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(10/08/2014) Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter. New York. 1996. Henry Holt. hardcover. 462 pages. April 1996. Jacket illustration by John Wesrmark. Introduction by Salman Rushdie. keywords: Literature England Women. 0805044620.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From early reflections on jazz and Japan, through vigorous refashionings of vampires and werewolves, to stunning snapshots of real-life outcasts and the glorious but tainted world of ‘the rich and famous,’ this complete collection of Angela Carter’s short stories gathers together four published books-’Fireworks,’ ‘The Bloody Chamber,’ ‘Black Venus,’ ‘American Ghosts’ and ‘Old World Wonders’-with her early work and uncollected stories. ‘A strange, compelling book. an undoubted success.’ -The New York Times.

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.

 

 

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(10/09/2014) American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street by Paula Rabinowitz. Princeton. 2014. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 390 pages. September 2014. Jacket painting: Guy Pene Du Bois, ‘Portia in a Pink Blouse,’ 1942. Jacket design by Pamela Lewis Schnitter. keywords: Publishing Paperbacks Pulp America. 9780691150604.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘There is real hope for a culture that makes it as easy to buy a book as it does a pack of cigarettes.'--a civic leader quoted in a New American Library ad (1951) American Pulp tells the story of the midcentury golden age of pulp paperbacks and how they brought modernism to Main Street, democratized literature and ideas, spurred social mobility, and helped readers fashion new identities. Drawing on extensive original research, Paula Rabinowitz unearths the far-reaching political, social, and aesthetic impact of the pulps between the late 1930s and early 1960s. Published in vast numbers of titles, available everywhere, and sometimes selling in the millions, pulps were throwaway objects accessible to anyone with a quarter. Conventionally associated with romance, crime, and science fiction, the pulps in fact came in every genre and subject. American Pulp tells how these books ingeniously repackaged highbrow fiction and nonfiction for a mass audience, drawing in readers of every kind with promises of entertainment, enlightenment, and titillation. Focusing on important episodes in pulp history, Rabinowitz looks at the wide-ranging effects of free paperbacks distributed to World War II servicemen and women; how pulps prompted important censorship and First Amendment cases; how some gay women read pulp lesbian novels as how-to-dress manuals; the unlikely appearance in pulp science fiction of early representations of the Holocaust; how writers and artists appropriated pulp as a literary and visual style; and much more. Examining their often-lurid packaging as well as their content, American Pulp is richly illustrated with reproductions of dozens of pulp paperback covers, many in color. A fascinating cultural history, American Pulp will change the way we look at these ephemeral yet enduringly intriguing books.

Paula Rabinowitz is professor of English at the University of Minnesota. Her books include Black & White & Noir: America’s Pulp Modernism, and she is the coeditor of Habits of Being, a four-volume series on clothing and identity.

 

 

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(10/10/2014) The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. Princeton. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 519 pages. Cover illustration by Andrea Dezsö. Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö. keywords: Folktales Germany Translated. 9780691160597.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as 'Rapunzel,' 'Hansel and Gretel,' and 'Cinderella' would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö. From 'The Frog King' to 'The Golden Key,' wondrous worlds unfold--heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique--they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms' later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes's introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms' prefaces and notes. A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.

Jack Zipes is the translator of 'The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm' (Bantam), the editor of 'The Great Fairy Tale Tradition' (Norton), and the author of 'Grimm Legacies' (Princeton), among many other books. He is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. Andrea Dezsö is a visual artist who works across a broad range of media. Her permanent public art is installed in two NYC subway stations, at CUNY Fiterman Hall, and at the US Embassy in Bucharest. Dezsö exhibits in museums and galleries worldwide and is associate professor of art at Hampshire College.

 

 

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(10/11/2014) What Became Of Jane Austen? And Other Questions by Kingsley Amis. New York. 1971. Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich. hardcover. 223 pages. keywords: Literature England. 0151958602.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Although Kingsley Amis’s reputation rests mainly on his novels, he has since 1955 established himself as one of England’s wittiest and most trenchant essayists and critics. The remarkable variety of his ideas and interests makes the present volume as stimulating and recurrently surprising as it is enjoyable. There is literary criticism of writers as diverse as Hans Christian Andersen, Jules Verne, and Miss Austen herself (Janeites will take umbrage), and of novels from SORRELL AND SON to PORTNOY’S COMPLAINT and LOLITA (‘one of the troubles with LOLITA is that, so far from being too pornographic, it is not pornographic enough’). There are articles on such widely assorted topics as horror movies, fictional detectives, and the National Eistedfodd of Wales, and accounts of the author’s experiences as judge at a beauty contest, with a poet named Dylan Thomas, and with one named Yevgeny Yevtushenko. And there are assorted fragments of autobiography (a reminiscence of the first school he attended, a memoir of his father) and confession (why he wrote a James Bond novel, why he left the Left). This is, in short, a miscellany, and a bracing one; its arrangement is not random, and it should be read straight through rather than browsed in. Kingsley Amis’s characteristically witty, challenging, sometimes enraging voice proves also to be that of a rationalist, a moralist, a man of good sense – and a writer of some of the best prose of our day.

Kingsley Amis was born in South London in 1922 and was educated at the City of London School and at St John’s College, Oxford, of which he was an Honorary Fellow. Between 1949 and 1963 he taught at the University College of Swansea, Princeton University and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He started his career as a poet and continued to write in that medium ever since. His novels include LUCKY JIM (1954). TAKE A GIRL LIKE YOU (1960), THE ANTI-DEATH LEAGUE (1966), ENDING UP (1974), THE ALTERATION (1976), JAKE’S THING (1978) and STANLEY AND THE WOMEN (1984). His novel, THE OLD DEVILS, won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1986. Among his other publications are NEW MAPS OF HELL, a survey of science fiction (1960), RUDYARD KIPLING AND HIS WORLD (1975) and THE GOLDEN AGE OF SCIENCE FICTION (1981). He published his COLLECTED POEMS in 1979, and has also edited THE NEW OXFORD BOOK OF LIGHT VERSE and THE FABER POPULAR RECITER. Kingsley Amis was awarded the CBE in 1981.

 

 

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(10/04/2014) The Killing Of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers. New York. 2010. Knopf. hardcover. 569 pages. November 2010. Front-of-jacket image - ‘Retreat of Major Marcus Reno’s Command’ (detail) by Amos Bad Heart Bull. Jacket design by Jason Booher. keywords: History America Native American Crazy Horse. 9780375414466.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   He was the greatest Indian warrior of the nineteenth century. His victory over General Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 was the worst defeat inflicted on the frontier Army. And the death of Crazy Horse in federal custody has remained a controversy for more than a century. THE KILLING OF CRAZY HORSE pieces together the many sources of fear and misunderstanding that resulted in an official killing hard to distinguish from a crime. A rich cast of characters, whites and Indians alike, passes through this story, including Red Cloud, the chief who dominated Oglala history for fifty years but saw in Crazy Horse a dangerous rival; No Water and Woman Dress, both of whom hated Crazy Horse and schemed against him; the young interpreter Billy Garnett, son of a fifteen-year-old Oglala woman and a Confederate general killed at Gettysburg; General George Crook, who bitterly resented newspaper reports that he had been whipped by Crazy Horse in battle; Little Big Man, who betrayed Crazy Horse; Lieutenant William Philo Clark, the smart West Point graduate who thought he could ‘work’ Indians to do the Army’s bidding; and Fast Thunder, who called Crazy Horse cousin, held him the moment he was stabbed, and then told his grandson thirty years later, ‘They tricked me! They tricked me!’ At the center of the story is Crazy Horse himself, the warrior of few words whom the Crow said they knew best among the Sioux, because he always came closest to them in battle. No photograph of him exists today. The death of Crazy Horse was a traumatic event not only in Sioux but also in American history. With the Great Sioux War as background and context, drawing on many new materials as well as documents in libraries and archives, Thomas Powers recounts the final months and days of Crazy Horse’s life not to lay blame but to establish what happened.

