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(08/04/2008) Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. New York. 1940. Knopf. keywords: Mystery America Los Angeles. 277 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   At six feet five, Moose Malloy was as inconspicuous as a tarantula on angel food and about as dangerous. But Marlowe never was the kind of guy to walk away from trouble when it slapped him in the face, and Moose's girl had disappeared, a mere eight years ago. All Marlowe had to do was find her. Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard.

 

 

 

 

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(08/03/2008) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. New York. 1939. Knopf. keywords: Mystery America Los Angeles. 278 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When a dying millionaire hires Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(08/02/2008) Gogol's Wife And Other Stories by Tommaso Landolfi. New York. 1963. New Directions. Translated From The Italian By Raymond Rosenthal. John Longrigg & Wayland Young. keywords: Literature Translated Italy. 183 pages. Jacket design by David Ford. December 1963.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The title story in this collection is claimed by its narrator to be a chapter in his biography of the Russian writer, Nikolai Gogol. He begins by saying he knows some intimate details of Gogol's life and that as his biographer he feels obligated to reveal them, though as his friend he might have kept all this to himself. After setting the reader up for some perhaps prurient 'facts,' the narrator tells us that Gogol's wife was a life-sized balloon, anatomically correct and quite voluptuous. Claiming to be the only person besides Gogol who has ever seen this creation, the narrator goes on to tell us an occasion where he heard her speak. He describes how she developed her own personality, in spite of the fact that she was a balloon, and that she even contracted syphilis, which subsequently infected Gogol. The narrator and Gogol are celebrating the silver anniversary of Gogol and his wife when the novelist gets insanely irritated with her, inserts a bicycle pump into her, and inflates her until she explodes. Gogol then throws the rubber pieces into the fire He also throws into the fire a balloon baby boy. The story closes with the narrator again defending his position of biographer, providing the truth about Gogol to the reader.

 

 

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(08/01/2008) The Assassination Of Julius Caesar: A People's History Of Ancient Rome by Michael Parenti. New York. 2003. New Press. keywords: Ancient Rome Julius Caesar History Politics. 276 pages. Jacket Design By Alan Hill. 1565847970. September 2003.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Most historians, both ancient and modern, have viewed the Late Republic of Rome through the eyes of its rich nobility. They regard Roman commoners as a parasitic mob, a rabble interested only in bread and circuses, They cast Caesar, who took up the popular cause, as a despot and demagogue, and treat his murder as the outcome of a personal feud or constitutional struggle, devoid of social content. In THE ASSASSINATION OF JULIUS CAESAR, the distinguished author Michael Parenti subjects these assertions of 'gentlemen historians' to a bracing critique, and presents us with a compelling story of popular resistance against entrenched power and wealth. Parenti shows that Caesar was only the last in a line of reformers, dating back across the better part of a century, who were murdered by opulent conservatives. Caesar's assassination set in motion a protracted civil war, the demise of a five-hundred-year republic, and the emergence of an absolutist rule that would prevail over Western Europe for centuries to come. Parenti reconstructs the social and political context of Caesar's murder, offering fascinating details about Roman society. In these pages we encounter money-driven elections, the struggle for economic democracy, the use of religious augury as an instrument of social control, the sexual abuse of slaves, and the political use of homophobic attacks. Here is a story of empire and corruption, patriarchs and subordinated women, self-enriching capitalists and plundered provinces, slumlords and urban rioters, death squads and political witch-hunts. THE ASSASSINATION OF JULIUS CAESAR offers a compelling new perspective on an ancient era, one that contains many intriguing parallels to our own times.

MICHAEL PARENTI is the author of over 250 articles and seventeen books, including the TERRORISM TRAP, HISTORY AS MYSTERY, DEMOCRACY FOR THE FEW, and AGAINST EMPIRE. His writings have been translated into numerous languages. He lectures widely throughout North America and abroad.

 

 

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(07/29/2008) The Ripening by Edouard Glissant. New York. 1959. George Braziller. Translated From The French By Frances Frenaye. Winner Of The Prix Renaudot. keywords: Literature Caribbean Black Martinique Translated. 253 pages. JACKET DESIGN BY HAL SIEGEL.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This extraordinary novel tells the story of the rise to political maturity of eight young Martinicans, and their plans to stage a political murder. Concerned for the justice of the forthcoming elections, they fix upon a government agent who stands in the way of the people. They determine to kill him and, as their instrument, they choose Thael, an unsophisticated shepherd from the hills. THE RIPENING is set in Martinique, on a rich landscape full of life and death. It is one of the most accomplished works by any French Caribbean writer.

Edouard Glissant was born in 1928 in Martinique, and is well known as a poet, and a novelist. THE RIPENING won the Prix Renaudot on its first publication in 1958.

 

 

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(07/27/2008) The Green House by Mario Vargas Llosa. New York. 1973. Avon/Bard. Translated From The Spanish By Gregory Rabassa. keywords: Literature Translated Peru Latin America. 383 pages. 0380427478. June 1973.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    THE GREEN HOUSE was put up across the river from the city of Puira at the edge of the desert. The townspeople laughed at the odd-looking green structure and the stranger who had come into the town to build it. But when the Green House was finished and its first tenants had arrived, the citizens of Puira stopped laughing. For young girls looking for an easier life and the men of Puira, drowning in the monotony and misery of their day-to-day existence, the Green House became a nighttime pleasure oasis in the desert. For the religious and moral forces and the indignant matrons of Puira, the Green House became the very incarnation of the Devil-an evil that had to be destroyed at any cost. ‘A squirming mass of tatterdemalion humanity emerges in these pages. There are Amazonian river people and Amazonian women. There are missionary nuns, lawless speculators in raw jungle rubber, Indian tribesmen who use blowguns and pilots on river boats in the amphibious world. you get everything: the agony of a woman in childbirth, the brutalities of Indian torture, moments of intoxicated joy, a fatal game of Russian roulette, a provincial wedding. The catering is magnificent; every regional dish is served and savored. it is electrically alive.’ - The New York Times.

Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer who is one of Latin America’s leading novelists and essayists. Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa to a middle class family of Spanish forebears, the only child of Ernesto Vargas Maldonado and Dora Llosa Ureta. His parents separated five months after their marriage. Vargas Llosa spent his childhood with his mother in Cochabamba, Bolivia, obtaining his early education at the local Colegio La Salle. During the government of José Luis Bustamante y Rivero, his grandfather obtained an important political post in the Peruvian city of Piura, which prompted Vargas Llosa’s family to return to Peru near his grandfather and study in the Colegio Salesiano. In 1946, Vargas Llosa moved to Lima and met his father for the first time. His parents reestablished their relationship and lived in the capital during his teenage years. While in Lima he studied at the Colegio La Salle. When Vargas Llosa was 14, his father sent him to the Leoncio Prado Military Academy in Lima. A year before his graduation, Vargas Llosa was already working as an amateur journalist. He withdrew from the military academy and finished his studies in Piura, where he worked for the local newspaper La Industria and, at the same time, where the theatrical performance of his first dramatic work, La Huida del Inca, took place. During the government of Manuel A. Odría, Vargas Llosa entered Lima’s National University of San Marcos in 1953 to study literature. At the young age of 19, he married Julia Urquidi, his uncle’s sister-in-law, who was 13 years his senior. The relationship did not last long, however, and in 1959 he left to Spain thanks to a Javier Prado scholarship, and did post-graduate studies at the Complutense University of Madrid, from which he received a Ph. D. Vargas Llosa first came to attention as a writer with La Ciudad y los Perros, based on his teenage experiences at Leoncio Prado. The work met with wide acclaim, and its author was hailed as one of the main exponents of the Latin American literature boom, alongside Paraguay’s Augusto Roa Bastos, Argentina’s Julio Cortázar, Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes and Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez. The novel shows influence of the existentialist works of Jean-Paul Sartre, and quotes a dialogue from one of his novels at the beginning of each of its two parts. It also showed as a stepping for what would become Vargas Llosa’s trademark technique, the use of alternating dialogue to portray realities that are separated by space and time, and the use of verb tense to move his narrative back and forth in time; as well as establishing what would become the main theme of his narrative: the fight of the individual in search of freedom in an oppressive reality. He followed La Ciudad y Los Perros by writing La Casa Verde, a novel that shows the considerable influence that William Faulkner had on the budding writer. The novel deals with a brothel called the Green House, and how its quasi-mythical presence affects the lives of the characters. The main plot follows Bonifacia, a girl who is about to receive the vows of the church, and the transformation that will lead her to become la Selvatica, the best known prostitute of the Green House. The novel confirmed Vargas Llosa in his position as an important voice of Latin American narrative, and went on to win the first edition of the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize in 1967, out-voting works by the veteran Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti and by Gabriel García Márquez. Vargas Llosa’s third novel completes what many critics consider to be his most valuable narrative cycle. Published in a four-volume edition, Conversación en la Catedral was Vargas Llosa’s first attempt at what he calls a ‘total novel,’ that is, the depiction of all the levels of a society through fictional narrative. The novel is a deconstruction of Peru under the dictatorship of Odría in the 1950s, and deals with the lives of characters from the different social strata of the country. The ambitious narrative is built around two axes, the stories of Santiago Zavala and Ambrosio respectively; one the son of a minister, the other his chauffeur. A random meeting at a dog pound leads to a rivetting conversation between the two at a nearby bar known as the Cathedral In the course of the encounter Zavala tries to find the truth about his father’s role in the murder of a notorious figure of the Peruvian underworld, shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way. The novel makes sophisticated use of techniques of alternating narrative, as the conversation in the bar is intercut with scenes from the past. Vargas Llosa followed this serious novel with the shorter and much more comic Pantaleón y las visitadoras, which, through a series of vignettes of dialogues and documents, follows the establishment by the Peruvian armed forces of a corps of prostitutes assigned to visit military outposts in remote jungle areas. In 1977 Vargas Llosa published La tia Julia y el escribidor, based in part on his first marriage. Julia Urquidi, his ex-wife, later wrote a memoir, Lo que Varguitas no dijo in which she gave her own version of their relationship. Vargas Llosa’s novel was later adapted as a Hollywood feature film, Tune in Tomorrow. La guerra del fin del mundo, published in 1981, is a fictional recreation of the War of Canudos, an incident in 19th-century Brazil in which an armed millenarian cult held off a siege by the national army for a number of months. Vargas Llosa’s most recent novel, Travesuras de la niña mala, relates the decades-long obsession of its narrator, a Peruvian expatriate, with a woman with whom he first fell in love when both were teenagers. Vargas Llosa’s novels include many different literary genres, including comedy, murder mystery, historical novel, political thriller, and erotic They are often based on historical events or personal experiences. His writing style often includes intricate changes in time and narrator, similar to that of American novelist William Faulkner, whom Vargas Llosa acknowledges as a literary influence in his account of the novelist’s craft A Writer’s Reality Vargas Llosa’s first novels were set in Peru, but he has broadened his setting over time. Later novels included some set elsewhere in Latin America, such as Brazil ) and the Dominican Republic ) One of his more recent novels ) is set largely in France and Tahiti. Vargas Llosa has written a book-length study of Gabriel García Márquez, a onetime friend with whom he subsequently parted ways. After the book, entitled García Márquez: historia de un deicidio, was published in 1971 in an edition of 20,000 copies, the initial edition quickly sold out, but despite great demand Vargas Llosa refused to allow its republication for many years. The study was eventually included in a volume of his collected works in 2006. It has not been translated into English. He has also written book-length studies of Flaubert and of the Valencian writer Joanot Martorell. Vargas Llosa’s discussion of his own novels is contained in A Writer’s Reality In common with many fellow Latin American intellectuals, Vargas Llosa was initially a supporter of the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, but he eventually became disenchanted with the policies of the Cuban government and moved considerably to the right. During the 1980s, Vargas Llosa became increasingly politically active in his native country, and became known for his staunch neoliberal views. He ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 as the candidate of the center-right FREDEMO coalition. He proposed a drastic austerity program that frightened most of the country’s poor. During the campaign, his opponents read racy passages of his works over the radio in an apparent attempt to shock voters. Although he won the first round with 34of the vote, Vargas Llosa was defeated by a then-unknown agricultural engineer, Alberto Fujimori, in the subsequent run-off. His account of his run for the presidency was subsequently included in a memoir, published in an English-language translation as A Fish in the Water. On his most recent visit to Peru before the 2006 presidential elections, Vargas Llosa campaigned in favor of conservative candidate Lourdes Flores, saying she respected democracy and promised ‘a moderate’ program for the country. In contrast, he warned that if nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala were to win it would be a ‘great misfortune’ since he ‘will push Peru toward the same catastrophic route that Chávez is pushing his country. ’ Although Humala had led a rebellion against Fujimori in 2000, Vargas Llosa suggested that Humala was a carbon copy of Fujimori. He asked: ‘How it is possible that at least a third of Peruvians want a return to dictatorship, authoritarianism, a subjugated press, judicial manipulation, impunity and the systematic abuse of human rights?’ As the presidential race during the second round drew to an end and polls showed Humala trailing former president Alan Garcia, Vargas Llosa tepidly endorsed Garcia as ‘the lesser of two evils. ’ His cousin Luis Llosa is a Peruvian film director, who has filmed an adaptation of Vargas Llosa’s novel The Feast of the Goat. Vargas Llosa and Julia Urquidi were divorced in 1964. In 1965 Vargas Llosa married his first cousin Patricia Llosa, with whom he has three children: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a writer and editor; Gonzalo, a businessman; and Morgana, a photographer.

