young editor, and Peter Mayer revived and re-launched the Bard line, which had been largely ignored since its inception. Bard became the paperback imprint for authors like Thornton Wilder and Saul Bellow.

 

   When Mayer acquired the paperback rights to One Hundred Years Of Solitude (published in hardcover by Harper & Row in a translation by Gregory Rabassa in 1970), the Avon Bard Latin American list was essentially born and Bard was on its way to becoming a major American publisher of Latin American fiction, even though the Garcia Marquez book was first published in paperback as an Avon book and only later as an Avon Bard title. According to Robert Wyatt, the plan to publish Latin American fiction did not follow any particular plan, but evolved over time: “We sort of tacked the Latin American titles on as they came along.”

 

   The 1970s were a good time for Latin American authors in the United States, in that “magical realism”, that blending of the elements of magic with the real world, was in the air. Writers of the “Boom” generation - that shorthand designation for a disparate group of authors that allowed publishers to effectively package a collection of talented writers into a aesthetic “school” or unified movement where there may not have been one - like Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Jose Lezama Lima, and Julio Cortazar were building reputations in the English-speaking world helped by a flood of translations from the Spanish and Portuguese by notable translators like Gregory Rabassa, Suzanne Jill Levine, Harriet de Onis, and others. Driven by the Venezuelan sculptor Jose Guillermo Castillo, the New York-based Center for Inter-American Relations proved instrumental in the development of this interest in Latin American poetry and prose, not only by publishing a journal three times a year focused on the art and literature of Latin America, but by arranging financing for the translations of nearly 70 books by Latin writers.

 

   With few exceptions though, authors from Latin America did not traditionally hit American bestseller lists. Two of the bestselling Latin American authors of all time are Jorge Amado and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. As of 1982, Jorge Amado's Gabriela, Clove And Cinnamon reportedly had sold 20,000 copies in hardback, not a huge number considering that it was originally published as a hardcover here in 1962, and that his works have ultimately been translated into 48 different languages. He is in fact second only to Paulo Coelho as the most translated Brazilian writer in the world. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez sold almost 800,000 in paperback by 1982 and to date has sold more than twenty million copies and been translated into more than thirty languages, even though it never managed to land on either the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times bestsellers list when it was first released in English. Sales for these two authors are exceptional however. Even the sale of a book in the 1970s by Jorge Luis Borges, widely considered one of the finest writers in the world, rarely reached 20,000.

   Publishers like Alfred A. Knopf had been publishing literature from Latin America for years – Alejo Carpentier, Adolfo Costa Du Rels, Eduardo Mallea, Graciliano Ramos, Ernesto Sabato to name a few. Later they introduced American readers to authors like Julio Cortazar, Jose Donoso, Clarice Lispector, Jose J. Veiga, and Joao Guimaraes Rosa.  Of course, the biggest Latin American star on their list was the Brazilian Jorge Amado.

 

   Other hardcover publishers also got involved in the publishing of translations from Latin America. Harper & Row published works by Reinaldo Arenas, Mario Benedetti, G. Cabrera Infante, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa.  E.P. Dutton not only published 10 books by Jorge Luis Borges in 13 years, they also brought to the United States translations of the work of Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jose Marmol, Manuel Puig, and Severo Sarduy to name a few. Farrar, Straus & Giroux offered works by Maria-Luisa Bombal, Carlos Fuentes, Jose Lezama Lima, Pablo Neruda, and Gustavo Sainz.

               

   There was however no paperback publisher to equal Avon's Bard imprint when it came to publishing Latin American literature in translation in this country. The range of their list was extraordinary - Luis Rafael Sanchez from Puerto Rico; Miguel Angel Asturias, the late Guatemalan novelist, poet and diplomat who won the 1967 Nobel Prize for Literature; Jorge Amado from Brazil; Machado de Assis, the 19th-century Brazilian novelist; Demetrio Aguilera Malta of Ecuador; Reinaldo Arenas , G. Cabrera Infante, and Alejo Carpentier from Cuba; Mario Vargas Llosa from Peru; Ivan Angelo, Ignacio De Loyola Brandao, Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes, Rachel De Queiroz, Marcio Souza, and Lygia Fagundes Telles from Brazil, all of whose books were published in this country by Bard as paperback originals.

