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(08/06/2014) The Hanging: A Thriller by Lotte Hammer and Soren Hammer. New York. 2013. Minotaur Books. 298 pages. June 2013. hardcover. 9780312656645. Cover design by David Baldeosingh Rotstein. Translated from the Danish by Ebba Segerberg. keywords: Mystery Denmark Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   One morning before school, two children find the naked bodies of five men hanging from the gym ceiling. The case leads detective Konrad Simonsen and his murder squad to the school janitor, who may know more about the killings than he is telling. Soon, Simonsen realizes that each of the five murdered men had a dark and terrible secret in common. And when Simonsen's own daughter is targeted, he must race to find the culprit before his whole world is destroyed. Published in twenty countries around the world, with more than 150,000 copies sold in Denmark alone, this book introduces a brother and sister duo who have taken the thriller world by storm. Fast-paced, suspenseful, and brilliantly written, The Hanging is a stunning crime novel from Lotte and Soren Hammer, two Danish authors whose international fame is exploding. 

 

 

 

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

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

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

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

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

 

 

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(08/04/2014) Echo's Bones by Samuel Beckett. New York. 2014. Grove Press. 121 pages. July 2014. hardcover. 9780802120458. Jacket design by Charles Rue Woods. Edited by Mark Nixon. keywords: Literature Ireland

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to publish Samuel Beckett's More Pricks Than Kicks, a collection of ten interrelated stories—his first published work of fiction. At his editor's request, Beckett penned an additional story, ‘Echo's Bones’, to serve as the final piece. However, he’d already killed off several of the characters—including the protagonist, Belacqua—throughout the book, and had to resurrect them from the dead. The story was politely rejected by his editor, as it was considered too imaginatively playful, too allusive, and too undisciplined—qualities now recognized as quintessentially Beckett. As a result, ‘Echo's Bones’ (not to be confused with the poem and collection of poems of the same title) remained unpublished—until now, nearly eight decades later. This little-known text is introduced by the preeminent Beckett scholar, Dr. Mark Nixon, who situates the work in terms of its biographical context and textual references, examining how it is a vital link in the evolution of Beckett's early work. Beckett confessed that he included ‘all I knew’ in the story. It harnesses an immense range of subjects: science, philosophy, religion, literature; combining fairy tales, gothic dreams, and classical myth. This posthumous publication marks the unexpected and highly exciting return of a literary legend.

 

 

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(08/03/2014) Los Angeles Stories by Ry Cooder. San Francisco. 2011. City Lights Books. 232 pages. paperback. 9780872865198. keywords: Literature America Los Angeles

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Cooder writes with Chandler-esque pepper and an eye for character.’ — Rolling Stone. Los Angeles Stories is a collection of loosely linked, noir-ish tales that evoke a bygone era in one of America's most iconic cities. In post-World War II Los Angeles, as power was concentrating and fortunes were being made, a do-it-yourself culture of cool cats, outsiders, and oddballs populated the old downtown neighborhoods of Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine. Ordinary working folks rubbed elbows with petty criminals, grifters, and all sorts of women at foggy end-of-the-line outposts in Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Rich with the essence and character of the times, suffused with the patois of the city's underclass, these are stories about the common people of Los Angeles, ‘a sunny place for shady people,’ and the strange things that happen to them. Musicians, gun shop owners, streetwalkers, tailors, door-to-door salesmen, drifters, housewives, dentists, pornographers, new arrivals, and hard-bitten denizens all intersect in cleverly plotted stories that center around some kind of shadowy activity. This quirky love letter to a lost way of life will appeal to fans of hard-boiled fiction and anyone interested in the city itself.

Ry Cooder is a world-famous guitarist, singer, and composer known for his slide guitar work, interest in roots music, and more recently for his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries, including The Buena Vista Social Club. He has composed soundtracks for more than twenty films, including Paris, Texas. Two recent albums were accompanied by stories Cooder wrote to accompany the music. This is his first published collection of stories.

 

 

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

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

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

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

 

 

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(07/31/2014) Viga-Glums Saga with Tales of Ogmund Bash and Thorvald Chatterbox by John McKinnell (translator). Edinburgh. 1987. Canongate Books/UNESCO. 160 pages. paperback. 0862410843. Unesco collection of representative works. keywords: Literature Iceland Translated Sagas

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Set amid the power struggles of 10th-century Iceland, VIGA-GLUMS SAGA is a tale of cunning, courage, and unscrupulous ambition. Glum, a tough and self-assertive realist, vanquishes his oppressors to regain his ancestral home, and enjoys wealth and power for forty years. Yet in old age and defeat he shows a steadfast courage more admirable than the successful aggression of his youth, and his verses reveal a dignity and pathos in direct contrast to the sly cunning of his triumphant rivals. A distinguished addition to The New Saga Library (General Editor Hermann Pálsson), this translation is based on the version in the Mödruvallabók codex of the mid-14th century.

John McKinnell is a lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Durham. His published work includes articles on Old English poetry, Chaucer, and medieval drama, as well as Icelandic literature and manuscripts.

 

 

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(07/29/2014) A Taste of Eternity: A Novel by Gisèle Pineau. Lubbock. 2014. Texas Tech University Press. 161 pages. paperback. 9780896728707. Cover design by Ashley Beck. Translated from the French by C. Dickson. The Americas Series. keywords: Literature Guadeloupe Caribbean Women France Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Two women, separate but bound by hope When Sybille arrives in Paris from Guadeloupe with her infant son, she encounters the extravagant and marvelous Lila. Sybille is young and black with her life still ahead of her; an ex-actress, Lila is white and seventy years old. Despite their differences, the women become inseparable. Haunted by memories, Lila confides in Sybille and, among other things, relates the endless cycle of lovers in her life. Her most cherished memories are of Henry, a black man from the British Caribbean whom she met during the Liberation Day celebrations in Paris. Gradually, Sybille and Lila discover that the West Indies and the charm of Guadeloupe create a deep and common bond between them. The narrative leaps from one side of the Atlantic to the other, playing black against white, past against present, rural Caribbean culture against the urban life of Paris and New York. Sybille's memories of her own tragic childhood form a counterpoint to tales of Henry growing up on the island of St. John. The stories contain mysterious and magical elements revolving around one central theme: how fate works to draw lovers apart. Despite repeated defeats, love still survives. In tales and in legends, mocking all obstacles, it circumvents the game of destiny and the tragic vanity of mankind.

