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(07/26/2014) The 826 Quarterly: Volume 19 - Spring 2014 by Molly Parent (editor). San Francisco. 2014. 826 Valencia. 137 pages. 9781934750452. Poetry, Fiction, & Essays by Authors 6 to 18. keywords: Literature America Kids Anthology

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This edition of the 826 Quarterly contains fiction, non-fiction, and poetry written by authors ages 6-18. The pieces are selected from all the 826 programs (drop-in tutoring, workshops, in-schools, projects, field trips) and at-large submissions. Pieces are chosen in a traditional literary journal style by an editorial board comprised of students and volunteer tutors. This issue includes a hard-hitting investigation into what one 11 year old writer calls "the hipster epidemic," poetry about real ships that are sunken under the streets of San Francisco, introspective personal essays on group identity, and short fiction about zoo animals who learn to embrace democracy. It's a wild ride with something to make readers of all ages smile and think. 1st trade appearance of work by Zora Rosenberg - ‘Siren’s Call’, excerpt of the unpublished short story by the same name.

 

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(07/17/2014) Hunter's Trap by C. W. Smith. Dallas. 1996. 253 pages. hardcover. 0875651623. Cover art & design by Barbara Whitehead. keywords: Literature Mystery Texas.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   On the night of the vernal equinox in 1930, the novel's protagonist, Wilbur Smythe, puts in motion his plan to avenge the deaths of his wife and his employer, a wealthy Kiowa, both murdered by a banker greedy for the Kiowa's oil money. Smythe intends to kidnap the banker's seventeen-year-old daughter, Sissy, and hold her hostage to torment her father before killing him. Hunter's Trap further explores the clash of values and cultures that formed the core of Smith's earlier novel based on historical events, Buffalo Nickel. In this new novel, he has written a blend of early twentieth-century ‘western’ with Greek tragedy and has given the tension-filled story a sophisticated gloss of 1930s determinism and pre-Christian paganism, so that the horrific outcome of Smythe's plan to use the daughter of his nemesis has a fateful inevitability and a gruesome but implacable logic. Set largely in El Paso and its Mexican neighbor, Juarez, the story weaves together the strong political and social undercurrents of the Depression. Beneath its texture of place and time, however, the story reasserts the age-old wisdom of how thin the margin is between good and evil in members of the human ‘family.’

C. W. Smith (born 1940) is a novelist, short-story and essay writer who serves as a Dedman Family Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Southern Methodist University. C. W. Smith (full name Charles William Smith) was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. He received a B.A. in English from the University of North Texas in 1964 and an M.A. in English from Northern Illinois University in 1967. After teaching at Southwest Missouri State University, he moved to Mexico for a year to work on his first novel, Thin Men of Haddam. Published by Viking/Grossman in 1973, the book won the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters for the Best Novel by a Texan or about Texas and was recognized by the Southwestern Library Association for making a ‘distinguished contribution to an understanding of a vital social issue in the American Southwest.’ Smith has said that his goal since beginning his first novel has been ‘to document in a dramatic fashion the cultural conflicts of the American Southwest as well as the universal, existential dilemmas that arise from being human regardless of place and time.’ In pursuit of that goal, his second novel, set in West Texas among oil field workers and small-town citizens, sought to portray the lives of young people trapped in circumstances too small for their aspirations.

 

 

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(07/15/2014) Race Men by Hazel V. Carby. Cambridge. 1998. Harvard University Press. hardcover. 228 pages.  Jacket art: Diedra Harris-Kelley. ‘Harmony,’ 1994. Jacket design by Annamarie McMahon Why. The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures. keywords: Black Race Politics History Feminism America African American. 0674745582.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Who are the 'race men' standing for black America? It is a question Hazel Carby rejects, along with its long-standing assumption: that a particular type of black male can represent the race. A searing critique of definitions of black masculinity at work in American culture, Race Men shows how these defining images play out socially, culturally, and politically for black and white society--and how they exclude women altogether. Carby begins by looking at images of black masculinity in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois. Her analysis of The Souls of Black Folk reveals the narrow and rigid code of masculinity that Du Bois applied to racial achievement and advancement--a code that remains implicitly but firmly in place today in the work of celebrated African American male intellectuals. The career of Paul Robeson, the music of Huddie Ledbetter, and the writings of C. L. R. James on cricket and on the Haitian revolutionary, Toussaint L'Ouverture, offer further evidence of the social and political uses of representations of black masculinity. In the music of Miles Davis and the novels of Samuel R. Delany, Carby finds two separate but related challenges to conventions of black masculinity. Examining Hollywood films, she traces through the career of Danny Glover the development of a cultural narrative that promises to resolve racial contradictions by pairing black and white men--still leaving women out of the picture. A powerful statement by a major voice among black feminists, Race Men holds out the hope that by understanding how society has relied upon affirmations of masculinity to resolve social and political crises, we can learn to transcend them.

HAZEL CARBY is Chair of African and African American Studies and a Professor of American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of RECONSTRUCTING WOMANHOOD: THE EMERGENCE OF THE AFRO-AMERICAN WOMAN NOVELIST.

 

 

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(07/14/2014) Freud And Man's Soul by Bruno Bettelheim. New York. 1982. 114 pages. January 1983. hardcover. 0394524810. Jacket design by Robert Anthony. keywords: Psychology Freud.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The world-renowned psychoanalyst and child psychologist here gives us an unprecedented reading of Freud - and an exhilarating vision of the true uses of psychoanalysis. He demonstrates that the English translations of Freud’s writings not only distort some of the central concepts of psychoanalysis but actually make it impossible for the reader to recognize that Freud’s ultimate concern was man’s soul, the basic element of our common human what it is, how it manifests itself in everything we do and dream. And he shows that these translations, by masking much of the essential humanism of Freud’s work, have led to a tragic misunderstanding and widespread misuse of psychoanalysis, particularly in America. Reminding us that Freud analyzed his own dreams, his own slips of the tongue, and the reasons he himself made mistakes, Dr. Bettelheim makes clear that Freud created psychoanalysis not so much as a method of analyzing the behavior of other people but as a way for each of us to gain access to (and, where possible, control of) his own unconscious – a goal impeded by English translations in which Freud becomes impersonal esoteric, abstract, ‘scientific’ translations that discourage the reader from embarking on his own voyage of self-discovery and that make it easy for him to distance himself from what Freud sought to teach about the inner life of man and of the reader himself. Startling examples are given of mistranslations. Dr. Bettelheim (who is, as Freud was, a German-speaking Viennese) reveals how in the English versions nearly all of Freud’s references to the soul have been corrupted (for example, Seelentätigkeit – ‘activity of the soul’ – is translated as ‘mental activity’) He demonstrates that Freud’s English translators, because of their determination to perceive psychoanalysis as a medical science, have consistently resorted to the technical Greco-Latinisms of the medical profession - with such terms as ‘parapraxis,’ ‘cathexis,’ and ‘scopophilia’ - in rendering German words that Freud chose specifically for their humanistic resonance, for their power to evoke in his German readers not only an intellectual but also an emotional response. And Dr. Bettelheim makes us realize how these mistranslations - perhaps most notable among them the rendering into ‘English’ of the homely German words ich and es with the distant Latin ego and id - have had a profound effect on both the practice and the history of psychoanalysis. This eloquent, passionately argued, deeply illuminating book is urgent reading for everyone interested in psychoanalysis and for all who seek a humanistic approach to psychology - so central to Freud and so unrecognizable in the English translations of his writings. It is certain to take its place among the classic works of Bruno Bettelheim.