 

   The first Avon Bard paperback original was The Emperor of the Amazon by the Brazilian writer, Marcio Souza. The book was translated by Thomas Colchie, who was at the time the literary agent for Mr. Souza as well as a number of other Latin American authors. Thomas Colchie had even planned a new translation of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa of Brazil, but that unfortunately for American readers never quite materialized.  By 1982 the Avon Bard list had published 22 titles by Latin American writers and reviews were generally good for the series. As these translated titles became more widely available in inexpensive paperback editions, the market for them expanded. Many of the books on the Bard list had print runs at the time of around 16,000 copies, not especially ambitious for a mass market paperback title.

 

   In 1987, as happens quite often in the publishing world, one imprint was folded into another, and Bard became Discus. You can see this reflected in print on books like Graveyard Of The Angels by Reinaldo Arenas (the title page reads “the Discus Imprint” and “Avon Publishers of Bard, Camelot, Discus and Flare Books”). By May 1988 all mention of Bard as an imprint had disappeared, even though many of the books retained the cover art that had made them so distinctive when originally launched as Bard books. Bard was pretty much dead throughout the late 80s, and early 90s, but in 1998 Avon's publisher, Lou Aronica, announced 'a revival and makeover of its dormant Bard imprint'. By this time however many others were publishing Latin American literature and Avon could no longer or would no longer push themselves in that particular direction as they once had. In July, 1999, When HarperCollins purchased Avon in July 1999, Lou Aronica was let go and the Bard imprint disappeared for good. In spite of this it is undeniable that Avon Bard had a 15-year track record as a remarkably successful publisher of cutting-edge Latin American literature in paperback and created a truly great line of books.

See a listing of individual Avon Bard Latin American titles


Sources cited - 

Campassi, Roberta . 100 Years of Jorge Amado. Publishnewsbrazil. April 10, 2012. http://publishnewsbrazil.com/2012/04/100-years-of-jorge-amado/

 

Donoso, Jose. The Boom In Spanish American Literature: A Personal History. New York. 1977. Columbia University Press.

 

Davis, Kenneth C..  Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America. Boston. 1984. Houghton Mifflin.

 

McDowell , Edwin. U.S. Is Discovering Latin America's Literature. New York Times.  February 16, 1982.

 

Rabassa, Gregory. If This Be Treason. New York. 2005. New Directions.

 

Sickels, Amy. Gabriel García Márquez: Cultural and Historical Contexts. http://salempress.com/store/pdfs/marquez_critical_insights.pdf

 

Schiffrin, Andre. The Business Of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing & Changed The Way We Read.  New York. 2000. Verso.

 


 

(04/04/2015) Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Baltimore. 1959. Penguin Books. A new translation from the French by Robert Baldick. With An Introduction by Robert Baldick. 220 pages. L86. paperback.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

penguin against nature l86   First published in 1884, Huysmans’ A Rebours caused a sensation. Oscar Wilde made it a textbook for Dorian Gray, observing: ‘It was the strangest book that he had ever read’. The novel recounts the exotic practices and perverse pleasures of Due Jean Floressas des Esseintes, a wealthy aesthete in search of an elusive ideal. In his neurotic sensibility, his passion for novelty, Des Esseintes foreshadows every unhappy, solitary hero of the twentieth century; he epitomizes the spiritual anguish of modern times. Robert Baldick’s translation preserves the richness and complexity of Huysmans’ style, making this unique work fascinating reading.

 

  Charles-Marie-Georges Huysmans (February 5, 1848 – May 12, 1907) was a French novelist who published his works as Joris-Karl Huysmans. He is most famous for the novel À rebours (1884, published in English as Against the Grain or Against Nature). He supported himself by a 30-year career in the French civil service. Huysmans' work is considered remarkable for its idiosyncratic use of the French language, large vocabulary, descriptions, satirical wit and far-ranging erudition. First considered part of Naturalism in literature, he became associated with the decadent movement with his publication of À rebours. His work expressed his deep pessimism, which had led him to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. In later years, his novels reflected his study of Catholicism, religious conversion, and becoming an oblate. He discussed the iconography of Christian architecture at length in La cathédrale (1898), set at Chartres and with its cathedral as the focus of the book. Là-bas (1891), En route (1895) and La cathédrale (1898) are a trilogy that feature Durtal, an autobiographical character whose spiritual progress is tracked and who converts to Catholicism. In the novel that follows, L'Oblat (1903), Durtal becomes an oblate in a monastery, as Huysmans himself was in the Benedictine Abbey at Ligugé, near Poitiers, in 1901. La cathédrale was his most commercially successful work. Its profits enabled Huysmans to retire from his civil service job and live on his royalties.