Gisèle Pineau is a French novelist, writer, and former psychiatric nurse. Although born in Paris, her origins are Guadeloupean and she has written several books on the difficulties and torments of her childhood as a black person growing up in Parisian society. She now divides her time between France and Guadeloupe.

Growing up, C. Dickson travelled extensively with family and lived in all parts of the United States. She left the United States in 1976 for travel in South America, Europe, and Africa and learned French fluently during this time. Now living in France, C. Dickson has acquired dual nationality.

 

 

 

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(07/27/2014) The Essays: A Selection by Michel de Montaigne. New York. 2003. Penguin Books. 446 pages. paperback. 0140446028. The cover shows 'Melancholy' by Domencio Feti. Translated from the French by M. A. Screech. keywords: Philosophy Literature France

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   To overcome a crisis of melancholy after the death of his father, Montaigne withdrew to his country estates and began to write, and in the highly original essays that resulted he discussed themes such as fathers and children, conscience and cowardice, coaches and cannibals, and, above all, himself. On Some Lines of Virgil opens out into a frank discussion of sexuality and makes a revolutionary case for the equality of the sexes. In On Experience he superbly propounds his thoughts on the right way to live, while other essays touch on issues of an age struggling with religious and intellectual strife, with France torn apart by civil war. These diverse subjects are united by Montaigne s distinctive voice - that of a tolerant man, sceptical, humane, often humorous and utterly honest in his pursuit of the truth.

M. A. Screech is an emeritus fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is recognized as a world authority on the Renaissance and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor for his translation of Montaigne’s Essays.

 

 

 

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(07/26/2014) The 826 Quarterly: Volume 19 - Spring 2014 by Molly Parent (editor). San Francisco. 2014. 826 Valencia. 137 pages. 9781934750452. Poetry, Fiction, & Essays by Authors 6 to 18. keywords: Literature America Kids Anthology

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This edition of the 826 Quarterly contains fiction, non-fiction, and poetry written by authors ages 6-18. The pieces are selected from all the 826 programs (drop-in tutoring, workshops, in-schools, projects, field trips) and at-large submissions. Pieces are chosen in a traditional literary journal style by an editorial board comprised of students and volunteer tutors. This issue includes a hard-hitting investigation into what one 11 year old writer calls "the hipster epidemic," poetry about real ships that are sunken under the streets of San Francisco, introspective personal essays on group identity, and short fiction about zoo animals who learn to embrace democracy. It's a wild ride with something to make readers of all ages smile and think. 1st trade appearance of work by Zora Rosenberg - ‘Siren’s Call’, excerpt of the unpublished short story by the same name.

 

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(07/25/2014) Futbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America by Joshua H. Nadel. Gainesville. 2014. University Press of Florida. 288 pages. hardcover. 9780813049380. Front cover: Pele celebrating Brazil’s World Cup victory, June 21, 1970. copyright Sven Simon/imago/ZUMApress.com. keywords: Sports Soccer Futbol Latin America History

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Lively and fascinating. Nadel shows beautifully how soccer and politics have long been deeply intertwined, serving both to further state agendas and open up space for protest and contestation.’--Laurent Dubois, author of Soccer Empire. ‘In much of Latin America, soccer is more than a game. It is linked to each nation's identity in similar yet unique ways. Nadel offers a comprehensive look at this process.’--Joseph L. Arbena, coeditor of Sport in Latin America and the Caribbean. ‘Thoughtful and engaging. Examining the history of the game, its powerful myths, and its engrossing reality, Nadel helps scholars, students, and fans to understand Latin Americans' passion for the world's sport.’--Gregg Bocketti, Transylvania University. ‘Nadel knows Latin American soccer like a professor, but he loves it like a fan, and his enthusiasm is contagious. He uses sports history to teach larger insights about Latin America. Fútbol! will make you smarter about the sport and about the region, too. It's a book you want to read.’--John Charles Chasteen, author of Born in Blood and Fire. ‘Here are the football cultures of Latin America in all their macho glory, but here too is the story of women's football and its challenge to Latino masculinities. Above all, here is an account of football and nationalism, erudite and engaged, that remains rooted in the realities of play.’--David Goldblatt, author of The Ball Is Round. Discover the dreams, passions, and rivalries that are at stake in Latin America's most popular sport. Fútbol! explains why competitors and fans alike are so fiercely dedicated to soccer throughout the region. From its origins in British boarding schools in the late 1800s, soccer spread across the globe to become a part of everyday life in Latin America--and part of the region's most compelling national narratives. This book illustrates that soccer has the powerful ability to forge national unity by appealing to people across traditional social boundaries. In fact, author Joshua Nadel reveals that what started as a simple game played an important role in the development of Latin American countries in the twentieth century. Examining the impact of the sport in Argentina, Honduras, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, and Mexico, Nadel addresses how soccer affects politics, the media, race relations, and gender stereotypes. With inspiring personal stories and a sweeping historical backdrop, Fútbol! shows that soccer continues to be tied to regional identity throughout Central and South America today. People live for it--and sometimes kill for it. It is a source of hope and a reason for suicide. It is a way out of poverty for a select few and an intangible escape for millions more. As soccer gains greater worldwide attention today, this book serves as an indispensable guide for understanding soccer’s especially vital importance in Latin America. 

