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(10/21/2008) Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell. New York. 1982. Penguin Books. keywords: Literature England Spain History Paperback Penguin. 247 pages. Front cover photograph by Humphrey Sutton. 01400116996.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   HOMAGE TO CATALONIA is the account of George Orwell's experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, Told with all the honesty and bitterness of a fighting man only a few months after the events, the book not unnaturally offended the Left. For the cynical duplicity of the Communists, backed by Russia, in that political chaos called Republican Spain was enough to shake all the beliefs of one who had seen it in person. In feeling - and almost in the outline of events - these embittered chapters of autobiography foreshadow Orwell's masterpiece of satire, ANIMAL FARM. Both demonstrate, on the one side, the same naive enthusiasm and the same reluctant disillusionment, and on the other the same spiteful brutality. It is with a sense of anger that one reads how an idealistic English volunteer, gravely wounded at the front, is at length forced into hiding and flight as Communists, Anarchists, and near-Trotskyites settle their differences in the streets of Barcelona.

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. Noted as a novelist and critic as well as a political and cultural commentator, Orwell is among the most widely admired English-language essayists of the 20th century. He is best known for two novels critical of totalitarianism in general, and Stalinism in particular: Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Both were written and published towards the end of his life. Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 to British parents in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. There, Blair's father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair, brought him to England at the age of one. He did not see his father again until 1907, when Richard visited England for three months before leaving again. Eric had an older sister named Marjorie, and a younger sister named Avril. He would later describe his family's background as 'lower-upper-middle class'. At the age of six, Blair was sent to a small Anglican parish school in Henley-on-Thames, which his sister had attended before him. He never wrote of his recollections of it, but he must have impressed the teachers very favourably, for two years later, he was recommended to the headmaster of one of the most successful preparatory schools in England at the time: St Cyprian's School, in Eastbourne, Sussex. Blair attended St Cyprian's by a private financial arrangement that allowed his parents to pay only half of the usual fees. At the school, he formed a lifelong friendship with Cyril Connolly, future editor of the magazine Horizon, in which many of his most famous essays were originally published. Many years later, Blair would recall his time at St Cyprian's with biting resentment in the essay 'Such, Such Were the Joys'. However, in his time at St. Cyprian's, the young Blair successfully earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton. After one term at Wellington, Blair moved to Eton, where he was a King's Scholar from 1917 to 1921. Aldous Huxley was his French teacher for one term early in his time at Eton. Later in life he wrote that he had been 'relatively happy' at Eton, which allowed its students considerable independence, but also that he ceased doing serious work after arriving there. Reports of his academic performance at Eton vary; some assert that he was a poor student, while others claim the contrary. He was clearly disliked by some of his teachers, who resented what they perceived as disrespect for their authority. After Blair finished his studies at Eton, his family could not pay for university and his father felt that he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police, serving at Katha and Moulmein in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel Burmese Days and in such essays as 'A Hanging' and 'Shooting an Elephant' Back in England he wrote to Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, and she and a friend found him a room in London, on the Portobello Road, where he started to write. It was from here that he sallied out one evening to Limehouse Causeway - following in the footsteps of Jack London - and spent his first night in a common lodging house, probably George Levy's 'kip'. For a while he 'went native' in his own country, dressing like other tramps and making no concessions, and recording his experiences of low life in his first published essay, 'The Spike', and the latter half of Down and Out in Paris and London In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where his Aunt Nellie lived and died, hoping to make a living as a freelance writer. In the autumn of 1929, his lack of success reduced Blair to taking menial jobs as a dishwasher for a few weeks, principally in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, although there is no indication that he had the book in mind at the time. Ill and penniless, he moved back to England in 1929, using his parents' house in Southwold, Suffolk, as a base. Writing what became Burmese Days, he made frequent forays into tramping as part of what had by now become a book project on the life of the poorest people in society. Meanwhile, he became a regular contributor to John Middleton Murry's New Adelphi magazine. Blair completed Down and Out in 1932, and it was published early the next year while he was working briefly as a schoolteacher at a private school called Frays College near Hayes, Middlesex. He took the job as an escape from dire poverty and it was during this period that he managed to obtain a literary agent called Leonard Moore. Blair also adopted the pen name George Orwell just before Down and Out was published. In a November 15 letter to Leonard Moore, his agent, he left the choice of a pseudonym to Moore and to Victor Gollancz, the publisher. Four days later, Blair wrote Moore and suggested P. S. Burton, a name he used 'when tramping,' adding three other possibilities: Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. Orwell drew on his work as a teacher and on his life in Southwold for the novel A Clergyman's Daughter, which he wrote at his parents' house in 1934 after ill-health - and the urgings of his parents - forced him to give up teaching. From late 1934 to early 1936 he worked part-time as an assistant in a second-hand bookshop, Booklover's Corner, in Hampstead. Having led a lonely and very solitary existence, he wanted to enjoy the company of other young writers, and Hampstead was a place for intellectuals, as well as having many houses with cheap bedsitters. He worked his experiences into the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying In early 1936, Orwell was commissioned by Victor Gollancz of the Left Book Club to write an account of poverty among the working class in the depressed areas of northern England, which appeared in 1937 as The Road to Wigan Pier. He was taken into many houses, simply saying that he wanted to see how people lived. He made systematic notes on housing conditions and wages and spent several days in the local public library consulting reports on public health and conditions in the mines. He did his homework as a social investigator. The first half of the book is a social documentary of his investigative touring in Lancashire and Yorkshire, beginning with an evocative description of work in the coal mines. The second half of the book, a long essay in which Orwell recounts his personal upbringing and development of political conscience, includes a very strong denunciation of what he saw as irresponsible elements of the left. Gollancz feared that the second half would offend Left Book Club readers, and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain. Soon after completing his research for the book, Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy. In December 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain primarily to fight, not to write, for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco's Fascist uprising. In a conversation with Philip Mairet, the editor of the New English Weekly, Orwell said: 'This fascism. somebody's got to stop it. ' To Orwell, liberty and democracy went together and, among other things, guaranteed the freedom of the artist; the present capitalist civilization was corrupt, but fascism would be morally calamitous. John McNair is also quoted as saying in a conversation with Orwell: 'He then said that this was quite secondary and his main reason for coming was to fight against Fascism. ' He went alone, and his wife joined him later. He joined the Independent Labour Party contingent, a group of some twenty-five Britons who joined the militia of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification, a revolutionary Spanish communist political party with which the ILP was allied. The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT, believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism - a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists. In the months after July 1936 there was a profound social revolution in Catalonia, Aragon and other areas where the CNT was particularly strong. Orwell sympathetically describes the egalitarian spirit of revolutionary Barcelona when he arrived in Homage to Catalonia. According to his own account, Orwell joined the POUM rather than the Communist-run International Brigades by chance - but his experiences, in particular his and his wife's narrow escape from the Communist purges in Barcelona in June 1937, greatly increased his sympathy for POUM and made him a life-long anti-Stalinist and a firm believer in what he termed Democratic Socialism, that is to say, in socialism combined with free debate and free elections. During his military service, Orwell was shot through the neck and nearly killed. At first it was feared that his voice would be permanently reduced to nothing more than a painful whisper. This wasn't so, although the injury did affect his voice, giving it what was described as, 'a strange, compelling quietness. ' He wrote in Homage to Catalonia that people frequently told him he was lucky to survive, but that he personally thought 'it would be even luckier not to be hit at all. ' The Orwells then spent six months in Morocco in order to recover from his wound, and during this period, he wrote his last pre-World War II novel, Coming Up For Air. As the most English of all his novels, the alarms of war mingle with idyllic images of a Thames-side Edwardian childhood enjoyed by its protagonist, George Bowling. Much of the novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of old England. There were also massive new external threats and George Bowling puts the totalitarian hypothesis of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler in homely terms: 'Old Hitler's something different. So's Joe Stalin. They aren't like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it. They're something quite new - something that's never been heard of before. ' After the ordeals of Spain and writing the book about it, most of Orwell's formative experiences were over. His finest writing, his best essays and his great fame lay ahead. In 1940, Orwell closed up his house in Wallington and he and Eileen moved into 18 Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, in the genteel neighbourhood of Marylebone, very close to Regent's Park in central London. He supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly but also for Time and Tide and the New Statesman. He joined the Home Guard soon after the war began In 1941 Orwell took a job at the BBC Eastern Service, supervising broadcasts to India aimed at stimulating Indian interest in the war effort, at a time when the Japanese army was at India's doorstep. He was well aware that he was engaged in propaganda, and wrote that he felt like 'an orange that's been trodden on by a very dirty boot'. The wartime Ministry of Information, which was based at Senate House, University of London, was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nonetheless, Orwell devoted a good deal of effort to his BBC work, which gave him an opportunity to work closely with people like T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand and William Empson. Orwell's decision to resign from the BBC followed a report confirming his fears about the broadcasts: very few Indians were listening. He wanted to become a war correspondent and also seems to have been impatient to begin work on Animal Farm. Despite the good salary, he resigned in September 1943 and in November became the literary editor of Tribune, the left-wing weekly then edited by Aneurin Bevan and Jon Kimche Orwell was on the staff until early 1945, contributing a regular column titled 'As I Please. ' Anthony Powell and Malcolm Muggeridge had returned from overseas to finish the war in London. All three took to lunching regularly, usually at the Bodega just off the Strand or the Bourgogne in Soho, sometimes joined by Julian Symons, and David Astor, editor/owner of The Observer. In 1944, Orwell finished his anti-Stalinist allegory Animal Farm, which was first published in Britain on 17 August 1945 and in the U. S. A on the 26 August 1946 with great critical and popular success. Frank Morley, an editor Harcourt Brace, had come to Britain as soon as he could at the end of the War to see what readers were currently interested in. He asked to serve a week or so in Bowes and Bowes, a Cambridge bookshop. On his first day there customers kept asking for a book that had sold out - the second impression of Animal Farm. He left the counter, read the single copy left in the postal order department, went to London and bought the American rights. The royalties from Animal Farm were to provide Orwell with a comfortable income for the first time in his adult life. While Animal Farm was at the printer, and with the end of the War in sight, Orwell felt his old desire growing to be somehow in the thick of the action. David Astor asked him to act as a war correspondent for the Observer to cover the liberation of France and the early occupation of Germany, so Orwell left Tribune to do so. He was a close friend of Astor, and his ideas had a strong influence on Astor's editorial policies. Astor, who died in 2001, is buried in the grave next to Orwell. Orwell and his wife adopted a baby boy, Richard Horatio Blair, born in May 1944. Orwell was taken ill again in Cologne in spring 1945. While he was sick there, his wife died during an operation in Newcastle to remove a tumour. She had not told him about this operation due to concerns about the cost and the fact that she thought she would make a speedy recovery. For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work - mainly for Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines - with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. Originally, Orwell was undecided between titling the book The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four but his publisher, Fredric Warburg, helped him choose. The title was not the year Orwell had initially intended. He first set his story in 1980, but, as the time taken to write the book dragged on, that was changed to 1982 and, later, to 1984. He wrote much of the novel while living at Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the island of Jura, which lies in the Gulf stream off the west coast of Scotland. It was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near to the northern end of the island, lying at the end of a five-mile heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the laird or landowner, Margaret Fletcher, lived and where the paved road, the only road on the island, came to an end. In 1948, he co-edited a collection entitled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. In 1949, Orwell was approached by a friend, Celia Kirwan, who had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, which the Labour government had set up to publish anti-communist propaganda. He gave her a list of 37 writers and artists he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. The list, not published until 2003, consists mainly of journalists but also includes the actors Michael Redgrave and Charlie Chaplin. Orwell's motives for handing over the list are unclear, but the most likely explanation is the simplest: that he was helping a friend in a cause - anti-Stalinism - that they both supported. There is no indication that Orwell abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted in his later writings - or that he believed the writers he named should be suppressed. Orwell's list was also accurate: the people on it had all made pro-Soviet or pro-communist public pronouncements. In fact, one of the people on the list, Peter Smollett, the head of the Soviet section in the Ministry of Information, was later proven to be a Soviet agent, recruited by Kim Philby, and 'almost certainly the person on whose advice the publisher Jonathan Cape turned down Animal Farm as an unhealthily anti-Soviet text', although Orwell was unaware of this. In October 1949, shortly before his death, he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell died in London at the age of 46 from tuberculosis. He was in and out of hospitals for the last three years of his life. Having requested burial in accordance with the Anglican rite, he was interred in All Saints' Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire with the simple epitaph: 'Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25, 1903, died January 21, 1950'; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name. He had wanted to be buried in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die, but the graveyards in central London had no space. Fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see if any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard. Orwell's friend David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be buried there, although he had no connection with the village. Orwell's son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father's death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government.