 

 

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(03/30/2015) Night Journey by Maria Negroni. Princeton. 2002. Princeton University Press. Translated from the Spanish by Anne Twitty. Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation - Richard Howard, Series Editor. 144 pages. paperback. 069109098x.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   One of South America’s most celebrated contemporary poets takes us on a fantastic voyage to mysterious lands and seas, into the psyche, and to the heart of the poem itself. Night Journey is the English-language debut of the work that won María Negroni an Argentine National Book Award. It is a book of dreams—dreams she renders with surreal beauty that recalls the work of her compatriot Alejandra Pizarnik, with the penetrating subtlety of Borges and Calvino. In sixty-two tightly woven prose poems, Negroni deftly infuses haunting imagery with an ironic, personal spirituality. Effortlessly she navigates the nameless subject to the slopes of the Himalayas, to a bar in Buenos Aires, through war, from icy Scandinavian landscapes to the tropics, across seas, toward a cemetery in the wake of Napoleon’s hearse, by train, by taxis headed in unrequested directions, past mirrors and birds, between life and death. Night Journey reflects a mastery of a traditional form while brilliantly expressing a modern condition: the multicultural, multifaceted individual, ever in motion. Displacement abounds: a ‘medieval tabard’ where a pelvis should be, a ‘lipless grin,’ a ‘beach severed from the ocean.’ In one poem ‘nomadic cities’ whisk past. In another, smiling cockroaches loom in a visiting mother’s eyes. Anne Twitty, whose elegant translations are accompanied by the Spanish originals, remarks in her preface that the book’s ‘indomitable literary intelligence’ subdues an unspoken terror—helplessness. Yet, as observed by the angel Gabriel, the consoling voice of wisdom, only by accepting the journey for what it is can one discover its ‘hidden splendor,’ the ‘invisible center of the poem.’ As readers of this magnificent work will discover, this is a journey that, because its every fleeting image conjures a thousand words of fertile silence, can be savored again and again.

 

Negroni Maria  María Negroni was born October 9, 1951 in Rosario, Argentina. She has published eleven books of poetry, three collections of essays, and two novels, as well as works in translation from French and English. Her work has appeared internationally in literary journals, including Diario de Poesía, Página 12, The Paris Review, Circumference, and Bomb, among others. She has been awarded two Argentine National Book Awards, for her collection of essays Ciudad Gótica (1996) and her poetry collection Viaje de la noche (1997). Her book of poems Islandia, in Anne Twitty’s translation, received a PEN Translation Award in 2001. She has been a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Fundación Octavio Paz, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and others. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Winner of the following awards - International Prize for Essay Writing from Siglo XXI, 2002 PEN Award for best book of poetry in translation, for Islandia, 2000-2001 Octavio Paz Fellowship for Poetry, 1997 Argentine National Book Award, for El viaje de la noche, 1994 Guggenheim Fellowships.

 

 

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(03/28/2015) Night Roamers and Other Stories by Knut Hamsun. Seattle. 1992. Fjord Press. Translated from the Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally. 156 pages. hardcover. Cover painting by Edvard Munch, Evening on Karl Johan, 1892. Oil on canvas, 84.5 x 121 cm. Rasmus Meyer's Collections, Bergen; courtesy of Oslo Kommunes Kinstamlinger, Munch-Museet, Oslo. (original title: Livsfragmenter, 1988 - Gyldendal Norsk Forlag). 0940242249.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Lesser-known stories by the Norwegian Nobel laureate. Hamsun explores familiar themes of spiritual hunger, youthful searching, madness, illness and death in turn-of-the-century Norway through protagonists whose experiences (and complaints) mirror his own.

 

 KNUT HAMSUN was born in 1859 in the Gudbransdal Valley of central Norway, and died in 1952, at the age of ninety-three. In 1920 he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

 

 

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(03/27/2015) The Harder They Come by T. Coraghessan Boyle. New York. 2015. Ecco Press. 385 pages. March 2015. hardcover. Jacket art & design by Jim Tierney. 9780062349378.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author T.C. Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful, gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and anti-authoritarianism inherent in the American character. Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people—an aging ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son's paranoid, much older lover—as they careen towards an explosive confrontation. On a vacation cruise to Central America with his wife, seventy-year-old Sten Stensen unflinchingly kills a gun-wielding robber menacing a busload of senior tourists. The reluctant hero is relieved to return home to Fort Bragg, California, after the ordeal—only to find that his delusional son, Adam, has spiraled out of control. Adam has become involved with Sara Hovarty Jennings, a hardened member of the Sovereign Citizens’ Movement, right-wing anarchists who refuse to acknowledge the laws and regulations of the state, considering them to be false and non-applicable. Adam’s senior by some fifteen years, Sara becomes his protector and inamorata. As Adam's mental state fractures, he becomes increasingly schizophrenic—a breakdown that leads him to shoot two people in separate instances. On the run, he takes to the woods, spurring the biggest manhunt in California history. As he explores a father’s legacy of violence and his powerlessness in relating to his equally violent son, T. C. Boyle offers unparalleled psychological insights into the American psyche. Inspired by a true story, The Harder They Come is a devastating and indelible novel from a modern master.