Thomas Powers is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and writer best known for his books on the history of intelligence organizations. Among them are INTELLIGENCE WARS: AMERICAN SECRET HISTORY FROM HITLER TO AL-QAEDA; HEISENBERG’S WAR: THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE GERMAN BOMB; and THE MAN WHO KEPT THE SECRETS: RICHARD HELMS AND THE CIA. For most of the last decade Powers kept a 1984 Volvo at a nephew’s house in Colorado, which he drove on frequent trips to the northern Plains. He lives in Vermont with his wife, Candace.

 

 

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(10/03/2014) Paperbacks, U. S. A.: A Graphic History, 1939-1959 by Piet Schreuders. San Diego. 1981. Blue Dolphin Enterprises. paperback. 259 pages. September 1981. Translated from the Dutch by Josh Pachter. keywords: Books Publishing American Mass Markets History.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this informative and entertaining description of the first 20 years of paperback history, the emphasis is on the way these early books looked, and especially on their covers: who made them, how they were produced, and how they changed over two decades. Piet Schreuders, editor and designer of two popular Dutch magazines (Furore and the Poezenkrant), spent five years researching the roots of this cultural phenomenon and found, besides shameless plagiarism, amateurish drawings and commercially-bred bad taste, a wealth of sensitive, human, original and unique design and art.

 

 

 

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(10/02/2014) The Business Of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing & Changed The Way We Read by Andre Schiffrin. New York. 2000. Verso. hardcover. 181 pages. keywords: Publishing Business Politics History. 1859847633.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Postwar American publishing has been ruthlessly transformed since André Schiffrin joined its ranks in 1956. Gone is a plethora of small but prestigious houses that often put ideas before profit in their publishing decisions, sometimes even deliberately. Now six behemoths share 80% of the market and profit margin is all. André Schiffrin can write about these changes with authority because he witnessed them from inside a conglomerate, as head of Pantheon, co-founded by his father bought (and sold) by Random House. And he can write about them with candor because he is no longer on the inside, having quit corporate publishing in disgust to setup a flourishing independent house, the New Press. Schiffrin’s evident affection for his authors sparkles throughout a story woven around publishing the work of those such as Studs Terkel, Noam Chomsky, Gunnar Myrdal, George Kennan, Juliet Mitchell, R.D.Laing, Eric Hobsbawm and E.P. Thompson. Part-memoir, part-history, here is an account of the collapsing standards of contemporary publishing that is irascible, acute and passionate. An engaging counterpoint to recent, celebratory memoirs of the industry written by those with more stock options and fewer scruples than Schiffrin, The Business of Books warns of the danger to adventurous, intelligent publishing in the bullring of today’s marketplace.

André Schiffrin was, for thirty years, Publisher at Pantheon. He was also the Director of the New Press, which he founded in 1993. He contributed a regular column on publishing to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

 

 

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(09/30/2014) Heavy Traffic & High Culture: New American Library as Literary Gatekeeper in the Paperback Revolution by Thomas L. Bonn. Carbondale. 1989. Southern Illinois University Press. hardcover. 241 pages. keywords: Books Publishing New Ameican Library. 0809314789.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This is a book about the magical names in literature, about the literary heritage of a nation balanced against a backdrop of big business; it is the story of New American library from 1946 to 1961 and of Victor Weybright, the publisher whose talismanic phrase, ‘luster and lucre,’ characterizes both the cultural and financial formu1a that guided this giant paperback house. The book is based on the editorial correspondence at NAL from the company’s beginning in 1945 until just after its purchase by the Times-Mirror Company. Generally ignoring financial, marketing, and production records, the files that form the core of this book concentrate on interoffice memoranda to and from editorial staff and feature letters to and from authors, agents, publishers, and readers. Bonn shows how Weybright and copublisher Kurt Enoch advanced NAL from a poor, scarcely tolerated relation - as were all paperback reprinters - in the publishing family to a prestigious, even proprietary publisher, initiating contracts and discovering new talent. By the middle of the l950s, many hardcover publishing houses were accepting original manuscripts based on their anticipated mass market paperback sales. Bonn employs the ‘gatekeeper’ theory of communication to account for much of NAL’s success, citing Weybright as chief gatekeeper. Explaining this theory as Weybright applied it, Bonn notes that ‘the tension on the gate’s spring is created by the cultural contribution the work is likely to make tempered by its projected balance sheet.’ Weybright brought harmony to the conflicting interests of culture vs. commerce; his goal was ‘heavy traffic, high culture’ or John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway and others at the dimly remembered 25 cents per copy. Bonn focuses on Weybright’s dealings with Bennett Cerf and Random House, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Alfred A. Knopf, and other hardback houses to show how NAL acquired titles. In this book, notable for its previously unpublished correspondence by major figures, Bonn scores another triumph by examining the phenomenon of paperback abridgment. These letters reveal the reactions of James M. Cain, James Jones, and Robert Penn Warren when paperback economics killed as many as half of their words. Well-founded fear of censorship, these files reveal, consumed much money and time, yet of all of the books on the NAL list, only Erskine Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre was judged obscene in a courtroom. The works of James M. Cain were challenged, as were those of Faulkner, until he won his 1950 Nobel Prize. Weybright also faced a continuing battle with certain authors over paperback covers. The editor’s views as to what would sell books frequently conflicted with the opinions of his authors. William Styron acquiesced to Weybright with some grace, but the cover conflict between NAL and James T. Farrell was bitter; the rift between NAL and J. D. Salinger over covers for The Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories grew so acrimonious that both sides lost when Salinger severed his relationship with the company. NAL published the great—William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, J. D. Salinger - and the big money-makers - Erskine Caldwell, Ian Fleming, Mickey Spillane. This ideal arrangement enabled the innovative paperback publishing company to make a profit even as it made a gigantic cultural contribution.

Thomas L. Bonn, Librarian at the State University of New York, College at Cortland, is the author of Paperback Primer: A Guide for Collectors and Under Cover: An Illustrated History of American Mass Market Paperbacks.

 

 

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(09/29/2014) The Tale Of Tsar Saltan by Alexander Pushkin. New York. 1996. Dial Press. hardcover. 32 pages. Illustrated by Gennady Spirin. Based On A Translation From The Russian by Pauline Hejl. keywords: Childrens Russia Literature. 0803720017.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

  

 Betrayed by her jealous sisters, a Tsarina and her infant son are marooned on a barren island until a magical swan helps them regain their rightful heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(09/28/2014) Saints And Strangers by Angela Carter. New York. 1986. Viking Press. hardcover. 126 pages. September 1986. Jacket design by Melissa Jacoby. Jacket painting The Peaceable Kingdom circa 1840-1845 by Edward Hicks. keywords: Literature England Women. 0670811394.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Spellbinding, entrancing, vital-all the words critics used to describe Carter’s Nights at the Circus apply as well to this thrilling collection by ‘the poet of the short story.’ - Lisa St. Aubin de Teran. The saints and strangers of Angela Carter’s title are those who, in the words of the Puritan settlers of Massachusetts, would colonize the New World. And in this dazzling collection of short fiction, the focus is on the New World of both fact and the imagination. Three of these eight stories are set in America-’The Fall River Axe Murders’ is a haunting cinematic prologue to that most celebrated of nineteenth-century crimes; ‘Our Lady of the Massacre’ depicts (in a completely authentic voice) the adventures of an eighteenth-century indentured servant who is kidnapped by the Indians and married to a chieftain; ‘The Cabinet of Edgar Allen Poe’ brings its obsessed hero to a kind of crippled life; and a fourth, ‘Black Venus,’ brilliantly reimagines the relationship of Charles Baudelaire to his Caribbean Creole mistress, a daughter of the New World languishing in the Old. In other stories, we are transported to the steppes of Central Asia (‘The Kiss’). an Alpine village full of mysterious happenings (‘Peter and the Wolf’), an enchanted forest (‘Overture and Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream’), and an Edwardian kitchen (‘The Kitchen Child’). In each case, we are caught by the tale-spinning magic that distinguishes Angela Carter’s best work. Yet these stories do more than dazzle us with glittering prose and eccentric flights of fancy. Each speaks with an achingly human voice and embraces the frailty and mystery of the flesh. Whether they are saints or strangers, the subjects of Angela Carter’s latest book are unforgettable.