Bruno Bettelheim was born in Vienna in 1903, received his doctorate at the University of Vienna, and came to America in 1939. He was distinguishcd Professor of Education Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of both psychology and psychiatry at the University of Chicago. His previous books include CHILDREN OF THE DREAM, THE INFORMED HEART, LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH, A HOME FOR THE HEART, SURVIVING AND OTHER ESSAYS, and, with Karen Zelan, ON LEARNING TO READ. In 1977 he won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award for THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT.

 

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(07/13/2014) A Good Man In Africa by William Boyd. New York. 1982. Morrow. hardcover. 342 pages. keywords: Literature England Africa. 0688008208.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A Good Man in Africa is William Boyd's classic, prize-winning debut novel. It is winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize. Escapee from suburbia, overweight, oversexed. .Morgan Leafy isn't overburdened with worldly success. Actually, he is refreshingly free from it. But then, as a representative of Her Britannic Majesty in tropical Kinjanja, it was not very constructive of him to get involved in wholesale bribery. Nor was it exactly oiling his way up the ladder to hunt down the improbably pointed breasts of his boss' daughter when officially banned from horizontal delights by a nasty dose. .Falling back on his deep-laid reserves of misanthropy and guile, Morgan has to fight off the sea of humiliation, betrayal and ju-ju that threatens to wash over him. William Boyd has received world-wide acclaim for his novels. They are: A Good Man in Africa (1981, winner of the Whitbread Award and the Somerset Maugham Prize), An Ice Cream War (1982, shortlisted for the 1982 Booker Prize and winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), Stars and Bars (1984), The New Confessions (1987), Brazzaville Beach (1990, winner of the McVitie Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize), The Blue Afternoon (1993, winner of the 1993 Sunday Express Book of the Year Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, 1995), Armadillo (1998) and Any Human Heart (2002, winner of the Prix Jean Monnet). He is also the author of a collection of screenplays and a memoir of his school days, School Ties (1985); and three collections of short stories: On the Yankee Station (1981), The Destiny of Nathalie X (1995) and Fascination (2004). He also wrote the speculative memoir Nat Tate: an American Artist - the publication of which, in the spring of 1998, caused something of a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. A collection of his non-fiction writings, 1978-2004, entitled Bamboo, was published in October 2005. His ninth novel, Restless, was published in September 2006 (Costa Book Award, Novel of the Year 2006) and his tenth novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms, published September 2009. His novel Waiting For Sunrise was published in February 2011. William Boyd, CBE (born 7 March 1952) is a British novelist and screenwriter resident in London. Boyd was born in Accra, Ghana, and spent his early life in Ghana and Nigeria.[1] He was educated at Gordonstoun school; and then the University of Nice, France, the University of Glasgow, and finally Jesus College, Oxford. Between 1980 and 1983 he was a lecturer in English at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and it was while he was there that his first novel, A Good Man in Africa (1981), was published. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005. Although his novels have been short-listed for major prizes, he has never had the same publicity as his contemporaries. Boyd was selected in 1983 as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ in a promotion run by Granta magazine and the Book Marketing Council. Boyd's novels include: A Good Man in Africa, a study of a disaster-prone British diplomat operating in West Africa, for which he won the Whitbread Book award and Somerset Maugham Award in 1981; An Ice-Cream War, set against the background of the World War I campaigns in colonial East Africa, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was nominated for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1982; Brazzaville Beach, published in 1991, which follows a female scientist researching chimpanzee behaviour in Africa; and Any Human Heart, written in the form of the journals of a fictitious twentieth century British writer, which was long-listed for the Booker Prize in 2002. Restless, the tale of a young woman who discovers that her mother had been recruited as a spy during World War II, was published in 2006 and won the Novel Award in the 2006 Costa Book Awards. Boyd published Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel in early 2012. On 11 April 2012 it was announced that Boyd would write the next James Bond novel. Boyd says the book, Solo, will be set in 1969. Jonathan Cape will publish the book in the UK in the autumn of 2013. Boyd used James Bond creator Ian Fleming as a character in his novel Any Human Heart. Fleming recruits the book's protagonist, Logan Mountstuart, to naval intelligence during World War Two. Boyd has also worked with three of the actors who have portrayed Bond in the film series: Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. As a screenwriter Boyd has written a number of feature film and television productions. The feature films include: Scoop (1987), adapted from the Evelyn Waugh novel; Stars and Bars (1988), adapted from Boyd's own novel; Mister Johnson (1990), based on the 1939 novel by Joyce Cary; A Good Man in Africa (1994), also adapted from his own novel; and The Trench (1999) which he also directed. He was one of a number of writers who worked on Chaplin (1992). His television screenwriting credits include: Good and Bad at Games (1983), adapted from Boyd's short story about English public school life; Dutch Girls (1985); Armadillo (2001), adapted from his own novel; A Waste of Shame (2005) about Shakespeare; Any Human Heart (2010), adapted from his own novel; and Restless (2012), also adapted from his own novel. In 1998, Boyd published Nat Tate: An American Artist 1928-1960, which presents the paintings and tragic biography of a supposed New York-based 1950s abstract expressionist painter named Nat Tate, who actually never existed and was, along with his paintings, a creation of Boyd's. When the book was initially published, it was not revealed that it was a work of fiction, and some were duped by the hoax; it was launched at a lavish party, with excerpts read by David Bowie (who was in on the joke), and a number of prominent members of the art world claimed to remember the artist. It caused quite a stir once the truth was revealed. The name ‘Nat Tate’ is derived from the names of the two leading British art galleries: the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. Nat Tate also appears in Any Human Heart, also by Boyd, with a wry footnote to the 1998 book. Boyd adapted two Anton Chekhov short stories - A Visit to Friends and My Life (The Story of a Provincial) - to create the play Longing. The play, directed by Nina Raine, stars Jonathan Bailey, Tamsin Greig, Natasha Little, Eve Ponsonby, John Sessions and Catrin Stewart. Boyd, who was theatre critic for the University of Glasgow in the 1970s and has many actor friends, refers to his ambition to write a play as finally getting ‘this monkey off my back.’

 