 

 Tom Coraghessan Boyle (born Thomas John Boyle; also known as T.C. Boyle; born December 2, 1948) is an American novelist and short story writer. Since the mid-1970s, he has published fourteen novels and more than 100 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988, for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York. He is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

 

 

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(03/26/2015) Jacob's Room by Virigina Woolf. New York. 1998. Signet/New American Library. Introduction By David Denby. 204 pages. January 1998. CE2665. paperback. Cover: Vanessa Bell. 0451526651

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0451526651   The publication of Jacob's Room in 1922 marked a turning point in Virginia Woolf's career - and in the evolution of the English novel. Based on her own brother Thoby, who died in 1906, Jacob's Room follows the life of a fatherless boy, Jacob Flanders, from his childhood until his tragic death during World War I. Unlike her more traditional first novel, The Voyage Out, this novel is poetic, nearly plotless, and focuses on a flow of random impressions through the minds of its characters. A crab in a tidal pool, an unsuccessful dinner at a professor's house, a conversation about Greece, all become crucial reflections of human experience, revealing larger landscapes of sensibilities, values, and passions. So exquisitely crafted that both the universal qualities of youth and the uniqueness of one young man become powerfully fused, Jacob's Room is Woolf's first stream - of - consciousness novel - nonlinear, experimental, and possessing an ending that is among the most moving in all of English literature. E. M. Forster wrote that with Jacob's Room, 'a new type of fiction has swum into view.' It remains a pivotal work in the development of the novel form and a testament to Woolf's genius and literary daring. Cover painting: Vanessa Bell, Interior With Duncan Grant, 1934. Williamson Art Gallery & Museum.

 

 Woolf Virginia Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929), with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life, thought to have been the result of what is now termed bipolar disorder, and committed suicide by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59.

 

 

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(03/25/2015) The Temple of Iconoclasts by J. Rodolfo Wilcock. Boston. 2014. David Godine/verba mundi. Translated by Lawrence Venuti. 5.5 × 8.5. 224 pages. October 2014. paperback. 9781567925302

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9781567925302   ‘One of the greatest and strangest... writers of this century.’ – Roberto Bolaño. From an armchair in England, Rosenblum hatches a complicated plot to return the world to the year 1580—reintroducing ruffs, doublets, codpieces, and sundry period diseases. By sheer force of will, Littlefield discovers that he’s able to crystalize table salt into the shapes of ‘chickens and other small animals.’ Babson founds an international organization with the declared aim of annulling the law of gravity. These are only a few of the dozens of eccentrics, visionaries, and downright crackpots who populate the pages of Juan Rodolfo Wilcock’s charming fiction in the form of a biographical dictionary. Temple’s brief portraits blend mordant satire and profound imaginative sympathy, taking in the whole dazzling spectrum of human folly—including a handful of colors that only Wilcock’s Swiftian eye could possibly have perceived. ‘Rodolfo Wilcock is a legendary writer.... His greatest work, The Temple of Iconoclasts, is without a doubt one of the funniest, most joyful, irreverent, and most corrosive books of the twentieth century... a festive, laugh-out-loud read... a writer whom no good reader should miss.’ – Roberto Bolaño. ‘Fictitious histories so engaging as to seem true and true histories so amusing as to seem fictitious.’ – Roberto Calasso, author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. ‘Compellingly whimsical, alienated, pseudo-scientific, bizarre: all these adjectives describe this fiction in the form of a short reference work, the first book by admired Argentinian-Italian novelist Wilcock to be published in English…Venuti renders Wilcock’s Italian into lucid, captivating English, and offers a biographical introduction. [Perfect for] lovers of postmodern mind games.’ – Publishers Weekly..

 

Wilcock Juan Rodolfo  Born in Buenos Aires in 1919, Juan Rodolfo Wilcock was a member of the circle of innovative writers that included Borges and Bioy Casares. Self-exiled in Rome, he became a leading Italian writer, publishing numerous books of poetry, journalism, fiction, and translation.