 

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

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

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

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Pan: From Lieutenant Thomas Glahn’s papers by Knut Hamsun. New York. 1956. Noonday Press. Translated Form The Norwegian by James W. McFarlane. 192 pages. paperback.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Of Knut Hamsun, Rebecca West has said, ‘Hamsun has the qualities that belong to the very great, the completest omniscience about human nature.’ These qualities are nowhere better exemplified than in the great novel of his youth, PAN. A startlingly dramatic story, set in the Northern wilderness, the book created a world sensation when it was first published in Denmark. It tells of the summer romance of Lieutenant Thomas Glahn, who is vacationing in the North, and Edvarda Mack, the spoiled young daughter of the wealthy man of the district. Edvarda’s coquetry acts upon Glahn’s perverse, destructive nature so as to turn what has, begun as an idyll into a tragedy. This, however, is the way of the forest, and, for Hamsun, Edvarda and Glahn become symbols of the irrational passions that motivate existence. This translation by James W. McFarlane has been widely praised: ‘An excellent new translation.’ - ARTHUR KOESTLER, Sunday Times. ‘A great improvement on the earlier one.’ - The Observer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

 

  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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From Guernica to Human Rights: Essays on the Spanish Civil War by Peter N. Carroll. Kent. 2015. Kent State University Press. 6 x 9. illustrations, notes, index. 216 pages. April 2015. hardcover. 9781606352380.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9781606352380   The best essays by one of the leading experts on the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Civil War, a military rebellion supported by Hitler and Mussolini, attracted the greatest writers of the age. Among them were Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, André Malraux, Arthur Koestler, Langston Hughes, and Martha Gellhorn. They returned to their homelands to warn the world about a war of fascist aggression looming on the horizon. Spain’s cause drew 35,000 volunteers from 52 countries, including 2,800 Americans who formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Eight hundred Americans lost their lives. Of them, Hemingway wrote, ‘no men entered earth more honorably than those who died in Spain.’ Writers and soldiers alike saw Spain as the first battlefield of World War II. In the title essay of this book, historian Peter N. Carroll traces the war’s legacy, from the shocking bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by German and Italian air forces to the attacks on civilians and displacement of refugees in later wars. Carroll’s work focuses on both the personal and political motives that led seemingly ordinary Americans to risk their lives in a foreign war. Based on extensive oral histories of surviving veterans and original archival work—including material in the once-secret Moscow archives—the essays, some never before published, present forty years of scholarship. A portrait of three American women illustrates the growing awareness of a fascist threat to our home front. Other pieces examine the role of ethnicity, race, and religion in prompting Americans to set off for war. Carroll also examines the lives of war survivors. Novelist Alvah Bessie became a screenwriter and emerged as one of the blacklisted ‘Hollywood Ten.’ Ralph Fasanella went from union organizing to becoming one of the country’s significant ‘outsider’ painters. Hank Rubin won fame as a food connoisseur and wine columnist. And one volunteer, the African American Sgt. Edward Carter, earned a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in World War II. Most famously, Ernest Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. His sharp criticism of the film version of the novel, in a series of private letters published here for the first time in book form, reveals his deep commitment to the antifascist cause. For those who witnessed the war in Spain, the defeat of democracy remained, in the words of Albert Camus, ‘a wound in the heart.’ From Guernica to Human Rights is essential reading for anyone interested in the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.

 

  Peter N. Carroll has written several books about the Spanish Civil War, including The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade; Letters from the Spanish Civil War: A U.S. Volunteer Writes Home (edited with Fraser Ottanelli; The Kent State University Press, 2013); and War is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War by James Neugass (edited with Peter Glazer). He is Chair Emeritus of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives and editor of the quarterly The Volunteer. He teaches history at Stanford University.