Joshua H. Nadel is assistant professor of history and associate director of the Global Studies Program at North Carolina Central University.

 

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(07/24/2014) Meteor by Karel Capek. New York. 1935. Putnam. 256 pages. hardcover. Translated from the Czech by M. & R. Weatherall. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In a magnificent display of technical and intellectual brilliance, Karel Capek has produced not only an original, but also a moving and tender novel. An aeroplane crashes in flames. The pilot is killed, and the passenger, shockingly burned, internally injured, unidentifiable. The identity of the aeroplane is also a mystery, and after some days of unconsciousness the passenger dies - nameless and unknown. Three people - a nurse, a clairvoyant, and a poet - are so moved by his fate that each of them reconstructs one aspect of the circumstances that led him to such a terrible end. Through their imaginations we learn the whole story. The core of the narrative is psychologically sound. It is plausible and it is compelling. But there is an illusive beauty playing through the pages of METEOR, sensitive and delicate, casting a spell over the events - and over the reader. It will add many readers to Capek’s select but devotedly appreciative audience in this country. ‘Both the subject and technique of Karel Capek’s novel are refreshingly unusual. The book is impressive in its sheer candle power, its richness of suggestion and its deep psychological understanding.’ —Time and Tide (London). ‘With what a light touch, with what agility, Mr. Capek keeps us in touch with essentials! Imaginative in the best sense, compassionate and enjoying life’s many flavors, humorous, a little melancholy, he stands all by himself.’ - The Spectator (London).

Karel Capek (January 9, 1890 - December 25, 1938), Czech dramatist, novelist, and essayist, was born in 1890 in a small town in northern Bohemia. He studied at the University of Prague where he graduated as doctor of philosophy and then devoted himself to authorship. His literary reputation was established by his play R.U.R. (1920), which had an international vogue. In the following year came THE WORLD WE LIVE IN (the insect play), which was written in collaboration with his brother, Josef. The fantastic elements in these two plays are found also in the two novels which immediately followed them, ABSOLUTE AT LARGE (1923) and KRAKATIT (1924). Quite a different phase of his activity is seen in his LETTERS FROM ITALY (1924), a type of travel book which was repeated very successfully in LETTERS FROM ENGLAND’ (1924), LETTERS FROM SPAIN (1931), and LETTERS FROM HOLLAND (1933). His TALES FROM TWO POCKETS (1932) show him to be as skilful in handling realistic subject-matter as he was previously in the treatment of fantastic themes, and several of these tabloid detective stories are models of their kind. In general it may be said that Capek introduced a new spirit into Czech literature by blending a whimsical humour, derived at least in part from the study of English writers, with his native capacity for taking life seriously.

 

 

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(07/23/2014) Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise by Georges Perec. London. 2011. Vintage Classics. 90 pages. hardcover. 9780099541226. Translated from the French by David Bellos. keywords: Literature France Translated Job Promotion

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   So having weighed the pros and cons you ve decided to approach your boss to ask for that well-earned raise in salary but before you schedule the all-important meeting you decide to dip into this handy volume in the hope of finding some valuable tips but instead find a hilarious, mind-bending farcical account of all the many different things that may or may not happen on the journey to see your boss which uses no punctuation or capitalisation and certainly no full stops. Georges Perec famously wrote a whole novel without using the letter e. Now, in this playful short novel, brilliantly translated by David Bellos, Perec once again dispenses with the normal rules for literary composition, with similarly pyrotechnic results.

 

 

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(07/22/2014) Homage To The Lame Wolf: Selected Poems 1956-75 by Vasko Popa. Oberlin. 1979. Field Translation Series/Oberlin College. 132 pages.. hardcover. 0932440029. Cover design & illustration by Stephen J. Farkas, Jr. Translated from the Serbian & With An Introduction by Charles Simic. Field Translations Series 2.   keywords: Poetry Serbia Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Vasko Popa, the most important living Yugoslav poet, is presented here in a book-length American translation for the first time. His poetry has received wide international recognition and has been translated into almost every European language. The poems in this selection cover his career from the mid-1950’s to the present. Popa lived and worked in Belgrade.