 

 

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(07/25/2008) The Party & Other Stories by Anton Chekhov. New York. 1985. Penguin Books. Translated From The Russian & With An Introduction By Ronald Wilks. keywords: Penguin Classic Paperback Russia Literature Translated 19th Century. 234 pages. The cover shows 'After the Meal' by Igor Grabar, in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. 0140444521.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'Chekhov is like an Impressionist painter and has a style all his own,' wrote Tolstoy.'At first glance it appears as if the painter has merely smeared his canvas with the first colour that came to hand, indiscriminately, so that the brush-strokes seem to bear no relationship to each other. But as soon as one steps back and surveys the work from a distance, one has the remarkable impression of a colourful, irresistible painting.' Chekhov's painterly sensitivity to atmosphere, sensations and emotional light and shade is most brilliantly demonstrated in 'The Party', in which he draws on his experience as a doctor to portray the tense and conflicting feelings of a pregnant woman; or in 'A Nervous Breakdown', in which he describes how a morbidly shy young man reacts to the brothels of Moscow. All the stories here are vivid, pungent, memorable and, as Gorky described them, 'like exquisite cut-glass bottles, with all the different scents of life in them'.

 

 

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(07/24/2008) The Eagle & The Serpent. New York. 1930. Knopf. Translated from the Spanish by Harriet De Onis. keywords: Literature Translated Mexico Latin America. 360 pages. Originally published as EL AGUILA Y LA SERPIENTE, 1928 - Madrid.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In order that readers not familiar with the origin and nature of the Mexican Revolution may better understand the spirit of this book, we have thought it advisable to give a brief resume of the political events that took place in Mexico from 1910 to 1913. In 1910 Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship was still supreme in Mexico-a liberal, progressive dictator. ship. That same year, as the time for presidential elections approached-a periodical farce by which the letter of the Constitution was observed-the nation began to give evident signs that it wanted to regain possession of its civic will, which had been lost since 1850s. In opposition to the invariable candidacy of Diaz, which satisfied only the groups in power, the nation put forward another, that of Francisco I. Madero. The dictator, however, paid no attention to these premonitory indications; he and his supporters attempted to continue in power, whereupon Madero, at the head of a rising which was not merely political, but revolutionary in character, overthrew Porfirio Diaz and took over the presidency after new elections held in 1911. Madero was a reformer of gentle, apostolic character. He preached ideals of justice and a faith in the triumph of the right. As head of the government he attempted to divert the revolutionary tendencies he headed into legal channels, He also decided, in order to preserve the material well-being of the country, not to destroy the administrative machinery or the political instruments created by the dictatorship. He maintained the existing army; he respected the courts and the legislative bodies and made no changes in the personnel of the government departments. And in this way he lost the sympathy and support of his friends and delivered himself into the hands of his enemies, with results that were soon to prove fatal, A part of the army, headed by two ambitious generals, Bernardo Reyes and Felix Diaz, rose in February, 1913; another division, under the command of Victoriano Huerta, revolted a few days later, after solemnly swearing its loyalty. And then, all joining forces, Huerta had the revolutionary President assassinated a few hours after usurping his office. The indignation and anger of the populace were so great that the day after Madero's death the real revolution broke out; the ideals of justice and agrarian reform the 'martyr President' had advocated seemed too conservative; a vehement desire to regenerate everything asserted itself, an impulse to transform the whole social fabric of Mexico in its diverse aspects; and before the end of February the conflict had been kindled again. Venustiano Carranza, the governor of Coahuila, a civilian, was named First chief of the revolutionary army; the political purposes of the new uprising were outlined in the Plan of Guadalupe, drawn up on March 27, 1913. This new phase of the revolution was much more widespread than the first. From the beginning there were four principal centres of revolutionary action, three in the north: Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila; and one in the south: Morelos. The military leaders in the various sections of the north were respectively, Alvaro Obregon, Francisco Villa, and Pablo Gonzalez; the leader in the south was Emiliano Zapata. The advance of the four revolutionary armies, which was very slow at first, finally became irresistible, especially after the big battles won by Villa and Felipe Angeles in Torreon and Zacatecas. In the northwest, through the states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit and Jalisco, Obregon marched from victory to victory, all the way from the American border to the heart of Mexico, After Villa had broken through the main division of Huerta's army, Pablo Gonzalez could move forward from the states of the northeast-that is to say, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and San Luis. And as Zapata was becoming more and more of a menace from the south-his activities had spread through the states of Morelos, Mexico, and Puebla, surrounding the capital-Huerta fled from the country seventeen months after his crime. After wiping out a part of Porfirio Diaz's former army and discharging from the service those who surrendered, the revolutionary troops marched into the city of Mexico in August 1914. But the revolution was already divided in its hour of triumph. Carranza, whose background and formation were those of the dictatorship, and who was devoid of ideals and eager only for power, from the first moment did all he could to bar the advancement of all those revolutionists whose independence or whose faith in the just character of the revolution might prove a stumbling.block to the new leaders in the race of their personal ambitions. He was supported in this by Obregon and by the groups of Sonora and Coahuila, and he even went so far as to put obstacles in the way of Villa's and Angeles's military operations. This lost him the support of many leaders and large sections of the country; and it brought about a wide breach, which was already evident in December 1913, and of a frankly hostile character by August 1914. To put an end to these dissensions, which threatened to destroy the fruits of the revolution's military victories, the leaders of the different groups decided to call an assembly which should have sovereign authority, to be composed of generals and governors. This was the Convention. It met in October 1914, first in Mexico City and then in Aguascalientes, and voted to remove both Carranza and Villa from their commands, as their quarrels were the principal cause of strife, and to name General Eulalio Gutierrez president pro tern. of the Republic. The generals and governors in favour of Villa submitted to the terms laid down by the Convention; but as Carranza and his adherents demanded, as a preliminary to their obedience of orders, the fulfilment of certain conditions that could not be accepted, the new President had to temporize with Villa while waiting for the Carranza faction to recognize his authority. Finally, dis. owned by the one and at the mercy of the other, he left the power in December 1914 and took refuge with his soldiers. By the beginning of 1915 the revolution had degenerated into a veritable state of anarchy, into a simple struggle between rivals for power. This went on until 1916, when Obregon and Carranza, in great part with the help of the United States, managed to reduce Villa to a position in which he could do nothing, though without ever conquering him. As a guerrilla leader Villa was invincible. In May 1920 he was still lording it in the stronghold of the sierras, His energy and his daring were unrivalled. Even General Pershing's famous expedition.-the ten thousand men that Wilson sent to Mexico, with Carranza and Obregon's approval, 'to get Villa dead or alive'-had to relinquish the undertaking.  

