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quicksand no dwQuicksand by Nella Larsen.
New York. 1928. Knopf. 302 pages.

A fictional examiniation of racial identity from one of the most important writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   

Born to a white mother and an absent black father, and despised for her dark skin, Helga Crane has long had to fend for herself. As a young woman, Helga teaches at an all-black school in the South, but even here she feels different. Moving to Harlem and eventually to Denmark, she attempts to carve out a comfortable life and place for herself, but ends up back where she started, choosing emotional freedom that quickly translates into a narrow existence. QUICKSAND, Nella Larsen's powerful first novel, has intriguing autobiographical parallels and at the same time invokes the international dimension of African American culture of the 1920s. It also evocatively portrays the racial and gender restrictions that can mark a life.

Larsen NellaNellallitea 'Nella' Larsen, born Nellie Walker (April 13, 1891 – March 30, 1964), was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. First working as a nurse and a librarian, she published two novels—Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929)—and a few short stories. Though her literary output was scant, she earned recognition by her contemporaries. A revival of interest in her writing has occurred since the late twentieth century, when issues of racial and sexual identity and identification have been studied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

0231041640The Boom in Spanish American Literature: A Personal History by Jose Donoso. New York. 1977. Columbia University Press. 122 pages. Jacket Design by Laiying Chong. 0231041640.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Recent years have witnessed an astonishing eruption in the literary output of writers in Latin America, a phenomenon that the Latin Americans themselves refer to as the Boom. This book is a fascinating account of this exciting period in Latin American letters by the Chilean novelist Jose Donoso. Mr. Donoso's latest novel, The Obscene Bird of Night, was published in the United States and received an extraordinary frontpage review in the New York Times Book Review; his short stories and novellas will appear in English translation this year. Himself a product of the era he describes, Mr. Donoso provides a personal history and critique of the Boom that has brought a number of outstanding writers to the forefront. Among the writers Mr. Donoso discusses in his account are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Julio Cortazar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz, and Jorge Luis Borges. Originally published in Spain, this book recounts Mr. Donoso's own psychic and literary liberation from intellectual provinciality and tells how the so-called Boom actually came to be. Placing this 'fortunate explosion' in perspective, the author links significant changes in the contemporary Spanish American novel to a process of internationalization and to a growing sophistication and cosmopolitanism on the part of young Latin American writers. He deflates the myths surrounding this new crop of writers-particularly their 'literary cocktail circuit' reputation-and provides glimpses into the literary lives of many of Latin America's most celebrated authors. Written by a charming, keen, and self-aware observer, The Boom is a valuable as well as an entertaining commentary on the riches of contemporary Spanish American literature. The book will find an audience among students, specialists, and general readers interested in a literature that is now taking its place in the consciousness of Americans both North and South. Foreword by Ronald Christ. A Center for Inter-American Relations Book.

 

 

Donoso Jose José Donoso Yáñez (October 5, 1924–December 7, 1996) was a Chilean writer. He lived most of his life in Chile, although he spent many years in self-imposed exile in Mexico, the United States (Iowa) and mainly Spain. Although he had left his country in the sixties for personal reasons, after 1973 he said his exile was also a form of protest against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. He returned to Chile in 1981 and lived there until his death. Donoso is the author of a number of remarkable stories and novels, which contributed greatly to the Latin American literary boom. The term 'Boom' was coined in his 1972 essay Historia personal del ‘boom’. His best known works include the novels Coronación, El lugar sin límites (The Place Without Limits) and El obsceno pájaro de la noche (The Obscene Bird of Night). His works deal with a number of themes, including sexuality, the duplicity of identity, psychology, and a sense of dark humor. After his death, his personal papers at the University of Iowa revealed his homosexuality; a revelation that caused a certain controversy in Chile.

 

 

 

 

 

mules and men no dwMules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston. Philadelphia. 1935. Lippincott. Illustrations By Miguel Covarrubias & Introduction By Franz Boas. 343 pages.

A rich collection of folklore and oral history from Zora Neale Hurston.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   MULES AND MEN is the first great collection of black America's folk world. In the 1930's, Zora Neale Hurston returned to her 'native village' of Eatonville, Florida to record the oral histories, sermons and songs, dating back to the time of slavery, which she remembered hearing as a child. In her quest, she found herself and her history throughout these highly metaphorical folk-tales, 'big old lies,' and the lyrical language of song. With this collection, Zora Neale Hurston has come to reveal and preserve a beautiful and important part of American culture.