Vasko Popa (June 29, 1922 - January 5, 1991) was a Serbian poet of Romanian descent. Popa was born in the village of Grebenac, Vojvodina, Yugoslavia (present-day Serbia). After finishing high school, he enrolled as a student of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy. He continued his studies at the University of Bucharest and in Vienna. During World War II, he fought as a partisan and was imprisoned in a German concentration camp in Beckerek (today Zrenjanin, Serbia). After the war, in 1949, Popa graduated from the Romanic group of the Faculty of Philosophy at Belgrade University. He published his first poems in the magazines Književne novine (Literary Magazine) and the daily Borba (Struggle). From 1954 until 1979 he was the editor of the publishing house Nolit. In 1953 he published his first major verse collection, Kora (Bark). His other important work included Nepocin-polje (No-Rest Field, 1956), Sporedno nebo (Secondary Heaven, 1968), Uspravna zemlja (Earth Erect, 1972), Vucja so (Wolf Salt, 1975), and Od zlata jabuka (Apple of Gold, 1978), an anthology of Serbian folk literature. His Collected Poems, 1943–1976, a compilation in English translation, appeared in 1978, with an introduction by the British poet Ted Hughes. On May 29, 1972 Vasko Popa founded The Literary Municipality Vršac and originated a library of postcards, called Slobodno lišce (Free Leaves). In the same year, he was elected to become a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Vasko Popa is one of the founders of Vojvodina Academy of Sciences and Arts, established on December 14, 1979 in Novi Sad. He is the first laureate of the Branko’s award (Brankova nagrada) for poetry, established in honour of the poet Branko Radicevic. In the year 1957 Popa received another award for poetry, Zmaj’s Award (Zmajeva nagrada), which honours the poet Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj. In 1965 Popa received the Austrian state award for European literature. In 1976 he received the Branko Miljkovic poetry award, in 1978 the Yugoslav state AVNOJ Award, and in 1983 the literary award Skender Kulenovic.
In 1995, the town of Vršac established a poetry award named after Vasko Popa. It is awarded annually for the best book of poetry published in Serbian language. The award ceremony is held on the day of Popa’s birthday, 29 June. Vasko Popa died on January 5, 1991 in Belgrade and is buried in the Aisle of the Deserving Citizens in Belgrade’s New Cemetery. Vasko Popa wrote in a succinct modernist style that owed much to surrealism and Serbian folk traditions (via the influence of Serbian poet Momcilo Nastasijevic) and absolutely nothing to the Socialist Realism that dominated Eastern European literature after World War II; in fact, he was the first in post-World War II Yugoslavia to break with the Socialist Realism. He created a unique poetic language, mostly elliptical, that combines a modern form, often expressed through colloquial speech and common idioms and phrases, with old, oral folk traditions of Serbia – epic and lyric poems, stories, myths, riddles, etc. In his work, earthly and legendary motifs mix, myths come to surface from the collective subconscious, the inheritance and everyday are in constant interplay, and the abstract is reflected in the specific and concrete, forming a unique and extraordinary poetic dialectics.In The New York Times obituary, the author mentions that the English poet Ted Hughes lauded Popa as an ‘epic poet’ with a ‘vast vision’. The author also mentions that in his introduction to ‘Vasko Popa: Collected Poems 1943-1976,’ translated by Anne Pennington Hughes says: ‘As Popa penetrates deeper into his life, with book after book, it begins to look like a universe passing through a universe. It is one of the most exciting things in modern poetry, to watch this journey being made.’ Since his first book of verse, Kora (Bark), Vasko Popa has gained steadily in stature and popularity. His poetic achievement - eight volumes of verse written over a period of thirty eight years - has received extensive critical acclaim both in his native land and beyond. He is one of the most translated Serbian poets and at the time he had become one of the most influential World poets.

Charles Simic is the author of six volumes of poetry, of which DISMANTLING THE SILENCE, RETURN TO A PLACE LIT BY A GLASS OF MILK, and CHARON’S COSMOLOGY are the most recent. A professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, he has published many other translations of Yugoslav poetry.

 

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(07/21/2014) Believe in People: The Essential Karel Capek by Karel Capek. London. 2010. Faber & Faber. 358 pages. paperback. 9780571231621. Design by Faber. Selected and Translated from the Czech by Sarka Tobrmanova-Kuhnova. With a preface by John Carey. keywords: Literature Czech Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A hugely engaging collection of pieces by Karel Capek, one of the great European writers of the 1ast century. Playful and provocative, irreverent and inspiring, Capek is perhaps the best-loved Czech writer of all time. Novelist and playwright, famed for inventing the word ‘robot’ in his play RUR, Capek was a vital part of the burgeoning artistic scene of Czechoslovakia of the 1920s and 30s. But it is in his journalism - his brief, sparky and delightful columns - that Capek can be found at his most succinct, direct and appealing. This selection of Capek’s writing, translated into English for the first time, contains his essential ideas. The pieces are animated by his passion for the ordinary and the everyday - from laundry to toothache, from cats to cleaning windows - his love of language, his lyrical observations of the world and above all his humanism, his belief in people. His letters to his wife Olga, also published here, are extraordinarily moving and beautifully distinct from his other writings. Uplifting, enjoyable and endlessly wise, Believe in People is a collection to treasure.

John Carey is Emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of several books, including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray, as well as The Intellectuals and the Masses. He is the editor of Faber anthologies of Reportage, Utopias and Science. His most recent book, What Good are the Arts?, was praised by Blake Morrison as 'incisive and inspirational'.

 

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(07/20/2014) Angelica's Smile: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri. New York. Penguin Books. 293 pages. paperback. 9780143123767. Cover design by Paul Buckley. Cover illustration by Andy Bridge. Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. keywords: Mystery Sicily Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The seventeenth installment of the beloved New York Times bestselling series that boasts more than 600,000 books in print The last four books in Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series have leapfrogged their way up the New York Times bestseller list, perfectly positioning Angelica's Smile to ascend to even greater heights. A rash of burglaries has got Inspector Salvo Montalbano stumped. The criminals are so brazen that their leader, the anonymous Mr. Z, starts sending the Sicilian inspector menacing letters. Among those burgled is the young and beautiful Angelica Cosulich, who reminds the inspector of the love-interest in Ludovico Ariosto's chivalric romance, Orlando Furioso. Besotted by Angelica's charms, Montalbano imagines himself back in the medieval world of jousts and battles. But when one of the burglars turns up dead, Montalbano must snap out of his fantasy and unmask his challenger. 

Andrea Camilleri is the bestselling author of the popular Inspector Montalbano mystery series, as well as historical novels that take place in nineteenth-century Sicily. He lives in Rome. Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator and poet. He lives in France.

 

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

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

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

 

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(07/17/2014) Hunter's Trap by C. W. Smith. Dallas. 1996. 253 pages. hardcover. 0875651623. Cover art & design by Barbara Whitehead. keywords: Literature Mystery Texas.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   On the night of the vernal equinox in 1930, the novel's protagonist, Wilbur Smythe, puts in motion his plan to avenge the deaths of his wife and his employer, a wealthy Kiowa, both murdered by a banker greedy for the Kiowa's oil money. Smythe intends to kidnap the banker's seventeen-year-old daughter, Sissy, and hold her hostage to torment her father before killing him. Hunter's Trap further explores the clash of values and cultures that formed the core of Smith's earlier novel based on historical events, Buffalo Nickel. In this new novel, he has written a blend of early twentieth-century ‘western’ with Greek tragedy and has given the tension-filled story a sophisticated gloss of 1930s determinism and pre-Christian paganism, so that the horrific outcome of Smythe's plan to use the daughter of his nemesis has a fateful inevitability and a gruesome but implacable logic. Set largely in El Paso and its Mexican neighbor, Juarez, the story weaves together the strong political and social undercurrents of the Depression. Beneath its texture of place and time, however, the story reasserts the age-old wisdom of how thin the margin is between good and evil in members of the human ‘family.’