 

 

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(07/23/2008) Lady With Lapdog & Other Stories by Anton Chekhov. New York. 1974. Penguin Books. Translated From The Russian & With An Introduction By David Magarshack. keywords: Penguin Classic Paperback Russia Literature Translated 19th Century. 281 pages. The cover shows a detail from a nineteenth-century lithograph of Moscow. 0140441433.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Introducing his new translation of a selection of short stories by the Russian master of the form, David Magarshack writes: 'The eleven stories in this volume were written between 1885 and 1899. and reading them one gets the impression of holding life itself, like a fluttering bird, in one's cupped hands. ' This collection includes such famous small masterpieces as 'A Boring Story', 'Ward 6', 'Ariadne', 'Ionych', and 'The Darling'. They typify Chekhov's extraordinary ability to compress, as it seems, a whole life into a few pages, and that blend of comedy and tragedy with which he portrays the world.

 

 

 

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(07/20/2008) The Return Of Eva Peron With The Killings In Trinidad by V. S. Naipaul. New York. 1980. Knopf. keywords: Literature Caribbean History England India. 228 pages. Jacket design By Herb Lubalin Associates. 0394509684. March 1980.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   One of the great writers of our time protects his vision of our 'half-made societies'--Argentina, Trinidad, and the Congo--and their crippling surrender to nihilism, in the most compelling essays he has written. Here are the once colonial and now 'revolutionary' and newly corrupt worlds, and the people and incidents crystallizing their tragedy: Eva Peron suddenly 'canonized,' her expensively embalmed corpse trotted out to glamorize the 'new Peronism'. a bogus leader named Michael X. an ex-pima. pusher, and gambling-hour: operator gaining, amidst the prevailing cynicism and indifference of Trinidad, a kind of status--setting up a commune devoted to Black Power, and slaughtering on a bizarre whim three believers-turned-betrayers. and Mobutu in the Congo. dispatching henchmen to preach the new '-authentic' Africa. yet ruling like a medieval king, empowering and annihilating his subjects at will: 'The chief threatens; the people are cowed: the chief relents; the people praise his magnanimity. ' In the last essay of the book. Naipaul reveals himself as a young man electrified by his encounter with the fiction of Joseph Conrad, and he explores Conrad's earlier vision of Africa, South America, and the Far East in relation to his own chilling experience of these places today. These are worlds in which memories are conveniently edited: the past is scrubbed out: life goes on. worlds evoked in passionate. scathing, inspired essays by one of the foremost writers in the English language. V. S. Naipaul Was born in Trinidad. to which his grandfather had come from India. but he has lived most of his life in London. His fifteen books--eight of them novels--have been accorded great critical acclaim and several of today's distinguished literary prizes, among them England's Booker Prize.

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, KB, TC, better known as V. S. Naipaul, is a Trinidadian-born British writer of Indo-Trinidadian descent, currently resident in Wiltshire. Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001 and knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990. He is the son, older brother, uncle, and cousin of published authors Seepersad Naipaul, Shiva Naipaul, Neil Bissoondath, and Vahni Capildeo, respectively. His current wife is Nadira Naipaul, a former journalist. In 1971, Naipaul became the first person of Indian origin to win a Booker Prize for his book In a Free State. In awarding Naipaul the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, the Swedish Academy praised his work 'for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories. ' The Committee added, 'Naipaul is a modern philosophe carrying on the tradition that started originally with Lettres persanes and Candide. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony. ' The Committee also noted Naipaul's affinity with the Polish author of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad. His fiction and especially his travel writing have been criticised for their allegedly unsympathetic portrayal of the Third World. Edward Said, for example, has argued that he 'allowed himself quite consciously to be turned into a witness for the Western prosecution', promoting 'colonial mythologies about wogs and darkies'. This perspective is most salient in The Middle Passage, which Naipaul composed after returning to the Caribbean after ten years of self-exile in England, and An Area of Darkness, an arguably stark condemnation on his ancestral homeland of India. His works have become required reading in many schools within the Third World. Among English-speaking countries, Naipaul's following is notably stronger in the United Kingdom than it is in the United States. Though a regular visitor to India since the 1960s, he has arguably 'analysed' India from an arms-length distance, in some cases initially with considerable distaste, and later with 'grudging affection', and of late perhaps even with 'ungrudging affection' He has also made attempts over the decades to identify his ancestral village in India, believed to be near Gorakhpur in Eastern Uttar Pradesh from where his grandfather had migrated to Trinidad as indentured labourer. In several of his books Naipaul has observed Islam, and he has been criticised for dwelling on negative aspects, e. g. nihilism among fundamentalists. Naipaul's support for Hindutva has also been controversial. He has been quoted describing the destruction of the Babri Mosque as a 'creative passion', and the invasion of Babur in the 16th century as a 'mortal wound. ' He views Vijayanagar, which fell in 1565, as the last bastion of native Hindu civilisation. He remains a somewhat reviled figure in Pakistan, which he bitingly condemned in Among the Believers. In 1998 a controversial memoir by Naipaul's sometime protege Paul Theroux was published. The book provides a personal, though occasionally caustic portrait of Naipaul. The memoir, entitled Sir Vidia's Shadow, was precipitated by a falling-out between the two men a few years earlier. In early 2007, V. S Naipaul made a long-awaited return to his homeland of Trinidad. He urged citizens to shrug off the notions of 'Indian' and 'African' and to concentrate on being 'Trinidadian'. He was warmly received by students and intellectuals alike and it seems, finally, that he has come to some form of closure with Trinidad. Naipaul is married to Nadira Naipaul. She was born Nadira Khannum Alvi in Kenya and got married in Pakistan. She worked as a journalist for Pakistani newspaper, The Nation for ten years before meeting Naipaul. They married in 1996, two months after the death of Naipaul's first wife, Patricia Hale. Nadira had been divorced twice before her marriage to Naipaul. She has two children from a previous marriage, Maliha and Nadir. Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, KB, TC, better known as V. S. Naipaul, is a Trinidadian-born British writer of Indo-Trinidadian descent, currently resident in Wiltshire. Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001 and knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990. He is the son, older brother, uncle, and cousin of published authors Seepersad Naipaul, Shiva Naipaul, Neil Bissoondath, and Vahni Capildeo, respectively. His current wife is Nadira Naipaul, a former journalist. In 1971, Naipaul became the first person of Indian origin to win a Booker Prize for his book In a Free State. In awarding Naipaul the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, the Swedish Academy praised his work 'for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories. ' The Committee added, 'Naipaul is a modern philosophe carrying on the tradition that started originally with Lettres persanes and Candide. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony. ' The Committee also noted Naipaul's affinity with the Polish author of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad. His fiction and especially his travel writing have been criticised for their allegedly unsympathetic portrayal of the Third World. Edward Said, for example, has argued that he 'allowed himself quite consciously to be turned into a witness for the Western prosecution', promoting 'colonial mythologies about wogs and darkies'. This perspective is most salient in The Middle Passage, which Naipaul composed after returning to the Caribbean after ten years of self-exile in England, and An Area of Darkness, an arguably stark condemnation on his ancestral homeland of India. His works have become required reading in many schools within the Third World. Among English-speaking countries, Naipaul's following is notably stronger in the United Kingdom than it is in the United States. Though a regular visitor to India since the 1960s, he has arguably 'analysed' India from an arms-length distance, in some cases initially with considerable distaste, and later with 'grudging affection', and of late perhaps even with 'ungrudging affection' He has also made attempts over the decades to identify his ancestral village in India, believed to be near Gorakhpur in Eastern Uttar Pradesh from where his grandfather had migrated to Trinidad as indentured labourer. In several of his books Naipaul has observed Islam, and he has been criticised for dwelling on negative aspects, e. g. nihilism among fundamentalists. Naipaul's support for Hindutva has also been controversial. He has been quoted describing the destruction of the Babri Mosque as a 'creative passion', and the invasion of Babur in the 16th century as a 'mortal wound. ' He views Vijayanagar, which fell in 1565, as the last bastion of native Hindu civilisation. He remains a somewhat reviled figure in Pakistan, which he bitingly condemned in Among the Believers. In 1998 a controversial memoir by Naipaul's sometime prot?g? Paul Theroux was published. The book provides a personal, though occasionally caustic portrait of Naipaul. The memoir, entitled Sir Vidia's Shadow, was precipitated by a falling-out between the two men a few years earlier. In early 2007, V. S Naipaul made a long-awaited return to his homeland of Trinidad. He urged citizens to shrug off the notions of 'Indian' and 'African' and to concentrate on being 'Trinidadian'. He was warmly received by students and intellectuals alike and it seems, finally, that he has come to some form of closure with Trinidad. Naipaul is married to Nadira Naipaul. She was born Nadira Khannum Alvi in Kenya and got married in Pakistan. She worked as a journalist for Pakistani newspaper, The Nation for ten years before meeting Naipaul. They married in 1996, two months after the death of Naipaul's first wife, Patricia Hale. Nadira had been divorced twice before her marriage to Naipaul. She has two children from a previous marriage, Maliha and Nadir.

