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  • December 15th

    December 15th   Muriel Rukeyser (Born  December 15, 1913)    Muriel Rukeyser (December 15, 1913 – February 12, 1980) was an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. Kenneth Rexroth said that she was the greatest poet of her ‘exact generation’. One of her most powerful pieces was a group of poems entitled The Book of the Dead...

  • December 14th

    December 14th   Tycho Brahe (Born December 14, 1546)    Tycho Brahe (14 December 1546 – 24 October 1601), born Tyge Ottesen Brahe, was a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in Scania, then part of Denmark, now part of modern-day Sweden. Tycho was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer and alchemist, and has...

  • December 13th

    December 13th   Kenneth Patchen (Born  December 13, 1911)    Kenneth Patchen (December 13, 1911 – January 8, 1972) was an American poet and novelist. He experimented with different forms of writing and incorporated painting, drawing, and jazz music into his works, which were often compared with those of William Blake and Walt Whitman. Patchen's biographer wrote that he ‘developed in his fabulous...

Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Cousin to Human, by Jane Mayhall (1960)
    I learned of Jane Mayhall’s first and only novel, Cousin to Human (1960) from its inclusion in Tillie Olsen’s lists of recommended titles by women writers included in the back of her book, Silences. Olsen provided no description of it and no explanation for its mention. Cousin to Human seems to have vanished from notice […]
  • Hunter of Doves, by Josephine Herbst (1954)
    “For understanding what it was like to live to the full the turbulent American literary life of the 1920’s and 30’s as it moved from bohemianism to radicalism, there could be no more revealing figure than Josephine Herbst,” wrote Robert Gorham Davis in his review of Elinor Langer’s 1984 biography of Herbst, Josephine Herbst: The […]
  • Snow in London, from A Half of Two Lives, by Alison Waley
    The Wind Blows High The wind, the wind, the wind blows high, The snow is falling from the sky. Maisie Drummond says she’ll die For Want of the Golden City. Children’s Game The last day of February I929. At Bayswater when I enter the Underground the sky is dull as canvas and still — the […]
  • Risk, by Rachel MacKenzie (1971)
    Risk, Rachel MacKenzie’s brief account of her hospitalization and initial recovery from open-heart surgery to repair an aneurysm of the left ventricle of her heart is one of the shortest books covered on this site, just 59 pages in all. Adapted from an article she published in The New Yorker in November, 1970 as “fiction,” […]
  • “Train Window,” from Sun-Up and Other Poems, by Lola Ridge (1920)
    Train Window Small towns Crawling out of their green shirts … Tubercular towns Coughing a little in the dawn … And the church … There is always a church With its natty spire And the vestibule– That’s where they whisper: Tzz-tzz . . . tzz-tzz . . . tzz-tzz . . . How many codes […]
  • Lost Writers of the Plains, from Nebraska Educational Telecommunications
    Link: http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/learning-services/lost-writers-plains A new series of radio shows, along with a free accompanying ebook, featuring the lives and works of eight neglected writers of the American Plains, has just been released by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. This series, organized by Professor Wendy Katz from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is a little multimedia treasure trove. For each […]
  • A Half of Two Lives, by Alison Waley (1982)
    First, let’s start with the facts, since these are not this book’s strong suit. Sometime in 1929, Arthur Waley, who was working as Assistant Keeper of Oriental Prints and Manuscripts at the British Museum and who had began to be known as a translator and popularizer of Asian literature with his publication of A Hundred […]
  • Dinner Party at Sea, from Flamingo, by Mary Borden
    The dinner party, thanks to the little pills that Mr. Parkinson always had by him, was a great success. Mr. Parkinson swallowed one, and made Mrs. Prime do the same, saying in his high, funny falsetto voice, “Here you are, Biddy,” and then the cocktail table shot across the floor and he went with it, […]
  • “How Like a Woman,” from Poems, by Alice and Caroline Duer (1986)
    How Like a Woman I you to come to-day– Or so I told you in my letter– And yet, if you had stayed away, I should have liked you so much better. I should have sipped my tea unseen, And thrilled at every door-bell’s pealing, And thought how nice I could have been Had you […]
  • A Tower of Steel, by Josephine Lawrence (1943)
    You probably couldn’t find a more resolutely practical novelist than Josephine Lawrence. In the 30-plus adult novels she wrote between 1932 and 1975, she consistently wrote about people coping with problems of everyday life: growing old, growing up, dealing with children and aging parents, trying to make ends meet, getting laid off, finding a decent […]

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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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(03/20/2015) My Inventions and Other Writings by Nikola Tesla. New York. 2011. Penguin Books. Introduction by Samantha Hunt. 167 pages. paperback. Cover image: Inventor and physicist Nikola Tesla. Cover college: Janet Hansen. 9780143106616

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Famous for his pioneering contributions to the electronic age, his lifelong feud with Thomas Edison, and his erratic behavior, Nikola Tesla was one of the most brilliant and daring inventors and visionaries of his time. Originally written in 1919 as a series of articles in Electrical Experimenter magazine, MY INVENTIONS is Tesla's autobiography, with meditations on his major discoveries and innovations, including the rotating magnetic field, the magnifying transmitter, and the Tesla coil. This volume also includes three articles by Tesla, as well as an enlightening introduction that discredits many of the myths surrounding the thinker's eccentric life.

 

Tesla Nikola  Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was also involved in the corporate struggle between making alternating current or direct current the power transmission standard, referred to as the War of Currents. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission, which was his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project. In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He even built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited. Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal 'mad scientist.' His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success. He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943. His work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but in 1960 the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor. Tesla has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.

 

 

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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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(03/15/2015) Why I Have Not Written Any Of My Books by Marcel Benabou. Lincoln. 1996. University Of Nebraska Press. Translated from the French by David Kornacker. 111 pages. hardcover. 0803212399

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0803212399   Marcel Benabou is quick to acknowledge that his own difficulty in writing has had plenty of company. But the frustrations and pleasures can still be felt privately. Words stick and syntax is stubborn, meaning slips and synonyms cluster. A blank page taunts and a full one accuses. Benabou knows the heroic joy of depriving critics of victims, the kindness of sparing publishers decisions, and the public charity of leaving more room in bookstore displays. At once the budding of an author and the withering of the authoritative, Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books polishes the varnish of self-conscious writing until it peels away. It provides both a respectful litany of writers' fears and a dismissal of the alibis offered to excuse them.