 

Lawrence Venuti is a distinguished translator and historian. His recent translations include I.U. Tarchetti’s Gothic romance, Fosca, Antonia Pozzi’s Breath: Poems and Letters, and Ernest Farrés’s Edward Hopper: Poems, which won the Robert Fagles Translation Prize.

 

 

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(03/24/2015) The Manner Music by Charles Reznikoff. Santa Barbara. 1977. Black Sparrow Press. 133 pages. hardcover. 0876853254

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   FROM THE INTRODUCTION by Robert Creeley - A story is an extraordinary human possibility, and people have been making use of its resources no doubt since time, like they say, began. There are, of course, many stories, and many ways of telling each story—many, many variations and points of view and opinions as to what, after all, was the point. What happened? Well, it was like this. .. So the story begins, or might, to tell what happened , or might have happened, or didn't. One had not known, sadly, that Charles Reznikoff wrote novels. That a man should have such quiet and singular genius so modestly put aside (by himself) is regrettable. So much does shout at us, belligerently claiming attention for its style or its intelligence or its newness, that a story such as this one, so shyly assertive of what it so truly knows, is, humanly, such deep relief and reassurance—that one of us can care. The circumstances involved with its writing are briefly summarized by its present publisher, John Martin, as follows: ‘I have recently gone through Charles Reznikoff's lifetime accumulation of manuscript, and was thunderstruck to find a carefully typed, completed novel, which he apparently never mentioned to anyone, or submitted for publication. It was, I think, composed in the early 1950's and is called ‘The Manner Music .’ It is autobiographical, with one character, the narrator of the story, representing an aspect of Charles himself—the Charles who worked as a drummer, selling ladies' hats, who was disillusioned at trying to find the leisure to write, at getting his poetry accepted, etc. The protagonist of the novel, called Jude Dalsimer, is the Charles who never doubted his worth as a poet and who was determined to live out this destiny regardless of circumstance. A third character in the story, called Paul Pasha, is a portrait of Charles' most faithful friend for many years, who was a successful motion picture producer. I believe this novel was written in response to a letter William Carlos Williams wrote Charles in the late 1940's, at a time when Charles' career was at low ebb, urging him to continue writing at any cost, and if possible to write a novel.. .’ Stories are changed in telling, of course, so this one is not a simple rehearsal of a part of a man's life. There are, in fact, many stories here, ‘the manner, music ,’ an interweaving of a complex of ‘things’ happening, being recalled and told. The plot is an ageless one, the story of two men who have known each other since they were boys. One tells us what he knows of the other's life, as he is witness to it but also as the other tells him of it. Times are reasonably good, then are not, then come to the anticipated disaster. Jude Dalsimer, whose life is the novel's center, will not give up his music , which is not a secure means of livelihood as his friend well knows, having himself yielded similar hopes for a more dependable job. But, for Jude, it is the means of transforming all the welter of emotion and event into an articulate form. Neither his wife nor friend, nor anyone else, for that matter, can understand it. But, as his friend finally says: ‘If Jude had wanted to write music and had not done his best to do so, he might have lived longer and more pleasantly but, as he might have explained, it is as if one enlists in an army or perhaps is drafted: he must fight and may fall but may not desert. Most do, of course. I did, I suppose...’

 

  Charles Reznikoff (August 31, 1894 – January 22, 1976) was an American poet known for his long work, Testimony: The United States (1885-1915), Recitative (1934-1979). The term Objectivist was first coined for him. The two-volume Testimony was based on court records and explored the black experience in the United States. He followed this with Holocaust (1975), based on court testimony about Nazi death camps during World War II. When Louis Zukofsky was asked by Harriet Monroe to provide an introduction to what became known as the Objectivist issue of Poetry, he contributed his essay, Sincerity and Objectification: With Special Reference to the Work of Charles Reznikoff. This established the name of the loose-knit group of 2nd generation modernist poets and the two characteristics of their poetry: sincerity and objectification.