 

 

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The Neverfield Poem by Nathalie Handal. Sausalito. 1999. Post-Apollo Press. 57 pages. paperback. Cover by The Set Up, London. 0942996356.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   ‘The Neverfield is a work which insists on itself. It is poetry of a shining quality from a poet whose voice is sure and unafraid.’ - Lucille Clifton. ‘The Neverfield is an epic journey, a passionate search for beauty and truth. If beauty is truth, and truth is beauty, the poems in this volume lead us once again to that realization. The Neverfield is an enchanting work, sharing with us a poet’s true vision.’ - Rudolfo Anaya. ‘Nathalie Handal’s poems in her collection The Neverfield are wide as breath, lyrically Linked as an elegantly stitched Palestinian bodice, and dreamily, deeply evocative as the stories that never leave us from the first time we hear them.’ - Naomi Shihab Nye. ‘As I turned the pages of this work, I was reminded of how vast the universe is. The Neverfield is everlasting by nature. After reading it, I breathed deeply and praised the word. This is a holistic piece of work.’ - Benjamin Zephaniah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Nathalie Handal (born 29 July 1969) is an American award-winning poet, writer, and playwright. Nathalie Handal was born in Haiti to parents of Palestinian descent, and grew up in Pétionville. Having also lived in Europe, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, the writer-poet-playwright is acutely aware of the commonality of the human experience and of the fact that ‘we don't exist in the jointed way that we should.’ She feels this most in the US's ‘material consumerist society,’ while in places like Africa and Latin America political unrest and a certain type of hardship forces you to look outside, beyond ourselves and the small space we live in. ‘Today I feel deeply connected to the world. Yes, I am Palestinian, but I am also French, Latina, and American.’ The cadence of Nathalie Handal’s voice resembles her nomadic life. ‘I don’t have a mother tongue. I grew up speaking many languages, and these different languages have slipped into my English. My English is cross-fertilized with French, Spanish, Arabic, Creole….I love the idea of a bridge of words, a bridge of poems connecting us….showing us what it’s like to be human,’ she says. Her voice has the mellifluous tinge of a French accent, due to her upbringing in her native Haiti where French is the official language, and maintained with her residence in Paris. She earned a MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College, Vermont and a MPhil in English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London. She visited Bethlehem for the first time as a teenager. She became interested in the writing of Arab women in the 1990s. She has residences in both New York City and Paris. Handal is the author of four books of poetry, several plays and the editor of two anthologies. She is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, a Fundación Araguaney Fellow, recipient of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature 2011, the AE Ventures Fellowship, an Honored Finalist for the 2009 Gift of Freedom Award, and was shortlisted for New London Writers Awards and The Arts Council of England Writers Awards. She has also been involved as a writer, director, or producer in over twelve theatrical or film productions. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, such as The Guardian, World Literature Today, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetrywales, Ploughshares, Poetry New Zealand, Crab Orchard Review, and The Literary Review; and has been translated into more than fifteen languages. She was the featured poet in the PBS NewsHour on April 20, 2009. Her book The Lives of Rain was shortlisted for the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and received the Menada Literary Award. Her latest poetry book, Love and Strange Horses, is the winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY Award), and an Honorable Mention at the San Francisco Book Festival and the New England Book Festival. Poet in Andalucía (2012) consists of ‘poems of depth and weight, and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve.’ Handal has promoted international literature through translation and research, and edited The Poetry of Arab Women, an anthology that introduced several Arab women poets to a wider audience in the West and is used in university classes around the U.S. It was an Academy of American Poets bestseller and won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award. She co-edited along with Tina Chang and Ravi Shankar the anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond. She was Picador Guest Professor at Leipzig University, Germany, and is currently teaching a translation workshop at Columbia University and part of the Low-Residency MFA faculty at Sierra Nevada College. Handal wrote a blog in 2010 called ‘The City and The Writer’, for the online magazine Words Without Borders. She has also written a piece based upon a book of the King James Bible as part of the Bush Theatre's 2011 project Sixty-Six Books. Handal writes in English, but uses Arabic, French and Spanish phrases in conversation. Her story ‘Umm Kulthoum at Midnight’ was described as a ‘daring and sensual story about the hypocrisies underlying Arabic morals and traditions.’ In her collection Poet in Andalucía she goes back to Islamic Spain where she believes Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in relative harmony and the fates of Jews and Muslims were similar. In an interview in 2001, Handal said that since ‘many Israelis and Palestinians interact on a daily basis’ this makes ‘them no longer strangers to each other. They know each other, even if often they do not agree with each other. There are many similarities between the two people.’ She continued, and said that ‘however, for many Jewish-Americans, Palestinians are ‘the Other.’ [Jewish-Americans] often do not realize how closely linked the two people are.’ Since January 12, 2010, Haiti has been an open wound. Her visit on February 21, 2011, 25 years since being in Haiti (except for two brief entrances), a young girl at the time was seemingly exempt from the turmoil that led to the overthrow of Baby Doc and the chaotic aftermath of his regime. Remembering her youth in Haiti brought up images of hopscotch in school courtyards, of school uniforms, of eating mangoes and drinking fresco (ice with flavored syrup) in Pétionville. A study by the Inter-American Development Bank reported that before the earthquake nearly half the school-age children did not go to school, only one-fifth of teachers had any pedagogical training, three-quarters of schools were unaccredited, and more than half lacked running water. The earthquake destroyed 5,213 schools (4,820 in the West, 154 in Nippes, and 239 in the South-East). Before the earthquake, Handal wrote a poem about her experience in Haiti entitled, The Cry of Flesh, where she writes about the island, its struggles but yet its rich culture and mentions musician Sweet Mickey dancing in the streets of Port-au-Prince, whose real name is Michel Martelly, the former compas musician and the current President of Haiti.

 

 

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Tales of Love & Loss by Knut Hamsun. London. 1997. Souvenir Press. Translated from the Norwegian by Robert Ferguson. 224 pages. paperback. 028563383x.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   These 20 short stories are fascinating companions to Hamsun’s classic novels and contain echoes of the greater works he would later write and for which he was ultimately awarded the Nobel Prize. Alive with humor, melancholy, tenderness, and lawlessness, as well as sparkling with psychological insights, these stories have never been published in the United States until now.

 

 KNUT HAMSUN was born in 1859 in the Gudbransdal Valley of central Norway, and died in 1952, at the age of ninety-three. Among his best-known works are HUNGER, MYSTERIES, PAN, and GROWTH OF THE SOIL. In 1920 he was awarded the Nobel Prize.

 

 

 

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

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

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

 

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

 

 

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The Sad End of Policarpo Quaresma by Lima Barreto. New York. 2014. Penguin Books. Translated from the Portuguese by Mark Carlyon. With an introduction by Lilia Moritz Schwarcz. 242 pages. paperback. Cover: detail from photograph by Harriet Chalmers Adams, c.1920. First published in Rio de Janeiro in 1911 as Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma. 9780141395708.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780141395708   'The seed of madness exists in all of us and with no warning may attack, overpower, crush and bury us. .' Policarpo Quaresma - fastidious civil servant, dedicated patriot, self-styled visionary - is a defender of all things Brazilian, full of schemes to improve his beloved homeland. Yet somehow each of his ventures, whether it is petitioning for Brazil's national language to be changed, buying a farm to prove the richness and fertility of the land, or offering support to government forces as they suppress a military revolt - results in ridicule and disaster. Quixotic and hapless, Quaresma's dreams will eventually be his undoing. Funny, despairing, moving and absurd, Lima Barreto's masterpiece shows a man and a country caught in the violent clash between illusion and reality, hope and decline, sanity and madness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also published in England in 1978 by Rex Collins as The Patriot and translated from the Portuguese by Robert Scott-Buccleuch. 216 pages. hardcover. Jacket by Poty. 0860360601.

 

FROM THE BRITISH PUBLISHER -

 

  THE PATRIOT (Triste fim de Policarpo Quaresma) is unquestionably Lima Barreto’s greatest work. It is not merely because of the unforgettable character he has created, but because it is written with restraint and good-humored tolerance that is scarcely to be found in any of his other novels, He has disciplined the passionate outbursts, curbed the bitterness of his satire and avoided personal attacks on his individuals, unless we so qualify his masterly portrait of the national hero, Floriano Peixoto. The novel embraces a great deal of Brazilian life, a great deal that is typically Brazilian, Some characters and incidents may appear grotesque and exaggerated, for example such incidents as the civilian bystander being allowed to fire a gun at the enemy; to Caldas trying to find his ship; to Quaresma’s petition to Congress. Alfonso Henriques de Lima Barreto was born of mulatto parents in 1881. His father, a master typesetter, sent him to one of the best schools in Rio de Janeiro and then to the polytechnic, determined that he should become an engineer. But before he could graduate his father went mad and Lima Barreto was forced to leave school in order to support the family. He took a job as a minor civil servant. Then began to write; publishing his first novel in Lisbon in 1909. This novel is Isaias Caminha was not well received in Rio-its bitter satire of established and easily recognizable figures was much resented. He aroused hostility in the literary and Bohemian circles of the capital, To escape from the indifference of his fellow writers and the drudgery of his work as a civil servant, he took increasingly to drink, becoming a hopeless alcoholic eventually-even spending two periods confined in an asylum. Drink ruined his health and he died in 1922 at the early age of 41. Whoever knows Brazil today knows that this is Brazil. Whoever knows Brazil today knows that Doctor Campos, General Albernaz, Ricardo Coracao dos Outros, Armando Borges, Genelicio and Policarpo Quaresma as well as all the others in this rich gallery are as alive today as they were half a century ago.