 

 Marcel Bénabou is a scholar of Roman history, a novelist, and, since 1970, the Definitively Provisional Secretary of the Oulipo. His first and latest books are Résistance africaine à la romanisation (1976) and Ecrire sur Tamara (2002). Three of his novels have been published in English by the University of Nebraska Press: Why I Have Not Written Any of My Books (1996), Dump This Book While You Still Can! (2001), and, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Jacob, Menahem, and Mimoun: A Family Epic (1998).

 

 

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(03/14/2015) Graveyard Of The Angels by Reinaldo Arenas. New York. 1987. Avon. Paperback Original. Translated from the Spanish by Alfred J. MacAdam. 122 pages. May 1987. paperback. 0380750759

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   ‘A GREAT LOVE IS, ABOVE ALL, A GREAT PROVOCATION. .. ‘ A beautiful young mulatto in long-ago Havana, Cuba, takes a white man into her bed. In itself, this act of love was more commonplace than remarkable. But Cecilia Valdés was the illegitimate daughter of don Cándido, a wealthy slave trader arid coffee baron. Her inamorato was Leonardo, don Cándido’s son. Such can be the stuff of tragedy. For highly acclaimed exiled Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, it is the jumping-off place for hilarious farce-risque, absurd, wildly funny, and quintessentially irreverent. Arenas, whose searing prose has exposed the brutalities and haunting beauty of his native land in his earlier works, tells here a tale filled with heartbreak; touches it with magic; and creates a fantastic, bittersweet tragicomedy that captures the essence of the bondage of the human heart. ‘A remarkable writer as much for his talent as for his intellectual dignity. I am his reader and his admirer!’ - Octavio Paz.

 

  Reinaldo Arenas (July 16, 1943 - December 7, 1990) was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government. Arenas was born in the countryside, in the northern part of the Province of Oriente, Cuba, and later moved to the city of Holguín. In 1963, he moved to Havana to enroll in the School of Planification and, later, in the Faculty of Letters at the Universidad de La Habana, where he studied philosophy and literature without completing a degree. The following year, he began working at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. While there, his talent was noticed and he was awarded prizes at Cirilo Villaverde National Competition held by UNEAC (National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists). (Soto 1998) Interestingly, his Hallucinations was awarded ‘first Honorable Mention’ in 1966 although, as the judges could find no better entry, no First Prize was awarded that year (Colchie 2001). His writings and openly gay lifestyle were, by 1967, bringing him into conflict with the Communist government. He left the Biblioteca Nacional and became an editor for the Cuban Book Institute until 1968. From 1968 to 1974 he was a journalist and editor for the literary magazine La Gaceta de Cuba. In 1973, he was sent to prison after being charged and convicted of ‘ideological deviation’ and for publishing abroad without official consent. He escaped from prison and tried to leave Cuba by launching himself from the shore on a tire inner tube. The attempt failed and he was rearrested near Lenin Park and imprisoned at the notorious El Morro Castle alongside murderers and rapists. He survived by helping the inmates to write letters to wives and lovers. He was able to collect enough paper this way to continue his writing. However, his attempts to smuggle his work out of prison were discovered and he was severely punished. Threatened with death, he was forced to renounce his work and was released in 1976. In 1980, as part of the Mariel Boatlift, he fled to the United States. Despite his short life and the hardships imposed during his imprisonment, Arenas produced a significant body of work. His Pentagonia is a set of five novels that comprise a ‘secret history’ of post revolutionary Cuba. It includes the poetical Farewell to the Sea, Palace of the White Skunks and the Rabelaisian Color of Summer. In these novels Arenas’ style ranges from a stark realist narrative to absurd satiric humor. He traces his own life story in what to him is the absurd world of Castro’s Cuba. In each of the novels Arenas himself is a major character, going by a number of pseudonyms. His autobiography, Before Night Falls was on the New York Times list of the ten best books of the year in 1993. In 2000 this work was made into a film, directed by Julian Schnabel, in which Arenas was played by Javier Bardem. In 1987, Arenas was diagnosed with AIDS, but he continued to write and speak out against the Cuban government. He mentored many Cuban Exile writers, including John O’Donnell-Rosales. After battling AIDS, Arenas committed suicide by taking an overdose of drugs and alcohol on December 7, 1990, in New York. In a suicide letter written for publication, Arenas wrote: ‘Due to my delicate state of health and to the terrible depression it causes me not to be able to continue writing and struggling for the freedom of Cuba, I am ending my life. I want to encourage the Cuban people out of the country as well as on the Island to continue fighting for freedom. Cuba will be free. I already am.’

 

 

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(03/13/2015) The Spook Who Sat By The Door by Sam Greenlee. London. 1969. Allison & Busby. hardcover. 182 pages. 0850310032.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   The CIA needs a Negro: there have been accusations of racial discrimination. So black Dan Freeman begins his lone career in an all-white world. Dan Freeman — tame, conspicuous, harmless. But behind this mask he coolly develops his subversive expertise in judo, guns, women, strategy.  Moving as easily among Washington’s power-hungry politicians as among the threatening street gangs of Chicago’s ghetto, Freeman plays the heroes of one world against the victims of the other. The top men in the CIA, hypocritical social workers, brainwashed policemen, a middle-class girlfriend, a beautiful whore, tough young junkies all have their place in Freeman’s lethally calculated program. He uses and manipulates all the opportunities and people around him. He is a man with a foot in both camps and a finger squeezing slowly on the trigger. There is no time for sentimentality. THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR is a book that had to be written. It describes an America that has gone beyond the stage of civil rights demonstrations and spontaneous riots: an America where the only hope for the black man is in deadly efficient guerrilla warfare. Sam Greenlee has written a novel about a revolution that may happen tomorrow.ABOUT THE AUTHOR - My name is Sam Greenlee. I am a black American and I write; not necessarily in that order of importance. I was born of a refugee family in Chicago, 13 July 1930, a second generation immigrant from the deep South. My father was a chauffeur, my mother a singer and dancer in the chorus line of the Regal Theater on Forty-seventh and South Parkway on the south side of Chicago. I received a non-education in Chicago ghetto non-schools and played catchup at three universities: Wisconsin, Chicago and Thessalonikki. I served for two years as an Infantry Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, in the 31st Infantry ‘Dixie’ Division. I was a professional propagandist in the foreign service of the United States Information Service. I served in Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia and Greece, and was given the Meritorius Service Award for activities during the 1958 Kassem revolution in Baghdad. I have recently returned from four years of writing in Greece. I am employed, with fat salary and fancy title, by an otherwise white civil rights organization in Chicago. My job is to sit by the door.