C. W. Smith (born 1940) is a novelist, short-story and essay writer who serves as a Dedman Family Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Southern Methodist University. C. W. Smith (full name Charles William Smith) was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. He received a B.A. in English from the University of North Texas in 1964 and an M.A. in English from Northern Illinois University in 1967. After teaching at Southwest Missouri State University, he moved to Mexico for a year to work on his first novel, Thin Men of Haddam. Published by Viking/Grossman in 1973, the book won the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters for the Best Novel by a Texan or about Texas and was recognized by the Southwestern Library Association for making a ‘distinguished contribution to an understanding of a vital social issue in the American Southwest.’ Smith has said that his goal since beginning his first novel has been ‘to document in a dramatic fashion the cultural conflicts of the American Southwest as well as the universal, existential dilemmas that arise from being human regardless of place and time.’ In pursuit of that goal, his second novel, set in West Texas among oil field workers and small-town citizens, sought to portray the lives of young people trapped in circumstances too small for their aspirations.

 

 

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(07/15/2014) Race Men by Hazel V. Carby. Cambridge. 1998. Harvard University Press. hardcover. 228 pages.  Jacket art: Diedra Harris-Kelley. ‘Harmony,’ 1994. Jacket design by Annamarie McMahon Why. The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures. keywords: Black Race Politics History Feminism America African American. 0674745582.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Who are the 'race men' standing for black America? It is a question Hazel Carby rejects, along with its long-standing assumption: that a particular type of black male can represent the race. A searing critique of definitions of black masculinity at work in American culture, Race Men shows how these defining images play out socially, culturally, and politically for black and white society--and how they exclude women altogether. Carby begins by looking at images of black masculinity in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois. Her analysis of The Souls of Black Folk reveals the narrow and rigid code of masculinity that Du Bois applied to racial achievement and advancement--a code that remains implicitly but firmly in place today in the work of celebrated African American male intellectuals. The career of Paul Robeson, the music of Huddie Ledbetter, and the writings of C. L. R. James on cricket and on the Haitian revolutionary, Toussaint L'Ouverture, offer further evidence of the social and political uses of representations of black masculinity. In the music of Miles Davis and the novels of Samuel R. Delany, Carby finds two separate but related challenges to conventions of black masculinity. Examining Hollywood films, she traces through the career of Danny Glover the development of a cultural narrative that promises to resolve racial contradictions by pairing black and white men--still leaving women out of the picture. A powerful statement by a major voice among black feminists, Race Men holds out the hope that by understanding how society has relied upon affirmations of masculinity to resolve social and political crises, we can learn to transcend them.

HAZEL CARBY is Chair of African and African American Studies and a Professor of American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of RECONSTRUCTING WOMANHOOD: THE EMERGENCE OF THE AFRO-AMERICAN WOMAN NOVELIST.

 

 

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(07/14/2014) Freud And Man's Soul by Bruno Bettelheim. New York. 1982. 114 pages. January 1983. hardcover. 0394524810. Jacket design by Robert Anthony. keywords: Psychology Freud.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The world-renowned psychoanalyst and child psychologist here gives us an unprecedented reading of Freud - and an exhilarating vision of the true uses of psychoanalysis. He demonstrates that the English translations of Freud’s writings not only distort some of the central concepts of psychoanalysis but actually make it impossible for the reader to recognize that Freud’s ultimate concern was man’s soul, the basic element of our common human what it is, how it manifests itself in everything we do and dream. And he shows that these translations, by masking much of the essential humanism of Freud’s work, have led to a tragic misunderstanding and widespread misuse of psychoanalysis, particularly in America. Reminding us that Freud analyzed his own dreams, his own slips of the tongue, and the reasons he himself made mistakes, Dr. Bettelheim makes clear that Freud created psychoanalysis not so much as a method of analyzing the behavior of other people but as a way for each of us to gain access to (and, where possible, control of) his own unconscious – a goal impeded by English translations in which Freud becomes impersonal esoteric, abstract, ‘scientific’ translations that discourage the reader from embarking on his own voyage of self-discovery and that make it easy for him to distance himself from what Freud sought to teach about the inner life of man and of the reader himself. Startling examples are given of mistranslations. Dr. Bettelheim (who is, as Freud was, a German-speaking Viennese) reveals how in the English versions nearly all of Freud’s references to the soul have been corrupted (for example, Seelentätigkeit – ‘activity of the soul’ – is translated as ‘mental activity’) He demonstrates that Freud’s English translators, because of their determination to perceive psychoanalysis as a medical science, have consistently resorted to the technical Greco-Latinisms of the medical profession - with such terms as ‘parapraxis,’ ‘cathexis,’ and ‘scopophilia’ - in rendering German words that Freud chose specifically for their humanistic resonance, for their power to evoke in his German readers not only an intellectual but also an emotional response. And Dr. Bettelheim makes us realize how these mistranslations - perhaps most notable among them the rendering into ‘English’ of the homely German words ich and es with the distant Latin ego and id - have had a profound effect on both the practice and the history of psychoanalysis. This eloquent, passionately argued, deeply illuminating book is urgent reading for everyone interested in psychoanalysis and for all who seek a humanistic approach to psychology - so central to Freud and so unrecognizable in the English translations of his writings. It is certain to take its place among the classic works of Bruno Bettelheim.