 

  Afonso Henriques de Lima Barreto (May 13, 1881 - November 1, 1922) was a Brazilian novelist and journalist. A major figure on the Brazilian Pre-Modernism, he is famous for the novel Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma, a bitter satire of the first years of the República Velha in Brazil. Lima Barreto was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1881, to João Henriques de Lima Barreto and Amália Augusta. His father was a typographer and a monarchist who had close connections to Afonso Celso de Assis Figueiredo, the Viscount of Ouro Preto, who would later become Lima Barreto's godfather. Barreto's mother died when he was very young, and he was subsequently sent to study at a private school run by Teresa Pimentel do Amaral. Soon after, he entered at the Liceu Popular Niteroiense, after the Viscount of Ouro Preto decided to pay for his studies. He graduated in 1894, and in the following year, he would enter the famous Colégio Pedro II. Soon after he graduated, he entered the Escola Politécnica do Rio de Janeiro, but was forced to abandon it in 1904 in order to take care of his brothers, since his father's mental health was starting to deteriorate. Barreto used to write for newspapers since 1902, but he achieved fame in 1905, writing for the Correio da Manhã a series of articles regarding the demolition of Castle Hill. In 1911 he founded, alongside some friends, a periodical named Floreal. Although it only lasted for two issues, it received a warm reception by the critics. In 1909 he published his first novel, Recordações do Escrivão Isaías Caminha, a contundent and semi-autobiographical satire of the Brazilian society. However, his masterpiece was Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma, that was published in 1911, under feuilleton form, being re-released under hardcover form in 1915. During his last years of life, Barreto was attacked by heavy crisis of depression, which led him to alcoholism and many internations on different psychiatric hospitals and sanatoriums. He died of a heart attack in 1922.

 

 

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The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa. New York. 2015. Farrar Straus Giroux. Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman. 326 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Alex Merto. 9780374146740.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780374146740   The latest masterpiece--perceptive, funny, insightful, affecting--from the Nobel Prize-winning author Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa's newest novel, "The Discreet Hero," follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felicito Yanaque, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead. Felicito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires--which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings. "The Discreet Hero" is also a chance to revisit some of our favorite players from previous Vargas Llosa novels: Sergeant Lituma, Don Rigoberto, Dona Lucrecia, and Fonchito are all here in a prosperous Peru. Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly--and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters. A novel whose humor and pathos shine through in Edith Grossman's masterly translation, "The Discreet Hero" is another remarkable achievement from the finest Latin American novelist at work today."

 

  Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. Peru's foremost writer, he has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor, and the Jerusalem Prize. His many works include THE FEAST OF THE GOAT, THE BAD GIRL, AUNT JULIA AND THE SCRIPTWRITER, THE WAR OF THE END OF THE WORLD, and THE STORYTELLER. He lives in London.

 

 

 

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You Disappear by Christian Jungersen. New York. 2014. Doubleday. Translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra. 339 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Michael J. Windsor. 9780385537254.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A riveting psychological drama that challenges the way we understand others--and our own sense of self. Mia is a schoolteacher in Denmark. Her husband, Frederik, is the charismatic headmaster of a local private school. During a vacation on Majorca, they discover that a brain tumor has started to change Frederik's personality. As it becomes harder and harder for Mia to recognize him, she must protect herself and their teenage son from the strange, blunted being who now inhabits her husband's body--and with whom she must share her home, her son, and her bed. When millions of crowns go missing at the private school, Frederik is the obvious culprit, and Mia's private crisis quickly draws in the entire community. Frederick's new indifference and lack of inhibition rupture long-standing friendships, isolating Mia and making her question who Frederik really is. Was the tumor already affecting him during the years they had been so happy together? And does it excuse Frederik from fraud? Mia enlists the help of a lawyer named Bernhard, whom she meets in a support group for spouses of people with brain injuries. As they prepare Frederik's defense, the two of them wrestle with the latest brain research, the age-old question of free will--and their growing attraction to each other. Jungersen's lithe prose and unexpected plot twists will keep readers hooked until the very last page.

 

 

 

 

 

  Christian Jungersen (born 10 July 1962 in Copenhagen) is a Danish novelist whose works have been translated into 18 languages. He has published three novels in Danish – Krat (1999), Undtagelsen (2004, published as The Exception in 2006), and Du Forsvinder (2012, scheduled to be published as You Disappear in 2014). Jungersen earned a master’s in communication and social science from Roskilde University. Before publishing his first novel, he taught film at Folkeuniversitetet, an open university in Copenhagen. He also worked as an advertising copywriter, a manuscript consultant, and a TV screenwriter. Over the past decade he has divided his time among the US, Ireland, Denmark, and Malta. Krat (“Undergrowth”) depicts the intense relationship between two men over the course of nearly 70 years. While they begin as bosom buddies in an upper-class suburb of Copenhagen during the 1920s, they end as retirees who, despite not having spoken in decades, remain just as consumed with each other – but now as mortal enemies. Krat was on the Danish bestseller list for three months when it came out in 1999. It won Bogforum’s Debutant Prize and was nominated for Weekendavisen’s literary prize. When the Danish Arts Foundation awarded Jungersen a three-year fellowship in 2000, it was the first time in 20 years that the foundation had given the honor to a debut novelist. A psychological thriller, The Exception ("Undtagelsen") is told in turn by four women who work for the dysfunctional Danish Center for Genocide Information. When two of them receive death threats, it is unclear whether the threats have been sent by an exposed war criminal or a coworker. Drawing on recent work on the nature of evil, the book makes the case that the same dark impulses that lead to genocide may underlie the bullying that plagues the center's office – and be present in all human beings. The novel was on the bestseller list for a year and a half in Denmark, where it won the P2 Novel Prize and De Gyldne Laurbær ("The Golden Laurels"). In 2009, readers of Denmark's largest newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, voted The Exception the second best Danish novel of the past 25 years, and in 2010 it won another readers' poll of the best Danish novel of the preceding decade. The Exception has been published in 18 countries. It was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger in the United Kingdom, the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle in France, and the Martin Beck Award in Sweden. In the US, both The New York Times and Amazon designated the novel as an editor's choice. Jungersen's latest novel, You Disappear ("Du Forsvinder"), is narrated by Mia, whose husband Frederik undergoes radical personality changes due to a slowly growing brain tumor that leaves his intellect, speech and motor control intact. Their lives change even more when it comes out that, in the year before his diagnosis, he embezzled 12 million crowns from the private Copenhagen school where he is headmaster. But was the tumor already determining his actions at the time, absolving him, or should he go to jail? In preparing Frederik's defense, Mia immerses herself in the latest brain research, the emerging neurological portrait of human nature, and the classic metaphysical question of free will. Her reading profoundly affects how she responds to Frederik – and to her own passionate impulses. You Disappear has been both a critical and a commercial success in Denmark since being published there in March 2012. Library and newspaper readers awarded it the Læsernes Bogpris, and it was nominated for two other major honors, Politiken's Literature Prize and the Martha Prize, while staying on the top-10 list of bestselling fiction for an entire year. You Disappear is scheduled to be published in an additional 10 countries in 2013 and 2014, with US publication slated for January 2014 from Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. The American translation by Misha Hoekstra won the Leif & Inger Sjöberg Prize from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.

 

 

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

 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Chasing Lost Time: The Life of C. K. Scott Moncrieff - Soldier, Spy, and Translator by Jean Findlay. New York. 2015. Farrar Straus Giroux. Jacket design based on a 1940s edition of Remembrance of Things Past published by Chatto & Windus. 351 pages. hardcover. 9780374119270.

 

 

9780374119270FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   'And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me.' With these words, Marcel Proust’s narrator is plunged back into the past. Since 1922, English-language readers have been able to take this leap with him thanks to translator C. K. Scott Moncrieff, who wrestled with Proust’s seven-volume masterpiece - published as Remembrance of Things Past - until his death in 1930. While Scott Moncrieff’s work has shaped our understanding of one of the finest novels of the twentieth century, he has remained hidden behind the genius of the man whose reputation he helped build. Now, in this biography - the first ever of the celebrated translator - Scott Moncrieff’s great-great-niece, Jean Findlay, reveals a fascinating, tangled life. Catholic and homosexual; a partygoer who was lonely deep down; secretly a spy in Mussolini’s Italy and publicly a debonair man of letters; a war hero described as “offensively brave,” whose letters from the front are remarkably cheerful - Scott Moncrieff was a man of his moment, thriving on paradoxes and extremes. In Chasing Lost Time, Findlay gives us a vibrant, moving portrait of the brilliant Scott Moncrieff, and of the era - changing fast and forever - in which he shone.

 

 

 

 

 Jean Findlay was born in Edinburgh and studied Law and French at Edinburgh University, then theatre in Cracow with Tadeusz Kantor. She ran a theatre company, writing and producing plays in Berlin, Bonn, Dublin, Rotterdam, and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. She has written for the Scotsman, the Independent, Time Out and Performance magazine and lives in Edinburgh with her husband and three children. She is the great-great-niece of C K Scott Moncrieff.