 

 

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(07/18/2008) The Quality Of Hurt: The Autobiography Of Chester Himes, Volume 1 by Chester Himes. London. 1973. Michael Joseph. keywords: Autobiography Black America Literature. 351 pages. Jacket design by Claire Lachance. 0718111567.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'This volume of my autobiography recounts all that memory retains of the forty-five years of my hurt. America hurt me terribly, whether rightly or wrongly is not the point. When I fought back through writing it decided to kill me, whether because I was a degenerate ex-convict who refused to wear sackcloth and ashes, a Negro who refused to accept the Negro problem as my own, a 'nigger' who would not conform to the existence prescribed for niggers, or a black man who pitied white women, I will never know. I do know that when America kills a nigger it expects him to remain dead. But I didn't know I was supposed to die. I still had hope. I still believed in the devil. But at the age of forty-five, while trying to make a white woman feel safe, I suddenly realised I had never been safe. Fear erased my hurt. I became afraid to live. Fortunately the desperate struggle for life informed me that the only place where I was safe was in my skin.' - Chester Himes.

 

 

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(07/15/2008) Bleak House by Charles Dickens. New York. 1985. Penguin Books. Edited By Norman Page & With An Introduction By J. Hillis Miller. keywords: Literature England 19th Century. 965 pages. The cover shows a detail from Waiting for the Verdict by Abraham Solomon in the Tunbridge Wells Museum. 0140430636.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   An extraordinary, panoramic example of Dickens's creative power Modern critics, in making claims for Dickens as a profoundly serious novelist as well as a great entertainer, have most often turned for their evidence to BLEAK HOUSE, in which, in Professor Hillis Miller's words, 'Dickens constructed a model in little of English society in his time. In no other of his novels is the canvas broader, the sweep more inclusive, the linguistic and dramatic texture richer, the gallery of comic grotesques more extraordinary. ' At the Court of Chancery the interminable suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce becomes the centre of a web of relationships at all levels, from Sir Leicester Dedlock to Jo the crossing-sweeper, and a metaphor for the decay and corruption at the heart of English society.

 

 

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(07/14/2008) The Roman Way by Edith Hamilton. New York. 1932. Norton. keywords: History Ancient Rome. 281 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this informal history of Roman civilization, Edith Hamilton vividly depicts the Roman life and spirit as they are revealed in the greatest writers of the time. Among these literary guides are Cicero, who left an incomparable collection of letters; Catullus, the quintessential poet of love; Horace, the chronicler of a cruel and materialistic Rome; and the Romantics Virgil, Livy, and Seneca. The story concludes with the stark contrast between high-minded Stoicism and the collapse of values witnessed by Tacitus and Juvenal.

Edith Hamilton won the National Achievement Award in 1950, received honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from Yale University, the University of Rochester, and the University of Pennsylvania, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1957 she was many an honorary citizen of Athens and was decorated with the Golden Cross of the Order of Benefaction by King Paul of Greece.

 

 

 

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(07/13/2008) The Greek Way by Edith Hamilton. New York. 1930. Norton. keywords: Ancient Greece History Classics. 247 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'Five hundred years before Christ in a little town on the far western border of the settled and civilized world, a strange new power was at work. Athens had entered upon her brief and magnificent flowering of genius which so molded the world of mind and of spirit that our mind and spirit today are different. What was then produced of art and of thought has never been surpasses and very rarely equaled, and the stamp of it is upon all the art and all the thought of the Western world.' A perennial favorite in many different editions, Edith Hamilton's best-selling THE GREEK WAY captures the spirit and achievements of Greece in the fifth century B. C. A retired headmistress when she began her writing career in the 1930s, Hamilton immediately demonstrated a remarkable ability to bring the world of ancient Greece to life, introducing that world to the twentieth century. The New York Times called THE GREEK WAY a 'book of both cultural and critical importance.'

Edith Hamilton won the National Achievement Award in 1950, received honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from Yale University, the University of Rochester, and the University of Pennsylvania, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1957 she was many an honorary citizen of Athens and was decorated with the Golden Cross of the Order of Benefaction by King Paul of Greece.