 

Greenlee Sam   Samuel Eldred Greenlee, Jr. (July 13, 1930 – May 19, 2014) was an African-American writer, best known for his controversial novel The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which was first published in London by Allison & Busby in March 1969 (having been rejected by dozens of mainstream publishers), and went on to be chosen as The Sunday Times Book of the Year. The novel was subsequently made into the 1973 movie of the same name, directed by Ivan Dixon and co-produced and written by Greenlee, that is now considered a "cult classic". Born in Chicago, Greenlee attended the University of Wisconsin (BS, political science, 1952) and the University of Chicago (1954-7). He was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity (Beta Omicron 1950). He served in the military (1952-4), earning the rank of first lieutenant, and subsequently worked for the United States Information Agency, serving in Iraq (in 1958 he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for bravery during the Baghdad revolution), Pakistan, Indonesia, and Greece between 1957 and 1965. Leaving the United States foreign service after eight years, he stayed on in Greece. He undertook further study (1963-4) at the University of Thessaloniki, and lived for three years on the island of Mykonos, where he began to write his first novel. That was eventually published in 1969 as The Spook Who Sat by the Door, the story of a black man who is recruited as a CIA agent and having mastered the skills of a spy then uses them to lead a black guerrilla movement in the US. Greenlee co-wrote (with Mel Clay) the screenplay for the 1973 film The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which he also co-produced with director Ivan Dixon and which is considered "one of the more memorable and impassioned films that came out around the beginning of the notoriously polarizing blaxploitation era." In 2011, an independent documentary entitled Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door was filmed by Christine Acham and Clifford Ward, about the making and reception of the Spook film,  in which Greenlee spoke out about the suppression of the film soon after its release. In a chance meeting with Aubrey Lewis (1935–2001), one of the first Black FBI agents to have been recruited in 1962 by the FBI, Greenlee was told that The Spook Who Sat by the Door was required reading at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Other works by Greenlee include Baghdad Blues, a 1976 novel based on his experiences traveling in Iraq in the 1950s and witnessing the 1958 Iraqi revolution, Blues for an African Princess, a 1971 collection of poems, and Ammunition (poetry, 1975). In 1990 Greenlee won the Illinois poet laureate award. He also wrote short stories, plays (although he found no producer for any of them), and the screenplay for a film short called Lisa Trotter (2010), a story adapted from Aristophanes' Lysistrata. On May 19, 2014, Greenlee died in Chicago at the age of 83. On June 6, 2014, Chicago's DuSable Museum of African American History sponsored an evening of celebration in his honor, attended by his daughter Natiki Montano.

 

 

 

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(03/12/2015) The Disappearance Of The Outside by Andrei Codrescu. Reading. 1990. 216 pages. hardcover. 0201121948. Jacket design by Gary Koepke. keywords: Literature Romania Essays Literary Criticism America.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   When an excerpt from this book first appeared, The Nation called it ‘a remarkable essay the sort of social-cultural-political analysis the mind longs for when it’s been fed for months on Wonder Bread while roaring for raw meat.’ This analysis could only have come from Andrei Codrescu: born in Stalinist Romania, exploring the world during the turbulent 1960s, and now an American poet, essayist, and commentator. In the late twentieth century, he writes, people fear the Outside - that which holds everything beyond our control and current understanding. We yearn to escape into the familiar, not into the unknown. Minds are no longer open to mystery. The rulers of the Eastern bloc tried to close off the Outside with barbed wire and censorship, driving away creative minds. An exile himself, Codrescu looks at Czeslaw Milosz, whose literary Lithuania has become more famous than the region itself; Vàclav Havel, recently a prisoner of the Czechoslovak state and now its leader; Milan Kundera, who sought a free press and now refuses all interviews; and many other authors who fled and fought oppression. Now popular revolutions are bringing East and West together. Codrescu was once so unwelcome in Romania that his name could not appear in crossword puzzles; in December 1989, he relates, he returned and was invited to go on national television. Yet here in the West, Codrescu points out, the Outside is blocked by billboards, drowned out by commercials. There is free expression, but can we really think about what anybody says? What will flow eastward through the cracks in the Iron Curtain — freedom of thought or ‘freedom to shop’? Part memoir of crossing East and West, part critique of our current world literature, and part jeremiad against how we ignore imagination as a force in our lives, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE OUTSIDE is an extraordinary piece of writing that holds challenges for years ahead.

 

Codrescu Andrei  Andrei Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. He was Mac Curdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University from 1984 until his retirement in 2009. Born as Andrei Perlmutter on December 20, 1946 in Sibiu, Romania, he published his first poems in Romanian under the pen name Andrei Steiu. In 1965 he left the country to escape from the communist regime. After some time in Italy, he emigrated to the United States in 1966, and settled in Detroit where he became a regular at John Sinclair’s Artists and Writers’ Workshop. A year later he moved to New York where he became part of the literary scene on the Lower East Side. There he met Allen Ginsberg, Ted Berrigan, and Anne Waldman, and published his first poems in English. In 1970, his poetry book, License to Carry a Gun, won the ‘Big Table Award’. He moved to San Francisco in 1970, and lived on the West Coast for seven years, four of those in Monte Rio, a Sonoma County town on the Russian River. He also lived in Baltimore (where he taught at Johns Hopkins University), New Orleans and Baton Rouge, publishing a book every year, and actively participating in literary life by writing poetry, stories, essays and reviews for many publications, including The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Harper's, and the Paris Review. He had regular columns in The Baltimore Sun, the City Paper, Architecture, Funny Times, Gambit Weekly, and Neon. He has been a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s news program, All Things Considered, since 1983. He won the 1995 Peabody Award for the film Road Scholar, an American road saga that he wrote and starred in, and is a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. He has been called ‘one of our most magical writers’ by The New York Times. In 1989, Codrescu's coverage of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 for National Public Radio and ABC News’ Nightline, was critically acclaimed, and his renewed interest in Romanian language and literature led to new work written in Romanian, including ‘Miracle and Catastrophe’, a book-length interview conducted by the theologian Robert Lazu, and ‘The Forgiven Submarine’, an epic poem written in collaboration with poet Ruxandra Cesereanu, which won the 2008 Romania Radio Cultural award. His books were translated into Romanian by Ioana Avadani, Ioana Ieronim, Carmen Firan, Rodica Grigore, and Lacrimioara Stoie. In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious international Ovidius Prize (also known as the Ovid Prize), previous winners of which include Mario Vargas Llosa, Amos Oz, and Orhan Pamuk. In 1981, Codrescu became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He is the editor and founder of the online journal Exquisite Corpse, a journal of ‘books and ideas’. He reigned as King of the Krewe du Vieux for the 2002 New Orleans Mardi Gras season. He has two children, Lucian and Tristan, from his marriage to Alice Henderson, and is currently married to Laura Cole.