 

 

 

 

Hurston Zora NealeZora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist whose fictional and factual accounts of black heritage remain unparalleled. Her many books include DUST TRACKS ON A ROAD; THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD; JONAH'S GOURD VINE; MOSES, MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN; MULES AND MEN; and EVERY TONGUE GOT TO CONFESS.

 

 

 

0253166071Oxherding Tale by Charles Johnson. Bloomington. 1982. Indiana University Press. 176 pages. Jacket drawing by Sharon Sklar. 0253166071.

A complex novel of race, slavery, history, and philosophy.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Andrew Hawkins' birth is the result of a huge misunderstanding. His story begins on an evening in 1837. Jonathan Polkinghorne, master of the Cripplegate plantation, and his dutiful butler, George Hawkins, drink a bit too much and decide they can't go home to their own wives--so they go home to each others'. Disaster ensues. Their wives never quite recover, George is banished to the fields, and nine months later Anna Polkinghorne gives birth to the fated narrator of OXHERDING TALE. As a youth, Andrew is caught in the perpetual battle of the sexes; as he matures, he becomes a social chameleon, who tastes life fully in both the white and the black worlds, never truly belonging to either. Charles Johnson's comic philosophical novel takes the form of a picaresque, first-person narrative. It is the story of Andrew's desperate flight from slavery, but in OXHERDING TALE bondage is spiritual as well as physical, sexual as well as racial. Andrew's adventures cover not only the landscape of the antebellum South--the horrors of the 'peculiar institution,' black suicide, and death in the mines--but also timeless questions of identity and the nature of the self. The novel's title refers to the 'Ten Oxherding Pictures' of the twelfth-century Zen artist Kuo-an Shih-yuan, which depict the progress of a young herdsman searching for his wayward ox Accordingly, the narrative skillfully interfaces Eastern philosophical traditions with the drama of black American slavery. On his way to a liberation that should surprise the reader, Andrew encounters a vivid cast of characters. There is Flo Hat-field, an aging sensualist and 'genius of love,' who satisfies her gargantuan appetites on a diet of sweets and young male slaves; Reb, the Coffinmaker, a direct pipeline to African mysteries, who reluctantly flees north with Andrew; and Horace Bannon, the ominous Soulcatcher, a bounty-hunter who does not so much catch runaways as absorb them into himself, taking on their individual quirks and idiosyncrasies. A young Karl Marx also appears, paying a funny, yet zanily plausible visit to America to meet Ezekiel Sykes-Withers, Andrew's tragic and ascetic tutor. There is Minty, a slave girl of remarkable strength, as well as the misanthropic Dr. Undercliff and his sharp-tongued daughter, Peggy, with whom Andrew achieves a rare and unexpected serenity. Brilliantly realized minor characters complete the portrait of a world that, as the narrator says, 'is ruin now, mere parable. ' Like John Fowles in The French Lieutenant's Woman, John Barth in The Sotweed Factor, and E. L. Doctorow in Ragtime, Charles Johnson has created a narrative voice that bridges present-day and past sensibilities. The form of OXHERDING TALE--at once a celebration and an exploration of a traditional genre--underscores its meaning: a fiction that fully treats slavery and liberation on every level of experience.

 

Johnson CharlesCHARLES JOHNSON'S first novel, FAITH AND THE GOOD THING, was called by the Washington Post a book 'of rare eloquence and originality, a fable that entertains and informs. ' Mr. Johnson is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington, fiction editor of the Seattle Review, author of the PBS Visions drama 'Charlie Smith and the Fritter Tree,' and recently a producer-writer for the PBS series Up and Coming. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Joan, and their two children, Malik and Elizabeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pc old goriot l17Old Goriot by Honore de BalzacBaltimore. 1951. Penguin Books. Translated From The French By M. A. Crawford. L17. 304 pages.