 

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(07/11/2008) The Lazy Ones by Albert Cossery. New York. 1957. New Directions. Translated William Goyen. keywords: Literature Translated Egypt Arabic. 158 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   On the outskirts of an Egyptian city stands a strange house. Its occupants are never seen, except for a servant girl who goes to market for provisions. It is a house drugged with sleep, a house drowned in impenetrable slumber. Then one day an earnest young man comes out into the street, yawning and stretching. At first his eyes can barely endure the light or his ears the noise of human activity. But with resolute determination, he sets out toward his adventure. His name is Serag. This novel, by the young Egyptian author of THE HOUSE OF CERTAIN DEATH, is Serag's story - of the ties that held him in the house of sleep and of the destiny that broke them. For all of its realism - the very feel of the Arab world is in Cossery's pages - THE LAZY ONES is basically a comic novel, but in a vein of humor, extravagant and a little perverse, that is characteristically European.

Albert Cossery was born in Cairo in 1913, the son of middle-class parents. He studied law in Paris before the outbreak of the last war. During the war Cossery served in the Egyptian Merchant Navy. He now lives in Paris, devoting his time completely to literary work. THE LAZY ONES was his 2nd novel; a book of short stories about Egyptian life, Men God Forgot, was published in the United States by George Leite. His novel, THE HOUSE OF CERTAIN DEATH, appeared in the Directions Series in 1949.

 

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(07/10/2008) Men God Forgot by Albert Cossery. Berkeley. 1946. Circle Editions. Translated From French By H. E. keywords: Literature Translated Egypt Arabic. 139 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Not that the little people are to be found exclusively in the little nations such as Egypt. Quite the contrary. For the moment, however, it is not the little people so much in whom we are interested as the forgotten people of the world. They exist everywhere, mostly in the big nations, and often in the biggest cities. They are lodged in the heart of civilization, like a cancer. They are the people you seldom notice when you go for a walk, or when the innumerable street lamps begin to blaze. As Cossery says, 'that is how civilization makes itself felt, as lights which it scatters around it to blind the people.' - HENRY MILLER.

Albert Cossery was born in Cairo in 1913, the son of middle-class parents. He studied law in Paris before the outbreak of the last war. During the war Cossery served in the Egyptian Merchant Navy. He now lives in Paris, devoting his time completely to literary work. THE LAZY ONES was his 2nd novel; a book of short stories about Egyptian life, Men God Forgot, was published in the United States by George Leite. His novel, THE HOUSE OF CERTAIN DEATH, appeared in the Directions Series in 1949.

 

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(07/09/2008) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York. 1945. Bantam Books. keywords: Literature America 20th Century. 191 pages. November 1945.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Many consider The Great Gatsby the closest thing to the Great American Novel ever written. No one ever rightly knew who Gatsby was. Some said that he had been a German spy, others that he was related to one of Europe's royal families. Despite this nearly everyone took advantage of his fabulous hospitality. And it really was fabulous. On his superb Long Island home he gave the most amazing parties, and not the least remarkable thing about them was the fact that few people could recognize their host. He seemed to be a person without background, without history, without a home. Ye the irony of this bright and brittle fa?ade was that he had created it not to impress the world and his wife, but to impress just one person - a girl he had loved and had had to leave, a girl who had loved him but was now married to a rich good-for-nothing, a girl whom he had dreamed about for over four years. This dream had long creased to have any substance or any connection with reality - and for that reason he could not wake from it. He had doped himself with his own illusion. And only death could dispel that dream.

 

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(07/08/2008) Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. New York. 1970. Walker & Company. Translated From The Polish By Joanna Kilmartin & Steven Cox. keywords: Literature Translated Poland Eastern Europe Science Fiction. 216 pages. Jacket illustration by Jack Gaughan. 0802755267.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Kris Kelvin left Earth for Station Solaris, he was prepared for the hazards of space travel - solitude, hardship, exhaustion, perhaps death - but not for the cruel miracle of landing at his destination to find himself as he really is: to confront a presence and emotions long forgotten and suppressed, and no longer feared. An invisible, elusive spirit had taken possession of those stationed at Solaris - one that knew them better than they did themselves and held them prisoners of their own nightmares. One traveler takes his own life, another goes mad, a third disappears before the phenomenon of the 'Psi-creature' is explained. The 'ocean covering Solaris seems to be a gigantic fluid brain, prodigiously powerful and several million years beyond our own civilization, To the explorers on Solaris, it becomes a mysterious, alien force, threatening to their emotional endurance and challenging to their intellectual capacities. From the perspective of Solaris, emerges a new view of the nature of man: a creature who soars off into the cosmos in quest of other worlds and greedy for scientific knowledge, without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, without discovering what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.

 

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(07/07/2008) The Memoirs Of Satan by William Gerhardi & Brian Lunn. London. 1932. Cassell & Company. keywords: Literature England Satan. 382 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   SATAN narrates the epic of mankind and the part he has played therein. From the dim days of the remote Ice Age he watches the growth of the world, the coming of man, the part played by love and passion. He gives his version of the stories of Adam and Eve, the destruction of Sodom, the adventures of Jonah, the tribulation of Job ; he recalls the great days of history when he possessed Tiberius, Nero, the Caliph of Bagdad, Cromwell, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, and many another. Finally, he arrives at a Bayswater boardinghouse, an old man and very weary. He has his last great adventure, makes his last possession, and then his mortal remains are taken for cremation to Golders Green.

William Alexander Gerhardie was a British novelist and playwright. Gerhardie was one of the most critically acclaimed English novelists of the 1920s 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 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 Again it deals with Russia 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 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 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.'

 

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(07/05/2008) Mario & The Magician by Thomas Mann. New York. 1931. Knopf. Translated From The German By H. T. Lowe-Porter. keywords: Literature Germany Translated. 81 pages. Originally published in German as Mario und der Zauberer, 1930 - S. Fischer, Verlag A. , Berlin.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This book by the Nobel Prize winner of 1929 displays both his psychological insight and his great craftsmanship to their fullest extent. A hypnotist, posing as a juggler, arrives at an Italian summer resort and in this holiday atmosphere begins his act. In the crowd about him he singles out Mario as a likely subject for his hypnotic powers, and he so plays with the innermost thoughts of this diffident young man that Mario retaliates by murdering his inquisitor. The reader finds himself so closely identified with the swaying, gasping audience that he is acutely aware of each new turn in this ironically tragic performance during which a man lays bare his soul. MARIO AND THE MAGICIAN holds the concentrated essence of Thomas Mann's genius. 

 

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(07/04/2008) 1852 Independence Day speech by Frederick Douglass. 