 

 

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(03/23/2015) Sunset Gun by Dorothy Parker. New York. 1928. Boni & Liveright. 75 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A collection of 68 poems.by Dorothy Parker, including A Pig's-Eye View of Literature: The Lives and Times of John Keat, Percy Bysshe Shelly and George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron; Mortal Enemy, Penelope plus others. Poems in this book first appeared in the Bookman, the New Republic, the Nation, the New Yorker, Life, the Yale Review, McCall's, the New York World and the New York Post. CONTENTS: Godmother, Partial Comfort, The Red dress, Victoria, The Counsellor, Parable for a Certain Virgin, Bric-a-Brac, Interior, Reuben's Children, for R.C.B., There Was One, On Cheating the Fiddler, Incurable, Fable, The Second Oldest Story, A Pig's-Eye View of Literature: The Lives and Times of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, Harriet Beecher Stowe, D.G. Rosetti, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas and His Son, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George Gissing, Walter Savage Landor, George Sand, Mortal Enemy, Penelope, Bohemia, The Searched Soul, The Trusting Heart, Thought for a Sunshiny Morning, The Gentlest Lady, The Maid-Servant at the Inn, Fulfillment, Daylight Saving, Surprise, Swan Song, On Being a Woman, Afternoon, A Dream Lies Dead, The Homebody, Second Love, Fair Weather, The Whistling Girl, Story, Frustration, Healed, Landscape, Post-Graduate, Verses in the Night: Honeymoon, Triolet, Melange for the Unknown George, Liebstod, For a Favorite Grand-Daughter, Dilemma, Theory, A Fairly Sad Tale, The Last Question, Superfluous Advice, Directions for Finding the Bard, But Not Forgotten, Two-Volume Novel, Pour Prendre Conge, For a Lady Who Must Write Verse, Rhyme Against Living, Wisdom, Coda. Parker published her first volume of poetry, Enough Rope, in 1926. The collection sold 47,000 copies and garnered impressive reviews. The Nation described her verse as "caked with a salty humor, rough with splinters of disillusion, and tarred with a bright black authenticity". Although some critics, notably the New York Times reviewer, dismissed her work as "flapper verse", the volume helped cement Parker's reputation for sparkling wit. Parker released two more volumes of verse, Sunset Gun (1928) and Death and Taxes (1931), along with the short story collections Laments for the Living (1930) and After Such Pleasures (1933). Not So Deep as a Well (1936) collected much of the material previously published in Rope, Gun and Death and she re-released her fiction with a few new pieces in 1939 under the title Here Lies.

 

  Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker". Nevertheless, her literary output and reputation for her sharp wit have endured.

 

 

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(03/22/2015) Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems Of Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker. New York. 1996. Scribner. Compiled & With an Introduction by Stuart Y. Silverstein. 256 pages. hardcover. 0684818558

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0684818558   Dorothy Parker wrote more than three hundred poems and verses for a variety of popular magazines and newspapers during the early years of her literary career. She collected most of these pieces in three volumes of poetry, Enough Rope, Sunset Gun and Death and Taxes. It is the remaining poems and verses, the ones that she failed to collect and whose very existence has been unknown to most of the general public for more than half a century, that comprise this volume. Eclectic and exuberant, the 122 forgotten poems and verses display the raw talent and dexterity of America's most renowned cynic. Some are topical, providing gimlet-eyed commentary on urban life from the First World War through the mid-twenties. With incomparable wit, Parker dissects contemporary fads and, in the raucous "Hate Verses," gleefully maligns most facets of humanity and popular culture, from husbands and wives to bohemians, slackers, summer resorts and movies. Some of the pieces are rare examples of Parker's experimentation with structured poetic forms. Others are more personal, celebrating her love of animals or scrutinizing the perils of passion. Notoriously - and irrationally - critical of her own work, Parker chose not to include this poetry in her previous collections. Nonetheless, many of the lost poems compare with her best, and nearly all display the distinctive wit, irony and precision that continue to attract succeeding generations of readers. In an authoritative and immensely entertaining introduction, Stuart Y. Silverstein recounts Parker's celebrated career.

 

  Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker". Nevertheless, her literary output and reputation for her sharp wit have endured.

 

 

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(03/21/2015) Islandia: A Poem by Maria Negroni. Barrytown. 2001. Station Hill Press/Barrytown Ltd. Translated from the Spanish by Anne Twitty. Bilingual Edition. 171 pages. paperback. 1886449155