 

 

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In The Shadow Of Young Girls In Flower by Marcel Proust. New York. 2004. Viking Press. Newly Translated from the French by James Grieve. 558 pages. February 2004. hardcover. Jacket design by Mark Melnick. Originally published in French as A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs. 0670032778.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Readers and reviewers in the United Kingdom have hailed the new translations of Proust as a major literary event. Soon to appear in the United States, Swann’s Way, along with the second volume of In Search of Lost Time, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, will introduce a new century of American readers to the literary riches of Proust. These superb editions - the first completely new translation of Proust’s novel since the 1920s - bring us a more comic and lucid Proust than English readers have previously been able to enjoy. In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower is a spectacular dissection of male and female adolescence, charged with the narrator’s memories of Paris and the Normandy seaside. In it, Proust introduces some of his greatest comic inventions. As a meditation on different forms of love, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower has no equal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.

 

 

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The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust. New York. 2004. Viking Press. Newly Translated from the French by Mark Treharne. 619 pages. June 2004. hardcover. Jacket photograph by Ralph Gibson. 0670033170.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Viking Press’s In Search of Lost Time is the first completely new translation of Proust’s masterwork since the 1920s. Under Christopher Prendergast’s general editorship, these superb editions bring us a more rich, comic, and lucid Proust than American readers have previously been able to enjoy. After the relative intimacy of the first two volumes of In Search of Lost Time, The Guermantes Way opens up a vast, dazzling landscape of fashionable Parisian life in the late nineteenth century as the narrator enters the brilliant, shallow world of the literary and aristocratic salons. Both a salute to and a devastating satire of a time, place, and culture, The Guermantes Way defines the great tradition of novels that follow the initiation of a young man into the ways of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.

 

 

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Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust. New York. 2004. Viking Press. Newly Translated from the French by John Sturrock. 557 pages. October 2004. hardcover. Jacket photograph by Ra;ph Gibson. 0670033480.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Like its predecessors, this wonderful new translation is certain to be hailed as a literary event, bringing us a more rich, comic, and lucid Proust than American readers have previously been able to enjoy. In this fourth volume, Proust’s novel takes up for the first time the theme of homosexual love and examines how destructive sexual jealousy can be for those who suffer it. Sodom and Gomorrah is also an unforgiving analysis of both the decadent high society of Paris and the rise of a philistine bourgeoisie that will inevitably supplant it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.

 

 

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The Prisoner and The Fugitive: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. London. 2003. Penguin Books. Newly Translated from the French by Carol Calrk and Peter Collier. 693 pages. paperback. 9780141180359.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   The Prisoner and The Fugitive fulfill Swann’s much earlier warning to Marcel: ‘Though the subjection of the woman may briefly allay the jealousy of the man, it eventually makes it even more demanding’, as Marcel and Albertine are locked in a cycle of mistrust that threatens both their identities. But these are also novels of great lyrical excitement and beauty - in the Parisian street cries, the Vinteuil concert and Proust’s virtuoso description of Venice. Above all, these two works deal with the theme of the impact of memory that runs throughout In Search of Lost Time. ‘Proust redefined the terms of fiction. a profound and often very witty masterpiece’ – Guardian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.

 

 

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Swann's Way by Marcel Proust. New York. 2003. Viking Press. Newly Translated from the French by Lydia Davis. 468 pages. September 2003. hardcover. Jacket design by Mark Melnick.Jacket photograph by Ralph Gibson, of a piece from the collection of Charles Fermin-Didot, Paris. 067003245x.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   ‘MY GREATEST ADVENTURE WAS UNDOUBTEDLY PROUST. WHAT IS THERE LEFT TO WRITE AFTER THAT?’ - VIRGINIA WOOLF. Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century. But since its original prewar translation there has been no completely new version in English. Now, Viking Press brings Proust’s masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world, beginning with Lydia Davis’s internationally acclaimed translation of the first volume, SWANN’S WAY. SWANN’S WAY is one of the preeminent novels of childhood - a sensitive boy’s impressions of his family and neighbors, all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the famous taste of a madeleine. It also enfolds the short novel ‘Swann in Love,’ an incomparable study of sexual jealousy that becomes a crucial part of the vast, unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time. The first volume of the work that established Proust as one of the finest voices of the modern age - satirical, skeptical, confiding, and endlessly varied in his response to the human condition - SWANN’S WAY also stands on its own as a perfect rendering of a life in art, of the past recreated through memory.

 

  MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.

 

Davis Lydia  LYDIA DAVIS is the author of one novel and three volumes of short fiction, the latest of which is Samuel Johnson is Indignant. She is also the translator of numerous works from the French by, among others, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, and Michel Leiris, and was recently named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

 

 

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Finding Time Again: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. London. 2003. Penguin Books. Newly Translated from the French by Ian Patterson. 374 pages. paperback. 9780141180366.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   In Finding Time Again, Marcel discovers his world destroyed by war and those he knew transformed by the march of time. A superb picture of France in the throes of the First World War, and containing, in the Bal des tetes sequence, one of Proust’s most devastating set-pieces, Finding Time Again triumphantly describes the paradox of facing mortality yet overcoming it through the act of writing. As Marcel rediscovers his vocation, he realizes that he can live on by writing down the story of his own memories and of his search to recapture the past. ‘One of the cornerstones of the Western literary canon’ - The Times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.

 

 

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The Invention of Morel & Other Stories by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Austin. 1964. University Of Texas Press. Illustrated by Norah Borges De Torre. Translated from the Spanish by Ruth L. C. Simms. Prologue by Jorge Luis Borges. keywords: Literature Translated Argentina Latin America. 237 pages. Jacket art by Norah Borges De Torre.

A fantastic collection of stories from the famous Argentinian writer and sometime collaborator of Jorge Luis Borges. The title story of the collection, THE INVENTION OF MOREL, is a tale of fantasy and even terror, as a man on an island comes to the realization that all of the people he sees are recordings (three-dimensional, with sound and even smell), but indistinguishable from reality.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When THE INVENTION OF MOREL was first published in Argentina, Jorge Luis Borges rejoiced that the author had brought 'a new genre to our land and language. 'This fine translation of Adolfo Bioy Casares' novella demonstrates that it is equally unique when transformed into English. THE INVENTION OF MOREL won for its author in 1941 the Primer Premio Municipal Award in Buenos Aires. It is joined in this volume by six equally arresting short stories originally published together in a book entitled La trama celeste. THE INVENTION OF MOREL is the offspring of a fantastic, sometimes perverse, always persuasive imagination. Borges, perhaps Argentina's greatest writer, says in his Prologue to the story that its plot is of such superior quality that 'to classify it as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole.’ Bioy Casares' indisputable originality, so apparent in the novella, is equally evident in the six short stories, all of which have a strong affinity withthe invention. Each story is an achievement of realism with curious surrealist overtones. In each, as in the novella, the author employs suspense delicately and with mounting tension.

 

 

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The Devil's Church and Other Stories by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis. Austin. 1977. University Of Texas Press. Translated from the Portuguese by Jack Schmitt & Lorie Ishimatsu. keywords: Literature Latin America Brazil Translated. 152 pages. Cover Illustration by Ed Lindlof.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

     The modern Brazilian short story begins with the mature work of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908), acclaimed almost unanimously as Brazil’s greatest writer. Collectively, these nineteen stories are representative of Machado’s unique style and world view, and this translation doubles the number of his stories previously available in English. The stories in this volume reflect Machado’s post-1880 emphasis on social satire and experimentation in psychological realism. If he had continued to produce the moralistic love stories and parlor intrigues of his earlier fiction, Machado’s legacy would have been an entertaining but inconsequent body of work. However, by 1880 he had begun a devastating satirical assault on society through his fiction. In spite of his ruthlessness, Machado does at times reveal an ironic sympathy for his characters. He is not indifferent to human conflict but uses humor and irony to stress the absurdity of these conflicts, acted out against the backdrop of an indifferent universe. Such a spectacle creates a sense of helplessness that can only inspire wistful amusement. In his technical mastery of the short story, Machado was decades ahead of his contemporaries and can still be considered more modern than most of the modernists themselves. That his stories elicit such strong and diverse reactions today is a tribute to their richness, complexity, and significance. Texas Pan American Series. CONTENTS: INTRODUCTION; THE BONZO’S SECRET; THOSE COUSINS FROM SAPUCAIA; ALEXANDRIAN TALE; THE DEVIL’S CHURCH; A STRANGE THING; FINAL CHAPTER; A SECOND LIFE; DONA PAULA; THE DIPLOMAT; THE COMPANION; EVOLUTION; ADAM AND EVE; ETERNAL!; A CELEBRITY; MARIANA; A CANARY’S IDEAS; PYLADES AND ORESTES; FUNERAL MARCH; WALLOW, SWINE!; TRANSLATORS’ NOTE.