 

 

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(03/11/2015) The Quotable Kierkegaard by Soren Kierkegaard. Princeton. 2013. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 234 pages. Jacket illustration: Details of Sketch of Soren Kierkegaard based on a sketch by Niels Christian Kierkegaard (180601882). Edited by Gordon Marino. keywords: Philosophy Denmark Literature Translated. 9780691155302.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE AND AUTHORITATIVE COLLECTION OF KIERKEGAARD QUOTATIONS EVER PUBLISHED. ‘The Quotable Kierkegaard serves equally well as an introduction or a reference book. There is no better way to sample the unique flavor of Kierkegaard’s thought. And if you ever need a quotation for a speech or a sermon, for an epigraph or an epitaph, for a dedication or a denunciation, you’re sure to find a striking one here.’ - David Lodge, author of Small World, Therapy, and other novels. ‘Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven - in the spring at the earth.’ - Søren Kierkegaard. The father of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a philosopher who could write like an angel. With only a sentence or two, he could plumb the depths of the human spirit. In this collection of some 800 quotations, the reader will find dazzling bon mots next to words of life-changing power. Drawing from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard’s writings, this book presents a broad selection of his wit and wisdom, as well as a stimulating introduction to his life and work. Organized by topic, this volume covers notable Kierkegaardian concerns such as anxiety, despair, existence, irony, and the absurd, but also erotic love, the press, busyness, and the comic. Here readers will encounter both well-known quotations (‘Life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forward’) and obscure ones (‘Beware false prophets who come to you in wolves’ clothing but inwardly are sheep - i.e., the phrasemongers’). Those who spend time in these pages will discover the writer who said ‘my grief is my castle,’ but who also taught that ‘the best defense against hypocrisy is love.’ Illuminating and delightful, this engaging book also provides a substantial portrait of one of the most influential of modern thinkers; Gathers some 800 quotations; Drawn from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard’s writings; Includes an introduction, a brief account and timeline of Kierkegaard’s life, a guide to further reading, and an index.

 

Gordon Marino is professor of philosophy and director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age, the coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard, and the editor of Basic Writings of Existentialism.

 

 

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(03/10/2015) Poems 1918-1936: Volume 1 of The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff by Charles Reznikoff. Santa Barbara. 1976. Black Sparrow Press. Edited by Seamus Cooney. 227 pages. hardcover. 0876852622

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0876852622   A scarce work from Reznikoff, who died while the project was at press, but had already signed the colophon pages of this edition. Reznikoff’s first book of poetry, Rhythms, was privately published in 1918. He took a series of writing and editing jobs to support himself, working on the editorial staffs of the American Law Book Company and, beginning in 1955, the Jewish Frontier. In 1930, Reznikoff married Marie Syrkin, who later became a distinguished professor at Brandeis University. Throughout the 1930s, Reznikoff gained recognition as one of the principal proponents of Objectivism, along with Louis Zukofsky, George Oppen, and Carl Rakosi. The group of poets established the Objectivist Press, which published three of Reznikoff’s books. His work enjoyed little commercial success, however, and much of it continued to be self-published. The most comprehensive edition of Reznikoff’s work is Poems 1918-1975: The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff (Black Sparrow Press, 1989). His other books of poetry include Holocaust (1975) and Testimony (1965), which are his most celebrated works, as well as Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down (1941), Jerusalem the Golden (1934), Poems (1920), and Rhythms (1918). He also published several prose works and a number of plays. After his death, a novel entitled The Manner Music was discovered by his patron, John Martin, and published posthumously in 1976, with an introduction by Robert Creeley. Apart from his foray in the south and a year spent as a Hollywood screenwriter in the 1930s, Reznikoff was a lifelong resident of New York City. He died on January 22, 1976.

 

  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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(03/09/2015) Songs From the Gallows/Galgenlieder by Christian Morgenstern. New Haven. 1993. Yale University Press. Translated from the German by Walter Arndt. 137 pages. hardcover. Jacket illustration Luft-Leone Design. 0300052782

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Christina Morgenstern (1871-1914) was a German poet, theosophist, and translator whose nonsense poems have been among the best-known and best-loved works in Germany throughout this century. Often compared to the drolleries of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, Morgenstern’s poems are whimsical yet haunting, a rare blend of humor and odd metaphysical intimations. Morgenstern wrote the first of his Galgenlieder after he and some friends had returned from a carefree outing past Gallows Hill near Potsdam and formed a ‘fraternal order of the gallows.’ His collection, published in Germany between 1905 and 1916, eventually comprised 286 poems. This new edition is a bilingual selection of some 90 poems from the original work. The reader is introduced to inventions like the clock that moves slowly or quickly as its sympathy for the clock watcher dictates; the luncheon newspaper that, when read, also satisfies one’s hunger; the mail that is sent from a vacation retreat on the antlers or tails of bucks. To translate Morgenstern is a daunting task, and Walter Arndt has succeeded brilliantly, following the poet’s verbal acrobatics, his phonetic, semantic, and syntactic play with words and clauses, and, where possible, his trick of stripping discourse of conventions and pretensions by a bizarre literal interpretation of conventional phrases and metaphors. His translation of Morgenstern’s poems of nonsense, or ‘supersense,’ will be treasured by scholars of the German lyric and by children of all ages.

 

Morgenstern Christian  Christian Otto Josef Wolfgang Morgenstern (6 May 1871 – 31 March 1914) was a German author and poet from Munich. Morgenstern married Margareta Gosebruch von Liechtenstern on 7 March 1910. He worked for a while as a journalist in Berlin, but spent much of his life traveling through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, primarily in a vain attempt to recover his health. His travels, though they failed to restore him to health, allowed him to meet many of the foremost literary and philosophical figures of his time in central Europe. Morgenstern's poetry, much of which was inspired by English literary nonsense, is immensely popular, even though he enjoyed very little success during his lifetime. He made fun of scholasticism, e.g. literary criticism in "Drei Hasen", grammar in "Der Werwolf", narrow-mindedness in "Der Gaul", and symbolism in "Der Wasseresel". In “Scholastikerprobleme" he discussed how many angels could sit on a needle. Embedded in his humorous poetry is a subtle metaphysical streak. Gerolf Steiner's mock-scientific book about the fictitious animal order Rhinogradentia (1961), inspired by Morgenstern's nonsense poem Das Nasobēm, is testament to his enduring popularity. Morgenstern was a member of the General Anthroposophical Society. Dr. Rudolf Steiner called him 'a true representative of Anthroposophy'. Morgenstern died in 1914 of tuberculosis, which he had contracted from his mother, who died in 1881. Walter Arndt, Sherman Fairchild Professor in the Humanities Emeritus at Dartmouth College, is also a distinguished and prize-winning translator of Pushkin, Rilke, Goethe, Wilhelm Busch, and other poets.