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(07/12/2014) The President's Daughter by Barbara Chase-Riboud. New York. 1994. Crown. hardcover. 469 pages. October 1994.  Jacket art: Monticello, 1821, by Jefferson Vail. Jacket design by Ken Sansome.  keywords: Literature Black America Women African American. 0517598612.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1979 Barbara Chase-Riboud made literary history when she published SALLY HEMINGS to critical praise. Not only did the novel spend six weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and sell 1.6 million copies worldwide, SALLY HEMINGS also accomplished the impossible: It breathed life into a historical enigma. The novel also established Sally Hemings as the emblematic incarnation of many things that were forbidden in this country at that time. Now, Barbara Chase-Riboud is back with THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER, the provocative continuation of the irrefutable historical chronicle of Sally Hemings - Thomas Jefferson’s mistress, the mother of his children, and the slave he would never set free - even when the scandal nearly cost him the presidency. Epic in proportion, yet rendered in exquisite detail by a writer with the eye of a historian and the heart of a storyteller, THE PRESIDENT‘S DAUGHTER begins in 1822 and tells the story of Harriet Hemings, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’s beautiful and headstrong slave daughter. Harriet is allowed to run away from Monticello and pass for white, as Jefferson had promised Sally their children would be able to do. Harriet experiences the turbulent events leading up to the American Civil War and is eventually thrust into the very heart of the Battle of Gettysburg, where she becomes a kind of Philadelphian Scarlett O’Hara. As THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER draws to a close during the 1876 Centennial celebration in Philadelphia, Harriet receives an anonymous letter that contains the memoirs of her brother Madison Hemings - who is living his life on the black side of the color line. Harriet realizes that someone in her entourage, perhaps even her own husband, knows she is indeed the president’s daughter. In the Chase-Riboud tradition, THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER is more than just the good read it seems at first glance. In truth, not since Mark Twain in the classic masterpiece PUDD’NHEAD WILSON has a major American writer evoked the ambiguity, pathos, complexity, and emotion of the American identity so brilliantly. Barbara Chase-Riboud has written another classic masterpiece of race, love, and color in America. Barbara Chase-Riboud (born June 26, 1939) is an American novelist, poet, sculptor and visual artist best known for her historical fiction. Much of her work has explored themes related to slavery and exploitation. Chase-Riboud attained international recognition with the publication of her first novel, SALLY HEMINGS, in 1979. The novel has been described as the ‘first full blown imagining’ of Hemings' life as a slave and her relationship with Jefferson. In addition to stimulating considerable controversy, the book earned Chase-Riboud the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Carl Sandburg Prize for poetry and the Women's Caucus for Art's lifetime achievement award. In 1965, she became the first American woman to visit the People's Republic of China after the revolution and in 1996, she was knighted by the French Government and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

 

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(07/11/2014) Collected Poems by Stephane Mallarme. Berkeley. 1994. University Of California Press. hardcover. 283 pages. Jacket illustration by Robert Garrison, 'la vache enragee'. Translated from the French & With A Commentary by Henry Weinfield. keywords: Poetry France Translated Literature. 0520081889.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898) is one of the giants of nineteenth-century French poetry. Leader of the Symbolist movement, he exerted a powerful influence on modern literature and thought, which can be traced in the works of Paul Valéry, W.B. Yeats, and Jacques Derrida. From his early twenties until the time of his death, Mallarmé produced poems of astonishing originality and beauty, many of which have become classics. In the Collected Poems, Henry Weinfield brings the oeuvre of this European master to life for an English-speaking audience, essentially for the first time. All the poems that the author chose to retain are here, superbly rendered by Weinfield in a translation that comes remarkably close to Mallarmé's own voice. Weinfield conveys not simply the meaning but the spirit and music of the French originals, which appear en face. Whether writing in verse or prose, or inventing an altogether new genre--as he did in the amazing ‘Coup de Dés’--Mallarmé was a poet of both supreme artistry and great difficulty. To illuminate Mallarmé's poetry for twentieth-century readers, Weinfield provides an extensive commentary that is itself an important work of criticism. He sets each poem in the context of the work as a whole and defines the poems' major symbols. Also included are an introduction and a bibliography. Publication of this collection is a major literary event in the English-speaking world: here at last is the work of a major figure, masterfully translated.

Henry Weinfield, Professor of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, is author of three collections of poetry and The Poet without a Name: Gray's Elegy and the Problem of History (1991).

 

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(07/09/2014) The African-American Novel In The Age Of Reaction: Three Classics by William L. Andrews (editor). New York. 1992. Mentor/New American Library. paperback. 587 pages. July 1992. ME2849. Edited & With An Introduction by William L. Andrews. Includes-IOLA LEROY by Frances E. W. Harper, THE MARROW OF TRADITION by Charles W. Chesnutt, & THE SPORT OF THE GODS by Paul Laurence Dunbar. keywords: Literature Black America Mentor Slavery Paperback Literary Criticism. 0451628497.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Out of the race must come its own defenders. With [African-Americans] the pen is mightier than the sword. It is the wagon of civilization, and they must use it in their own defense.’ - Frances E. W. Harper. In 1896 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the South’s ‘separate but equal’ racial doctrine. Around this time, three powerful but very different black voices responded in protest, and they did so in the three exceptional novels collected here. Frances E. W. Harper’s IOLA LEROY follows the struggles and soul-searching of a light-skinned black woman during the turbulent years of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Charles W. Chesnutt’s THE MARROW OF TRADITION knits together the lives of a rich white family and a mixed-race couple who face the violent results of white supremacy in a North Carolina town. Dramatically different is Paul Laurence Dunbar’s THE SPORT OF THE GODS, the first extensive portrayal in fiction of twentieth-century Harlem - and a disturbing depiction of the plight of black families in the urban ghetto that anticipates the writings of Richard Wright. Widely read by contemporary audiences, these novels remain significant as works that influenced a nation’s conscience as well as fine examples of early African-American fiction whose time has come to be recognized and revered.

 

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(07/07/2014) Black Awakening In Capitalist America: An Analytic History by Robert L. Allen. Garden City. 1969. Doubleday. hardcover. 251 pages.  Jacket design by Al Nagy.  keywords: African American Black History Politics America.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Robert L. Allen has written a profound and complete account of the awakening of oppressed black people in America’s capitalist economy, and the inability of that economy to deal with proletarian dissatisfaction, agitation and revolution. In analyzing the most significant black movements, the author traces a history peopled by the most significant figures of the black awakening (LeRoi Jones, Harold Cruse, Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown, Roy Wilkins, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others.) And through their pronouncements and political tactics he illuminates the most significant forces in America’s revolutionary ferment. A lucid, impartial and courageous book, BLACK AWAKENING IN CAPITALIST AMERICA presents the colonial suppression of the black community in a society where racial prejudice is but one facet of an injustice largely spawned by corporate capitalism. The questions raised are not only about racial inequality, but whether our traditional capitalist morality can accommodate the needs of the underprivileged and alienated, not whether America is right or wrong, but whether or not it is a viable society for our drastically changing times.

Robert L. Allen’s journalistic background has given him ample experience to assume the role of chronicler of the black awakening. As a reporter for the Guardian, a political newspaper in San Francisco, he observed firsthand many of the most significant black movements.

 

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(07/06/2014) All About H. Hatterr by G. V. Desani. New York. 1951. Farrar Straus & Young. 300 pages. Hardcover. keywords: Literature India Anglo-Indian

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   It is seldom that a publisher has a chance to present a book like ALL ABOUT H. HATTERR. In England, Mr. Desani’s book has already entered the literary scene as a succès d’estime on a prodigious scale. T. S. Eliot called it ‘Certainly a remarkab1e book. In all my experience, I have not met with anything quite like it. It is amazing that anyone should be able to sustain a piece of work in this style and tempo at such length.’ And other British critics, in an attempt to label this new Anglo-Indian writer, have said almost everything possible: ‘A literary hellzapoppin’ (The Tribune); ‘riotously funny . . . Mr. Desani is the playboy of the English language . . . the Danny Kaye of literature’ (Harold Brighouse in the Manchester Guardian); ‘Joyce, Sterne, Rabelais. Miller, Runyon and Saroyan - dash of them all, but unique enough to stand on its feet’ (Life and Letters). The author explains H. HATTERR simply as a portrait of a man. He is the popular mind expressing itself at its best, at its worst, now bawdy, then vulgar, but important because he’s us.’ H. HATTERR is Desani’s imaginary Anglo-Indian, who, by recounting amusing tales of his life, gives depth and viewpoint to the author’s own philosophical beliefs. This is a book of many ‘morals,’ some of which are accepted as moral. But Desani’s underlying feeling seems to be that life is tragic only because it is a joke of which we cannot see the point. Desani uses an unconventional style that is not ‘streams of consciousness’ but emphasizes the informal conversational approach of Hatterr, and aids in exaggerating the minor tragedies in the comedy of life. But the only way to approach ALL ABOUT H. HATTERR is to read it.