A young man's drive to succeed in 19th century Paris is tempered by his search for love.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Le Pere Goriot was written between 1834-1835 when Balzac was 35 years old. He often worked around the clock in marathon sessions. It first appeared in serialized form in Revue de Paris in the Fall of 1834 and in completed book form in 1835. It is part of The Human Comedy, but as a stand-alone novel it represents Balzac's talents at their height in a complete form. Many of his novels were not always complete unto themselves, requiring other works to tie them together. Thus, Pere Goriot has been one of his most widely read novels, achieving such fame that the novel's protagonist, 'Rastignac', for the French, is synonymous with a bright young man determined to succeed - perhaps at any cost. Although the title character of Pere Goriot does appear in the book, the character at the center of the action is Eugene de Rastignac, a slightly idealistic and highly ambitious law student who lives in the same rundown boarding house in a seedy area of Paris as Goriot. Eugene decides to delay his studies for an attempt to enter into Parisian society, and chooses to pursue an affair with one of Goriot's married daughters.

 

Balzac Honore de Honoré de Balzac (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of short stories and novels collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon. Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multifaceted characters, who are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. His writing influenced many subsequent novelists such as Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Benito Pérez Galdós, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino, and philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Many of Balzac's works have been made into or have inspired films, and they are a continuing source of inspiration for writers, filmmakers and critics. An enthusiastic reader and independent thinker as a child, Balzac had trouble adapting to the teaching style of his grammar school. His willful nature caused trouble throughout his life and frustrated his ambitions to succeed in the world of business. When he finished school, Balzac was an apprentice in a law office, but he turned his back on the study of law after wearying of its inhumanity and banal routine. Before and during his career as a writer, he attempted to be a publisher, printer, businessman, critic, and politician; he failed in all of these efforts. La Comédie humaine reflects his real-life difficulties, and includes scenes from his own experience. Balzac suffered from health problems throughout his life, possibly due to his intense writing schedule. His relationship with his family was often strained by financial and personal difficulties, and he ended several friendships over critical reviews. In 1850 he married Ewelina Hanska, his longtime love; he died five months later.

 

 

 

ways of white folksThe Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes. New York. 1969. Knopf. 248 pages. November 1969.

 

Stories of the intersections of black and white life in America. As timely today as when the book was published in 1934.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Perhaps more than any other writer, Langston Hughes made the white America of the 1920s and '30s aware of the black culture thriving in its midst. Like his most famous poems, Hughes's stories are messages from that other America, sharply etched vignettes of its daily life, cruelly accurate portrayals of black people colliding--sometimes humorously, more often tragically--with whites. Here is the ailing black musician who comes home from Europe to die in his small town--only to die more quickly and brutally than he had imagined. Here are the wealthy bohemians who collect Negroes like so many objets d'art. the moonlighting student who becomes the reluctant confidante of a boozy white Don Juan. the elegant charlatan who peddles 'real, primitive jazz out of Africa' as a nostrum to the spiritually starved elite. Filled with mordant wit and human detail, The Ways of White Folks is unmistakably the work of a great poet who was also a shrewd and compelling storyteller.

 

Hughes Langston Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was born in Joplin, Missouri, and grew up in Kansas, Illinois, and Ohio. He moved to New York City when he was 19 years old to attend Columbia University. He was one of the most versatile writers of the artistic movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. Though known primarily as a poet, Hughes also wrote plays, essays, novels, and a series of short stories that featured a black Everyman named Jesse B. Semple. His writing is characterized by simplicity and realism and, as he once said, ‘people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

several perceptionsSeveral Perceptions by Angela Carter. New York. 1968. Simon & Schuster. 154 pages. Jacket design by Paul Davis.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