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.

 

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(09/26/2014) The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. New York. 1951. Farrar Straus & Young. hardcover. 376 pages. Cover: Stefan Salter. Translated from the Italian by Angus Davidson. keywords: Literature Translated Italy 20th Century.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The Conformist tells an intense story, building from climax to climax. It keeps the reader absorbed in continuous physical and psychological action as it unravels the twists and turns of a man snared in his own destiny. It is the story of the life, loves and fate of Marcello Clerici, a high Fascist official called upon to act as a spy. His iron and bitter desire is to become not a rebel set apart from others, but a conformist in step with the crowd. So strong is his resolve and so sinister his motives that he will embrace any evil in his struggle for conformity. His fiancé says to him, looking at him with a kind of strange curiosity, ‘Most people want to be different from everyone else. but you are just the opposite: anyone would think you wanted to be like everyone else.’ All over the world and in your own community are men who falsely conform, and they are men you will recognize. Moravia has drawn a brilliant and uncompromising portrait of a type he deplores and fears. By far the finest and most important novel Moravia has written, it shows with great skill and without pity the irrational tides that sweep a man through life to shipwreck or to landfall. The character drawing is intricate and persuasive, and the book is remarkable for its many scenes, all precisely selected, that reveal motive through action. Above all, this is a story, fast and absorbing; but whether it is read as a story, as a study of the influence of sex on political behavior or as a commentary on normal life in a totalitarian regime, it is dramatic and unforgettable. Every novel Alberto Moravia has written has been building up to THE CONFORMIST. More dramatic and earthy than THE WOMAN OF ROME, more poignant than Two ADOLESCENTS, and more personal than CONJUGAL LOVE, it is his greatest book, and one of the finest novels to come out of Europe in our time.

 

And there is the Signet edition to consider -

Paperback. 318 pages. November 1953. S1071. Translated from the Italian by Angus Davidson.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The New Novel by the author of Woman of Rome. ‘One of the best writers in the world today.’ – Time. This uncompromising novel of the life, loves and fate of an agent of the Italian Secret Police during the 1930’s is a profound and exciting story on every level. As a melodrama of intrigue, treachery and murder, it ranks with the finest suspense fiction. And as a penetrating portrait of a man whose falseness to his true nature destroys the very security he seeks, it is gripping and revealing. More dramatic and earthy than The Woman of Rome, more poignant than Two Adolescents and more personal than Conjugal Love, The Conformist ranks as a masterpiece. ALBERTO MORAVIA is one of the most brilliant contemporary Italian novelists. He has achieved international fame with his books The Woman of Rome (Signet #5844), Conjugal Love (Signet 922), Two Adolescents (Signet #960) and The Fancy Dress Party. Farrar, Straus & Young publish the original American editions of his novels.
 

Alberto Moravia, born Alberto Pincherle (November 28, 1907 – September 26, 1990) was an Italian novelist and journalist. His novels explored matters of modern sexuality, social alienation, and existentialism. He is best known for his debut novel Gli indifferenti (published in 1929), and for the anti-fascist novel Il Conformista (The Conformist), the basis for the film The Conformist (1970) by Bernardo Bertolucci. Other novels of his translated to the cinema are Il Disprezzo (A Ghost at Noon or Contempt) filmed by Jean-Luc Godard as Le Mépris (Contempt) (1963); La Noia (Boredom), filmed with that title by Damiano Damiani in 1963 and released in the US as The Empty Canvas in 1964; and La Ciociara filmed by Vittorio de Sica as Two Women (1960). Cedric Kahn's L'Ennui (1998) is another version of La Noia. He was an atheist. He once remarked that the most important facts of his life had been his illness, a tubercular infection of the bones that confined him to a bed for five years, and Fascism, because they both caused him to suffer and do things he otherwise would not have done. ‘It is what we are forced to do that forms our character, not what we do of our own free will.’ His writing was marked by its factual, cold , precise style, often depicting the malaise of the bourgeoisie, and was rooted in the tradition of nineteenth-century narrative, underpinned by high social and cultural awareness. In his world, where inherited social, religious and moral beliefs are no longer acceptable, he considered sex and money the only basic criteria for judging social and human reality. Moravia believed that writers must, if they were to be successful in representing reality, ‘assume a moral position, a clearly conceived political, social, and philosophical attitude’ but also that, ultimately, - ‘A writer survives in spite of his beliefs.’ Between 1959 and 1962 Moravia was President of the worldwide association of writers, PEN International.

 

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(09/24/2014) Stephen Hero by James Joyce. New York. 1944. New Directions. hardcover. 234 pages. Frontispiece portrait by Augustus John. Edited from the manuscript in the Harvard College Library, and introduction and editorial note, by Theodore Spencer. keywords: Literature Ireland Joyce Ireland Literature.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   STEPHEN HERO is an early version of Joyce’s PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, probably completed about 1906. It is said that when the manuscript came back to Joyce after rejection by the twentieth publisher, he threw it into the fire, from which his wife was able to rescue only a portion. The 383 pages which first came to light were edited by the late Theodore Spencer and published by New Directions in 1944 through the courtesy of the Harvard College Library; they gave a long, connected section of the original – a sequence complete in itself. The first printing was immediately exhausted and a second, very large one lasted only several years. When twenty-five additional manuscript pages, forming a complete short incident, were found, New Directions held up reprinting so that they could be included. Edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon, the Joyce bibliographers, who also contribute an interesting foreword, the new section is here printed with the permission of the Yale University Library. It throws new light on Joyce’s attitudes and, like the rest, makes excellent reading in itself. STEPHEN HERO differs extensively from the published text of PORTRAIT both in content and it treatment; it includes many characters and incidents later cut for the sake of compression. It is more an autobiography of Joyce and less an objectivized novel. As such it throws valuable light on the development of his extraordinary genius. As a human document it is profoundly moving – the candid story of a sensitive and brilliant young Irishman’s struggle against conventions of the Dublin of his day. The new incident, which precedes the earlier published sequence in time, takes this young Irishman into cities of central Ireland, which Joyce nowhere else describes, and shows them and persons he met there with flashing insight and vividness. The main manuscript rebegins shortly after Stephen (Joyce) enters the national University, and breaks off just as his emancipation from all that the University implies reaches a kind of climax. The love interest, only briefly sketched in PORTRAIT, is developed at some length in STEPHEN HERO, and also there is much detailed material about Joyce’s family background. Perhaps because Joyce was instinctively so superb a literary craftsman, the writing of STEPHEN HERO gives little indication of being a first draft. Passage after passage offer memorable examples of his pure and powerful prose style. His wit and irony are a continual delight, particularly in Stephen’s conversations which are very fully reproduced, and in his satiric comments on people and their ideas. In addition to the new foreword which ties the new manuscript to the one originally published, Professor Spencer’s long introductory essay is reprinted. It tells the history of the manuscript, compares its structure and technique with that of the final version, analyzes its principal themes and underscores its special literary values. The volume contains relevant illustrations.