Bruno Bettelheim was born in Vienna in 1903, received his doctorate at the University of Vienna, and came to America in 1939. He was distinguishcd Professor of Education Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of both psychology and psychiatry at the University of Chicago. His previous books include CHILDREN OF THE DREAM, THE INFORMED HEART, LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH, A HOME FOR THE HEART, SURVIVING AND OTHER ESSAYS, and, with Karen Zelan, ON LEARNING TO READ. In 1977 he won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT.

 

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(07/13/2014) A Good Man In Africa by William Boyd. New York. 1982. Morrow. hardcover. 342 pages. keywords: Literature England Africa. 0688008208.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A Good Man in Africa is William Boyd's classic, prize-winning debut novel. It is winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. Escapee from suburbia, overweight, oversexed. .Morgan Leafy isn't overburdened with worldly success. Actually, he is refreshingly free from it. But then, as a representative of Her Britannic Majesty in tropical Kinjanja, it was not very constructive of him to get involved in wholesale bribery. Nor was it exactly oiling his way up the ladder to hunt down the improbably pointed breasts of his boss' daughter when officially banned from horizontal delights by a nasty dose. .Falling back on his deep-laid reserves of misanthropy and guile, Morgan has to fight off the sea of humiliation, betrayal and ju-ju that threatens to wash over him. William Boyd has received world-wide acclaim for his novels. They are: A Good Man in Africa (1981, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize), An Ice Cream War (1982, shortlisted for the 1982 Booker Prize and winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Stars and Bars (1984), The New Confessions (1987), Brazzaville Beach (1990, winner of the McVitie Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize), The Blue Afternoon (1993, winner of the 1993 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, 1995), Armadillo (1998) and Any Human Heart (2002, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet). He is also the author of a collection of screenplays and a memoir of his school days, School Ties (1985); and three collections of short stories: On the Yankee Station (1981), The Destiny of Nathalie X (1995) and Fascination (2004). He also wrote the speculative memoir Nat Tate: an American Artist - the publication of which, in the spring of 1998, caused something of a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. A collection of his non-fiction writings, 1978-2004, entitled Bamboo, was published in October 2005. His ninth novel, Restless, was published in September 2006 (Costa Book Award, Novel of the Year 2006) and his tenth novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms, published September 2009. His novel Waiting For Sunrise was published in February 2011. William Boyd, CBE (born 7 March 1952) is a British novelist and screenwriter resident in London. Boyd was born in Accra, Ghana, and spent his early life in Ghana and Nigeria.[1] He was educated at Gordonstoun school; and then the University of Nice, France, the University of Glasgow, and finally Jesus College, Oxford. Between 1980 and 1983 he was a lecturer in English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and it was while he was there that his first novel, A Good Man in Africa (1981), was published. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005. Although his novels have been short-listed for major prizes, he has never had the same publicity as his contemporaries. Boyd was selected in 1983 as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ in a promotion run by Granta magazine and the Book Marketing Council. Boyd's novels include: A Good Man in Africa, a study of a disaster-prone British diplomat operating in West Africa, for which he won the Whitbread Book award and Somerset Maugham Award in 1981; An Ice-Cream War, set against the background of the World War I campaigns in colonial East Africa, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was nominated for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1982; Brazzaville Beach, published in 1991, which follows a female scientist researching chimpanzee behaviour in Africa; and Any Human Heart, written in the form of the journals of a fictitious twentieth century British writer, which was long-listed for the Booker Prize in 2002. Restless, the tale of a young woman who discovers that her mother had been recruited as a spy during World War II, was published in 2006 and won the Novel Award in the 2006 Costa Book Awards. Boyd published Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel in early 2012. On 11 April 2012 it was announced that Boyd would write the next James Bond novel. Boyd says the book, Solo, will be set in 1969. Jonathan Cape will publish the book in the UK in the autumn of 2013. Boyd used James Bond creator Ian Fleming as a character in his novel Any Human Heart. Fleming recruits the book's protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, to naval intelligence during World War Two. Boyd has also worked with three of the actors who have portrayed Bond in the film series: Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. As a screenwriter Boyd has written a number of feature film and television productions. The feature films include: Scoop (1987), adapted from the Evelyn Waugh novel; Stars and Bars (1988), adapted from Boyd's own novel; Mister Johnson (1990), based on the 1939 novel by Joyce Cary; A Good Man in Africa (1994), also adapted from his own novel; and The Trench (1999) which he also directed. He was one of a number of writers who worked on Chaplin (1992). His television screenwriting credits include: Good and Bad at Games (1983), adapted from Boyd's short story about English public school life; Dutch Girls (1985); Armadillo (2001), adapted from his own novel; A Waste of Shame (2005) about Shakespeare; Any Human Heart (2010), adapted from his own novel; and Restless (2012), also adapted from his own novel. In 1998, Boyd published Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960, which presents the paintings and tragic biography of a supposed New York-based 1950s abstract expressionist painter named Nat Tate, who actually never existed and was, along with his paintings, a creation of Boyd's. When the book was initially published, it was not revealed that it was a work of fiction, and some were duped by the hoax; it was launched at a lavish party, with excerpts read by David Bowie (who was in on the joke), and a number of prominent members of the art world claimed to remember the artist. It caused quite a stir once the truth was revealed. The name ‘Nat Tate’ is derived from the names of the two leading British art galleries: the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Nat Tate also appears in Any Human Heart, also by Boyd, with a wry footnote to the 1998 book. Boyd adapted two Anton Chekhov short stories - A Visit to Friends and My Life (The Story of a Provincial) - to create the play Longing. The play, directed by Nina Raine, stars Jonathan Bailey, Tamsin Greig, Natasha Little, Eve Ponsonby, John Sessions and Catrin Stewart. Boyd, who was theatre critic for the University of Glasgow in the 1970s and has many actor friends, refers to his ambition to write a play as finally getting ‘this monkey off my back.’