 

 

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(03/08/2015) The Bush Soldiers by John Hooker. New York. 1984. 439 pages. October 1984. hardcover. 0670197513. Jacket design by Nell Stuart. Jacket painting by Hodges Soileau, 1984. keywords: Literature Australia.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   It is August 1943. The Japanese have invaded Australia and are holding its eastern coastal cities. In the deserted interior moving from one desolate outpost to another, are a group of men united by little more than their bravery and common plight. Two of them are English and the rest Australian; some of them are old - the hero, Geoffrey Sawtell, saw action In World War I as a raw Australian recruit in the trenches - and some very young; some of them are experienced and one is nothing but a drifter. Yet in this inhospitable landscape they are in certain respects all equal. After sabotaging a mine held by the Japanese, the bush soldiers retreat into central Australia, looking constantly for their pursuers, seeing nothing but the infrequent smoke of a campfire. Chapters recounting their adventures alternate with flashbacks about the heroic Sawtell - his love, his work, his inarticulate deep search for an ideal of progressive Australian life. But as the men move deeper into the country not even Sawtell, the one most attuned to the land essential beauty can escape the truth that they are all foreigners and newcomers in this ancient, aboriginal place. And the cruel terrain and their own weaknesses suggest that the Japanese nightmare is not, perhaps, the principal one. The tension mounts as the enemy continually eludes them; the final tragedy is played out when - their supplies depleted, their way uncertain, their destiny clouded - the implacable truth of the Australian bush brings the soldiers to their knees and all but two of them to their certain death. Of John Hooker and THE BUSH SOLDIERS, the Australian poet and novelist David Malouf has written, ‘Difficult to say what is most admirable, the action of his epic plot, the daring with which he moves from a precise vision of Australia between the wars to his imaginary historical moment, the irony of his contrast between British, Australian, and aboriginal heroes, the complexity with which he presents his leading character, or the surprise he springs in locating the real enemy not in the Japanese invaders but in the invaded land itself, before which Geoffrey Sawtell’s virtues as a man of action, and all his weaponry, are of no value whatsoever. THE BUSH SOLDIERS is set in the past - in fact an imaginary one - but its argument is utterly contemporary. It’s a real achievement.’

 

 

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(03/07/2015) The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader by Ida B. Wells. New York. 2014. Penguin Books. Edited and with an Introduction by Mia Bay. General Editor: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 518 pages. paperback. Cover photograph: Ida B. Wells, in a photograph by Mary Garrity, c.1893. 9780143106821

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘The way to right wrongs is to turn to the light of truth upon them.’ Seventy-one years before Rosa Parks was arrested for her courageous act of resistance, police dragged a young black journalist named Ida B. Wells off a train for refusing to give up her seat. That experience shaped Wells’s career as a journalist and spurred her to become a fierce civil rights advocate. When hate crimes touched her life personally, she began what was to become her life’s work: an anti-lynching crusade that captured attention across the United States and abroad. A pioneer in the civil rights movement, Wells exposed the horrors of lynching and brought to light the myths used to justify it. Covering the scope of Wells’s remarkable career, The Light of Truth contains her early writings, her anti-lynching exposés, articles from her travels abroad, and her later journalism. ‘Brave woman! You have done your people and mine a service which can neither be weighed nor measured.’ - Frederick Douglass.

 

Wells Ida B  Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She documented lynching in the United States, showing that it was often used as a way to control or punish blacks who competed with whites, rather than being based in criminal acts by blacks, as was usually claimed by white mobs. She was active in women's rights and the women's suffrage movement, establishing several notable women's organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician, and traveled internationally on lecture tours.

 

 

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(03/06/2015) The Skalds: A Selection of Their Poems with an introduction and notes by Lee Hollander (translator). Ann Arbor. 1968. University of Michigan Press. 216 pages.  paperback. Cover design by Quentin Fiore.  Translated from the Icelandic by Lee Hollander.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   From Old Norse antiquity has come down to us the large body of the skalds—or court poets of Norway and Iceland—composed to feat of arms or an act of generosity by their lords. The skalds were usually witty and ingenious young gentlemen of noble birth, who often composed their verses extemporaneously. Many such verses were preserved in the great sagas. Lee M. Hollander has here translated many of these colorful but complicated poems and has provided an excellent understanding of the vivid personalities, important historical events, religious mythology, and folklore of the period. Chapters are devoted to the life and works of more than a dozen of the greatest skalds. This book will be of great interest to students of comparative literature as well as to the general reader.

 

Lee M. Hollander, professor of Germanic languages at the University of Texas, is the author of a Bibliography of Skaldic Studies and has edited the Poetic Edda and Snorri Sturluson’s Heimskringla.

 

 

 

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(03/05/2015) 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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(03/04/2015) Testimony by Charles Reznikoff. Boston. 2015. David Godine/black sparrow. Introduction by Eliot Weinberger. 6 × 9. 480 pages. December 2014.. paperback. 9781567925319

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9781567925319   A major work by an essential American poet, published in full for the first time. Available again for the first time since 1978—and complete in one volume for the first time ever— Charles Reznikoff ’s Testimony is a lost masterpiece, a legendary book that stands alongside Louis Zukofsky’s ‘A’ and William Carlos Williams’s Paterson as a milestone of modern American poetry. Taking as its raw material the voices of witnesses, victims, and perpetrators discovered by the author in criminal court transcripts, Reznikoff ’s book sets forth a stark panorama of late19th- and early 20th-century America—the underside of the Gilded Age, beset by racism and casual violence, poverty and disease—in a radically stripped-down language of almost unbearable intensity. This edition also includes Reznikoff ’s prose studies for the poem, unavailable to readers since the 1930s, and a new introduction by essayist Eliot Weinberger. ‘[Testimony] is perhaps Reznikoff’s most important achievement as a poet. A quietly astonishing work. .. at once a kaleidoscope vision of American life and the ultimate test of Reznikoff ’s poetic principles.. .’ – Paul Auster. ‘Reznikoff ’s astonishingly engaging and quietly powerful work has been steadily gaining a passionate following.. .. Testimony is a chronicle of industrial accidents, domestic violence, racism. It tells the story of America’s forgotten, those who suffer without redress, without name, without hope; yet the soul of these States is found in books like this; the acknowledgment of these peripheral stories turns a waste land into holy ground.’ – Charles Bernstein.