     Center stage in Angela Carter’s unruly tale of the Flower Power Generation is Joseph - a decadent, disorientated rebel without a cause. A self-styled nihilist whose girlfriend has abandoned him, Joseph has decided to give up existing. But his concerned friends and neighbours have other plans. In an effort to join in the spirit of protest which motivates his contemporaries, Joseph frees a badger from the local zoo; sends a turd airmail to the President of the United States; falls in love with the mother of his best friend; and, accompanied by the strains of an old man’s violin, celebrates Christmas Eve in a bewildering state of sexual discovery. But has he found the Meaning of Life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carter Angela Angela Carter (7 May 1940 – 16 February 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, picaresque and science fiction works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth, in their list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature. She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. They divorced after twelve years. In 1969 Angela Carter used the proceeds of her Somerset Maugham Award to leave her husband and relocate for two years to Tokyo, Japan, where she claims in NOTHING SACRED (1982) that she ‘learnt what it is to be a woman and became radicalised.’ She wrote about her experiences there in articles for New Society and a collection of short stories, FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES (1974), and evidence of her experiences in Japan can also be seen in THE INFERNAL DESIRE MACHINES OF DOCTOR HOFFMAN (1972). She then explored the United States, Asia and Europe, helped by her fluency in French and German. She spent much of the late 1970s and 1980s as a writer in residence at universities, including the University of Sheffield, Brown University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of East Anglia. In 1977 Carter married Mark Pearce, with whom she had one son. As well as being a prolific writer of fiction, Carter contributed many articles to The Guardian, The Independent and New Statesman, collected in SHAKING A LEG. She adapted a number of her short stories for radio and wrote two original radio dramas on Richard Dadd and Ronald Firbank. Two of her fictions have been adapted for the silver screen: The Company of Wolves (1984) and THE MAGIC TOYSHOP (1987). She was actively involved in both film adaptations, her screenplays are published in the collected dramatic writings, The Curious Room, together with her radio scripts, a libretto for an opera of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, an unproduced screenplay entitled The Christchurch Murders (based on the same true story as Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures) and other works. These neglected works, as well as her controversial television documentary, The Holy Family Album, are discussed in Charlotte Crofts' book, Anagrams of Desire (2003). Her novel NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS won the 1984 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature. At the time of her death, Carter was embarking on a sequel to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre based on the later life of Jane's stepdaughter, Adèle Varens. However, only a synopsis survives. Angela Carter died aged 51 in 1992 at her home in London after developing lung cancer.

 

 

 

 

0520080351Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America by Frank J. Donner. Berkeley. 1992. University of California Press. 503 pages. 0520080351.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    This landmark exposé of the dark history of repressive police operations in American cities offers a richly detailed account of police misconduct and violations of protected freedoms over the past century. In an incisive examination of undercover work in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia as well as Washington, D.C., Detroit, New Haven, Baltimore, and Birmingham, Donner reveals the underside of American law enforcement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Donner (November 25, 1911 – June 10, 1993) was a civil liberties lawyer, author, and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Project on Political Surveillance, whose clients included Morton Sobell (fellow accused in the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case) and William Albertson. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Donner earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from Columbia University. Donner worked for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1940 to 1945 before leaving for private practice, primarily representing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and the United Steelworkers of America. With attorneys Arthur Kinoy and Marshall Perlin he founded the New York firm Donner, Kinoy & Perlin, which specialized in representing progressive and leftist clients, including Soviet spy Morton Sobell and the Labor Youth League. In the 1950s, the firm represented numerous individuals, including labor officials, who refused to take loyalty oaths or to testify on their membership in communist organizations, as well as several who were prosecuted under the Smith Act. Donner, himself, was brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, accused of membership in a Communist cell within the NLRB in the 1940s. He refused to testify, invoking his fifth amendment rights. Donner was a board member for the National Lawyers Guild. In 1977, Donner filed for administrative damages for William Albertson's widow, which led to a lawsuit in 1984 that went to appeal and then the Supreme Court before the federal government settled out of court for $170,000. Beginning in 1980, Donner headed the Project on Political Surveillance for the ACLU. During that time he wrote several books outlining official use of domestic surveillance and the use of Red Squads, programs like COINTELPRO, and other agencies to infiltrate organizations suspected of political dissent. Donner also cited the government's use of scapegoats to divert attention from government criticism onto other political groups.

 

 

9780393049343The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter. New York. 2010. Norton. 496 pages. Cover design by Keenan. 9780393049343.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of notions of white race - not merely a skin color but also a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively. Our story begins in Greek and Roman antiquity, where the concept of race did not exist, only geography and the opportunity to conquer and enslave others. Not until the eighteenth century did an obsession with whiteness flourish, with the German invention of the notion of Caucasian beauty. This theory made northern Europeans into ‘Saxons,’ ‘Anglo-Saxons,’ and ‘Teutons,’ envisioned as uniquely handsome natural rulers. Here was a worldview congenial to northern Europeans bent on empire. There followed an explosion of theories of race, now focusing on racial temperament as well as skin color. Spread by such intellectuals as Madame de Stael and Thomas Carlyle, white race theory soon reached North America with a vengeance. Its chief spokesman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, did the most to label Anglo-Saxons - icons of beauty and virtue - as the only true Americans. It was an ideal that excluded not only blacks but also all ethnic groups not of Protestant, northern European background. The Irish and Native Americans were out and, later, so were the Chinese, Jews, Italians, Slavs, and Greeks - all deemed racially alien. Did immigrations threaten the very existence of America? Americans were assumed to be white, but who among poor immigrants could become truly American? A tortured and convoluted series of scientific explorations developed - theories intended to keep Anglo-Saxons at the top: the ever-popular measurement of skulls, the powerful eugenics movement, and highly biased intelligence tests - all designed to keep working people out and down. As Nell Irvin Painter reveals, power - supported by economics, science, and politics - continued to drive exclusionary notions of whiteness until, deep into the twentieth century, political realities enlarged the category of truly American. A story filled with towering historical figures, THE HISTORY OF WHITE PEOPLE forcefully reminds us that the concept of one white race is a recent invention. The meaning, importance, and reality of this all-too-human thesis of race have buckled under the weight of a long and rich unfolding of events.