G. V. Desani was born on July 8, 1909 in Nairobi, Kenya, the son of an Indian merchant, and was reared in India. In the late 1930s, and throughout the war, he was a BBC broadcaster and lectured on India throughout England. All About H. Hatterr was written and published in 1948, causing an immediate sensation and eventually achieving permanent fame as one of the greatest Anglo-Indian novels of the century. From the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, Mr. Desani studied Buddhism and Hindu culture in seclusion in India and Burma. He came to the United States in 1970 to teach at Boston University and subsequently the University of Texas at Austin, where he was Professor Emeritus of religion and philosophy. Dr. Desani died in November, 2000.

 

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(07/03/2014) Part-Time Crime: An Ethnography of Fiddling & Pilferage by Jason Ditton. London. 1977. Macmillan. hardcover. 195 pages. keywords: Sociology Crime Stealing Pilferage. 0333214668.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this book Jason Ditton unravels the paradox of how fiddling - stealing from customers (which is a criminal offence) - is simultaneously ‘fiddling’, that is, felt to be practically and psychologically trifling by those who do it. Through an ethnographic study of bakers’ roundsmen (the author worked as a baker for several months, and then extensively interviewed the other roundsmen) at the ‘Wellbread’ bakery, the novel thesis of ‘part-time’ crime is carefully teased out and documented. The roundsmen are initially taught to fiddle by the bakery management. The customer’s expectation that the roundsmen should be servile is a bitter experience and guarantees that the customer will continue to be fiddled. The roundsmen protect themselves both practically (by practising a portfolio of fiddles which could not all be exposed at once) and psychologically by wrapping themselves in cosy rationalisations like ‘I was told to do it’, ‘we all do it’, or ‘they can afford it’. In the end they (and the rest of us) believe that fiddling ‘isn’t really criminal, is it?’. The book provides us all with a salutary lesson by showing how easily we convince ourselves that our deceptions - our ‘fiddles’ - are acceptable.

Jason Ditton is S.S.R.C. Senior Research Fellow in Sociology, University of Durham and Director of the Service Industries Reward Structure Project. He was brought up in Ipswich and educated at Durham. He has written articles on a wide range of subjects including the Sociology of time, boredom, output restriction deviancy theory, and the sociology of blame.

 

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(07/02/2014) Canary in the Cat House by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Greenwich. 1961. Fawcett Gold Medal. paperback. 160 pages. September 1961. s1153. Cover illustration and design by Leo and Diane Dillon. keywords: Literature America.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Off the top of his head – the short, wild fantasies of one of America’s most imaginative writers - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Scarifying satirist by trade, sings for his supper in a world he regards as a house of ill-repute, or worse - Twelve brilliant stories of today, and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. His works such as Cat's Cradle (1963), Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), and Breakfast of Champions (1973) blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen he was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a critical pacifist intellectual. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association. The New York Times headline at the time of Vonnegut's passing called Vonnegut ‘the counterculture's novelist.’

 

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(06/30/2014) Los Angeles: A Guide to Recent Architecture by Dian Phillips-Pilverman (with Peter Lloyd). London. 1996. Ellipsis/Konemann. paperback. 320 pages. Cover photograph: (front) Erhard Pfeiffer, Gary Group Office Building; (back) Paul Warchol, Creative Artists Agency. keywords: Architecture Los Angeles. 3895082856.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This book describes and illustrates more than 100 buildings of the last ten years — ranging in scale from shops and family residences to the rediscovery of public space seen in schemes such as Pershing Square, taking in housing for the homeless, schools, daycare facilities, libraries, churches, offices and restaurants along the way. It features the work of the internationally known ‘LA School’ (including Morphosis, Frank Gehry, Eric Moss, and Frank Israel), architects such as Ray Kappe and Pierre Koenig with a long record of interesting work, and the younger architects (BAM Construction/Design Inc and studio bau:ton, among many others) whose work continues the L.A. tradition of innovation.
 

Dian Phillips-Pulverman is an architect. She trained at the Architectural Association School in London and lives in Santa Monica.

 

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(06/29/2014) Divagations by Stephane Mallarme. Cambridge. 2007. Harvard University Press. hardcover. 302 pages. Jacket photograph: Kamil Vojmar. Jacket design by Annamarie McMahon Why. Translated from the French by Barbara Johnson. keywords: Literature France Poetry Translated. 9780674024380.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘This is a book just the way I don’t like them,’ the father of French Symbolism, Stéphane Mallarmé, informs the reader in his preface to Divagations: ‘scattered and with no architecture.’ On the heels of this caveat, Mallarmé’s diverting, discursive, and gorgeously disordered 1897 masterpiece tumbles forth—and proves itself to be just the sort of book his readers like most. The salmagundi of prose poems, prose-poetic musings, criticism, and reflections that is Divagations has long been considered a treasure trove by students of aesthetics and modern poetry. If Mallarmé captured the tone and very feel of fin-de-siècle Paris, he went on to captivate the minds of the greatest writers of the twentieth century—from Valéry and Eliot to Paul de Man and Jacques Derrida. This was the only book of prose he published in his lifetime and, in a new translation by Barbara Johnson, is now available for the first time in English as Mallarmé arranged it. The result is an entrancing work through which a notoriously difficult-to-translate voice shines in all of its languor and musicality. Whether contemplating the poetry of Tennyson, the possibilities of language, a masturbating priest, or the transporting power of dance, Mallarmé remains a fascinating companion—charming, opinionated, and pedantic by turns. As an expression of the Symbolist movement and as a contribution to literary studies, Divagations is vitally important. But it is also, in Johnson’s masterful translation, endlessly mesmerizing.

Stéphane Mallarmé was the son of Numa Mallarmé, a civil servant, and Elisabeth Desmolins. Mallarmé did not follow his father's or grandfather's path of civil servitude, instead excelling at languages and writing often, influenced by poets Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire. Mallarmé received his baccalaureate in 1860 and went on to publish his first poem ‘Placet’ in the French magazine Le Papillon in 1862. He pursued further studies in London to improve his knowledge of English. In 1863, he married German governess Christina ‘Maria’ Gerhard and obtained his certificate for teaching English. He and Maria traveled to Tournon where he taught in a provincial secondary school. In 1864, Maria gave birth to their daughter, Genevieve. Mallarmé's teaching career took him to Besancon, Avignon, and back to Paris again until he retired in 1893. One of Mallarmé's most well-known poems, L'Aprés Midi D'un Faun (The Afternoon of a Faun) (1865), inspired Debussy's tone poem (1894) of the same name and was illustrated by Edouard Manet. Among his other works are Hérodiade (1896) and Toast Funèbre (A Funeral Toast), which was written in memory of the author Théopile Gautier. Mallarmé's later works include the experimental poem Un Coup de Dés (1914), published posthumously. Besides his own writings, Mallarmé was well-known for his Tuesday evening salons at his home on the Rue de Rome in Paris. These gatherings were a hub of Parisian intellectual life and attracted the likes of writers André Gide, Paul Valéry, Oscar Wilde, Paul Verlaine, Rainer Maria Rilke, and W.B. Yeats, the painters Renoir, Monet, Degas, Redon, and Whistler, and the sculptor Rodin, among others. Those who attended became known as Les Mardistes, derived from the French word for Tuesday. In the 1880s, Mallarmé was at the center of a group of French writers including Andre Gide, Paul Valéry and Marcel Proust. Mallarmé referred to their group as The Decadents, a comment on their bohemian lifestyles. He and Valéry, following Baudelaire, would later become known as two of the leaders of the Symbolist movement in poetry. While French poetry had traditionally held fairly strict conventions of rhyme, meter and theme, Mallarmé and his contemporaries departed from these traditions, employing condensed figures and unorthodox syntax. Mallarmé's work was often termed as difficult or obscure. His later works, including Un Coup de Des, explored the relationship between content and form, between the text and the arrangement of words and spaces on the page. Mallarmé died in Valvin, Vulaines-sur-Seine on September 9, 1898, before finishing what he called his ‘Grande Oeuvre.’