 

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(07/12/2014) The President's Daughter by Barbara Chase-Riboud. New York. 1994. Crown. hardcover. 469 pages. October 1994.  Jacket art: Monticello, 1821, by Jefferson Vail. Jacket design by Ken Sansome.  keywords: Literature Black America Women African American. 0517598612.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1979 Barbara Chase-Riboud made literary history when she published SALLY HEMINGS to critical praise. Not only did the novel spend six weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and sell 1.6 million copies worldwide, SALLY HEMINGS also accomplished the impossible: It breathed life into a historical enigma. The novel also established Sally Hemings as the emblematic incarnation of many things that were forbidden in this country at that time. Now, Barbara Chase-Riboud is back with THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER, the provocative continuation of the irrefutable historical chronicle of Sally Hemings - Thomas Jefferson’s mistress, the mother of his children, and the slave he would never set free - even when the scandal nearly cost him the presidency. Epic in proportion, yet rendered in exquisite detail by a writer with the eye of a historian and the heart of a storyteller, THE PRESIDENT‘S DAUGHTER begins in 1822 and tells the story of Harriet Hemings, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’s beautiful and headstrong slave daughter. Harriet is allowed to run away from Monticello and pass for white, as Jefferson had promised Sally their children would be able to do. Harriet experiences the turbulent events leading up to the American Civil War and is eventually thrust into the very heart of the Battle of Gettysburg, where she becomes a kind of Philadelphian Scarlett O’Hara. As THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER draws to a close during the 1876 Centennial celebration in Philadelphia, Harriet receives an anonymous letter that contains the memoirs of her brother Madison Hemings - who is living his life on the black side of the color line. Harriet realizes that someone in her entourage, perhaps even her own husband, knows she is indeed the president’s daughter. In the Chase-Riboud tradition, THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER is more than just the good read it seems at first glance. In truth, not since Mark Twain in the classic masterpiece PUDD’NHEAD WILSON has a major American writer evoked the ambiguity, pathos, complexity, and emotion of the American identity so brilliantly. Barbara Chase-Riboud has written another classic masterpiece of race, love, and color in America. Barbara Chase-Riboud (born June 26, 1939) is an American novelist, poet, sculptor and visual artist best known for her historical fiction. Much of her work has explored themes related to slavery and exploitation. Chase-Riboud attained international recognition with the publication of her first novel, SALLY HEMINGS, in 1979. The novel has been described as the ‘first full blown imagining’ of Hemings' life as a slave and her relationship with Jefferson. In addition to stimulating considerable controversy, the book earned Chase-Riboud the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Carl Sandburg Prize for poetry and the Women's Caucus for Art's lifetime achievement award. In 1965, she became the first American woman to visit the People's Republic of China after the revolution and in 1996, she was knighted by the French Government and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

 

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(07/11/2014) Collected Poems by Stephane Mallarme. Berkeley. 1994. University Of California Press. hardcover. 283 pages. Jacket illustration by Robert Garrison, 'la vache enragee'. Translated from the French & With A Commentary by Henry Weinfield. keywords: Poetry France Translated Literature. 0520081889.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) is one of the giants of nineteenth-century French poetry. Leader of the Symbolist movement, he exerted a powerful influence on modern literature and thought, which can be traced in the works of Paul Valéry, W.B. Yeats, and Jacques Derrida. From his early twenties until the time of his death, Mallarmé produced poems of astonishing originality and beauty, many of which have become classics. In the Collected Poems, Henry Weinfield brings the oeuvre of this European master to life for an English-speaking audience, essentially for the first time. All the poems that the author chose to retain are here, superbly rendered by Weinfield in a translation that comes remarkably close to Mallarmé's own voice. Weinfield conveys not simply the meaning but the spirit and music of the French originals, which appear en face. Whether writing in verse or prose, or inventing an altogether new genre--as he did in the amazing ‘Coup de Dés’--Mallarmé was a poet of both supreme artistry and great difficulty. To illuminate Mallarmé's poetry for twentieth-century readers, Weinfield provides an extensive commentary that is itself an important work of criticism. He sets each poem in the context of the work as a whole and defines the poems' major symbols. Also included are an introduction and a bibliography. Publication of this collection is a major literary event in the English-speaking world: here at last is the work of a major figure, masterfully translated.

Henry Weinfield, Professor of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, is author of three collections of poetry and The Poet without a Name: Gray's Elegy and the Problem of History (1991).

 

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(07/09/2014) The African-American Novel In The Age Of Reaction: Three Classics by William L. Andrews (editor). New York. 1992. Mentor/New American Library. paperback. 587 pages. July 1992. ME2849. Edited & With An Introduction by William L. Andrews. Includes-IOLA LEROY by Frances E. W. Harper, THE MARROW OF TRADITION by Charles W. Chesnutt, & THE SPORT OF THE GODS by Paul Laurence Dunbar. keywords: Literature Black America Mentor Slavery Paperback Literary Criticism. 0451628497.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Out of the race must come its own defenders. With [African-Americans] the pen is mightier than the sword. It is the wagon of civilization, and they must use it in their own defense.’ - Frances E. W. Harper. In 1896 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the South’s ‘separate but equal’ racial doctrine. Around this time, three powerful but very different black voices responded in protest, and they did so in the three exceptional novels collected here. Frances E. W. Harper’s IOLA LEROY follows the struggles and soul-searching of a light-skinned black woman during the turbulent years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Charles W. Chesnutt’s THE MARROW OF TRADITION knits together the lives of a rich white family and a mixed-race couple who face the violent results of white supremacy in a North Carolina town. Dramatically different is Paul Laurence Dunbar’s THE SPORT OF THE GODS, the first extensive portrayal in fiction of twentieth-century Harlem - and a disturbing depiction of the plight of black families in the urban ghetto that anticipates the writings of Richard Wright. Widely read by contemporary audiences, these novels remain significant as works that influenced a nation’s conscience as well as fine examples of early African-American fiction whose time has come to be recognized and revered.