And then, there is the 1955 New Directions edition - hardcover. 251 pages.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   STEPHEN HERO is an early version of Joyce’s PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, probably completed about 1906. It is said that when the manuscript came back to Joyce after rejection by the twentieth publisher, he threw it into the fire, from which his wife was able to rescue only a portion. The 383 pages which first came to light were edited by the late Theodore Spencer and published by New Directions in 1944 through the courtesy of the Harvard College Library; they gave a long, connected section of the original – a sequence complete in itself. The first printing was immediately exhausted and a second, very large one lasted only several years. When twenty-five additional manuscript pages, forming a complete short incident, were found, New Directions held up reprinting so that they could be included. Edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon, the Joyce bibliographers, who also contribute an interesting foreword, the new section is here printed with the permission of the Yale University Library. It throws new light on Joyce’s attitudes and, like the rest, makes excellent reading in itself. STEPHEN HERO differs extensively from the published text of PORTRAIT both in content and it treatment; it includes many characters and incidents later cut for the sake of compression. It is more an autobiography of Joyce and less an objectivized novel. As such it throws valuable light on the development of his extraordinary genius. As a human document it is profoundly moving – the candid story of a sensitive and brilliant young Irishman’s struggle against conventions of the Dublin of his day. The new incident, which precedes the earlier published sequence in time, takes this young Irishman into cities of central Ireland, which Joyce nowhere else describes, and shows them and persons he met there with flashing insight and vividness. The main manuscript rebegins shortly after Stephen (Joyce) enters the national University, and breaks off just as his emancipation from all that the University implies reaches a kind of climax. The love interest, only briefly sketched in PORTRAIT, is developed at some length in STEPHEN HERO, and also there is much detailed material about Joyce’s family background. Perhaps because Joyce was instinctively so superb a literary craftsman, the writing of STEPHEN HERO gives little indication of being a first draft. Passage after passage offer memorable examples of his pure and powerful prose style. His wit and irony are a continual delight, particularly in Stephen’s conversations which are very fully reproduced, and in his satiric comments on people and their ideas. In addition to the new foreword which ties the new manuscript to the one originally published, Professor Spencer’s long introductory essay is reprinted. It tells the history of the manuscript, compares its structure and technique with that of the final version, analyzes its principal themes and underscores its special literary values. The volume contains relevant illustrations. James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family that experienced increasing financial difficulties during his childhood. After attending Clongowes Wood College and Belevedere College (both Jesuit institutions) in Dublin, he entered the Royal University, where he studied languages and philosophy. Upon his graduation, in 1902, Joyce left Ireland for France but returned the following year because his mother was dying. In 1904 he met Nora Barnacle (they fell in love on June 16, ‘Bloomsday’), and in October of that year they went together to Europe, settling in Trieste. In 1909 and again in 1912 Joyce made unsuccessful attempts to publish Dubliners, a collection of fifteen stories that he intended to be ‘a chapter of the moral history of my country focused on Dublin, ‘the centre of paralysis.’ In 1914 Dubliners finally appeared, followed by the semiautobiographical novel A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, a reworking of an earlier manuscript, STEPHEN HERO. During the First World War Joyce and Nora lived in Zurich; in 1920 they moved to Paris, where Ulysses was published in 1922. FINNEGANS WAKE, Joyce’s most radical and complex work, began appearing in installments in 1928 and was published in its entirety in 1939. After the German occupation of Paris, Joyce and Nora (who were married in 1931) moved to Zurich, where he died in January. His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, ‘For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.’

 

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family that experienced increasing financial difficulties during his childhood. After attending Clongowes Wood College and Belevedere College (both Jesuit institutions) in Dublin, he entered the Royal University, where he studied languages and philosophy. Upon his graduation, in 1902, Joyce left Ireland for France but returned the following year because his mother was dying. In 1904 he met Nora Barnacle (they fell in love on June 16, ‘Bloomsday’), and in October of that year they went together to Europe, settling in Trieste. In 1909 and again in 1912 Joyce made unsuccessful attempts to publish Dubliners, a collection of fifteen stories that he intended to be ‘a chapter of the moral history of my country focused on Dublin, ‘the centre of paralysis.’ In 1914 Dubliners finally appeared, followed by the semiautobiographical novel A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, a reworking of an earlier manuscript, STEPHEN HERO. During the First World War Joyce and Nora lived in Zurich; in 1920 they moved to Paris, where Ulysses was published in 1922. FINNEGANS WAKE, Joyce’s most radical and complex work, began appearing in installments in 1928 and was published in its entirety in 1939. After the German occupation of Paris, Joyce and Nora (who were married in 1931) moved to Zurich, where he died in January. His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, ‘For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.’

 

 

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(09/23/2014) The Years Of Bloom: James Joyce In Trieste, 1904-1920 by John McCourt. Madison. 2000. University Of Wisconsin Press. hardcover. 306 pages. Jacket by Graham Thew Design. Front photograph (Joyce in Trieste, 1920) courtesy Vivien Igoe. Back photograph courtesy Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte, Trieste. keywords: James Joyce Trieste Biography Literature. 0299169804.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Since the publication of Richard Ellmann’s JAMES JOYCE in 1959, Joyce has received remarkably little biographical attention. THE YEARS OF BLOOM, based on extensive scrutiny of previously unused sources and informed by the author’s intimate knowledge of the culture and dialect of Trieste, is possibly the most important work of Joyce biography since Ellmann, recreating this fertile period in Joyce’s life with an extraordinary richness of detail and depth of understanding. In Trieste, Joyce wrote most of the stories in DUBLINERS, turned Stephen Hero into A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, and began ULYSSES. Echoes and influences of Trieste are rife throughout ULYSSES and FINNEGANS WAKE. Though Trieste had become a sleepy backwater by the time Ellmann visited there in the 1950s, McCourt shows that in the waning years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the city was a teeming imperial port, intensely cosmopolitan and polyglot. There Joyce experienced the various cultures of central Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. He knew many Jews, who collectively provided much of the material for the character of Leopold Bloom. He encountered continental socialism, Italian irredentism, Futurism, and various other political and artistic movements whose subtle influences McCourt traces with literary grace and scholarly rigour. THE YEARS OF BLOOM, a rare landmark in the crowded terrain of Joyce studies, will instantly take its place as a standard work.

John McCourt was born in Dublin in 1965 and educated at Belvedere College and University College Dublin. Since 1991 he has lived in Trieste, where he teaches at the University of Trieste and where he founded and directs the annual Trieste Joyce School. He is the author of JAMES JOYCE: A PASSIONATE EXILE (an illustrated biography), DUBLINERS: A GUIDE TO TEXT ANALYSIS, and, with Renzo Crivelli, JOYCE IN SVEVO’S GARDEN.

 

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(09/16/2014) The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives by Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev. New Haven. 1999. Yale University Press. 366 pages. hardcover. 0300078064. Jacket illustration by John MacDonald. keywords: Espionage England Russia KGB History

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This lively account of Soviet intelligence activity in Great Britain from the close of World War I to the late 1950s is based on newly released documents from KGB archives-documents so highly valued they were dubbed the 'crown jewels.' Adding richly to our understanding of Soviet intelligence, this book offers new insights into the activities of infamous British pro-Soviet spies as well as lesser-known spymasters and recruiters.

 

 

 

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(09/17/2014) The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. New York. 1999. Basic Books. 700 pages. hardcover. 0465003109. Jacket design by Michael Accordino. keywords: KGB History Espionage

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The Sword and the Shield is based on one of the most extraordinary intelligence coups of recent times: a secret archive of top-level KGB documents smuggled out of the Soviet Union which the FBI has described, after close examination, as the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source. Its presence in the West represents a catastrophic hemorrhage of the KGB’s secrets and reveals for the first time the full extent of its worldwide network. Vasili Mitrokhin, a secret dissident who worked in the KGB archive, smuggled out copies of its most highly classified files every day for twelve years. In 1992, a U.S. ally succeeded in exfiltrating the KGB officer and his entire archive out of Moscow. The archive covers the entire period from the Bolshevik Revolution to the 1980s and includes revelations concerning almost every country in the world. But the KGB's main target, of course, was the United States. Though there is top-secret material on almost every country in the world, the United States is at the top of the list. As well as containing many fascinating revelations, this is a major contribution to the secret history of the twentieth century. Among the topics and revelations explored are: The KGB’s covert operations in the United States and throughout the West, some of which remain dangerous today. KGB files on Oswald and the JFK assassination that Boris Yeltsin almost certainly has no intention of showing President Clinton. The KGB’s attempts to discredit civil rights leader in the 1960s, including its infiltration of the inner circle of a key leader. The KGB’s use of radio intercept posts in New York and Washington, D.C., in the 1970s to intercept high-level U.S. government communications. The KGB’s attempts to steal technological secrets from major U.S. aerospace and technology corporations. KGB covert operations against former President Ronald Reagan, which began five years before he became president. KGB spies who successfully posed as U.S. citizens under a series of ingenious disguises, including several who attained access to the upper echelons of New York society. 

Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History and Chair of the Faculty of History at Cambridge University.

 

 

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(09/18/2014) Bad Blood: A Crime Novel by Arne Dahl. New York. 2013. Pantheon. hardcover. 345 pages. August 2013. Jacket photograph by Santiago Carrasquilla. Jacket design by Pablo Delcan. Translated from the Swedeish by Rachel Willson-Broyles. keywords: Mystery Sweden Literature Translated. 9780375425363.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In Arne Dahl’s riveting follow-up to Misterioso, the Intercrime team is assigned the task of tracking down an American serial killer on the loose in Sweden—quietly, and as quickly as possible. When a Swedish literary critic is found tortured to death in a janitor’s closet at Newark International Airport, the police realize that the murderer made off with the victim’s ticket and boarded a flight to Stockholm. Swedish authorities are placed on high alert, but the killer manages to slip through the customs dragnet and vanishes into the night. With no clear motive in sight, Detectives Paul Hjelm and Kerstin Holm of Intercrime’s A-Unit take over the investigation. They learn that the method of torture used was not only a highly specialized means of extracting information secretly developed during the Vietnam War—allowing the victim to whisper, but not to scream—but also that it was the modus operandi of an allegedly deceased homicidal maniac known only as the Kentucky Killer. As additional victims are discovered on the outskirts of Stockholm and the terror grows, the team finds itself coming up empty-handed. Hjelm and Holm fly to New York, hoping to discover both the killer’s identity and the source of his interest in Sweden. What they quickly learn, searching through the past, is that bad blood always comes back around.

Arne Dahl is an award-winning crime novelist and literary critic. He lives in Sweden.

 

 

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(09/19/2014) Emergency Poems by Nicanor Parra. New York. 1972. New Directions. hardcover. 154 pages. Cover: Gertrude Huston. Bilingual. Translated from the Spanish by Miller Williams. keywords: Literature Translated Poetry Chile Latin America.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   EMERGENCY POEMS is the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra’s second bilingual collection published by New Directions. The spare, often grim irony of the first, Poems and Antipoems (1967) - a wide selection gleaned from his four earliest books - established his reputation with a North American reading public used to the more formal language of conventional Spanish-speaking poets. Since then he has traveled extensively in this country, teaching, lecturing, and reading from his own work; while in Chile he received the 1969 Premio Nacional de Literatura (National Literary Prize) for his Obra Gruesa, from which many of the pieces in EMERGENCY POEMS are drawn. In his introduction to this latest collection, Miller ‘Williams, the translator, comments that Parra’s ‘poetry has moved and expanded as the imagination behind it has since the publication of POEMS AND ANTIPOEMS. Those who are familiar with Parra’s work will find the humor more sharply honed and darker, the anger closer to the surface and sometimes breaking through, the language tighter, the compassion deeper and the statements more political-or anyway more social.'

Nicanor Parra Sandoval (born 5 September 1914) is a Chilean poet, mathematician, and physicist. He is considered an influential poet in Chile and throughout Latin America. Some rank him among the most important poets of Spanish language literature. Parra describes himself as an ‘anti-poet,’ due to his distaste for standard poetic pomp and function; after recitations he exclaims ‘Me retracto de todo lo dicho’ (‘I take back everything I said’). Parra, the son of a schoolteacher, was born in 1914 in San Fabián de Alico, Chile, near Chillán in southern Chile. He comes from the artistically prolific Parra family of performers, musicians, artists, and writers. His sister, Violeta Parra, was a folk singer, as was his brother Roberto Parra Sandoval. In 1933, he entered the Instituto Pedagógico of the University of Chile, and qualified as a teacher of mathematics and physics in 1938, one year after his first book, Cancionero sin Nombre, appeared. After teaching in Chilean secondary schools, in 1943 he enrolled in Brown University in the United States to study physics. In 1948, he attended Oxford University to study cosmology. He returned to Chile as a professor at the Universidad de Chile in 1946. Since 1952, Parra has been professor of theoretical physics in Santiago and has read his poetry in England, France, Russia, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. He has published several books. Parra chooses to leave behind the conventions of poetry; his poetic language renounces the refinement of most Latin American literature and adopts a more colloquial tone. His first collection, Poemas y Antipoemas (1954) is a classic of Latin American literature, one of the most influential Spanish poetry collections of the twentieth century. It is cited as an inspiration by American Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg. On December 1, 2011, Parra won the Spanish Ministry of Culture's Cervantes Prize, the most important literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world. On June 7, 2012, he won the Premio Iberoamericano de Poesía Pablo Neruda.

 

 

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(09/20/2014) The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Toronto. 1999. Broadview Press. 720 pages. paperback. 1551112434. Cover: Photo by William Notman, 1867. Edited by Steve Farmer. keywords: Literature Mystery England 19th Century

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘This superbly edited and richly documented edition of what T.S. Eliot described as ‘the first and greatest of English detective novels’ is the definitive and indispensable edition of The Moonstone.’ William Baker, Professor of English, Northern Illinois University. ‘The Moonstone, one of Wilkie Collins’s most popular and successful novels, has never been out of print since its first publication in 1868. Is another edition needed? The answer, in the case of Professor Farmer’s scholarly and impeccably edited text, must be a resounding yes. Invaluable for his survey of past and present reactions to the story, and for his own insights, the edition also includes historical and background material and a well-chosen collection of relevant contemporary documents — always an important feature of Broadview Literary Texts. This Moonstone will surely prove another winner for Broadview’s list.’ Catherine Peters, author of The King of Inventors: A Life of Wilkie Collins. Intrigue, investigations, thievery, drugs and murder all make an appearance in Wilkie Collins’s classic who-done-it, The Moonstone. Published in serial form in 1868, it was inspired in part by a spectacular murder case widely reported in the early 1860s. Collins’s story revolves around a diamond stolen from a Hindu holy place. On her eighteenth birthday, Rachel Verinder receives the diamond, but by the following morning the stone has been stolen again. As the story unravels through multiple eyewitness accounts, the elderly Sergeant Cuff — with a face ‘sharp as a hatchet’ — looks for the culprit. One of Collins’s best-loved novels, with an exciting plot moved along by deftly-drawn characters and elegant pacing, The Moonstone was also turned into a play by Collins; the play appears as an appendix to this edition.

William Wilkie Collins, the eldest son of the lands cape painter William Collins, was born in London in 1824. After private education at Highbury he spent three years with his parents in Italy, and in 1841 was articled by his father to a London firm of tea traders. He secretly wrote a novel (published later as Antonino) using all the local information he had acquired in Rome. This pleased his father so much that Wilkie Collins was liberated from the tea warehouse and entered at Lincoln’s Inn, being called to the bar in 1851. Before this, however, his father died, and in 1848 Wilkie Collins first appeared in print as his biographer. 1851 was the year in which he met Charles Dickens, and from this time may be dated his vocation to letters as a profession. He contributed to Household Words and Dickens’ other periodicals; The Woman in White, which was a tremendous success when published in book form in 1860, was previously serialized by Dickens. It was this book which made him famous as one of the first English writers of detective fiction. As well as this novel and The Moonstone (1868), his best known books are The Queen of Hearts (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866), and The Black Robe (1881). He died in 1889. Steve Farmer, of the Department of English at Arizona State University, has also edited Collins’s Heart and Science for this series.