Barbara Johnson taught in the departments of English and Comparative Literature at Harvard University and was the Frederic Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society. She is the author of The Critical Difference, A World of Difference, and The Wake of Deconstruction.

 

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(06/28/2014) Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol. New York. 1996. Pantheon Books. hardcover. 403 pages. February 1996. Jacket image: (Front) detail of 'Peasant Women at Church', 1911, by Kazimir Malevich, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. (Back) Full painting. Jacket design: Kathleen DiGrado. Translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky. keywords: Literature Translated Russia.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   DEAD SOULS is the great comic masterpiece of Russian literature - Nikolai Gogol’s satirical epic of life, both real and fantastic, in the benighted provinces. Here are the isolated villages, the pot-holed highways, the country houses, and the hovels. Even more memorably, here is an amazing swarm of characters: rogues and scoundrels, landowners and serfs, officials and more officials-all of them, like Chaucer’s pilgrims and Dickens’s Londoners, both utterly lifelike and alarmingly larger than life. And setting everything in motion is the unstoppable, supremely acquisitive anti-hero, Chichikov, the trafficker in ‘souls’-those peasants who, even if dead, could still be bought, sold, and mortgaged for profit. Of all the classic Russian writers, it is Gogol whose work has suffered the most at the hand of translators: Vladimir Nabokov pronounced all English translations of Dead Souls ‘absolutely worthless. dry and flat.’ Now-as they have done in their award-winning translations of Dostoevsky - Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have produced a text that is altogether faithful to the style and intent of the author’s own language. For the first time, Chichikov and his world are brought to life in an English that captures the writer’s vibrantly comic and lyrical style. English-speaking readers finally have the opportunity to appreciate fully Gogol’s remarkable achievement: a novel, eighteen years in the writing, in which he hoped to show the world ‘the untold riches of the Russian soul.’ Here is Dead Souls in what is certain to become the standard, definitive edition.

Nikolai Gogol was born in the Ukraine in 1809 and died in 1852. Originally trained as a painter, he became interested in the theater, and was soon known for his plays and short stories, notably DIARY OF A MADMAN (1834), THE NOSE (1836), THE INSPECTOR(1836), and THE OVERCOAT (1842). DEAD SOULS, his masterpiece, was published in 1842. Richard Pevear, a native of Boston, and Larissa Volokhonsky, a native of Leningrad, are married and live in France. Their translation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize.

 

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(06/27/2014) The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer by Jesse L. Byock (translator and editor). Berkeley. 1990. University of California Press. hardcover. 146 pages. Jacket design: Donna L. Wittlin. Translated from the Icelandic and with an introduction by Jesse L. Byock. keywords: Literature Iceland Sagas Translated. 0520069048.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   THE SAGA OF THE VOLSUNGS is essential reading for students of oral traditions and for anyone investigating the historical and mythic past of northern Europe. This outstanding new translation by Jesse L. Byock is a welcome and significant addition to the great books of world literature. The saga is an Icelandic prose epic whose anonymous thirteenth-century author based his story on ancient myth and legend grounded in the folk culture of Old Scandinavia. A trove of traditional lore, the saga tells of jealousies stirred by the god Odin, unrequited love, arcane runic knowledge, the vengeance of a barbarian queen, schemes of Attila the Hun, and the mythic deeds of the dragon-slayer, Sigurd the Volsung. As the stories of royal families unfold, the saga recounts the progress of the wars among Burgundians, Huns, and Goths. Some of the episodes may be linked with the events of the fourth and fifth centuries A. D., the period of the great folk migrations in Europe when the Roman Empire collapsed. The saga treats some of the same legends as the Middle High German epic poem, the NIBELUNGENLIED. In both accounts, though in different ways, Sigurd (Siegfried in the German tradition) acquires the Rhinegold and becomes tragically enmeshed in a love triangle involving a supernatural woman. In the Norse tradition she is a Valkyrie, one of Odin’s warrior-maidens. THE SAGA OF THE VOLSUNGS is of special interest to admirers of Richard Wagner, who drew heavily upon this Norse source in writing his Ring Cycle. With its magical ring acquired by the hero, and the sword to be reforged, the saga has also been a primary source for writers of fantasy such as J.R.R. Tolkien and romantics such as William Morris. Byock’s comprehensive introduction explores the history, legends, and myths contained in the saga and traces the development of the narrative.

JESSE L. BYOCK teaches Old Norse and medieval Scandinavian subjects in the Department of Germanic Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. His previous books, FEUD IN THE ICELANDIC SAGA (1982), and MEDIEVAL ICELAND: SOCIETY, SAGAS, AND POWER (1988), were published by the University of California Press.

 

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(06/26/2014) Selected Poems by Charles Olson. Berkeley. 1993. University of California Press. hardcover. 225 pages. Jacket art: 'Charles Olson' by R. B. Kitaj. Edited by Robert Creeley. keywords: Poetry America Literature. 0520075285.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'I have assumed a great deal in the selection of the poems from such a large and various number, making them a discourse unavoidably my own as well as any Olson himself might have chosen to offer. I had finally no advice but the long held habit of our using one another, during his life, to act as a measure, a bearing, an unabashed response to what either might write or say.'-Robert Creeley. A seminal figure in post-World War II literature, Charles Olson has helped define the postmodern sensibility. His poetry embraces themes of empowering love, political responsibility, the wisdom of dreams, the intellect as a unit of energy, the restoration of the archaic, and the transformation of consciousness-all carried in a voice both intimate and grand, American and timeless, impassioned and coolly demanding. In this selection of some 70 poems, Robert Creeley has sought to present a personal reading of Charles Olson's decisive and inimitable work-'unequivocal instances of his genius'-over the many years of their friendship.

 

 

 

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(06/25/2014) The Conscience Of Words by Elias Canetti. New York. 1979. Seabury Press. hardcover. 246 pages. 246 pages. keywords: Literature Translated Bulgaria Eastern Europe. 0816493340.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This volume contains the essays of Elias Canetti written between the years of 1962 and 1974. As such, it is a unique record of his critical concerns, a record, as he says, ‘summing up the spiritual stations of my entire adult life.’ At first glance, it may seem odd to juxtapose studies of figures like Kafka and Confucius, Buchner and Tolstoy, Karl Kraus and Hitler, or to mix essays describing catastrophes like Hiroshima with literary ref lections about keeping journals or identifying the structure of a novel. But it has always been this adjacency, this ability to connect the seemingly disparate, that has been the particular achievement of this audacious writer. Of all of Canetti’s works—whether they be novels, sociological investigations, or criticism—this collection of essays best indicates what most concerns Canetti the man. In his own words: ‘The public and the private can no longer be separated, they overlap in ways that would never have seemed possible. The enemies of mankind have rapidly gained power, coming very close to an ultimate goal of destroying the earth. Hence, it is all the more important to speak about those that have withstood our monstrous century. It is not, I think, superfluous to speak also about oneself - among countless other witnesses of this era. It is not purely private to show how a man of today has managed to produce a novel, so long as his aim was to truly confront the age; or how he arranges a diary to keep from being spiritually ground up in that age.’