 

  Charles Reznikoff was born in Brooklyn in 1894. He graduated from law school and was admitted to the bar, but never practiced, instead pursuing his writing. Between 1918 and 1961 he published twenty-three books of poetry and prose, gaining a wider readership in 1962, when New Directions published By the Waters of Manhattan: Selected Verse; a second selection, By the Well of Living and Seeing, was published by Black Sparrow in 1974, followed by the Complete Poems and Holocaust. Reznikoff died in 1975, at the age of eighty-one. Eliot Weinberger is an acclaimed essayist, translator, and editor. His essays are collected in Karmic Traces, An Elemental Thing, Oranges & Peanuts for Sale, Outside Stories, Works On Paper, and What Happened Here: Bush Chronicles (all available from New Directions). His writing appears frequently in The New York Review of Books and The London Review of Books.

 

 

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(03/03/2015) Comic Sagas and Tales from Iceland by Vidar Hreinsson (editor). New York. 2013. Penguin Books. paperback. 329 pages. Cover: llumination from the Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbok, depicting King Harold Fine-Hair cutting the fetters from the giant Dofri. keywords: Literature Iceland Sagas Translated. 9780140447743.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

   ‘The axe bit well and the head went flying off and landed some distance away. Then Thorgeir rode off.’ COMIC SAGAS AND TALES brings together the finest comic stories from medieval Iceland. With feuding families and moments of grotesque violence, the sagas see such classic mythological figures as murdered fathers, disguised beggars, corrupt chieftains and avenging sons do battle with axes, words and cunning. The tales, meanwhile, follow heroes and comical fools through dreams, voyages and religious conversions in Iceland and beyond. Shaped by the Icelanders’ oral culture and their conversion to Christianity, these stories are works of ironic humour and stylistic innovation. In the introduction to these new translations, Vidar Hreinsson examines how the stories satirized old-style sagas while exploiting their classic themes of quests and revenge. This edition also includes a map, glossary, index of characters, suggested further reading and notes. Translated by Martin S. Regal, John Tucker, Ruth C. Ellison, Frederic Heinemann, George Clark, Robert Kellogg, Judith Jesch And Anthony Maxwell. Edited With An Introduction And Notes By Vidar Hreinsson.

 

 

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(03/02/2015) Goodbye, Sweetwater: New & Selected Stories by Henry Dumas. New York. 1988. Thunder's Mouth Press. hardcover. 348 pages.  Jacket design by Loretta Li.  keywords: Literature America Black African American. 0938410598.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   This long-overdue collection/anthology of the late Henry Dumas’s powerful fiction (praised by The New York Times as ‘rich, talented and original’) brings together for the first time a broad selection of works, whose penetrating force, humor and savage clarity make vivid the richness of the black experience in America. These pieces, whose settings range from impoverished rural Arkansas to the explosive Harlem of the sixties, treat with courage and honesty the tensions between blacks and whites, from North to South; yet Dumas’s expansive breath of vision extends beyond racial hostilities to encompass universal conflicts – between man and nature, justice and injustice, love and hatred, good and evil. Among the stories in this collection that depict smoldering anger that sparks and blazes into violence, the grimly prophetic ‘Harlem’ stands out. Here, Dumas, who was killed in 1968 by a New York City policeman under still-unexplained circumstances, describes a black man watching the neighborhood boil over, even small children ‘infected by the strange malady of hate and boredom,’ as a police riot squad closes in on a crowd maddened by an attack on a black youth in an inexorable escalation of violence. Man and nature collide in an excerpt from Dumas’s haunting (only) novel, JONOAH AND THE GREEN STONE. Young John is orphaned and set adrift in a large flat-bottomed skiff when the Mississippi crosses the mudline and climbs over the levee, sweeping away people, animals, homes, crops. Adopted by the Mastersons, a family also dispossessed by the flood, John is rechristened ‘Jonoah’, because his boat has saved them all from the deluge. When a white man they rescue threatens Jonoah’s newfound family, the boy learns the difference between the mortal danger of the river and the moral danger of human malice. In the never-before-published title story ‘Goodbye, Sweetwater,’ menace hovers over Sulfur Springs, Arkansas, reduced to a wasteland by a nearby factory. There, sixteen-year-old Layton Bridges, watches the trains pass from his perch in a chinaberry tree in his grandmother’s yard and dreams of rejoining his mother in New York. A tense encounter with a local white man uncovers resentments that challenge his impending manhood. Praised as a writer ‘of both the mind and the flesh.  a master at the reins.’ Henry Dumas created a literature at once authentic in its depiction of human joy and despair and suggestive of the larger mysteries of life. In these stories, men, women and children endure poverty, violence and humiliation, but sustained by love and hope, they persist in a triumph of human dignity. The ultimate power of this vision, borne upon the lyric precision of his prose, should bring wide recognition to the masterful fiction of Henry Dumas.

 

  HENRY DUMAS, a prize-winning writer, was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, on July 20, 1934, and moved to New York City when he was ten years old. His life was ended abruptly on May 23, 1968, by bullets from the gun of a New York Transit policeman in the subway. Reasons for the killing have remained vague and unsatisfactory. Before his death Dumas had been active on the ‘little’ magazine circuit as well as in the initial opening scene of the Black Arts Movement, publishing his stories and poems in Negro Digest/Black World, Rutgers’ Anthologist, the Hiram Poetry Review, Umbra and Black Fire. Since his death his reputation and writings have attracted a large and international community of readers. On the heels of the publication of ARK OF BONES AND OTHER STORIES and PLAY EBONY PLAY IVORY, writers, artists and students gathered in several largely Black areas of the country to read from the works and proclaim the genius of Dumas. Among the anthologies and periodicals which have printed his work since his death are: Black Scholar, Essence, Brothers and Sisters, Confrontation, Galaxy of Black Writing, You Better Believe it, Open Poetry and Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writings. Just before his death, Dumas was employed by Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis.