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   ‘Islandia is an extraordinary cycle of poems written in two very different and contrasting forms - the Nordic, masculine, epic style of the prose poems, and the Mediterranean, feminine, mannered lyric style of the others. Anne Twitty’s translation of this masterful cycle has itself been carried out with great mastery.’ - Esther Allen, translator of Octavio Paz, Rosario Castellanos, and Jorge Luis Borges. ‘The saga of Scandinavians, who - in flight or exile - founded Islandia, is counterpointed by the ironic verses of a female speaker who is also a shipwreck, a fugitive, and a seeker-inventor of islands. In this work, destinies cross—that of vehement navigators among the whales and mists, and that of a writer who, telling the saga of others, assumes and discards a sumptuous mask.’ - Julio E. Miranda, Domingo Hoy, Caracas. ‘With remarkable beauty, a major poet deciphers a landscape and a language embedded in the most profound Latin American tradition.’ - Tomás Eloy MartInez, author of Santa Evita. ‘A female voice brilliantly deconstructs the masculine constellation: epic/adventure/war... A severely wrought patina makes for a sense of excavation, out of which rises a different, female, spirit of adventure. In the words of the H.D. epigraph: ‘We are discoverers / of the not-known / the unrecorded; we have no maps.’ - Rosmarie Waidrop, author of The Reproduction of Profiles. ‘It is not easy to find a form for journey… for there is no poetry without cost.’ So say the ongoing voices in Maria Negroni’s remarkable and innovative book-length poem. It is a compelling work, deftly connecting embodied experience to history and a cornucopia of language.’ - Sophie Cabot Black, author of The Misunderstanding of Nature.

 

  María Negroni was born October 9, 1951 in Rosario, Argentina. She has published eleven books of poetry, three collections of essays, and two novels, as well as works in translation from French and English. Her work has appeared internationally in literary journals, including Diario de Poesía, Página 12, The Paris Review, Circumference, and Bomb, among others. She has been awarded two Argentine National Book Awards, for her collection of essays Ciudad Gótica (1996) and her poetry collection Viaje de la noche (1997). Her book of poems Islandia, in Anne Twitty’s translation, received a PEN Translation Award in 2001. She has been a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Fundación Octavio Paz, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and others. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. Winner of the following awards - International Prize for Essay Writing from Siglo XXI, 2002 PEN Award for best book of poetry in translation, for Islandia, 2000-2001 Octavio Paz Fellowship for Poetry, 1997 Argentine National Book Award, for El viaje de la noche, 1994 Guggenheim Fellowships.

 

Anne Twitty is a writer, interpreter and translator who lives in New York City. She was for some years editor of the Epicycle section of Parabola Magazine, where some of her essays were published. Anne Twitty’s translations of selections from Maria Negroni’s works have appeared in Hopscotch, Mandorla, The Paris Review and on-line at www.archipelago.org. Her translation of Night Journey (El viaje de la noché) appeared in a bilingual edition published by Princeton University Press in 2002.

 

 

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(03/19/2015) Seeds Of Corruption by Sabri Moussa. Boston. 1980. Houghton Mifflin. Winner Pegasus Prize For Literature. Translated from the Arabic by Mona N. Mikhail. 169 pages. hardcover. Jacket by Danile Earl Thaxton. 0395285410

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Set in the harsh desert of eastern Egypt, Seeds of Corruption is the tale of a Ulysses-like hero in search of himself and his ultimate salvation. The novel becomes a singularly compelling play between the peace and desolation of the desert, the corruption of the dissolute Egyptian king and his court, the purity of the hero's daughter, and the simple dignity of the fishermen and desert Bedouins. Seeds of Corruption eloquently portrays the corruption of the Egyptian monarchy and the aristocracy before 1952 as aided by foreign influence. Nicola, a mine engineer of European background, must decide his true identity. Is he an exploiter, like his bourgeois business partner, or is he more like the people of the desert whom he admires so deeply for their ancestral dignity and sense of honor? The novel offers a vivid and colorful panorama of the Eastern desert by the Red Sea. Such a distant place is a refreshing departure and Moussa's style is rich in imagery and metaphors, making this book a masterpiece of fine Arabic writing.

 

  Sabri Moussa was born in 1932 in Dumiyat, Egypt, and lives in Cairo. He started writing in 1951 and has published four collections of short stories, three novels, three travel books and scripts for ten major Egyptian films, some of which, including Al-Boustagi [The Postman], are now considered classics.

 

 

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(03/18/2015) Charles Reznikoff: A Critical Essay by Milton Hindus. London. 1977. Menard Press. 69 pages. paperback. 0903400081

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Charles Reznikoff (August 31, 1894 – January 22, 1976) was an American poet known for his long work, Testimony: The United States (1885-1915), Recitative (1934-1979). The term Objectivist was first coined for him. The two-volume Testimony was based on court records and explored the black experience in the United States. He followed this with Holocaust (1975), based on court testimony about Nazi death camps during World War II. When Louis Zukofsky was asked by Harriet Monroe to provide an introduction to what became known as the Objectivist issue of Poetry, he contributed his essay, Sincerity and Objectification: With Special Reference to the Work of Charles Reznikoff. This established the name of the loose-knit group of 2nd generation modernist poets and the two characteristics of their poetry: sincerity and objectification.