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, often known as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho, (June 21, 1839, Rio de Janeiro-September 29, 1908, Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian novelist, poet and short-story writer. He is widely regarded as the most important writer of Brazilian literature. However, he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime. Machado’s works had a great influence on Brazilian literary schools of the late 19th century and 20th century. José Saramago, Carlos Fuentes, Susan Sontag and Harold Bloom are among his admirers and Bloom calls him ‘the supreme black literary artist to date.’ Son of Francisco José de Assis (a mulatto housepainter, descendent of freed slaves) and Maria Leopoldina Machado de Assis (a Portuguese washerwoman), Machado de Assis lost both his mother and his only sister at an early age. Machado is said to have learned to write by himself, and he used to take classes for free will. He learned to speak French first and English later, both fluently. He started to work for newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, where he published his first works and met established writers such as Joaquim Manuel de Macedo. Machado de Assis married Carolina Xavier de Novais, a Portuguese descendant of a noble family. Soon the writer got a public job and this stability permitted him to write his best works. Machado de Assis began by writing popular novels which sold well, much in the late style of José de Alencar. His style changed in the 1880s, and it is for the sceptical, ironic, comedic but ultimately pessimistic works he wrote after this that he is remembered: the first novel in his ‘new style’ was Epitaph for a Small Winner, known in the new Gregory Rabassa translation as The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas (a literal translation of the original title, Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas). In their brilliant comedy and ironic playfulness, these resemble in some ways the contemporary works of George Meredith in the United Kingdom, and Eça de Queirós in Portugal, but Machado de Assis’ work has a far bleaker emotional undertone. Machado’s work has also been compared with Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. Machado de Assis could speak English fluently and translated many works of William Shakespeare and other English writers into Portuguese. His work contains numerous allusions to Shakespearean plays, John Milton and influences from Sterne and Meredith. He is also known as a master of the short story, having written classics of the genre in the Portuguese language, such as O Alienista, Missa do Galo, ‘A Cartomante’ and ‘A Igreja do Diabo.’ Along with other writers and intellectuals, Machado de Assis founded the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1896 and was its president from 1897 to 1908, when he died. Jack Schmitt is assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese at California State University, Long Beach. Lone lshimatsu is a graduate student and associate instructor in Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University. In translating the stories volume 2 of the Aguilar edition of Machado de Assis’ complete works were used (Obra Completa, Rio: Editôra José Aguilar, Ltda., 1962). Following are the titles and dates of publication of the translated stories: ‘The Bonzo’s Secret’ (‘0 Segrêdo do Bonzo,’ 1882); ‘Those Cousins from Sapucaia’ (‘Primas de Sapucaia,’ 1883); ‘A]exandrian Tale’ (‘Canto Alexandrino,’ 1883); ‘The Devil’s Church’ (‘A lgreja do Diabo,’ 1883); ‘A Strange Thing’ (‘Singular Ocorrência,’ 1883); ‘Final Chapter’ (‘Ultimo Capitulo,’ 1883); ‘A Second Life’ (‘A Segunda Vida,’ 1884); ‘Dana Paula’ (‘D. Paula,’ 1884); ‘The Diplomat’ (‘O Diplomático,’ 1884); ‘The Companion’ (‘O Enfermeiro,’ 1884); ‘Evolution’ (‘Evolucáo,’ 1884); ‘Adam and Eve’ (‘Adão e Eva,’ 1885); ‘Eternal!’ (‘Eterno!’ 1887); ‘A Celebrity’ (‘Urn Homem Célebre,’ 1888); ‘Mariana’ (‘Mariana,’ 1891); ‘A Canary’s Ideas’ (‘ldéias de Canário,’ 1895); ‘Pylades and Orestes’ (‘Pilades e Orestes,’ 1903); ‘Funeral March’ (‘Marcha Fünebre,’ 1905); ‘Wallow, Swine!’ (‘Suje-se Gordo!’ 1905).

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Notes On The Cuff & Other Stories by Mikhail Bulgakov. Ann Arbor. 1991. Ardis Publishers. Translated from the Russian by Alison Rice. keywords: Literature Russia Translated 20th Century. 223 pages. Cover design by Alex/Ross. 0875010571.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The stories collected here represent a sampling of the prose that first established Bulgakov as a major figure in the literary renaissance of Moscow in the l920s, long before he became known as an influential playwright and novelist The centerpiece of this collection is the long story ‘Notes on the Cuff,’ a comically autobiographical account of how the tenacious young writer managed to begin his literary career despite famine, typhus, civil war, the wrong political affiliation, and the Byzantine Moscow bureaucracy. This stylistically brilliant work was only partially published during Bulgakov’s lifetime due to censorship, but was immediately recognized by the literati as an important work. The other stories collected here range from a sequence about the Civil War to Bulgakov’s early reportage on the rebuilding of Moscow in the early 1920s, stories which now have a strikingly contemporary ring. Bulgakov describes the swindlers who arrived along with NEP, a program for the limited return to a market economy, as well as the vast reconstruction as the city is brought back from the destruction of civil war. Bulgakov, who burst on the world literary scene in the 1960s with the publication of his long-suppressed THE MASTER AND MARGARITA, has continued to enjoy tremendous success both in and out of Russia where productions of his plays and adaptations of his prose works have found new audiences.

 

 

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Words In Commotion & Other Stories by Tommaso Landolfi. New York. 1986. Viking Press. Translated From The Italian By Kathrine Jason. keywords: Literature Translated Italy. 275 pages. Jacket illustration by Ralph Masiello. 0670805181. October 1986.

A great collection of short stories from the Italian master. Read this collection and you'll want to read more Landolfi.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Little known in this country when he died in 1979, Landolfi is scarcely better recognized today, a situation this collection of 24 stories, with an introduction by Italo Calvino, is intended to remedy. Landolfi did not aspire to amuse or entertain in the usual sense; he preferred to confound and mystify. Even in his relatively conventional stories he scarcely bothered to inquire into motive or seek resolution. In 'Uxoricide,' for example, a wife-murderer sets out to kill the shrew for reasons that do not seem quite sufficient, so that the act itself appears brutal and sadistic. In 'A Woman's Breast,' a man lusts after that part of a stranger until he attains it, is thereupon sickened by the sight and discovers odd morbidities within himself. Landolfi's overriding interests in language and its literary possibilities, metaphysics, literary criticism necessarily limit his audience. He saw the writer as one who spits words, and he set himself against the critics who accused him of being 'utterly indecipherable and mysterious. ' That is, however, a challenge hurled at the reader. - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.

 

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The Steppe & Other Stories, 1887-1891 by Anton Chekhov. New York. 2001. Penguin Books. Translated From The Russian & WIth Notes By Ronald Wilks. New Introduction By Donald Rayfield. keywords: Literature Russia Translated. 369 pages. The cover shows a detail from The House on the Steppe, 1908, by David Burlyuk in the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg. 0140447857.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This new collection of Chekhov's finest early writing reveals a young writer mastering the art of the short story. The Steppe' established Chekhov's reputation. It is the simple yet unforgettable tale of a young boy's journey to a new school in Kiev, travelling through majestic landscapes towards an unknown life. 'Gusev' depicts an ocean voyage, where a man dies and is thrown to sharks, and the sea takes on a terrifying, primeval power. In 'The Kiss' a shy soldier is kissed by mistake in a darkened room; in 'A Dreary Story' a man reaches the end of his life and questions its worth; and in 'The Duel' two men's enmity ends in farce. Haunting and highly atmospheric, these stories show a writer in dialogue with his masters - Tolstoy, Turgenev and Gogol - with a sense of good and evil and a lack of ambiguity not found in his later work. They also illustrate Chekhov's genius for evoking the power of the natural world and penetrating inner lives. With an annotated bibliography, chronology and explanatory notes.

 

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The Kiss & Other Stories by Anton Chekhov. New York. 1982. Penguin Books. Translated From The Russian & With An Introduction By Ronald Wilks. keywords: Penguin Classic Paperback Russia Literature Translated 19th Century. 217 pages. Cover shows a detail from 'Self Portrait with Sister' by Borisov-Musatov. 0140443363.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The ten stories in this selection were written between 1887 and 1902 when Chekhov had reached his maturity as a short-story writer. They show him as a master of compression and as a probing analyst, unmasking the mediocrity, lack of ideals and spiritual and physical inertia of his generation. In these grim pictures of peasant life and telling portraits of men and women enmeshed in trivialities, in the finely observed, suffocating atmosphere of provincial towns with their pompous officials, frustrated, self-seeking wives and spineless husbands. Chekhov does not expound any system of morality but leaves readers to draw what conclusions they will.