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

 

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

 

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(07/02/2008) Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. New York. 1988. Knopf. Translated From The Spanish By Edith Grossman. keywords: Literature Translated Colombia Latin America. 351 pages. Front-of-jacket photograph: Poster Lady, by Edward I. Steichen, 1906. Courtesy of the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. Front-of-jacket pattern: Courtesy of the Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Carol Devine Carson & Chip Kidd. 0394561619. April 1988.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ established his literary reputation more than twenty years ago with the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude, a legendary book that has been read by millions of people around the world. It was followed by other works, each of which drew new readers and new praise from the critics-culminating in the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Now Garcia Marquez has written a book that takes its place alongside that earlier, famous work, in the company of the true masterpieces of modern literature. 'It was inevitable. ' So begins this story set in a country on the Caribbean coast of South America-a story that ranges from the late nineteenth century to the early decades of our own, tracing the lives of three people and their entwined fates. And yet, at first nothing seems inevitable, for this is a tale of unrequited love. Fifty years, nine months, and four days' worth, to be exact. For that is how long Florentino Ariza has waited to declare, once again, his undying love to Fermina Daza, whom he courted and almost won so many years before. He has the bad grace, however, to make his declaration at the funeral of her husband, one of the most illustrious men of his time, a patron of the arts, distinguished professor of medicine, and leader in the fight against the cholera epidemics that once ravaged the country. Shaken by Florentino's bold speech, Fermina banishes him from her house. But that is only the beginning. With the craft, humor, and accumulated wisdom of a master of fiction, Garcia Marquez transports them back to those early days when they first met, courted, and were forced apart. He shows them going their very different ways-Florentino with his poetry, his rise to prominence in business, and his constant pursuit of women. And we see Fermina as she is wooed by the most sought-after bachelor of their time, Doctor Juvenal Urbino de la Calle; as they wed; as they experience all the events and emotions-honeymoon, passion, children, small betrayals, separations, dependencies, and adventures-that constitute a long, sturdy marriage. And then, at what might seem the end of their lives, Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza are brought together once more, in a meeting whose outcome is as fateful, as suspenseful, as any in literature. As the title suggests, Garcia Marquez has written a novel about love, love in all its guises: young love, married love, romantic love, carnal love, even love with the symptoms of cholera. More than that, he has written a work of art radiant with humanity that readers will savor and will remember for the rest of their lives.

GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ was born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1928. He attended the University of Bogota and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas, and New York. The author of several novels and collections of stories-including NO ONE WRITES TO THE COLONEL AND OTHER STORIES, THE AUTUMN OF THE PATRIARCH, INNOCENT ERENDIRA AND OTHER STORIES, IN EVIL HOUR, LEAF STORM AND OTHER STORIES, CHRONICLE OF A DEATH FORETOLD, and the internationally bestselling ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.  

 

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(07/01/2008) Memoirs Of A Gigolo by Marcos Rey. New York. 1987. Avon Books. Translated From The Portuguese By Clifford E. Landers. Paperback Original. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America. 217 pages. 0380750007.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   FROM PIMP TO PREACHER TO PR EXEC. Meet Mariano-the willy and ribald mascot of Sao Paulo's most infamous bordello. an expert in the carnal complexities of love Brazilian-style. Follow his lusty adventures as he tumbles from one raucous encounter to another-searching for the virginal streetwalker of his dreams. evading his archenemy Esmeraldo. and conning his way to the top of the corporate ladder only to land on skid row after a crazy turn of events. Hilariously rooted in the picaresque, MEMOIRS OF A GIGOLO makes its scamp of a hero the most appealing creation since Tom Jones, in a marvelous tale that pokes fun at the hungers of the flesh and the foibles of the heart.

Edmundo Donato is one of Brazil's most popular and critically acclaimed writers, who uses the name of Marcos Rey as a pseudonym. He was born in Sao Paulo city, state of Sao Paulo, in 1925. His brother Mario Donato is also a writer. He started writing short stories when he was sixteen years old. His first book is a novella which is called Um Gato no Triangulo, in 1953. His first novel, Break-fust in Bed, was a runaway bestseller and has recently been reissued by the Brazilian Book-of-the-Month Club. He has had six other novels and six collections of short stories published, one of which, The Procuress's Funeral, won two of Brazil's most prestigious awards-the Critics Prize and the Jabuti Prize-while MEMOIRS OF A GIGOLO has sold over 200,000 copies in its Brazilian edition. Marcos Key has also written for radio and television, and a number of his stories have been adapted for the cinema both in Brazil and abroad.

 

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(06/30/2008) The Good Soldier Schweik by Jaroslav Hasek. Middlesex. 1965. Penguin Books. Illustrated by Joseph Lada. Translated from the Czech by Paul Selver. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 471 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Poor Schweik. How simple-minded he is. Possibly even a lunatic. For how else could. he fail to recognize the matchless wisdom of his sergeant, his lieutenant, his colonel, and even his king, who all agree it is his noble duty to serve as a solid target for an enemy bullet. Can the author be so bold as to suggest that this miserable nobody, this disgraceful malingerer, this grain of sand in the great military machine, is the true hero of our times?. In all of the literature of war there is no more deadly weapon than Schweik's blank gaze as he listens to a vital order, then marches resolutely away in the wrong direction. For in Schweik's vision of the world -a world in which it is good to live and bad to die- lies a force that can topple empires and reduce the inspiring spectacle of war to bloody absurdity. The brilliant satire of this masterpiece does more than delight the reader; it casts the healing light of sanity upon the festering wounds of this war-torn century. 'The reader is reminded of Swift, Gogol, Dickens. Hasek makes our present-day beatniks, bohemians, and would-be satirists seem very small beer by comparison.' -LONDON TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT.

 

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(06/29/2008) The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. New York. 2002. Knopf/Everyman. Newly Translated From The Russian By Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky. keywords: Literature Russia Translated 19th Century. 672 pages. 0375413928.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From award-winning translators, a masterful new translation - never before published - of the novel in which Fyodor Dostoevsky set out to portray a truly beautiful soul. Just two years after completing CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Dostoevsky produced a second novel with a very different man at its center. In THE IDIOT, the saintly Prince Myshkin returns to Russia from a Swiss sanatorium and finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with wealth, power, and sexual conquest. He soon becomes entangled in a love triangle with a notorious kept woman, Nastasya, and a beautiful young girl, Aglaya. Extortion and scandal escalate to murder, as Dostoevsky's 'positively beautiful man' clashes with the emptiness of a society that cannot accommodate his innocence and moral idealism. THE IDIOT is both a powerful indictment of that society and a rich and gripping masterpiece.

 

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(06/28/2008) The Scarlet & Black by Stendhal. New York. 1982. Penguin Books. Translated From The French & With An Introduction By Margaret R. B. Shaw. keywords: Penguin Classic Paperback Literature France Translated 19th Century. 509 pages. The cover shows a portrait by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon in the Musee Carnavalet. 0140440305.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   To Stendhal the novel was a mirror of life reflecting 'the blue of the skies and the mire of the road below'. SCARLET AND BLACK, his greatest novel, reflects without distortion the France of the decades after Waterloo - its haves and have-nots, its Royalists and Liberals, its Jesuits and Jansenists. Against this crowded backcloth moves the figure of Julien Sorel, a clever, ambitious, up-from-nothing hero whose tragic weakness is to lose his head in a crisis. Margaret Shaw's translation keeps intact the plain, colloquial style of a writer who, in a age of Romantics, set the pattern for later realists such as Flaubert and Zola.