 

 

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(09/21/2014) Writers from the Other Europe - Boxed Set by Philip Roth (general editor). New York. 1980. Penguin Books. Includes: THIS WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER by Tadeusz Borowski (Introduction by Jan Kott), A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH by Danilo Kis (Introduction by Joseph Brodsky), LAUGHABLE LOVES by Milan Kundera (Introduction by Philip Roth), and SANATORIUM UNDER THE SIGN OF THE HOURGLASS by Bruno Schulz (Introduction by John Updike). keywords: Literature Eastern Europe Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia Hungary.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

  

 

LAUGHABLE LOVES by Milan Kundera - Here are seven dazzling stories of sexual comedy by Czechoslovakia’s foremost contemporary writer. Praised by literary figures as diverse as Jean-Paul Sartre, Louis Aragon, and Philip Roth, Milan Kundera is master of graceful illusion and illuminating surprise. In one of these tales a young man and his girl pretend that she is a stranger he picked up on a road. only to become strangers to each other in reality as their game proceeds. In another, a teacher fakes piety in order to seduce a devout girl, then jilts her and yearns for God. In yet another, girls wait in bars, on beaches, and on station platforms for the same lover, a middle-aged Don Juan gone home to his wife. Games, fantasies, and schemes abound in all of the stories while different characters react in varying ways to the sudden release of erotic impulses. As one critic has noted, Kundera’s stories are dances. experienced by Chekhov. X-rayed by Freud.’ ‘What is so often laughable, in the stories of Kundera’s Czechoslovakia, is how grimly serious just about everything turns out to be, jokes and games and pleasure included; what’s laughable is how terribly little there is to laugh at with any joy.’ - From the Introduction by Philip Roth. Cover design by Neil Stuart. Cover photograph by Bill Longcore.

A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH by Danilo Kis - ‘From the outside the storm [in Yugoslavia] over A Tomb for Boris Davidovich seems all the more peculiar because this book has literally nothing to do with Yugoslavia and its internal situation. None of its characters are Yugoslav: They are Poles, Russians, Rumanians, Irish, Hungarians; most of them are of Jewish origin. None of them ever set foot in Yugoslavia. Basically, A Tomb for Boris Davidovich is an abbreviated fictionalized account of the self-destruction of that berserk Trojan horse called Comintern. The only thing that its passengers—the heroes of Danilo Kis’s novel—have in common with this small country is the ideology that this country professes today and in the name of which they were murdered yesterday. Apparently, that was enough to infuriate the faithful.’ - From the Introduction by Joseph Brodsky. ‘A Tomb for Boris Davidovich bears traces of Orwell’s 1984 and Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, but it has its own special flair, particularly since it comes to us from someone who is there, on the other side.’ - The New Leader. ‘It’s an absolutely first-rate book, one of the best things I’ve ever seen on the whole experience of communism in Eastern Europe, but more than that, it’s really a first-rate novel.’ – Irving Howe. Cover design by Neil Stuart.

SANATORIUM UNDER THE SIGN OF THE HOURGLASS by Bruno Schulz - ‘Schulz was one of the great writers. [His] verbal art strikes us—stuns us, even—with its overload of beauty. Schulz himself was a hidden man, in an obscure Galician town, born to testify to the paradoxical richness, amid poverty of circumstance, of our inner lives.’ - John Updike. In this brilliant, intensely illuminated book Bruno Schulz evokes a glorious, throbbing world through a magical combination of personal myth, fantasy, and highly sensual language. With an Introduction by John Updike written especially for this edition, Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass is the final work of the Polish writer who was killed by the Nazis during World War II. An earlier volume of his stories, The Street of Crocodiles, is also published in Penguin’s Writers from the Other Europe Series. ‘One of the most original imaginations in modern Europe.’ - Cynthia Ozick. ‘If Schulz had been allowed to live out his life, he might have given us untold treasures, but what he did in his short life was enough to make him one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived.’ - Isaac Bashevis Singer. Cover design by Neil Stuart. Cover illustration by Bruno Schulz.

THIS WAY TO THE GAS CHAMBER by Tadeusz Borowski - Published in Poland after World War II, Tadeusz Borowski’s concentration-camp stories show atrocious crimes becoming an unremarkable part of a daily routine. Prisoners eat, work, sleep, and fall in love a few yards from where other prisoners are systematically slaughtered. The will to survive overrides compassion, and the line between the normal and the abnormal wavers, then vanishes. At Auschwitz an athletic field and a brothel flank the crematoriums. Himself a concentration-camp victim, Borowski understood what human beings will do to endure the unendurable. As one critic observed: ‘Borowski looks at the concentration camp as if it were first of-all a community of men and women, governed by unalterable instincts and formed by necessary habits. The constant need for human contact—in the persecutors as well as in the condemned—the clinging to ridiculous hopes and useless possessions; and at the same time the grotesque corruptions that become accepted as the consequence of the gift for survival. These terse descriptions, almost anecdotal in form, become an oblique commentary on the negotiations we conduct daily in our own, civilized ways.’ Cover design by Neil Stuart. Cover illustration by Christophe Davis.
 

 

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(09/11/2014) Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn. Boston. 2014. David R. Godine. 181 pages. hardcover. 9781567925111. keywords: Craft

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The good life that society prescribes -- the untrammeled pursuit of wealth and fame, leisure and consumption -- often leaves some essential part of us malnourished. We may be capable, competent individuals yet find ourselves starved for avenues of engagement that provide more satisfying sustenance. Furniture making, practiced as a craft in the twenty-first century, is a decidedly marginal occupation. Yet the view from the periphery can be illuminating. For woodworker Peter Korn, the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one's own volition -- whether in the arts, the kitchen, or the marketplace -- is exactly what generates the authenticity, meaning, and fulfillment for which many of us yearn. In this moving account, Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution. This is not a 'how-to' book in any sense. Korn wants to get at the why of craft in particular, and the satisfactions of creative work in general, to understand their essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing book. 'Peter Korn writes that his work as a furniture-maker tries to accomplish three goals: integrity, simplicity, and grace. Fortunately, these qualities are also what distinguish his writing. In this book, he gives the reader an almost tangible sense of what it takes to be a creative craftsman, a homo faber, a maker of things, which is one of the central elements of the human condition. But he does much more than that: he explores what the search for self and for belonging entails in our rapidly changing times.' --Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 'Peter Korn's brilliant new book resonates with me as a visual artist in a profound way. I share his passion for craft and admire his ability to take a plank of wood and fashion anything he sets his mind to. Throughout the centuries, furniture makers and painters have shared a set of belief systems centered on craft. The pleasure and calm that I get as a painter fashioning a complicated work from colored dirt on canvas is, I believe, the same pleasure and peace that Peter Korn and his students get as craftsmen.' --Chuck Close.

 

 

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(09/12/2014) The Bat: The First Harry Hole Thriller by Jo Nesbø. London. 2012. Harvill Secker. 374 pages. paperback. 9781846556005. Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett. keywords: Mystery Norway Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The first Inspector Harry Hole novel. Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.

Jo Nesbø’s books, translated into forty-seven languages, have sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide. His previous Harry Hole novels include THE REDBREAST, NEMESIS, THE DEVIL’S STAR THE SNOWMAN, and THE LEOPARD, and he is the author of HEADHUNTERS and several children’s books. He has received the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel. He is also a musician, songwriter, and economist and lives in Oslo.