 

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Inside The Whale & Other Essays by George Orwell. New York. 1983. Penguin Books. keywords: Literature England Essays Literary Criticism Paperback Penguin. 203 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The essays, in this book, literary, political, or descriptive of experience, are typical of George Orwell and his role as the conscience of our age. From DOWN THE MINE, a description of Orwell's visit to a coal mine which brings home to us in his vivid prose the effort and horror of a miner's work, to POLITICS AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, where his own crisp exact use of English as much as his actual words gives point to his plea for a meaningful use of language, and BOYS' WEEKLIES, a carefully presented and thorough piece of research, they bear out the remarks of Time -'. there are no replacements for a George Orwell, just as there are no replacements for a Bernard Shaw or a Mark Twain. In his literary criticism and his political essays he pricked, provoked, and badgered lazy minds, delighted those who enjoyed watching an original intelligence at work.'

Eric Arthur Blair, better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. Noted as a novelist and critic as well as a political and cultural commentator, Orwell is among the most widely admired English-language essayists of the 20th century. He is best known for two novels critical of totalitarianism in general, and Stalinism in particular: Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Both were written and published towards the end of his life. Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 to British parents in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. There, Blair's father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair, brought him to England at the age of one. He did not see his father again until 1907, when Richard visited England for three months before leaving again. Eric had an older sister named Marjorie, and a younger sister named Avril. He would later describe his family's background as 'lower-upper-middle class'. At the age of six, Blair was sent to a small Anglican parish school in Henley-on-Thames, which his sister had attended before him. He never wrote of his recollections of it, but he must have impressed the teachers very favourably, for two years later, he was recommended to the headmaster of one of the most successful preparatory schools in England at the time: St Cyprian's School, in Eastbourne, Sussex. Blair attended St Cyprian's by a private financial arrangement that allowed his parents to pay only half of the usual fees. At the school, he formed a lifelong friendship with Cyril Connolly, future editor of the magazine Horizon, in which many of his most famous essays were originally published. Many years later, Blair would recall his time at St Cyprian's with biting resentment in the essay 'Such, Such Were the Joys'. However, in his time at St. Cyprian's, the young Blair successfully earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton. After one term at Wellington, Blair moved to Eton, where he was a King's Scholar from 1917 to 1921. Aldous Huxley was his French teacher for one term early in his time at Eton. Later in life he wrote that he had been 'relatively happy' at Eton, which allowed its students considerable independence, but also that he ceased doing serious work after arriving there. Reports of his academic performance at Eton vary; some assert that he was a poor student, while others claim the contrary. He was clearly disliked by some of his teachers, who resented what they perceived as disrespect for their authority. After Blair finished his studies at Eton, his family could not pay for university and his father felt that he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police, serving at Katha and Moulmein in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel Burmese Days and in such essays as 'A Hanging' and 'Shooting an Elephant' Back in England he wrote to Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, and she and a friend found him a room in London, on the Portobello Road, where he started to write. It was from here that he sallied out one evening to Limehouse Causeway - following in the footsteps of Jack London - and spent his first night in a common lodging house, probably George Levy's 'kip'. For a while he 'went native' in his own country, dressing like other tramps and making no concessions, and recording his experiences of low life in his first published essay, 'The Spike', and the latter half of Down and Out in Paris and London In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where his Aunt Nellie lived and died, hoping to make a living as a freelance writer. In the autumn of 1929, his lack of success reduced Blair to taking menial jobs as a dishwasher for a few weeks, principally in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, although there is no indication that he had the book in mind at the time. Ill and penniless, he moved back to England in 1929, using his parents' house in Southwold, Suffolk, as a base. Writing what became Burmese Days, he made frequent forays into tramping as part of what had by now become a book project on the life of the poorest people in society. Meanwhile, he became a regular contributor to John Middleton Murry's New Adelphi magazine. Blair completed Down and Out in 1932, and it was published early the next year while he was working briefly as a schoolteacher at a private school called Frays College near Hayes, Middlesex. He took the job as an escape from dire poverty and it was during this period that he managed to obtain a literary agent called Leonard Moore. Blair also adopted the pen name George Orwell just before Down and Out was published. In a November 15 letter to Leonard Moore, his agent, he left the choice of a pseudonym to Moore and to Victor Gollancz, the publisher. Four days later, Blair wrote Moore and suggested P. S. Burton, a name he used 'when tramping,' adding three other possibilities: Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. Orwell drew on his work as a teacher and on his life in Southwold for the novel A Clergyman's Daughter, which he wrote at his parents' house in 1934 after ill-health - and the urgings of his parents - forced him to give up teaching. From late 1934 to early 1936 he worked part-time as an assistant in a second-hand bookshop, Booklover's Corner, in Hampstead. Having led a lonely and very solitary existence, he wanted to enjoy the company of other young writers, and Hampstead was a place for intellectuals, as well as having many houses with cheap bedsitters. He worked his experiences into the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying In early 1936, Orwell was commissioned by Victor Gollancz of the Left Book Club to write an account of poverty among the working class in the depressed areas of northern England, which appeared in 1937 as The Road to Wigan Pier. He was taken into many houses, simply saying that he wanted to see how people lived. He made systematic notes on housing conditions and wages and spent several days in the local public library consulting reports on public health and conditions in the mines. He did his homework as a social investigator. The first half of the book is a social documentary of his investigative touring in Lancashire and Yorkshire, beginning with an evocative description of work in the coal mines. The second half of the book, a long essay in which Orwell recounts his personal upbringing and development of political conscience, includes a very strong denunciation of what he saw as irresponsible elements of the left. Gollancz feared that the second half would offend Left Book Club readers, and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain. Soon after completing his research for the book, Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy. In December 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain primarily to fight, not to write, for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco's Fascist uprising. In a conversation with Philip Mairet, the editor of the New English Weekly, Orwell said: 'This fascism. somebody's got to stop it. ' To Orwell, liberty and democracy went together and, among other things, guaranteed the freedom of the artist; the present capitalist civilization was corrupt, but fascism would be morally calamitous. John McNair is also quoted as saying in a conversation with Orwell: 'He then said that this was quite secondary and his main reason for coming was to fight against Fascism. ' He went alone, and his wife joined him later. He joined the Independent Labour Party contingent, a group of some twenty-five Britons who joined the militia of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification, a revolutionary Spanish communist political party with which the ILP was allied. The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT, believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism - a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists. In the months after July 1936 there was a profound social revolution in Catalonia, Aragon and other areas where the CNT was particularly strong. Orwell sympathetically describes the egalitarian spirit of revolutionary Barcelona when he arrived in Homage to Catalonia. According to his own account, Orwell joined the POUM rather than the Communist-run International Brigades by chance - but his experiences, in particular his and his wife's narrow escape from the Communist purges in Barcelona in June 1937, greatly increased his sympathy for POUM and made him a life-long anti-Stalinist and a firm believer in what he termed Democratic Socialism, that is to say, in socialism combined with free debate and free elections. During his military service, Orwell was shot through the neck and nearly killed. At first it was feared that his voice would be permanently reduced to nothing more than a painful whisper. This wasn't so, although the injury did affect his voice, giving it what was described as, 'a strange, compelling quietness. ' He wrote in Homage to Catalonia that people frequently told him he was lucky to survive, but that he personally thought 'it would be even luckier not to be hit at all. ' The Orwells then spent six months in Morocco in order to recover from his wound, and during this period, he wrote his last pre-World War II novel, Coming Up For Air. As the most English of all his novels, the alarms of war mingle with idyllic images of a Thames-side Edwardian childhood enjoyed by its protagonist, George Bowling. Much of the novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of old England. There were also massive new external threats and George Bowling puts the totalitarian hypothesis of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler in homely terms: 'Old Hitler's something different. So's Joe Stalin. They aren't like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it. They're something quite new - something that's never been heard of before. ' After the ordeals of Spain and writing the book about it, most of Orwell's formative experiences were over. His finest writing, his best essays and his great fame lay ahead. In 1940, Orwell closed up his house in Wallington and he and Eileen moved into 18 Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, in the genteel neighbourhood of Marylebone, very close to Regent's Park in central London. He supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly but also for Time and Tide and the New Statesman. He joined the Home Guard soon after the war began In 1941 Orwell took a job at the BBC Eastern Service, supervising broadcasts to India aimed at stimulating Indian interest in the war effort, at a time when the Japanese army was at India's doorstep. He was well aware that he was engaged in propaganda, and wrote that he felt like 'an orange that's been trodden on by a very dirty boot'. The wartime Ministry of Information, which was based at Senate House, University of London, was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nonetheless, Orwell devoted a good deal of effort to his BBC work, which gave him an opportunity to work closely with people like T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand and William Empson. Orwell's decision to resign from the BBC followed a report confirming his fears about the broadcasts: very few Indians were listening. He wanted to become a war correspondent and also seems to have been impatient to begin work on Animal Farm. Despite the good salary, he resigned in September 1943 and in November became the literary editor of Tribune, the left-wing weekly then edited by Aneurin Bevan and Jon Kimche Orwell was on the staff until early 1945, contributing a regular column titled 'As I Please. ' Anthony Powell and Malcolm Muggeridge had returned from overseas to finish the war in London. All three took to lunching regularly, usually at the Bodega just off the Strand or the Bourgogne in Soho, sometimes joined by Julian Symons, and David Astor, editor/owner of The Observer. In 1944, Orwell finished his anti-Stalinist allegory Animal Farm, which was first published in Britain on 17 August 1945 and in the U. S. A on the 26 August 1946 with great critical and popular success. Frank Morley, an editor Harcourt Brace, had come to Britain as soon as he could at the end of the War to see what readers were currently interested in. He asked to serve a week or so in Bowes and Bowes, a Cambridge bookshop. On his first day there customers kept asking for a book that had sold out - the second impression of Animal Farm. He left the counter, read the single copy left in the postal order department, went to London and bought the American rights. The royalties from Animal Farm were to provide Orwell with a comfortable income for the first time in his adult life. While Animal Farm was at the printer, and with the end of the War in sight, Orwell felt his old desire growing to be somehow in the thick of the action. David Astor asked him to act as a war correspondent for the Observer to cover the liberation of France and the early occupation of Germany, so Orwell left Tribune to do so. He was a close friend of Astor, and his ideas had a strong influence on Astor's editorial policies. Astor, who died in 2001, is buried in the grave next to Orwell. Orwell and his wife adopted a baby boy, Richard Horatio Blair, born in May 1944. Orwell was taken ill again in Cologne in spring 1945. While he was sick there, his wife died during an operation in Newcastle to remove a tumour. She had not told him about this operation due to concerns about the cost and the fact that she thought she would make a speedy recovery. For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work - mainly for Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines - with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. Originally, Orwell was undecided between titling the book The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four but his publisher, Fredric Warburg, helped him choose. The title was not the year Orwell had initially intended. He first set his story in 1980, but, as the time taken to write the book dragged on, that was changed to 1982 and, later, to 1984. He wrote much of the novel while living at Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the island of Jura, which lies in the Gulf stream off the west coast of Scotland. It was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near to the northern end of the island, lying at the end of a five-mile heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the laird or landowner, Margaret Fletcher, lived and where the paved road, the only road on the island, came to an end. In 1948, he co-edited a collection entitled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. In 1949, Orwell was approached by a friend, Celia Kirwan, who had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, which the Labour government had set up to publish anti-communist propaganda. He gave her a list of 37 writers and artists he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. The list, not published until 2003, consists mainly of journalists but also includes the actors Michael Redgrave and Charlie Chaplin. Orwell's motives for handing over the list are unclear, but the most likely explanation is the simplest: that he was helping a friend in a cause - anti-Stalinism - that they both supported. There is no indication that Orwell abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted in his later writings - or that he believed the writers he named should be suppressed. Orwell's list was also accurate: the people on it had all made pro-Soviet or pro-communist public pronouncements. In fact, one of the people on the list, Peter Smollett, the head of the Soviet section in the Ministry of Information, was later proven to be a Soviet agent, recruited by Kim Philby, and 'almost certainly the person on whose advice the publisher Jonathan Cape turned down Animal Farm as an unhealthily anti-Soviet text', although Orwell was unaware of this. In October 1949, shortly before his death, he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell died in London at the age of 46 from tuberculosis. He was in and out of hospitals for the last three years of his life. Having requested burial in accordance with the Anglican rite, he was interred in All Saints' Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire with the simple epitaph: 'Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25, 1903, died January 21, 1950'; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name. He had wanted to be buried in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die, but the graveyards in central London had no space. Fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see if any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard. Orwell's friend David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be buried there, although he had no connection with the village. Orwell's son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father's death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government.

