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  • Trump’s Debt to Ron Paul’s Paranoid Style
    Though Ron Paul is often described as an orthodox libertarian, his ideology is more accurately described as paleolibertarian, which shares the limited government principles of traditional libertarianism but places a heavier emphasis on conservative...
  • The Cutting-Edge Art of Matta-Clark
    Within a very few years, he single-handedly established a new genre of environmental art, in which he used abandoned buildings as raw material and radically transformed them into stunning found sculptures. A prime example was Splitting: Four...
  • ‘Studies in Power’: An Interview with Robert Caro
    Many biographers working on a long project complain that their subject has eaten up their life. Did that happen to you? Robert Caro: No. Because I don’t really regard my books as biographies. I’ve never had the slightest interest in...
  • The Assault on Reason
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts, as United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying. But it is not merely facts that are under assault in the polarized politics of the US, the UK, and other nations...
  • The Nuclear Worrier
    Daniel Ellsberg in his youth and Daniel Ellsberg in his age are the same man—a born worrier quick to spot trouble, take alarm, and issue warning. He is best known for worrying about the American war in Vietnam, which time in the war zone convinced...
  • Between Nouveau and Deco
    The imaginative fervor that gripped avant-garde master builders and artisans around 1900 in Vienna, the capital of the vast and culturally diverse Austro-Hungarian Empire, paralleled equally radical innovation in other creative realms, including...
  • Patty Chang’s Arbitrary Acts of Devotion
    Alternating between particular and general experience in “The Wandering Lake,” Patty Chang demonstrates the power of arbitrary acts, executed with devotion, to produce their own truth. This is a guide to mourning; but Chang widens the scope to...
  • The Pattern and Passion of ‘Phantom Thread’
    The metaphor of couture is hard to avoid in a film so centrally involved with measuring and cutting and sewing, stitching and unstitching. The very visible boldness of the editing, the leaps and ellipses, keep the idea of cutting very much at the...
  • Cashing In on Céline’s Anti-Semitism
    Paris during the Occupation was a place of moral ambiguity, of cowardice, treason, and courage living side by side. Today, though, the morally ambiguous attitude of the publisher Gallimard has no justification. Its urge to re-issue the violently...

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  • Free E-books of Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage — and a technical note

    Almost two years ago, I embarked upon my most ambitious and, it turned out, most rewarding reading task, working through the thirteen books of Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage. (Richardson referred to it as a single novel and each book as a chapter.) At the time I wrote: … while a complete scholarly edition of Richardson’s work... Read more

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  • The Collected Stories of Rhys Davies (1955)

    We spent our Christmas week in a cottage in north Wales and I could not pass the time without taking the opportunity to read a long out-of-print collection of stories by one of Wales’ finest writers of the 20th century, Rhys Davies. The Collected Stories of Rhys Davies is one of the many perhaps not... Read more

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  • Chrstimas Eve, by Alistair Cooke (1952)

    Christmas Eve collects three of Alistair Cooke’s Christmas-time stories from his legendary BBC “Letters from America” broadcast. I listened to the audiobook version of the collection, Letters from America, 1946-1004, recently, and saddened at the thought that his sublimely calm, balanced voice is no longer with us. But this last year would surely have been... Read more

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  • The Collected Stories of T. O. Beachcroft (1946)

    The Collected Stories of T. O. Beachcroft Graham Greene once wrote that T. O. (Thomas Owen) Beachcroft was “likely to become, after Mr. H. E. Bates, the most distinguished short-story writer in this country.” Well, this wasn’t one of his best predictions. Beachcroft’s last collection of stories was published over sixty years ago and his... Read more

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  • Tomato Cain and Other Stories, by Nigel Kneale (1949)

    Nigel Kneale is best known now for his novels and screenplays featuring the alien-battling scientist, Dr. Quartermass, but his first book, the collection Tomato Cain and Other Stories was considered remarkable enough to merit a foreword by Elizabeth Bowen: Within the last few years, readers have become less shy of the short story. That this... Read more