 

 

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(03/01/2015) Coup D’Etat: The Technique of Revolution by Curzio Malaparte. New York. 1932. Dutton. hardcover. 251 pages.  Translated from the Italian by Sylvia Saunders. keywords: History Revolution Coup D’Etat Translated.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Here is the handbook for the modern revolutionist, from the pen of a man who has seen many of Europe’s post-war insurrections at first hand. The nineteenth-century Napoleonic model of the coup d’Etat, which dramatically seized the emblems of government, is dead. It has been superseded by a cold, efficient Marxian technique, first and most brilliantly used by Trotsky in 1917. The October Revolution of the Bolsheviks has rendered useless all the traditional methods of safeguarding the modern state from overthrow: it has changed insurrection from a picturesque drama to a machine. Such is the thesis of Signor Malaparte’s book, which is at the same time a brilliant account of modern dictators - Lenin, Trotsky, Mussolini, Pilsudski, Primo de Rivera - and the means by which they came to power. The book closes with a caustic analysis of Adolph Hitler, present aspirant to dictatorship in Germany, and restates the problems of internal security for a modern government. It is a volume which inevitably recalls Machiavelli’s PRINCE, as a realistic and ruthless account of modern statecraft.

 

  Curzio Malaparte (9 June 1898 – 19 July 1957), born Kurt Erich Suckert, was an Italian journalist, dramatist, short-story writer, novelist and diplomat. His chosen surname, which he used from 1925, means ‘evil/wrong side’ and is a play on Napoleon's family name ‘Bonaparte‘ which means, in Italian, ‘good side’. Born in Prato, Tuscany, to a Lombard mother and a German father, he was educated at Collegio Cicognini and at the La Sapienza University of Rome. In 1918 he started his career as a journalist. Malaparte fought in World War I, earning a captaincy in the Fifth Alpine Regiment and several decorations for valor, and in 1922 took part in Benito Mussolini's March on Rome. In 1924, he founded the Roman periodical La Conquista dello Stato (‘The Conquest of the State’, a title that would inspire Ramiro Ledesma Ramos' La Conquista del Estado). As a member of the Partito Nazionale Fascista, he founded several periodicals and contributed essays and articles to others, as well as writing numerous books, starting from the early 1920s, and directing two metropolitan newspapers. In 1926 he founded with Massimo Bontempelli (1878–1960) the literary quarterly ‘900’. Later he became a co-editor of Fiera Letteraria (1928–31), and an editor of La Stampa in Turin. His polemical war novel-essay, Viva Caporetto! (1921), criticized corrupt Rome and the Italian upper classes as the real enemy (the book was forbidden because it offended the Regio Esercito). In Tecnica del Colpo di Stato (1931) Malaparte attacked both Adolf Hitler and Mussolini. This led to Malaparte being stripped of his National Fascist Party membership and sent to internal exile from 1933 to 1938 on the island of Lipari. He was freed on the personal intervention of Mussolini's son-in-law and heir apparent Galeazzo Ciano. Mussolini's regime arrested Malaparte again in 1938, 1939, 1941, and 1943 and imprisoned him in Rome's infamous jail Regina Coeli. During that time (1938–41) he built a house, known as the Casa Malaparte, on Capo Massullo, on the Isle of Capri. Shortly after his time in jail he published books of magical realist autobiographical short stories, which culminated in the stylistic prose of Donna Come Me (WOMAN LIKE ME) (1940). His remarkable knowledge of Europe and its leaders is based upon his experience as a correspondent and in the Italian diplomatic service. In 1941 he was sent to cover the Eastern Front as a correspondent for Corriere della Sera. The articles he sent back from the Ukrainian Fronts, many of which were suppressed, were collected in 1943 and brought out under the title Il Volga nasce in Europa (‘The Volga Rises in Europe’). Also, this experience provided the basis for his two most famous books, KAPUTT (1944) and THE SKIN (1949). KAPUTT, his novelistic account of the war, surreptitiously written, presents the conflict from the point of view of those doomed to lose it. From November 1943 to March 1946 he was attached to the American High Command in Italy as an Italian Liaison Officer. Articles by Curzio Malaparte have appeared in many literary periodicals of note in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. After the war, Malaparte's political sympathies veered to the left, and he became member of the Italian Communist Party. In 1947 Malaparte settled in Paris and wrote dramas without much success. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Malaparte became interested in the Maoist version of Communism, but his journey to China was cut short by illness, and he was flown back to Rome. Io in Russia e in Cina, his journal of the events, was published posthumously in 1958. Malaparte's final book, Maledetti Toscani, his attack on bourgeois culture, appeared in 1956. Shortly after the publication of this book, he became a Catholic. He died from lung cancer on 19 July 1957.

 

 

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(02/28/2015) Flying Home & Other Stories by Ralph Ellison. New York. 1996. Random House. hardcover. 179 pages. December 1996.  Jacket design: Andy Carpenter. Edited & With An Introduction by John F. Callahan. keywords: Literature America Black African American. 0679457046.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Written between 1937 and 1954 and collected here for the first time, FLYING HOME AND OTHER STORIES represents the best of INVISIBLE MAN author Ralph Ellison’s short fiction. There are thirteen pieces, six of which were never published in Ellison’s lifetime. Ellison draws on his early experiences – his father’s death when he was three; hoboing his way on a freight train to Tuskegee Institute to follow his early dreams of becoming a musician - to create stories that, according to The Washington Post, ‘approach the simple elegance of Chekhov.’ FLYING HOME fulfills Ralph Ellison’s desire to publish a short-story collection, but it wasn’t until his literary executor John F. Callahan, discovered a folder marked ‘Early Stories’ in Ellison’s apartment after the writer’s death that this collection began to take shape. According to Callahan, ‘Discovery of the half dozen early stories made it possible to put together a volume of Ellison’s best published and unpublished freestanding fiction. These stories are early explorations of his lifelong fascination with the complex fate and beautiful absurdity of American identity. In them, a young writer finds his voice and sets about mastering his craft.’

 

Ellison Ralph  RALPH ELLISON was born in Oklahoma City in 1914. He is the author of INVISIBLE MAN (1952), which won the National Book Award and became one of the most important and influential postwar American novels. He published two volumes of nonfiction, SHADOW AND ACT (1964) and GOING TO THE TERRITORY (1986), which, together with unpublished speeches and writings, were brought together as THE COLLECTED ESSAYS OF RALPH ELLISON IN 1995. For more than forty years before his death in 1994, Ralph Ellison lived with his wife, Fanny McConnell, on Riverside Drive in Harlem in New York City.