 

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black awakening in capitalist america Black Awakening in Capitalist America: An Analytic History by Robert L. Allen. Garden City. 1969. Doubleday. hardcover. 251 pages.  Jacket design by Al Nagy.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Robert L. Allen has written a profound and complete account of the awakening of oppressed black people in America’s capitalist economy, and the inability of that economy to deal with proletarian dissatisfaction, agitation and revolution. In analyzing the most significant black movements, the author traces a history peopled by the most significant figures of the black awakening (LeRoi Jones, Harold Cruse, Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, Roy Wilkins, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others.) And through their pronouncements and political tactics he illuminates the most significant forces in America’s revolutionary ferment. A lucid, impartial and courageous book, BLACK AWAKENING IN CAPITALIST AMERICA presents the colonial suppression of the black community in a society where racial prejudice is but one facet of an injustice largely spawned by corporate capitalism. The questions raised are not only about racial inequality, but whether our traditional capitalist morality can accommodate the needs of the underprivileged and alienated, not whether America is right or wrong, but whether or not it is a viable society for our drastically changing times.

 

 

 

Allen Robert L Robert L. Allen’s journalistic background has given him ample experience to assume the role of chronicler of the black awakening. As a reporter for the Guardian, a political newspaper in San Francisco, he observed firsthand many of the most significant black movements.

 

(07/06/2014) All About H. Hatterr by G. V. Desani. New York. 1951. Farrar Straus & Young. 300 pages. Hardcover. keywords: Literature India Anglo-Indian

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   It is seldom that a publisher has a chance to present a book like ALL ABOUT H. HATTERR. In England, Mr. Desani’s book has already entered the literary scene as a succès d’estime on a prodigious scale. T. S. Eliot called it ‘Certainly a remarkab1e book. In all my experience, I have not met with anything quite like it. It is amazing that anyone should be able to sustain a piece of work in this style and tempo at such length.’ And other British critics, in an attempt to label this new Anglo-Indian writer, have said almost everything possible: ‘A literary hellzapoppin’ (The Tribune); ‘riotously funny . . . Mr. Desani is the playboy of the English language . . . the Danny Kaye of literature’ (Harold Brighouse in the Manchester Guardian); ‘Joyce, Sterne, Rabelais. Miller, Runyon and Saroyan - dash of them all, but unique enough to stand on its feet’ (Life and Letters). The author explains H. HATTERR simply as a portrait of a man. He is the popular mind expressing itself at its best, at its worst, now bawdy, then vulgar, but important because he’s us.’ H. HATTERR is Desani’s imaginary Anglo-Indian, who, by recounting amusing tales of his life, gives depth and viewpoint to the author’s own philosophical beliefs. This is a book of many ‘morals,’ some of which are accepted as moral. But Desani’s underlying feeling seems to be that life is tragic only because it is a joke of which we cannot see the point. Desani uses an unconventional style that is not ‘streams of consciousness’ but emphasizes the informal conversational approach of Hatterr, and aids in exaggerating the minor tragedies in the comedy of life. But the only way to approach ALL ABOUT H. HATTERR is to read it.

G. V. Desani was born on July 8, 1909 in Nairobi, Kenya, the son of an Indian merchant, and was reared in India. In the late 1930s, and throughout the war, he was a BBC broadcaster and lectured on India throughout England. All About H. Hatterr was written and published in 1948, causing an immediate sensation and eventually achieving permanent fame as one of the greatest Anglo-Indian novels of the century. From the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, Mr. Desani studied Buddhism and Hindu culture in seclusion in India and Burma. He came to the United States in 1970 to teach at Boston University and subsequently the University of Texas at Austin, where he was Professor Emeritus of religion and philosophy. Dr. Desani died in November, 2000.

 

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(07/03/2014) Part-Time Crime: An Ethnography of Fiddling & Pilferage by Jason Ditton. London. 1977. Macmillan. hardcover. 195 pages. keywords: Sociology Crime Stealing Pilferage. 0333214668.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this book Jason Ditton unravels the paradox of how fiddling - stealing from customers (which is a criminal offence) - is simultaneously ‘fiddling’, that is, felt to be practically and psychologically trifling by those who do it. Through an ethnographic study of bakers’ roundsmen (the author worked as a baker for several months, and then extensively interviewed the other roundsmen) at the ‘Wellbread’ bakery, the novel thesis of ‘part-time’ crime is carefully teased out and documented. The roundsmen are initially taught to fiddle by the bakery management. The customer’s expectation that the roundsmen should be servile is a bitter experience and guarantees that the customer will continue to be fiddled. The roundsmen protect themselves both practically (by practising a portfolio of fiddles which could not all be exposed at once) and psychologically by wrapping themselves in cosy rationalisations like ‘I was told to do it’, ‘we all do it’, or ‘they can afford it’. In the end they (and the rest of us) believe that fiddling ‘isn’t really criminal, is it?’. The book provides us all with a salutary lesson by showing how easily we convince ourselves that our deceptions - our ‘fiddles’ - are acceptable.

Jason Ditton is S.S.R.C. Senior Research Fellow in Sociology, University of Durham and Director of the Service Industries Reward Structure Project. He was brought up in Ipswich and educated at Durham. He has written articles on a wide range of subjects including the Sociology of time, boredom, output restriction deviancy theory, and the sociology of blame.

 

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

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

    The post ...

  • The Bloater, by Rosemary Tonks (1968)

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

    The post ...

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

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

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

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

    The

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  • Opium Fogs, by Rosemary Tonks (1963)

    Though Rosemary Tonks’ Emir includes Opium Fogs in its “by the same author” list and not vice-versa, it’s a safe bet that Opium Fogs was written second. On all counts — particularly form, style, and characterization — it’s the more successful book. What’s more, throughout the book there are signs of material from Emir being... Read

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