 

 

 

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(06/27/2008) Shame by Salman Rushdie. New York. 1983. Knopf. keywords: Literature Pakistan India. 319 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. 0394534085. November 1983.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Salman Rushdie's book - his amazing novel of India, MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN - was greeted with a torrent of excited praise and was awarded England's prestigious Booker Prize as the best novel of 1981. Critics on both sides of the Atlantic rejoiced in admitting Rushdie to the ranks of such writers as Gunter Grass, V. S. Naipaul, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. 'An author to welcome into world company!' exclaimed the New York Times Book Review. 'An extraordinary novel,' said the Nav York Review of Books, 'one of the most important to come out of the English-speaking world in this generation. ' In has magnificent new novel, Shame, Rushdie takes us bade to the world of the East, giving us a colorful, complex fantasy at once comic and serious - an amazing mixture of history, myth, art, language, politics, religion, but all 'at a slight angle to reality.' The setting: a country that is 'not Pakistan, or not quite.' The story: a saga of rivalry, passion, brotherhood, betrayal, sexual obsession, violence, and revenge. The narrator: the novelist himself, who weaves into his chimerical tale accounts of the actual people ibd actual events that are the seeds of his fantasy. The central characters: the families of two men engaged in a protracted duel that is played out in the political life of their country. The hero: Omar Khayyam Shakil, born of three mothers, a man plagued from birth by an improbable vertigo and, indeed, so peripheral by nature that even in this--the story of his own life--he is, in a sense, only a minor character. The heroine: Sufiya Zinobia, a woman preternaturally receptive to others' unfelt emotions, absorbing like a sponge the unfelt shame of those around her - becoming a monster, a murderess, a human guillotine, a fiery ravening Beast of shame, the flesh-and-blood incarnation of the shame of an entire country. The explosive comedies and delicate dramas that run through these lives - the loves, the conflicts, the exploits and adventures, the quirks of inescapable fate - are recounted with humor, compassion, and stylistic brilliance. SHAME is a novel dense with life and with truth - 'a sort of modern fairy tale,' rooted in the events of our own world but refracted through a uniquely fertile imagination. It will confirm Salman Rushdie's stature as one of the most original and important writers of our time.

 

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(06/26/2008) Decline Of The English Murder & Other Essays by George Orwell. Middlesex. 1965. Penguin Books. keywords: Literature England Essays Literary Criticism Paperback Penguin. 2297. 188 pages. The cover shows a portrait of George Orwell by Peter Blake.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A collection of some of the less accessible essays by the author of ANIMAL FARM. Including his lament for the inferior quality of modern murders and his comments on the changing face of fictional crime; his long essay on Dickens, and his shrewd critical remarks on Kipling and on the peculiar genius of Salvador Dali; eyewitness accounts of a hanging in Burma and a lazar-house in Paris; with notes on nationalism, on seaside postcards, and on his own ambition - surely realized - to make political writing into an art.

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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(06/25/2008) Death In The Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa. New York. 1996. Farrar Straus Giroux. Translated From The Spanish By Edith Grossman. keywords: Literature Translated Peru Latin America. 276 pages. Jacket design by Michael Ian Kaye. Author photograph by Jerry Bauer. 0374140014.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   DEATH IN THE ANDES is Mario Vargas Llosa's first work of fiction since the best-selling IN PRAISE OF THE STEPMOTHER. The novel tells the story of army corporal Lituma and his deputy Tomas, who have been assigned to treacherous guard duty in an isolated, run-down mining community in the mountains of Peru. The men are homesick and far from enthusiastic about serving as foot soldiers in the Peruvian Army's ongoing war against the Shining Path guerillas. So, to pass the time, Tomas tells the story of his great love, Mercedes a troublemaking prostitute who leads him on a precarious, cross-country adventure. But life in the Andes soon turns eventful too. Lituma and Tomas find themselves caught up in a series of mysterious disappearances involving the Shining Path and, soon enough, a local couple performing cannibalistic sacrifices with a strange similarity to the Dionysian rituals of ancient Greece. Part detective novel and part political allegory, DEATH IN THE ANDES offers a panoramic view of Peru today - not only of the current political violence and social upheaval but also of the country's roots in Indian culture and pre-Hispanic mysticism. With his usual ?lan, Mario Vargas Llosa builds a magical assemblage of narrators, time frames, and sub-plots, which bursts with unforgettable characters - Senderista guerillas, disenfranchised Indians, eccentric townspeople, and overly curious foreigners. The result is a work of suspense, narrative drive, and keen insight into one of Latin America's most fascinating and complex countries.

Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer who is one of Latin America's leading novelists and essayists.

 

 

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(06/23/2008) The Sorrows Of Young Werther & Novella by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. New York. 1971. Random House. Translated From The German By Elizabeth Meyer & Louise Bogan. Foreword By W. H. Auden. keywords: Literature Germany Translated. 203 pages. Jacket design by Irving Bogen. 0394470249. February 1971.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'Werther still fascinates us. To us it reads, not as a tragic love story, but as a masterly and devastating portrait of a complete egoist, a spoiled brat, incapable of love because he cares for nobody and nothing but himself and having his way at whatever cost to others. NOVELLA, published in 1828, four years before Goethe's death, is an excellent example of a literary genre, the idyll, at which German writers, more than those of any other language group, have always excelled.' - from the Foreword by W. H. Auden.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. His father was a man of means and position, who personally supervised the early education of his son. The young Goethe studied at the universities of Leipzig and Strasbourg, and in 1772 entered upon the practice of law at Wetzlar. At the invitation of Karl August, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, he went in 1775 to live in Weimar, where he held a succession of political offices, becoming the Duke's chief adviser. From 1786 to 1788 he travelled in Italy, and directed the ducal theatre at Weimar. He took part in the Napoleonic wars against France, and in the following began a friendship with Friedrich Schiller, which lasted until the latter's death in 1805. In 1806 he married Christiane Vulpius. As of 1820 he was on friendly terms with Kaspar Maria von Sternberg. From about 1794, he devoted himself chiefly to literature, and after a life of extraordinary productivity, died in Weimar.

LOUISE BOGAN, the distinguished American lyric poet, was awarded almost every major poetry award, including the Bollingen Prize, She translated The Journal of Jules Renard, and was co-translator with Elizabeth Mayer of Goethe's ELECTIVE AFFINITIES.

ELIZABETH MAYER has collaborated with W. H. Auden and Marianne Moore, Her translations include Goethe's ITALIAN JOURNEY, Adalbert Stiftler's ROCK CRYSTAL, and works by Sybil Bedford and others into German.

 

Check zenosbooks.com for either a used or a new copy of this book, or you can add it to your wishlist.

 



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