 

 

Callahan John E  JOHN F CALLAHAN was born in Meriden, Connecticut. He is Morgan S. Odell Professor of Humanities at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. His books include THE ILLUSIONS OF A NATION and IN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN GRAIN. He is the editor of the Modern Library edition of THE COLLECTED ESSAYS OF RALPH ELLISON and is literary executor of Ralph Ellison’s estate.

 

 

 

 

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(02/27/2015) Zeely by Virginia Hamilton. New York. 1967. Macmillan. hardcover. 122 pages.  Jacket art by Symeon Shimin. Illustrated by Symeon Shimin. keywords: Black Children. 0027424707.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Zeely Tayber was more than six and a half feet tall, thin and deeply dark as a pole of Ceylon ebony. She had very high cheekbones and her eyes seemed to turn in on themselves. Geeder couldn’t say what expression she saw on Zeely’s face. She knew only that it was calm, and that it had pride in it, and that the face as the most beautiful she had ever seen. To Ceeder Perry, eleven years old and free for the first time to make her summer on the farm something special, Zeely is the embodiment of dreams. One day Geeder finds a remarkable photograph in an old magazine - a portrait of a Watutsi queen who looks just like Zeely. Suddenly she decides that the regal Zeely must be a queen too, and, swept up in her fantasies, she tells all the children in the village. Only Zeely herself can bring Geeder back to reality. How she succeeds is at once moving, surprising and reassuring - to Geeder most of all.

 

  VIRGINIA HAMILTON was born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a small town not unlike the Crystal of Zeely, her first book for children.

 

 

 

SYMEON SHIMIN is a well-known painter and illustrator. Born in Russia, he came to America in 1912. Among his finest books for children are Listen, Rabbit by Aileen Fisher and One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor Schweitzer.

 

 

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(02/26/2015) The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed. New York. 2008. Norton. hardcover. 798 pages.  Jacket design by Debra Morton Hoyt.  keywords: African American History Sally Hemings Race America. 9780393064773.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   In the mid-1700s the English captain of a trading ship that made runs between England and the Virginia colony fathered a child by an enslaved woman living near Williamsburg. The woman, whose name is unknown and who is believed to have been born in Africa, was owned by the Eppeses, a prominent Virginia family. The captain, whose surname was Hemings, and the woman had a daughter. They named her Elizabeth. So begins this epic work-named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times-Annette Gordon-Reed's ‘riveting history’ of the Hemings family, whose story comes to vivid life in this brilliantly researched and deeply moving work. Gordon-Reed, author of the highly acclaimed historiography THOMAS JEFFERSON AND SALLY HEMINGS: AN AMERICAN CONTROVERSY, unearths startling new information about the Hemingses, Jefferson, and his white family. Although the book presents the most detailed and richly drawn portrait ever written of Sarah Hemings, better known by her nickname Sally, who bore seven children by Jefferson over the course of their thirty-eight-year liaison, The Hemingses of Monticello tells more than the story of her life with Jefferson and their children. The Hemingses as a whole take their rightful place in the narrative of the family's extraordinary engagement with one of history's most important figures. Not only do we meet Elizabeth Hemings-the family matriarch and mother to twelve children, six by John Wayles, a poor English immigrant who rose to great wealth in the Virginia colony-but we follow the Hemings family as they become the property of Jefferson through his marriage to Martha Wayles. The Hemings-Wayles children, siblings to Martha, played pivotal roles in the life at Jefferson's estate. We follow the Hemingses to Paris, where James Hemings trained as a chef in one of the most prestigious kitchens in France and where Sally arrived as a fourteen-year-old chaperone for Jefferson's daughter Polly; to Philadelphia, where James Hemings acted as the major domo to the newly appointed secretary of state; to Charlottesville, where Mary Hemings lived with her partner, a prosperous white merchant who left her and their children a home and property; to Richmond, where Robert Hemings engineered a plan for his freedom; and finally to Monticello, that iconic home on the mountain, from where most of Jefferson's slaves, many of them Hemings family members, were sold at auction six months after his death in 1826. As THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO makes vividly clear, Monticello can no longer be known only as the home of a remarkable American leader, the author of the Declaration of Independence; nor can the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president have been expunged from history until very recently, be left out of the telling of America's story. With its empathetic and insightful consideration of human beings acting in almost unimaginably difficult and complicated family circumstances, THE HEMINGSES OF MONTICELLO is history as great literature. It is a remarkable achievement.

 

 ANNETTE GORDON-REED is a professor of law at New York Law School and a professor of history at Rutgers University. She is the author of THOMAS JEFFERSON AND SALLY HEMINGS: AN AMERICAN CONTROVERSY.

 

 

 

 

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(02/25/2015) ‘Face Zion Forward’: First Writers of the Black Atlantic, 1785-1798 by Joanna Brooks and John Saillant (editors). Boston. 2002. Northeastern University Press. paperback. 242 pages. Cover illustration by Leslie Evans.  Introduction by Joanna Brooks and John Saillant. keywords: Literature Black Atlantic 18th Century African American. 1555535399.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   At the close of the Revolutionary War, in 1783, more than three thousand black Loyalists, many liberated from slavery by enlisting in the British army, left New York for Nova Scotia in search of land and freedom. Almost half of the emigrants settled an independent black community at Birchtown, Nova Scotia, where, in spite of extraordinarily harsh conditions, they established their own churches and schools and cultivated a shared sense of themselves as a chosen people. A majority of the population emigrated once again in 1791, this time setting sail for Sierra Leone to fulfill what they perceived to be their prophetic destiny. This circuit of gathering, exodus, and diaspora was grounded in a unique black Atlantic theology focused on redemption and Zion that was conceptualized and shaped by the charismatic black evangelists of diverse Protestant faiths who converged in the Nova Scotia settlements. ‘‘Face Zion Forward’ now brings together the remarkable writings of these early authors of the black Atlantic. This collection of memoirs, sermons, and speeches, many of which are based on the Birchtown experience, documents how John Marrant, David George, Boston King, and Prince Hall envisioned the role of Africa and African American communities in black liberation. ‘Face Zion Forward’ provides an informed reconstruction of the major ideological and theological conversations that occurred among North American blacks after the American Revolution and illustrates the disparate and complex underpinnings of the modern black Atlantic. In addition, the work presents invaluable insights into African American literary traditions and the development of Ethiopianist and black nationalist discourses.

 

JOANNA BROOKS is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Brooks Joanna and Saillant John

 

JOHN SAILLANT is Associate Professor of English and History at Western Michigan University.

 

RICHARD YARBOROUGH, editor of the Northeastern Library of Black Literature, is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.

 

 

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