 

Painter Nell Irvin NELL IRVIN PAINTER, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University, is the author of seven books, including SOJOURNER TRUTH and STANDING AT ARMAGEDDON. She has served as president of the Organization of American Historians and the Southern Historical Association and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in Newark, New Jersey, and the Adirondacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

0252017781Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Urbana. 1991. University Of Illinois Press. 231 pages. hardcover. 0252017781. Cover illustration by Jerry Pinkney.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘There is no book more important to me than this one.’ - Alice Walker. When first published in 1937, this novel about a proud, independent black woman was generally dismissed by male reviewers. It was out of print for almost thirty years hut since its reissue in a paperback edition by the University of Illinois Press in 1978 has become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature. Now, with the publication of this richly illustrated deluxe edition, a novel by a black woman is accorded the kind of treatment usually reserved for white male writers. Mesmerizing in its immediacy and haunting in its subtlety, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD tells the story of Janie Crawford - fair-skinned, long-haired, dreamy woman - who comes of age expecting better treatment than what she gets from her three husbands and community. Then she meets Tea Cake, a younger man who captivates Janie’s heart and spirit, and offers her the chance to relish life without being one man’s mule or another man’s adornment. ‘I urge you to read THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD. This extraordinary fictional achievement is now considered the finest black novel of its time (and surely it is one of the finest of all time). THEIR EYES belongs in the category with [the novels] of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway – of enduring American literature.’ - Doris Grumbach, Saturday Review.

 

Hurston Zora NealeZORA NEALE HURSTON (1901-60) was a novelist, folklorist, anthropologist, and author of five novels, a folktale collection, numerous short stories, and an autobiography. THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is considered her most outstanding achievement.

 

 

 

 

 

JERRY PINKNEY has won numerous awards for his illustrations, particularly of children’s books, and has illustrated limited-edition books by writers including William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, James Michener, and Vladimir Nabokov.

RUBY DEE wrote and starred in the 1990 PBS television program ‘Zora Is Mv Name!’

SHERLEY ANNE WILLIAMS, a leading poet, is professor of English at the University of California at San Diego. For this edition she has greatly expanded upon a prefatory piece initially written for the 1978 paperback edition.

 

 

9780253221513Ousmane Sembene: the Making of a Militant Artist by Samba Gadjigo. Bloomington. 2010. Indiana University Press. 189 pages. paperback. Cover photos: front, courtesy of Thomas Jacob and back (top), courtesy of Ousmane Sembene: back (bottom). Translated by Moustapha Diop. Foreword by Danny Glover. 9780253221513.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER –

   Samba Gadjigo presents a unique personal portrait and intellectual history of novelist and filmmaker Ousmane Sembène. Though Sembène has persistently deflected attention away from his personality, his life, and his past, Gadjigo has had unprecedented access to the artist and his family. This book is the first comprehensive biography of Sembène and contributes a critical appraisal of his life and art in the context of the political and social influences on his work. Beginning with Sembènes life in Casamance, Senegal, and ending with his militant career as a dockworker in Marseilles, Gadjigo places Sembéne into the context of African colonial and postcolonial culture and charts his achievements in film and literature. This landmark book reveals the inner workings of one of Africa’s most distinguished and controversial figures.

 

 

 

Gadjigo SambaSamba Gadjigo is Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Intimation Of Things Distant: The Collected Fiction Of Nella Larsen by Nella Larsen. New York. 1992. Anchor/Doubleday. 279 pages. February 1992. paperback. 0385421494. Cover photograph from the Estate of Carl Van Vechten. Cover design by Gloria Adelson.