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  • Selected Modern Short Stories, edited by Alan Steele (1937)

    Selected Modern Short Stories–the first of several collections that editor Alan Steele compiled for Penguin in the late 1930s–offers a good illustration of the random nature of literary fate. Let’s take at look at the authors listed on the cover: • John Hampson Hampson’s first-published novel, Saturday Night at the Greyhound (1931) was a surprise... Read more

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  • The Door in the Wall, by Oliver La Farge (1966)

    I picked out a yellow-jacketed copy of Oliver La Farge’s posthumous collection of short stories, The Door in the Wall, from a striking display in the window of Any Amount of Books, one of the few remaining used bookstores on Charing Cross Road, when in London recently. I’ve never learned just why so many British... Read more

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  • Private Opinion: A Commonplace-Book, by Alan Pryce-Jones (1936)

    There isn’t necessarily a template for a commonplace book, which Webster’s defines as “a book of memorabilia” and Wikipedia as “essentially a scrapbook.” But even if there were one, Alan Pryce-Jones’ Private Opinion wouldn’t follow it. Pryce-Jones, who is probably best known for editing the Time Literary Supplement from 1948 to 1959, was a precocious... Read more

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  • Rope Dancer, by M. J. Fitzgerald (1986)

    Many of the stories in M. J. Fitzgerald’s collection, Rope Dancer, read like unsettling dreams: vivid enough to provoke deep feelings but too full of bizarre, illogical transitions and events to be part of waking life. In “Mystery Story,” a woman finds herself returned, again and again, to the compartment of a passenger train, where... Read more

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  • Croatian Tales of Long Ago, by Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1922)

    One day late, but in keeping with the spirit of Halloween, which reminds us each year of the didactic benefits of scaring the crap out of kids, I want to celebrate a fine example of fairy tales told with the gloves off. As Bruno Bettelheim (perhaps somewhat plagiaristically) reminded us, uniformly pleasant and positive stories... Read more

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Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History; a Play in Three Acts by C. L. R. James. Durham. 2013. Duke University Press. Edited and introduced by Christian Høgsbjerg. With a foreword by Laurent Dubois. 224 pages. paperback. Cover: The British Library Board, ‘The Sketch’, 25 March 1936, pg 613. 9780822353140.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   In 1934 C. L. R. James, the widely known Trinidadian intellectual, writer, and political activist, wrote the play Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History, which was presumed lost until the rediscovery of a draft copy in 2005. The play's production, performed in 1936 at London's Westminster Theatre with a cast including the American star Paul Robeson, marked the first time black professional actors starred on the British stage in a play written by a black playwright. This edition includes the program, photographs, and reviews from that production, a contextual introduction and editorial notes on the play by Christian Hogsbjerg, and selected essays and letters by James and others. In Toussaint Louverture, James demonstrates the full tragedy and heroism of Louverture by showing how the Haitian revolutionary leader is caught in a dramatic conflict arising from the contradiction between the barbaric realities of New World slavery and the modern ideals of the Enlightenment. In his portrayal of the Haitian Revolution, James aspired to vindicate black accomplishments in the face of racism and to support the struggle for self-government in his native Caribbean. Toussaint Louverture is an indispensable companion work to The Black Jacobins (1938), James's classic account of Haiti's revolutionary struggle for liberation. This edition of Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History includes the program, photographs, and reviews from its 1936 production at London's Westminster Theatre, a contextual introduction and editorial notes on the play by Christian Hogsbjerg, and selected essays and letters by James and others.

 

 Cyril Lionel Robert James (4 January 1901–19 May 1989) was an Afro-Trinidadian journalist, socialist theorist and writer. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, then a British Crown colony, James attended Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain before becoming a cricket journalist, and also an author of fiction. He would later work as a school teacher, teaching among others the young Eric Williams. Together with Ralph de Boissière, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, James was a member of the anti-colonialist Beacon Group, a circle of writers associated with The Beacon magazine.

 

Christian Høgsbjerg is a historian who lectures at Leeds Metropolitan University.

 

 

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