 

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(09/13/2014) Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports by S. L. Price. Gainesville. 2014. University Press of Florida. 288 pages. paperback. 9780813049687. keywords: Baseball Cuba

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In an artful pastiche of observation, personal narrative, interviews, and investigative reporting, S.L. Price, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, describes sports and athletes in today's Cuba. On his journeys to the island, Price finds a country that celebrates sports like no other and a regime that uses games as both symbol and weapon in its dying revolution. He finds Olympic and world champion boxers, track stars, volleyball and baseball players, but he also finds that with Castro's revolution staggering beneath the weight of a great depression, Cuba's famed sports system is imploding. Athletes are defecting by plane and raft. Superstars bike to games and legends like boxer Teofilo Stevenson are forced to lost themselves in a bottle of rum. Beyond an examination of sports in the hothouse of revolution, Pitching Around Fidel presents a vibrant and realistic portrait of Cuba today, complete with sex-happy tourists, blackouts, Fidel's famous former lover, and a black-power fugitive wanted in the U.S. for murder and hijacking. At once a biting travelogue and a meditation on sports in both America and Cuba, Pitching Around Fidel is a valuable document about a time and place that is close to fading away. 'Fascinating.'--Chicago Tribune. 'Unprecedented. Astonishing.'--Miami Herald. 'A rarity: a balanced, compassionate, intimate journal of Cuba's slow, agonizing decay.'--Sports Illustrated. 'Price describes a lovely, proud, impoverished people caught in [a] repressive system that destroys thousands as it celebrates a handful.'--Kirkus 'Takes the wider view, poking its nose into the politics and culture of Cuba every few pages. Price has an easy, lyrical style that elevates his work beyond the usual sports fare.'--Business Week. 'Fascinating, sometimes hilarious, often heart-wrenching.'--Philadelphia Inquirer. 'Easily the most engaging book on Cuban sports--if not Cuba--published in many years.'--Baseball America. 'Offers a rare and provocative tour of the world's most remarkable sports culture. It's an unforgettable story of supremely gifted athletes, the utter madness of politics, and the scent of big money across the sea.'--Carl Hiaasen. 'Price is one of the finest writers on sports anywhere.'--USA Today.

 

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(09/14/2014) Tiny Game Hunting: Environmentally Healthy Ways to Trap and Kill the Pests in Your House and Garden New Edition by Hilary Dole Klein and Adrian M. Wenner. Berkeley. 2001. University of California Press. 268 pages. paperback. 9780520221079. Line drawings by Courtlandt Johnson. keywords: Pests Ecology

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Every year Americans use a staggering five hundred million pounds of toxic pesticides in and around their homes, schools, parks, and roads-a growing health risk for people and the environment. But are these poisons really necessary? This book, appealing to the hunter in us all, shows how to triumph in combat with pests without losing the war to toxic chemicals. Tiny Game Hunting, written in a lively and entertaining style and illustrated with detailed drawings, gives more than two hundred tried-and-true ways to control or kill common household and garden pests without using toxic pesticides.

 

 

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(09/15/2014) Route 66: A Road to America's Landscape, History, and Culture (Plains Histories) by Markku Henriksson. Lubbock. 2014. Texas Tech University Press. 269 pages. paperback. 9780896728257. Cover design by Ashley Beck. Foreword by Susan A. Miller. Plains Histories. keywords: Highways America History Transportation Route 66

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Markku Henriksson was growing up in Finland, the song '(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66' was one of only two he could recognize--in English or Finnish. It was not until 1989 that Henriksson would catch his first glimpse of the legendary highway. It was enough to lure Henriksson four years later to the second international Route 66 festival in Flagstaff. There he realized that Route 66 was the perfect basis for a multidisciplinary American Studies course, one that he has been teaching at the University of Helsinki ever since. Forming the soul of this work--and yielding a more holistic and complex picture than any previous study--are Henriksson's 1996 (east to west) and 2002 (west to east) journeys along the full length of the Route and his mastery of the literature and film that illuminate the Route's place in Americana. Not a history of the road itself and the towns along the way, Henriksson's perspective offers insight into America and its culture as revealed in its peoples, their histories, cultures, and music as displayed along the Mother Road. Editorial Reviews Review Route 66 is a love letter to America's Main Street. For all its historical and cultural context, this is, ultimately, a Finn's celebration of that fantasy of the American Road. --Susan A. Miller, from the foreword.

McDonnell Douglass Chair of American Studies at the University of Helsinki, Markku Henriksson has lectured on Route 66 in Estonia, Sweden, and Canada, as well as Finland and the United States.

 

 

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(09/08/2014) Hermann Hesse's Fictions of the Self: Autobiography and the Confessional Imagination by Eugene L. Stelzig. Princeton. 1988. Princeton University Press. 346 pages. hardcover. 0691067503. keywords: Literary Critism Hermann Hesse Germany Literature

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This masterful synthesis of criticism and biography surveys all of Hermann Hesse's major works and many of his minor ones in relation to the intricate psychological design of his entire life history. Eugene Stelzig examines what it means to be an ‘autobiographical writer’ by considering Hesse's fictions of the self as an exemplary instance of the relationship between life and art and between biography and autobiography. In a graceful and inviting style, he frees this major confessional writer from the confines of German culture and the status of ‘cult figure’ of the 1960s, and situates him in the tradition of world literature and in a variety of literary, psychological, philosophical, and religious contexts. Three introductory chapters on autobiography and Hesse set the stage for a chronological study. Then follows a penetrating analysis of the balance between biographical fact and confessional fantasy in Hesse's long career, from the failed autobiography of his first literary success, Beneath the Wheel, through the protracted midlife crisis of the grotesque Steppenwolf period, to the visionary autobiography of his magisterial fictional finale, The Glass Bead Game.

 

 

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(09/07/2014) Even Now: Poems by Hugo Claus. Brooklyn. 2013. Archipelago Books. 245 pages. paperback. 9781935744887. Cover design by David Bullin. Selected and translated from the Dutch by David Colmer. With an afterword by Cees Nooteboom. keywords: Poetry Literature Dutch The Netherlands Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Beautifully translated from the Dutch by David Colmer, the IMPAC Award-winning translator of Gerbrand Bakker's The Twin, Hugo Claus's poems are remarkable for their dexterity, intensity of feeling, and acute intelligence. From the richly associative and referential 'Oostakker Poems' to the emotional and erotic outpouring of the 'mad dog stanzas' in 'Morning, You,' from his interpretations of Shakespeare's sonnets to a modern adaptation of a Sanskrit masterpiece, this volume reveals the breadth and depth of Claus's stunning output. Perhaps Belgium's leading figure of postwar Dutch literature, Claus has long been associated with the avant-garde: these poems challenge conventional bourgeois mores, religious bigotry, and authoritarianism with visceral passion. The prose, poetry, and paintings of Hugo Claus (1929-2008) were as influential as they were groundbreaking. His novels include Wonder (Archipelago Books), The Sorrow of Belgium, his magnum opus of postwar Europe, as well as Desire, The Swordfish, Mild Destruction, Rumors, and The Duck Hunt. In addition to his writing, he was a painter, playwright, and director. Claus was the recipient of seven state prizes in Belgium, the Prize for Dutch Literature, and the Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding for his body of work.

 

 

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(09/05/2014) Reading Basquiat: Exploring Ambivalence in American Art by Jordana Moore Saggese. Berkeley. 2014. University of California Press. 222 pages. hardcover. 9780520276246. Cover design by Sandy Drooker. keywords: Art Basquiat America

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Before his death at the age of twenty-seven, Jean-Michel Basquiat completed nearly 2,000 works. These unique compositions-collages of text and gestural painting across a variety of media-quickly made Basquiat one of the most important and widely known artists of the 1980s. Reading Basquiat provides a new approach to understanding the range and impact of this artist's practice, as well as its complex relationship to several key artistic and ideological debates of the late twentieth century, including the instability of identity, the role of appropriation, and the boundaries of expressionism. Jordana Moore Saggese argues that Basquiat, once known as ?the black Picasso,' probes not only the boundaries of blackness but also the boundaries of American art. Weaving together the artist's interests in painting, writing, and music, this groundbreaking book expands the parameters of aesthetic discourse to consider the parallels Basquiat found among these disciplines in his exploration of the production of meaning. Most important, Reading Basquiat traces the ways in which Basquiat constructed large parts of his identity-as a black man, as a musician, as a painter, and as a writer-via the manipulation of texts in his own library. 'A brilliant book and a great read. At long last, a deeply researched text on Basquiat's project.' -Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 'Challenging prevailing assumptions about the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Saggese argues that Basquiat's practice was as much conceptual as expressive. Reading Basquiat turns the focus from the artist's lifestyle to his work and the ways in which his approach to appropriation and improvisation addressed the artistic discourse of the 1980s. With this book, Saggese changes the conversation about Basquiat and African Americans' participation in contemporary art.' -John P. Bowles, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jordana Moore Saggese is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art in the Visual Studies Program at California College of the Arts.