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Bulgarian-born author of the novel Auto-da-Fé, the sociological study Crowds and Power, and three previously published memoir volumes (The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in my Ear, and The Play of the Eyes), won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.

 

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(06/24/2014) Love In The Ruins by Walker Percy. New York. 1971. Farrar Straus Giroux. hardcover. 403 pages. Jacket design by Janet Halverson. keywords: Literature America. 0374193029.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Love in the Ruins is a novel of speculative or science fiction by author Walker Percy from 1971. It follows its main character, Dr Thomas More, namesake and descendant of Sir Thomas More (author of Utopia), a psychiatrist in a small town in Louisiana called Paradise. Over time, the US has become progressively more fragmented, between left and right, black and white, as social trends of the 1960s run to illogical extremes. Society begins to come apart at the seams and no one except More seems to notice and no one, including him, seems particularly to care. More, a lapsed Catholic, an alcoholic, and a womanizer, invents a device that he names the Ontological Lapsometer, which can diagnose and treat the harmful mental states at the root of society's slow disintegration. However, in the wrong hands, the device can also exacerbate the problems, and a government representative, intent on getting More a Nobel Prize, seeks to put it to his own uses while More attempts to prevent a disaster.

Walker Percy, (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was a Southern author from Covington, Louisiana, whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of ‘the dislocation of man in the modern age.’ His work displays a combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith.

 

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(06/17/2014) Spies of the Balkans: A Novel by Alan Furst. New York. 2010. Random House. hardcover. 268 pages. Jacket design by Robbin Schiff. keywords: Mystery Espionage Spies Balkan Literature. 9781400066032.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Greece, 1940. In the port city of Salonika, with its wharves and brothels, dark alleys and Turkish mansions, a tense political drama is being played out. As Adolf Hitler plans to invade the Balkans, spies begin to circle--and Costa Zannis, a senior police official, must deal with them all. He is soon in the game, working to secure an escape route for fugitives from Nazi Berlin that is protected by German lawyers, Balkan detectives, and Hungarian gangsters--and hunted by the Gestapo. Meanwhile, as war threatens, the erotic life of the city grows passionate. For Zannis, that means a British expatriate who owns the local ballet academy, a woman from the dark side of Salonika society, and the wife of a shipping magnate. With extraordinary historical detail and a superb cast of characters, Spies of the Balkans is a stunning novel about a man who risks everything to fight back against the world's evil.

 

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(06/19/2014) Philby: The Long Road To Moscow by Patrick Seale and Maureen McConville. London. 1973. Hamish Hamilton. hardcover. 282 pages. Jacket design by JEANNE CROSS. Jacket photograph by Jane Bown. keywords: Espionage England. 024102367x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Traitor? Martyr to his conscience? Victim of the 20th century? Who was Kim Philby? What drove him on his lonely and perilous career as Soviet Russia’s top spy in the West? What sort of human being emerged from a lifetime of deception and terror? This life of Philby is a psychological thriller unfolding in such dramatic grounds as Hitler’s Berlin, Dollfuss’s Vienna, Franco’s Spain, wartime London, Washington in the Cold War, the Middle East and finally Moscow. Like a novel by Sartre, Kim’s career is a diagram of problems. Can loyalty to an international ideal override loyalty to one’s country? How long can a civilised mind withstand the assaults of fear? For the younger generation this is history, revealing a Cambridge of the 1930s as racked by student politics as the universities of today (and perhaps thereby giving us an insight into the Philbys of the 1970s). On the technical side, the book throws new lights on the transition of modern espionage from dependency on agents such as Philby to the electronic automation of today.

Patrick Seale and Maureen McConville are both British journalists. Patrick Seale and Maureen McConville have worked together since 1967, the year they set off on the Philby trail by helping Eleanor Philby write her memoir of her husband, THE SPY I LOVED. Then, in Paris, as joint correspondents for The Observer during 1968, they wrote French Revolution, an account of that year’s student revolution. Patrick Seale first met Kim Philby in Beirut in 1960, when Seale was writing his first book, a study of Arab politics, The Struggle for Syria, and Philby, nearing the end of his espionage career, was the Middle East correspondent for The Economist and The Observer, appointments which Patrick Seale would take over when Philby fled to Moscow in 1963. Patrick Seale was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and then spent five years at Reuter’s before returning to Oxford in 1 959 to do research at St Antony’s College on modern Middle East history. A graduate of London University, Maureen McConville began her career in provincial newspapers and joined The Observer in 1964.

 

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(06/20/2014) The Ascent Of Mount Fuji by Chingiz Aitmatov and Kaltai Mukhamedzhanov. New York. 1975. Farrar Straus Giroux. hardcover. 211 pages. Jacket design by Antonio Frasconi. A Bilingual Edition. Translated from the Russian by Nicholas Bethell. keywords: Literature Translated Russia Drama. 0374106290.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In the winter of of 1973 an extraordinarily provocative play was presented on the Moscow stage. THE ASCENT OF MOUNT FUJI jolted Russian audiences with its frank discussion of moral compromises made by individuals in the past. The play’s exploration of human ethics reaches beyond the scope of the recent Soviet experience to all people, regardless of nationality and history. Four former schoolmates, three of their wives, and their favorite old schoolteacher gather for a reunion on a mountain in Kirghizia. The four had grown up and gone to war together, but had rarely made contact in the past twenty years. They are now all respectable members of Soviet society: a schoolteacher, an agronomist on a state farm, an international journalist, and a director of a history institute. It soon becomes apparent that there is a missing fifth member of the: Sabur, a poet, who refused to come to the reunion because he had been denounced by one of these friends during the war. Even now, after so many years, none of them will admit responsibility for Sabur’s fate. It is at this point that the significance of the play’s title is explained by one of the characters: an old Japanese legend says that one must climb to the top of Mount Fuji and there justify the actions of one’s entire life before God. And so, on a remote mountain, the old friends attempt to understand and confront the truths of their past and, in a surprising ending, find themselves faced with moral problems in their present life as well.

Both Aitmatov and his co-author, Mukhamedzhanov, are from Central Asian republics in the Soviet Union. Aitmatov, the principal author, a Kirghiz, is winner of a Lenin Prize, the country’s highest literary honor.

 

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(06/21/2014) The Lost Years by Vitaliano Brancati. London. 1992. Harvill/Harper Collins. hardcover. 207 pages. Jacket illustration. Portrait of a man, unfinished (Tadeusz de Lempicki), 1928 by Tamara de Lempicka. Translated from the Italian by Patrick Creagh. keywords: Literature Translated Italy Sicily. 0002711583.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In Natàca, a Sicilian coastal town, the citizens lead their lives from season to season on an open-air stage. Nothing happens in Natàca that escapes a thousand watchful eyes; nothing happens that eludes a thousand sardonic tongues; but then under that opaque, even blue sky nothing happens in Natàca - tedium reigns supreme. When Buscaino arrives, ostensibly on his return from America, and sets about raising funds to build a panoramic tower (for the pleasure of the citizens and his own profit), the apathetic townsfolk are for a moment galvanized, and the ever-optimistic Buscaino believes that American-Style dynamism will finally rout Southern sloth. But Natàca, any coincidental similarities notwithstanding, is not New York. THE LOST YEARS, with its gallery of dazzlingly wrought caricatures of Sicilian provincials, from the crumbling duke in his draughty high-ceilinged palazzo to the all-devouring bourgeois mother amid her ormolu clocks and coffee-cups, was Vitaliano Brancati’s first novel, issued in 1938 during the heyday of Fascism. Its covert political satire of a Nation in pursuit of a cause was lost on the gerarchi and it escaped the hands of the censors. It is now published for the first time in English.