 

  Milton Hindus (1916-1988) was a scholar of American and European literature and was one of the original 13 professors that founded Brandeis University in 1948. He taught there until his retirement in 1981. A native New Yorker, Professor Hindus was teaching at the University of Chicago when he was recruited as by Brandeis. He devoted much of his time in recent years to the work of Charles Reznikoff, a Brooklyn-born poet and editor (1894-1976). Professor Hindus wrote ''Charles Reznikoff: Man and Poet'' (1984), and ''Charles Reznikoff: A Critical Essay'' (1977), and worked on ''The Collected Letters of Charles Reznikoff.' He wrote ''Celine: The Crippled Giant'' (1950), a critical biography of the French writer Louis Ferdinand Celine, which was reissued as a paperback in 1997. Hindus was fascinated by Celine’s poetry, but repelled by his anti-semitism. Hindus corresponded with Celine for several years and the two eventually met for a series of meetings in Denmark in 1949. He also wrote ''The Proustian Vision'' (1954), ''A Reader's Guide to Marcel Proust'' (1962), and ''F. Scott Fitzgerald: An Introduction and Interpretation'' (1967). He was the author of ''Leaves of Grass: One Hundred Years Later'' (1955), which remains in print and earned him the Walt Whitman Prize of the Poetry Society of America. He also edited ''Walt Whitman'' for the Critical Heritage Series (1997). Also among his 16 books were ''The Jewish East Side: 1881-1924'' (1995), and ''A World at Twilight: A Portrait of East European Jewry on the Eve of the Holocaust'' (1971). He graduated in 1936 from City College, where he earned a master of arts degree in 1938. Before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1946, he did postgraduate work at Columbia University and lectured at Hunter College and the New School for Social Research in New York. Hindus once wrote "My conviction is that the most important life is that of the mind, and if this does not transpire through all the writer's work, then indeed he has written in vain."

 

 

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(03/17/2015) The Murder of Harriet Krohn: An Inspector Sejer Mystery by Karin Fossum. Boston/New York. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson. 242 pages. August 2009.. hardcover. Jacket design by Michaela Sullivan. 9780544273399

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780544273399   Available for the first time in English, the seventh entry in the beloved Inspector Sejer series from Norway’s Queen of Crime, Karin Fossum. On a wet, gray night in early November, Charlo Torp, a former gambler who’s only recently kicked the habit, makes his way through the slush to Harriet Krohn’s apartment, flowers in hand. Certain that paying off his debt is the only path to starting a new life and winning his daughter’s forgiveness, Charlo plans to rob the wealthy old woman’s antique silver collection. What he doesn’t expect is for her to put up a fight. The following morning Harriet is found dead, her antique silver missing, and the only clue Inspector Sejer and his team find in the apartment is an abandoned bouquet. Charlo should feel relieved, but he’s heard of Sejer’s amazing record — the detective has solved every case he’s ever been assigned to. Told through the eyes of a killer, The Murder of Harriet Krohn poses the question: how far would you go to turn your life around, and could you live with yourself afterward?

 

 Karin Fossum is the author of the internationally successful Inspector Konrad Sejer crime series. Her recent honors include a Gumshoe Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for mystery/thriller. She lives in a small town in southeastern Norway.

 

 

 

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(03/16/2015) An Anthology of German Poetry from Hölderlin to Rilke in English Translations with German Originals by Angel Flores (editor). Garden City. 1960. Anchor/Doubleday. A Doubleday Anchor Original. 458 pages.. A197. paperback. Cover and typography by Edward Gorey.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Here, in new translations done especially for this volume, are major and representative works of fourteen leading German lyric poets of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Included in this volume are: Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, Clemens Brentano, Joseph von Eichendorff, August Graf von Platen, Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Heinrich Heine, Nikolaus Lenau, Eduard Mörike, Stefan George, Christian Morgenstern, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Georg Traki, and Rainer Maria Rilke. The translations, each an independent work in its own right, have been done by such well-known writers as Vernon Watkins, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Constantine Fitzgibbon, Hugh McDiarmid, Francis Golffing, Peter Viereck, Michael Hamburger, Edwin Morgan, and Herman Salinger. Many of the poems are here translated into English for the first time. The original German text is given immediately below each translation. There are biographical notes on each poet, together with bibliographies giving suggestions for further reading.

 

Angel Flores (1900-1992) was a Puerto Rican author. He received an AB from New York University and a PhD from Cornell University. He passed away in 1992 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

 

 

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