 

 

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(09/04/2014) The Lizard's Tale by Jose Donoso. Evanston. 2011. Northwestern University Press. 205 pages. hardcover. 9780810127029. Jacket design by Marianne Jankowski. Translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine. Edited by Julio Ortega. keywords: Literature Chile Latin America Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Winner of 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation. José Donoso was the leading Chilean representative of the Latin American ‘Boom’ of the sixties and seventies that included Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Manuel Puig, among others. Written as a draft in 1973, set aside, and forgotten, The Lizard’s Tale was discovered among Donoso’s papers at Princeton University by his daughter after his death. Edited for publication by critic and poet Julio Ortega, it was published posthumously in Spanish under the title Lagartija sin cola in 2007. Suzanne Jill Levine, who knew Donoso and translated two of his earlier works, brings the book to an English-language audience for the first time. Defeated and hiding in his Barcelona apartment, painter Antonio Muñoz-Roa—clearly Donoso’s alter ego—relates the story of his flight with Luisa, his cousin, lover, and benefactor, after his scandalous desertion from the ‘Informalist’ movement (a witty reference to a contemporary Spanish art movement and possibly an allusion to the Boom as well), in which he had been a member of a certain standing. Frustrated, old, and alone, the artist looks back on his years in the small town of Dors, a place he unsuccessfully tried to rescue from the crushing advance of modernity, and on the decline of his own family, also threatened by the changing times. In Levine’s able hands, Donoso’s clear prose shines through, forming a compact, powerful, and still-relevant meditation on the commercialization of art and the very places we inhabit.

 

 

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(08/27/2014) Hauptmann's Ladder: A Step-by-Step Analysis of the Lindbergh Kidnapping by Richard T. Cahill Jr.. Kent. 2014. Kent State University Press. 402 pages. paperback. 9781606351932. Cover image courtesy of the New Jersey State Police Museum. True Crime History (Kent State). keywords: Crime America Lindbergh Kidnapping

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1936, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. Almost all of America believed Hauptmann guilty; only a few magazines and tabloids published articles questioning his conviction. In the ensuing decades, many books about the Lindbergh case have been published. Some have declared Hauptmann the victim of a police conspiracy and frame-up, and one posited that Lindbergh actually killed his own son and fabricated the entire kidnapping to mask the deed. Because books about the crime have been used as a means to advance personal theories, the truth has often been sacrificed and readers misinformed. Hauptmann's Ladder is a testament to the truth that counters the revisionist histories all too common in the true crime genre. Author Richard T. Cahill Jr. puts the true back in true crime, providing credible information and undistorted evidence that enables readers to form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions. Cahill presents conclusions based upon facts and documentary evidence uncovered in his twenty years of research. Using primary sources and painstakingly presenting a chronological reconstruction of the crime and its aftermath, he debunks false claims and explodes outrageous theories, while presenting evidence that has never before been revealed. Hauptmann's Ladder is a meticulously researched examination of the Lindbergh kidnapping that restores and preserves the truth of the crime of the century.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. received a B.A. in history and political science from Mount Saint Mary College and a J.D. from Albany Law School. His professional experience includes clerking for a criminal court judge, serving as both an assistant district attorney and a criminal defense attorney, and practicing civil law.

 

 

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(09/01/2014) 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. New York. 2008. Farrar Straus Giroux. 898 pages. hardcover. 9780374100148. Jacket art - Gustave Moreau, 'Jupiter and Semele', oil on canvas. Jacket design by Charlotte Strick. Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. Keywords: Literature Chile Latin America South America Translated.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño’s life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa - a fictional Juárez - on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.

 

 

 

   Author of 2666 and many other acclaimed works, Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003) was born in Santiago, Chile, and later lived in Mexico, Paris, and Spain. He has been acclaimed ‘by far the most exciting writer to come from south of the Rio Grande in a long time’ (Ilan Stavans, The Los Angeles Times),’ and as ‘the real thing and the rarest’ (Susan Sontag). Among his many prizes are the extremely prestigious Herralde de Novela Award and the Premio Rómulo Gallegos. He was widely considered to be the greatest Latin American writer of his generation. He wrote nine novels, two story collections, and five books of poetry, before dying in July 2003 at the age of 50.

 

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Neglectedbooks.com

The Neglected Books Page

14 November 2018

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • Shade of Eden, by Kathleen Sully (1960)

    I wrote in my post on Kathleen Sully’s Canaille that she was an unstudied novelist — sometimes clumsy in her prose and style but also free of many of the conventions of more mainstream writers. In Shade of Eden, she amply demonstrates that one set of conventions she felt free to ignore was that of... Read more

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  • Once Around the Sun, by Brooks Atkinson (1951)

    January 5th For seventeen years, seven days a week, Joe Berman has efficiently presided over his newsstand at the corner of Eighty-sixth Street and Broadway. He opens it before five in the morning. Mrs. Berman, wearing a smart hair-do and a Persian lamb coat, relieves him for an hour at breakfast and for two hours... Read more

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  • Canaille, by Kathleen Sully (1956)

    In his Observer review of Canaille, Kathleen Sully’s second book, John Wain wrote, “one never knows what she will do from one page to the next, only that it will probably be something surprising.” After reading over a dozen of Sully’s novels, I can say that truer words have rarely been written. Canaille (French for... Read more

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  • Red Salvia!, from The Tribulations of a Baronet, by Timothy Eden (1933)

    He turns his attention to the head gardener, who has been hovering in the background. They go through the houses — orchids, gardenias — a whole house full of these — a purple lasiandra climbing against a grey wall, the cool malmaisons, where he picks himself a button-hole, cherry-pie, verbena, sweet-scented geranium, and so out... ...

  • The Tribulations of a Baronet, by Timothy Eden (1933)

    I first mentioned The Tribulations of a Baronet in a post derived from an article titled “Out of Print” from the TLS in 1961. At the time, I wrote that it “appears to be a bit like Joe Gould’s Secret, another masterful portrait of a man of great promise and much disappointment.” Having since read... Read more

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  • Complete eTexts of Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage Now Available

    As faithful readers of this site (both of them) know, I devoted nearly two months’ reading and writing back in 2016 to Dorothy Richardson’s 13-volume masterpiece, Pilgrimage, and it remains perhaps the most profoundly revealing experience in by reading life. I personally think that all self-respecting adult males should be required to read Pilgrimage, as... ...

  • “To my Daughter on her Birthday,” from Yorkshire Lyrics, collected by John Hartley

    To my Daughter on her Birthday Darling child, to thee I owe, More than others here will know; Thou hast cheered my weary days, With thy coy and winsome ways. When my heart has been most sad, Smile of thine has made me glad; In return, I wish for thee, Health and sweet felicity. May... Read more

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  • Luxury Cruise, by Joseph Bennett (1962)

    Reading Luxury Cruise is a bit like thumbing through issues of Holiday magazine, the glossy travel magazine of the 1950s. The look, the ads, the content — they all spell “M,000,000,000Ney.” The passengers aboard the Olympic have paid at least $14,000 each for their berths on this round-the-world cruise. That’s over $120,000 in today’s dollars,... Read

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  • Appius and Virginia, by G. E. Trevelyan (1933)

    I’ll admit that I bought G. E. Trevelyan’s novel, Appius and Virginia, on the briefest of descriptions: “A story of a spinster who raises an ape in isolation in hopes of turning him into a man.” It seemed to promise another His Monkey Wife, John Collier’s sublime account of … well, as the title says.... Read more

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  • “Stepping out in these streets,” by Linards Tauns from Contemporary Latvian Poetry (1984)

    Stepping out in these streets Stepping out in these streets Is like drifting away in the rivers’ sweep. In a shop window, pots of paint on display, But my glance strays past them to former days: Tarred old roofs, and fences painted a long time ago And I with paint-stained hands, and tar on my... Read more

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