 

0385421494FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Discovering AN INTIMATION OF THINGS DISTANT is like finding lost money with no name on it. One can enjoy it with delight, and share it without guilt.’ - Maya Angelou. ‘To discover new fiction by Nella Larsen is to discover a gem, finely wrought.’ - Paula Giddings. ‘The excavation of Nella Larsen’s collected fiction is evidence that the terrain of African-American women writers, the archaeology of our existence and survival, is intersected by a cartography as poignant as Larsen’s pen. No longer shall we relegate her creativity to an uncharted region, unexplored and ignored.’ - Alexis de Veaux. Between 1926 and 1930 - during the golden era of the Harlem Renaissance - Nella Larsen published two novels and three short stories (two were pseudonymous) and enjoyed a brief period of fame and popularity equal to that of any of the literary stars of that period. In 1930, she became the first black woman to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. By 1933, she had disappeared from the literary scene, never to publish again. In AN INTIMATION OF THINGS DISTANT, Charles R. Larson, a leading authority on Third World literature, has compiled a unique representation of Larsen’s work. The stories have been unavailable for years, and their inclusion in this anthology makes this a definitive collection. Marita Golden’s foreword was written specifically for this book. Fifty years later, Nella Larsen’s fiction still speaks to the black female experience. As Golden says in her foreword: ‘The angst, the tension that rivets the lives of Larsen’s heroines makes their dilemmas completely contemporary and timeless. Inevitably, any writer whose female protagonists resist the expected, the traditional, the ‘correct: is dialoguing with the literary legacy of Nella Larsen.’

CHARLES R. LARSON is a Professor of Literature at American University in Washington, D.C He is the author of three critical works on Third World literature: THE EMERGENCE OF AFRICAN FICTION (1972), THE NOVEL IN THE THIRD WORLD (1976), and AMERICAN INDIAN FICTION (1978). He has also published three novels. Previously, he was general editor of Collier Books’ African/American Library.

MARITA GOLDEN IS the author of MIGRATIONS OF THE HEART, A WOMAN’S PLACE, and LONG DISTANCE LIFE. Her writing has appeared in Ms., Essence, the New York Times, and the Washington Post among other publications. She is a founding member of the African-American Writers’ Guild. Ms. Golden teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at George Mason University.

 

 

The Icelandic Sagas by W. A. Craigie. Cambridge. 1913. Cambridge University Press. 120 pages. hardcover. 

 

icelandic sagas craigieFROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The general title of Icelandic Sagas is used to denote a very extensive body of prose literature written in Iceland, and in the language of that country, at various dates between the middle of the twelfth century and the beginning of the fifteenth; the end of the period, however, is less clearly marked than the beginning. The common feature of the works classed under this name, which vary greatly in length, value, and interest, is that they have the outward form of historical or biographical narratives; but the matter is often purely fictitious, and in many cases fact and fiction are inseparably blended. Both in the form and in the matter there is much that is conventional, and many features of style and content are quite peculiar to the special Icelandic mode of storytelling. The word saga (of which the plural is sögur) literally means ‘something said,’ and was in use long before there was any written literature in Iceland. From an early period it had been a custom, which in course of time became an accomplishment and an art, to put together in a connected form the exploits of some notable man or the record of some memorable event, and to relate the story thus composed as a means of entertainment and instruction. It was out of these oral narratives, augmented and elaborated during the course of several centuries, that the written saga finally arose.

 

 

The Black Sleuth by John Edward Bruce. Boston. 2002. Northeastern University Press. hardcover. 126 pages. Jacket illustration by Leslie Evans. Edited & With An Introduction by John Cullen Gruesser. 1555535119.

 

1555535119FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Originally serialized in McGirt’s Magazine between 1907 and 1909, THE BLACK SLEUTH is one of the earliest African American fictional works to depict a black detective. Now published for the first time in book form, this fascinating yet idiosyncratic mystery centers on its West African protagonist, Sadipe Okukenu. The tale follows his student years, his successful career as a brilliant sleuth in England and on the continent, and his investigation of the theft of a large, flawless diamond. But THE BLACK SLEUTH is much more than a detective story. John Edward Bruce employs conventions from popular fiction and an extended ‘African-abroad’ plot to boldly attack and ridicule white prejudice and racial injustice in the United States and elsewhere. His narrative not only counters the dominant Eurocentric view of the world with a Black Atlantic perspective, but also educates his black readers about Africa, Western Imperialism, and, perhaps most important, themselves. Bruce’s novel ultimately suggests that even the most talented black sleuth. cannot break up the greatest conspiracy of all-that of prejudice against people of color in the United States and abroad. Instead, its defeat can apparently be attained only through black solidarity and coordinated resistance.’ - from the Introduction.