 

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The Diary Of A Madman & Other Stories by Nikolai Gogol. New York. 1961. Signet/New American Library. Newly Translated From The Russian By Andrew R. MacAndrew. Afterword By Leon Stilman. keywords: Signet Classic Paperback Russia Literature Translated 19th Century. CD40. 238 pages. Cover art by Milton Glaser. January 1961.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   NIKOLAI GOGOL is universally regarded as the father of Russian realism. His stories are rooted in commonplace events; his characters are the underdog and the insignificant. A romantic at heart, he used a startling blend of broad comedy and weird fantasy to expose the stupidity, coarseness, and meanness of life. This Signet Classic includes five of Gogol's most famous stories: THE DIARY OF A MADMAN, THE NOSE, THE CARRIAGE, THE OVERCOAT, and a full-length historical romance: TARAS BULBA.

 

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1852 Independence Day speech by Frederick Douglass. 

 

On the 4th of July, I am always reminded of the famous 4th of July Independence Day Speech at Rochester, 1852 given by Frederick Douglass.

 

 

   The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro - Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory. Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the lame man leap as an hart. But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people! By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth! To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America. is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery, the great sin and shame of America! I will not equivocate; I will not excuse; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just. But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man, subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man! For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian's God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men! Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Amercans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him. What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply. What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed. At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, I would, today, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy - a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour. Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival. Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. The arm of the Lord is not shortened, and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. -- Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other. The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, Let there be Light, has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. 'Ethiopia, shall, stretch. out her hand unto Ood. In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it: God speed the year of jubilee / The wide world o'er! / When from their galling chains set free, / Th' oppress'd shall vilely bend the knee, / And wear the yoke of tyranny / Like brutes no more. / That year will come, and freedom's reign, / To man his plundered rights again / Restore. / God speed the day when human blood / Shall cease to flow! / In every clime be understood, / The claims of human brotherhood, / And each return for evil, good, / Not blow for blow; / That day will come all feuds to end, / And change into a faithful friend / Each foe. / God speed the hour, the glorious hour, / When none on earth / Shall exercise a lordly power, / Nor in a tyrant's presence cower; / But to all manhood's stature tower, / By equal birth! / That hour will come, to each, to all, / And from his Prison-house, to thrall / Go forth. / Until that year, day, hour, arrive, / With head, and heart, and hand I'll strive, / To break the rod, and rend the gyve, / The spoiler of his prey deprive -- / So witness Heaven! / And never from my chosen post, / Whate'er the peril or the cost, / Be driven.

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24 March 2019

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  • The Signpost, by E. Arnot Robertson (1943)

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  • Marriage, Widowhood and After: Three Poems by Dorothy Livesay

    Wedlock Flesh binds us, makes us one And yet in each alone I hear the battle of the bone: A thousand ancestors have won. And we, so joined in flesh Are prisoned yet As soul alone must thresh In body’s net; And our two souls so left Achieve no unity: We are each one bereft... Read more

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  • Letters Home, arranged and edited by Mina Curtiss (1944)

    I knew Mina Curtiss’s name as the collector and editor of the letters of Marcel Proust. Curtiss wrote of her experiences in tracking down Proust’s letters in her 1978 memoir, Other People’s Letters (which is, unfortunately, out of print again). But I was surprised to learn that during World War Two, she collected letters written... Read

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  • “On the Floor” and the Mystery of Joan Jukes

    “But when I open the door I find someone has moved my chair.” Some hold that a proper short story should start midstream. Joan Jukes’ 1935 story, “On the Floor,” takes this advice to the extreme. Where are we? What was happening before he/she opened the door? Who is this narrator? The reader can only... Read more

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  • William’s Wife, by G. E. Trevelyan (1938)

    William’s Wife is the natural history of a bag lady. Starting from the day of her wedding to grocer William Chirp, a widower in his late fifties, G. E. Trevelyan takes us step by step through the metamorphosis of Jane Atkins from an ordinary young woman in service (a good position, more of a lady’s... Read more

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  • Undercurrent, by Barbara Jefferis (1953)

    When Miss Doxy, the spinster at center of Barbara Jefferis’ novel Undercurrent, sits down to breakfast in her boarding house dining room, she notices a strange man sitting at a table near the door. “They have so much,” she thinks. “So much money, so much power, so many people. They can change their man three... Read more

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  • Quiet Street, by Michael Ossorgin [Mikhail Osorgin] (1930)

    I’ve been saving Mikhail Osorgin’s novel, Quiet Street, for a quiet break. There is something about a good, thick Russian book — things like Anna Karenina, Life and Fate, or Konstantin Paustovsky’s autobiography — that demand you set aside distractions and carve out hours to let it take over your life, and I could tell... Read

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