VITALIANO BRANCATI was born at Pachino, near Syracuse, in 1907, and was educated at Catania where he took a degree in literature In 1924 he joined the Fascist party, but after being ‘Fascist to the roots of his hair’, as he said, he repudiated it completely and THE LOST YEARS, started in 1934 and published in serial in 1938, were the first fruits of his conversion. From 1937 he was a schoolteacher in Catania and Rome, but turned to full-time writing after the war. Don Giovanni In Sicilia was published in 1941 and in 1949 another novel, Il Bell’ Antonio was published and won the Bagutta Prize. He also wrote short stories, plays and a considerable number of articles for the press. He was married to the actress Anna Proclemer, and in 1954 died in Turin.

 

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(06/22/2014) Geist and Zeitgeist: The Spirit In An Unspiritual Age - Six Essays by Hermann Broch. New York. 2002. Counterpoint. hardcover. 210 pages. December 2002. Jacket design by Rick Pracher. Translated from the German, Edited, & With An Introduction by John Hargraves. keywords: Literature Austria Germany Essays Translated. 158243168x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From one of the giants of European literature, six essays never before published in English. Hermann Broch achieved international recognition for his brilliant use of innovative literary techniques to present the entire range of human experience, from the biological to the metaphysical. Concerned with the problem of ethical responsibility in a world with no unified system of values, he turned to literature as the appropriate form for considering those human problems not subject to rational treatment. Late in life, Broch began questioning his artistic pursuits and turned from literature to devote himself to political theory. While he is well known and highly regarded throughout the world as a novelist, he was equally accomplished as an essayist. These six essays give us a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of the twentieth century’s most original thinkers. HERMANN BROCH (1886-1951) was born in Vienna. He studied philosophy and mathematics, was active in labor relations, and wrote sociological and literary essays. At the time of his death he was researching mass psychology at Yale University. JOHN HARGRAVES. Ph.D. is the author of MUSIC IN THE WORLD OF BROCH, MANN AND KAFKA, and numerous articles on music and German literature. He has translated Canetti’s NOTES FROM HAMPSTEAD and DEAR MRS. STRIG (a memoir of Hermann Broch by H. F. Broch de Rothermann) into English, and has edited the German translations of several recent novels of Philip Roth. He teaches at Connecticut College and lives in New York City.

 

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(06/23/2014) Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Selection of His Poe,ms and Prose by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Middlesex. 1957. Penguin Books. paperback. 314 pages. D35. Edited by Kathleen Raine. The Penguin Poets series. keywords: Poetry England Literature.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   FROM THE INTRODUCTION – The difficulties of making a selection from the writings of Coleridge are of a special kind. So many are the fields of thought in which Coleridge’s protean genius was active, that the first question that arises is how to present him — as poet, as metaphysician, as critic, as theologian; as the dreamer of Kubla Khan, or as the philosopher of the Romantic movement. During his lifetime, readers of the Morning Post knew him as a parliamentary reporter and an influential journalist; subscribers to his two periodicals, The Watchman and The Friend, as a political philosopher. We can no longer catch the echoes of his wonderful talk, by which he dominated and enchanted private gatherings and the public audiences who attended his extempore lectures; but to regard Coleridge as purely and simply a poet would be an over- simplification. He has been described as the last English thinker to attempt that universality of knowledge characteristic of the Renaissance; for science also was within his field of interest — he was a friend of -Humphry Davy — and his speculations on memory and association point forward to the discoveries of Freud on the nature of the human mind, and the unconscious. Yet another Coleridge might be presented from his many letters, ::;at range over all these aspects of thought, and contain, besides, minute observations of nature, mountain walks, waterfalls — Coleridge the Lake-poet, although in fact all his important poems had been written before he set foot in Cumberland. From these letters, besides, emerges the story of a day-to-day life hampered by domestic unhappiness, financial anxiety, ill-health, and opium addiction — Coleridge the failure, the procrastinator, the dreamer of great unfulfilled projects. What, in a small selection, should be included, what omitted?

 

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BLOOMSDAY!!! (06/16/2014) James Joyce by Italo Svevo. San Francisco. 1950. City Lights Books. Reprinted Paperback Edition after A limited Edition of 1600 numbered copies were privately issued by James Laughlin for the friends and supporters of New Directions.Very Good In Wrappers. unpaginated. paperback. The cover photograph of Joyce is by Man Ray, from The Museum of Modern Art (new York) Collection. That of Svevo (back cover) is from the collection of his widow and shows Svevo in 1892 at the age of 31. keywords: Joyce Ireland Literature.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A lecture delivered in Milan in 1927 on James Joyce by his friend Italo Svevo. In 1912 Italo Svevo met James Joyce, and it is Joyce that we have to thank, not only for calling attention to him at that time, but for persuading him to continue writing.

 

ITALO SVEVO was born in Trieste in 1861 and was given a commercial education in Germany. CONFESSIONS OF ZENO was published in 1923 and was immediately hailed by European critics as the finest Italian novel. At the time of his accidental death in 1928 Svevo was one of   the best known and most successful businessmen in Triesie, though he was only beginning to enjoy fame as a writer. UNA VITA, his first novel, appeared in 1892 and was followed by SENILITA in 1898. In 1912 Italo Svevo met James Joyce, and it is Joyce that we have to thank, not only for calling attention to him at that time, but for persuading him to continue writing. The war kept Svevo away from business and gave him the opportunity. The fact that writing was never his means of livelihood made it possible for him to disregard tradition and slowly develop his own introspective style.  

 

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(06/08/2014) The Tongue Set Free: Remembrance of a European Childhood by Elias Canetti. New York. 1979. Seabury Press. hardcover. 268 pages. Jacket design by Tim McKeen. Translated From German by Joachim Neugroschel. keywords: Literature Translated Autobiography Bulgaria Eastern Europe. 0816491038.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This autobiography provides a searching portrait of the personal background and the creative development of the novelist, philosopher, and social critic Elias Canetti. Although Canetti is recognized as one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers, little has been known heretofore about the man whose prophetic study of fascism AUTO-DA-FE won the Prix International for fiction and whose work CROWDS AND POWER remains a classic in the field of social psychology. But now THE TONGUE SET FREE presents the compelling story of his early life, the events, personalities, and intellectual forces which shaped the growth of this artist as a young man. The shifting environments described range from Bulgaria to Manchester, England, from Switzerland to Vienna. The primary themes concern the effect of a multilingual home, the psychological impact of a patriarchal Jewish family, and the circumstances surrounding the outbreak of World War I and its aftermath. The volume’s five major chapters are self-contained to reflect the changes in social milieu that drove Canetti to equate the quest for his own language – his own tongue - with the discovery of his true self. All readers - even those not yet exposed to the writings of Elias Canetti - will appreciate the determining experiences within this self-portrait; the author’s relationship with his father who saved him from his fear of death: the ties to his mother who opened the world of literature to him; the experiences of everyday life amid societies sliding towards decline, even collapse. And for those familiar with Canetti’s fiction, essays, and criticism, the autobiography makes a dramatic connection: the overriding themes of his entire oeuvre have their origins in the events and associations of his early years.