 

JOHN EDWARD BRUCE (1856-1924) was born a slave in Maryland and given a hero’s funeral in Harlem. He briefly studied at Howard University before beginning a career as a journalist, editor, historian, and public speaker. He was the cofounder with Arthur A. Schomburg of the Negro Society for Historical Research.’

 

 

 

Cross and Scepter: The Rise of the Scandinavian Kingdoms From the Vikings to the Reformation by Sverre Bagge. Princeton. 2014. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 325 pages.. Jacket design by Lorraine Betz Doneker. 9780691161501.

9780691161501FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Christianity and European-style monarchy--the cross and the scepter--were introduced to Scandinavia in the tenth century, a development that was to have profound implications for all of Europe. Cross and Scepter is a concise history of the Scandinavian kingdoms from the age of the Vikings to the Reformation, written by Scandinavia's leading medieval historian. Sverre Bagge shows how the rise of the three kingdoms not only changed the face of Scandinavia, but also helped make the territorial state the standard political unit in Western Europe. He describes Scandinavia's momentous conversion to Christianity and the creation of church and monarchy there, and traces how these events transformed Scandinavian law and justice, military and administrative organization, social structure, political culture, and the division of power among the king, aristocracy, and common people. Bagge sheds important new light on the reception of Christianity and European learning in Scandinavia, and on Scandinavian history writing, philosophy, political thought, and courtly culture. He looks at the reception of European impulses and their adaptation to Scandinavian conditions, and examines the relationship of the three kingdoms to each other and the rest of Europe, paying special attention to the inter-Scandinavian unions and their consequences for the concept of government and the division of power. Cross and Scepter provides an essential introduction to Scandinavian medieval history for scholars and general readers alike, offering vital new insights into state formation and cultural change in Europe.

 

 

 

Bagge SverreSverre Bagge is professor emeritus of medieval history at the University of Bergen in Norway. His books include 'Kings, Politics, and the Right Order of the World in German Historiography'

 

 

 

evas apples no dwEva's Apples by William Gerhardi. New York. 1928. Duffield & Company. hardcover. 394 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

Gerhardi William   William Gerhardi’s third novel, published in England as JAZZ AND JASPER. The American publisher, Duffield, insisted on the title change claiming that the word ‘jazz’ had been ‘worn threadbare’ in the States. Gerhardi always wanted the title to be DOOM, which it eventually became in later editions in later editions. Despite its bleak title, DOOM is Gerhardie’s most wildly funny novel. It is the story of Frank Dickin, an impoverished young novelist and his involvement, on the one hand with an eccentric family of Russian emigres and in particular their beautiful daughter Eva - and, on the other with an all-powerful newspaper magnate, Lord Ottercove, who decides to take him up as a lost cause. The untameable comic pot-pourri also involves a mad English lord who plans to destroy the world, and, with an outrageous sleight of hand, that only Gerhardie could get away with, the novel slowly slips from social comedy toward apocalyptic speculation. ‘Amusing, brilliant and quite, quite mad.’ - Herald Tribune.

William Alexander Gerhardie (1895-1977) was a British (Anglo-Russian) novelist and playwright. Gerhardie (or Gerhardi: he added the ‘e’ in later years as an affectation) was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s (Evelyn Waugh told him ‘I have talent, but you have genius’). H.G Wells was a ferocious champion of his work. His first novel Futility, was written while he was at Cambridge and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting (or attempting to fight) the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of ‘waiting’ later made famous by Samuel Beckett in WAITING FOR GODOT, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, THE POLYGLOTS is probably his masterpiece (although some argue for DOOM). Again it deals with Russia (Gerhardie was strongly influenced by the tragi-comic style of Russian writers such as Chekhov who he wrote a study of while in College). He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography ‘The Casanova Fable’, his friendship with Hugh being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus. After World War II Gerhardie’s star waned, and he became unfashionable, and although he continued to write, he had nothing published after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two ‘definitive collected works’ published by Macdonald (in 1947-49 and then revised again in 1970-74). More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest ‘Pronounced jer (as Ger in Gerald) hardy, with the accent on the a: jer-har’dy. This is the way I and my relatives pronounce it, tho I am told it is incorrect. Philologists are of the opinion that it should be pronounced with the g as in Gertrude. I believe they are right. I, however, cling to the family habit of mispronouncing it. But I do so without obstinacy. If the world made it worth my while I would side with the multitude.’ (Charles Earle Funk, What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936).

 

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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.

 

 

1886449155FROM 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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The Romanovs: Evocation of the Past as a Mirror for the Present by William Gerhardi. London. 1940. Rich & Cowan. hardcover. 542 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A vivid and highly entertaining account of the Russian dynasty, presenting history ‘with singular dramatic power and with an easy command of all the authorities’ (Daily Telegraph).

William Alexander Gerhardie (1895-1977) was a British (Anglo-Russian) novelist and playwright. Gerhardie (or Gerhardi: he added the ‘e’ in later years as an affectation) was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s (Evelyn Waugh told him ‘I have talent, but you have genius’). H.G Wells was a ferocious champion of his work. His first novel Futility, was written while he was at Cambridge and drew on his experiences in Russia fighting (or attempting to fight) the Bolsheviks, along with his childhood experiences visiting pre-revolutionary Russia. Some say that it was the first work in English to fully explore the theme of ‘waiting’ later made famous by Samuel Beckett in WAITING FOR GODOT, but it is probably more apt to recognize a common comic nihilism between those two figures. His next novel, THE POLYGLOTS is probably his masterpiece (although some argue for DOOM). Again it deals with Russia (Gerhardie was strongly influenced by the tragi-comic style of Russian writers such as Chekhov who he wrote a study of while in College). He collaborated with Hugh Kingsmill on the biography ‘The Casanova Fable’, his friendship with Hugh being both a source of conflict over women and a great intellectual stimulus. After World War II Gerhardie’s star waned, and he became unfashionable, and although he continued to write, he had nothing published after 1939. After a period of poverty-stricken oblivion, he lived to see two ‘definitive collected works’ published by Macdonald (in 1947-49 and then revised again in 1970-74). More recently, both Prion and New Directions Press have been reissuing his works. Asked how to say his name, he told The Literary Digest ‘Pronounced jer (as Ger in Gerald) hardy, with the accent on the a: jer-har’dy. This is the way I and my relatives pronounce it, tho I am told it is incorrect. Philologists are of the opinion that it should be pronounced with the g as in Gertrude. I believe they are right. I, however, cling to the family habit of mispronouncing it. But I do so without obstinacy. If the world made it worth my while I would side with the multitude.’ (Charles Earle Funk, What’s the Name, Please?, Funk & Wagnalls, 1936).

 

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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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21 May 2019

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Linked in the Lutheran Underworld, from Direction North, by John Sykes (1967)

    It is not that I am a particularly avid drinker, but one partial to a glass of beer or a glass or two of wine with a meal, and then a lift at the start of the evening—apart from specific drinking occasions; but since I came to Finland I have been goaded almost to a... Read more

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

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

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  • The Bloater, by Rosemary Tonks (1968)

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Opium Fogs, by Rosemary Tonks (1963)

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

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  • Emir, by Rosemary Tonks (1963)

    Rosemary Tonks’ first two novels, Emir and Opium Fogs were published within weeks of each other and TLS and other papers reviewed them together, so it’s hard to be sure which one was written first. But my bet is on Emir. If Opium Fogs is never less than eccentric, it is at least a finished... Read more

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  • Two Lost Novels

    I love to page through old issues of The Saturday Review, the TLS, and other book reviews of the past for the advertisements as much as for the reviews. Browsing through old copies of the TLS online recently, I noticed the following in the lower left corner of a full-page Hutchinson’s ad from 7 September... Read more

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

    Macmillan splashed this ad for E. Arnot Robertson’s novel, The Signpost across the top half of page 13 on the New York Herald Tribune Weekly Book Review, consuming paper that British publishers struggling with wartime shortages would have coveted. A Book of the Month Club selection, The Signpost was expected to have good sales based... Read more

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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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