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Bulgarian-born author of the novel Auto-da-Fé, the sociological study Crowds and Power, and three previously published memoir volumes (The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in my Ear, and The Play of the Eyes), won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.

 

 

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(06/09/2014) Tituba of Salem Village by Ann Petry. New York. 1964. Thomas Y. Crowell. hardcover. 256 pages. Jacket by John Wilson. keywords: Literature African American America History.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In Salem village in 1692, superstition and hysteria mounted to the climax that we know today as the Salem Witch Trials. A major figure in the trials—indeed, one of the first three ‘witches’ condemned - was Tituba, a slave from Barbados. In this book Ann Petry has brought Tituba alive for us. With controlled narrative skill she has illuminated those harsh Puritan times, and described with mounting tension the widespread belief in witches. As Tituba’s story unfolds, we come close to her as a woman. She had been forced to leave the sunny land of her youth and go as a slave to a cold, dreary New England village, with a greedy and self-seeking master. Tituba’s only fault was that she was more intelligent, more sensitive, and more capable than most of the people around her. To the people of Salem Village, struggling to understand the harsh God who controlled their seasons and their sustenance, the idea of a woman who made a compact with the devil, and then brought harm to others, became an obsession. Tituba’s competence, and the fact that she was both a slave and black, made her particularly vulnerable to suspicion and attack. Ann Petry throws the events of those terrible days into clear, honest focus. She has brought to life each of the participants, so that we understand why they acted as they did. A sense of foreboding, an accumulation of hysteria and terror, fills the narrative. The culmination of the witch trials, in which confession of witchcraft frequently gained acquittal and denial was often taken as evidence of guilt, provides a dramatic and absorbing picture of a community which committed an irreparable evil in the name of their God.

Ann Petry (born October 12, 1908, died April 28, 1997) was an African American author. Ann Lane was born as the younger of the two daughters to Peter and Bertha Clark in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Her parents belonged to the Black minority of the small town. Her father was a pharmacist and her mother was a shop owner, chiropodist, and hairdresser. The family belonged to the middle-class, and never had to suffer any financial struggles similar to those of many Harlem inhabitants. The Lane girls were raised sheltered from most of the disadvantages other black people in the United States had to experience due to the color of their skin. Only once did Ann experience racial discrimination when she went to school two years early at the age of 4 with her older sister Helen. On their way home, the two sisters were attacked by some white juveniles with stones. After the girls’ uncles took care of this by threatening the wrongdoers the Lane girls were never bothered again. The strong family bonding was a big support for Ann’s self-esteem. Her well-traveled uncles, who had many stories to tell their nieces when coming home, her ambitious father who overcame racial obstacles when opening his pharmacy in the small town as well as her mother and aunts, set a great example to Ann and Helen to become strong themselves. Petry interviewed by the Washington Post in 1992 says about her tough female family members that ‘it never occurred to them that there were things they couldn’t do because they were women.’ The wish to become a professional writer was raised in Ann for the first time in high school when her English teacher read her essay to the class commenting on it with the words: ‘I honestly believe that you could be a writer if you wanted to.’ However, Petry decided on a rather stable education and followed the family tradition after finishing high school. She enrolled in college and graduated with a Ph.G. degree from Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1931 and worked in the family business for several years. On February 24, 1938 she married George D. Petry of New Iberia, Louisiana. This new commitment brought Petry to New York and eventually back to writing. She did not only write articles for newspapers like Amsterdam News, or People’s Voice, and published short stories in the Crisis, but was also engaged at an elementary school in Harlem. It was during this period of her life that she had realized and personally experienced what the black population of the United States had to go through in their everyday life. Traversing the littered streets of Harlem, living for the first time among large numbers of poor black people, seeing neglected children up close – Petry’s early years in New York inevitably made painful impressions on her. Deeply impacted by her Harlem experiences, Ann Petry was in the possession of the necessary creative writing skills to bring it to paper. Her daughter Liz explains to the Washington Post that ‘her way of dealing with the problem was to write this book, which maybe was something that people who had grown up in Harlem couldn’t do.’ She wrote her most popular novel The Street in 1946 and won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Back in Old Saybrook in 1947, the writer worked on Country Place (1947), The Narrows (1953), and some other stories but they have never achieved the same success as her first book. Until her death Petry lived in a representative 18th century house in her hometown, Old Saybrook. Ann Lane Petry died at the age of 88 on 28th April 1997. She was outlived by her only daughter, Liz Petry.

 

 

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(06/10/2014) The Torch In My Ear by Elias Canetti. New York. 1982. Farrar Straus Giroux. hardcover. 384 pages. Translated from the German by Joachim Neugroschel. keywords: Literature Translated Bulgaria Eastern Europe Autobiography. 0374278474.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Elias Canetti, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for literature, is one of the major intellectual figures of the twentieth century. He is a master of many genres, having written both a great novel - AUTO-DA-FÉ - and a great work of social theory – CROWDS AND POWER. But Canetti’s genius is perhaps nowhere more evident than in his autobiography. THE TORCH IN MY EAR is the second volume of Canetti’s memoirs. As the first volume, THE Tongue Set Free, was marked by Canetti’s first great admiration - that for his mother - The Torch In My Ear is above all else the account of Canetti’s admiration for the first great mentor of his adulthood, the Viennese writer Karl Kraus. Indeed, the title is a reference to Kraus’s magazine, THE TORCH. The book is also the portrait of Canetti’s first wife, Veza. Within the framework of these great passions, Canetti provides an astonishing account of the Vienna and Berlin of the 1920s. The voices of Kraus, of Veza, and of Canetti’s mother are accompanied by those of Brecht (toward whom Canetti is severe, Isaac Babel, George Grosz, and many others. The sounds, as Canetti would have it, of these people are alive in the book, as are the sounds of Central Europe on the edge of the abyss - the epoch itself set free by Canetti’s words.

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Bulgarian-born author of the novel Auto-da-Fé, the sociological study Crowds and Power, and three previously published memoir volumes (The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in my Ear, and The Play of the Eyes), won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.

 

 

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(06/11/2014) The Voices Of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit by Elias Canetti. New York. 1978. Seabury Press. hardcover. 103 pages. Jacket design by Tim McKeen. keywords: Travel Literature Bulgaria. 0816493464.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   No ordinary travel book, this account of a stay in Marrakesh by one of Europe’s major contemporary writers takes the reader on an inward journey that parallels and complements the outward ‘record of a visit.’ The city’s bewildering medley of voices, reaching out across the barriers of language and culture, recorded with a fidelity both perceptive and discreet, becomes an invitation to confront the realities of life and death. In a series of sharply etched scenes we meet the Arabs, Jews and Europeans who make up the city’s population; we stroll through the bazaars and watch people at work: we listen to the storytellers in the Djema el Fna and are set upon by an army of beggars; we get to know a family. We feel, in short, that we are beginning to understand the city, when suddenly all of its strangeness assumes tangible form in one final, challenging enigma.

Elias Canetti (1905-1994), Bulgarian-born author of the novel Auto-da-Fé, the sociological study Crowds and Power, and three previously published memoir volumes (The Tongue Set Free, The Torch in my Ear, and The Play of the Eyes), won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.

 

 

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