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(07/31/2014) Viga-Glums Saga with Tales of Ogmund Bash and Thorvald Chatterbox by John McKinnell (translator). Edinburgh. 1987. Canongate Books/UNESCO. 160 pages. paperback. 0862410843. Unesco collection of representative works. keywords: Literature Iceland Translated Sagas

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Set amid the power struggles of 10th-century Iceland, VIGA-GLUMS SAGA is a tale of cunning, courage, and unscrupulous ambition. Glum, a tough and self-assertive realist, vanquishes his oppressors to regain his ancestral home, and enjoys wealth and power for forty years. Yet in old age and defeat he shows a steadfast courage more admirable than the successful aggression of his youth, and his verses reveal a dignity and pathos in direct contrast to the sly cunning of his triumphant rivals. A distinguished addition to The New Saga Library (General Editor Hermann Pálsson), this translation is based on the version in the Mödruvallabók codex of the mid-14th century.

John McKinnell is a lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Durham. His published work includes articles on Old English poetry, Chaucer, and medieval drama, as well as Icelandic literature and manuscripts.

 

 

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(07/29/2014) A Taste of Eternity: A Novel by Gisèle Pineau. Lubbock. 2014. Texas Tech University Press. 161 pages. paperback. 9780896728707. Cover design by Ashley Beck. Translated from the French by C. Dickson. The Americas Series. keywords: Literature Guadeloupe Caribbean Women France Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Two women, separate but bound by hope When Sybille arrives in Paris from Guadeloupe with her infant son, she encounters the extravagant and marvelous Lila. Sybille is young and black with her life still ahead of her; an ex-actress, Lila is white and seventy years old. Despite their differences, the women become inseparable. Haunted by memories, Lila confides in Sybille and, among other things, relates the endless cycle of lovers in her life. Her most cherished memories are of Henry, a black man from the British Caribbean whom she met during the Liberation Day celebrations in Paris. Gradually, Sybille and Lila discover that the West Indies and the charm of Guadeloupe create a deep and common bond between them. The narrative leaps from one side of the Atlantic to the other, playing black against white, past against present, rural Caribbean culture against the urban life of Paris and New York. Sybille's memories of her own tragic childhood form a counterpoint to tales of Henry growing up on the island of St. John. The stories contain mysterious and magical elements revolving around one central theme: how fate works to draw lovers apart. Despite repeated defeats, love still survives. In tales and in legends, mocking all obstacles, it circumvents the game of destiny and the tragic vanity of mankind.

Gisèle Pineau is a French novelist, writer, and former psychiatric nurse. Although born in Paris, her origins are Guadeloupean and she has written several books on the difficulties and torments of her childhood as a black person growing up in Parisian society. She now divides her time between France and Guadeloupe.

Growing up, C. Dickson travelled extensively with family and lived in all parts of the United States. She left the United States in 1976 for travel in South America, Europe, and Africa and learned French fluently during this time. Now living in France, C. Dickson has acquired dual nationality.

 

 

 

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(07/27/2014) The Essays: A Selection by Michel de Montaigne. New York. 2003. Penguin Books. 446 pages. paperback. 0140446028. The cover shows 'Melancholy' by Domencio Feti. Translated from the French by M. A. Screech. keywords: Philosophy Literature France

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   To overcome a crisis of melancholy after the death of his father, Montaigne withdrew to his country estates and began to write, and in the highly original essays that resulted he discussed themes such as fathers and children, conscience and cowardice, coaches and cannibals, and, above all, himself. On Some Lines of Virgil opens out into a frank discussion of sexuality and makes a revolutionary case for the equality of the sexes. In On Experience he superbly propounds his thoughts on the right way to live, while other essays touch on issues of an age struggling with religious and intellectual strife, with France torn apart by civil war. These diverse subjects are united by Montaigne s distinctive voice - that of a tolerant man, sceptical, humane, often humorous and utterly honest in his pursuit of the truth.

M. A. Screech is an emeritus fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is recognized as a world authority on the Renaissance and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor for his translation of Montaigne’s Essays.

 

 

 

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(07/20/2014) Angelica's Smile: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri. New York. Penguin Books. 293 pages. paperback. 9780143123767. Cover design by Paul Buckley. Cover illustration by Andy Bridge. Translated from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. keywords: Mystery Sicily Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The seventeenth installment of the beloved New York Times bestselling series that boasts more than 600,000 books in print The last four books in Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series have leapfrogged their way up the New York Times bestseller list, perfectly positioning Angelica's Smile to ascend to even greater heights. A rash of burglaries has got Inspector Salvo Montalbano stumped. The criminals are so brazen that their leader, the anonymous Mr. Z, starts sending the Sicilian inspector menacing letters. Among those burgled is the young and beautiful Angelica Cosulich, who reminds the inspector of the love-interest in Ludovico Ariosto's chivalric romance, Orlando Furioso. Besotted by Angelica's charms, Montalbano imagines himself back in the medieval world of jousts and battles. But when one of the burglars turns up dead, Montalbano must snap out of his fantasy and unmask his challenger. 

Andrea Camilleri is the bestselling author of the popular Inspector Montalbano mystery series, as well as historical novels that take place in nineteenth-century Sicily. He lives in Rome. Stephen Sartarelli is an award-winning translator and poet. He lives in France.

 

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(07/21/2014) Believe in People: The Essential Karel Capek by Karel Capek. London. 2010. Faber & Faber. 358 pages. paperback. 9780571231621. Design by Faber. Selected and Translated from the Czech by Sarka Tobrmanova-Kuhnova. With a preface by John Carey. keywords: Literature Czech Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A hugely engaging collection of pieces by Karel Capek, one of the great European writers of the 1ast century. Playful and provocative, irreverent and inspiring, Capek is perhaps the best-loved Czech writer of all time. Novelist and playwright, famed for inventing the word ‘robot’ in his play RUR, Capek was a vital part of the burgeoning artistic scene of Czechoslovakia of the 1920s and 30s. But it is in his journalism - his brief, sparky and delightful columns - that Capek can be found at his most succinct, direct and appealing. This selection of Capek’s writing, translated into English for the first time, contains his essential ideas. The pieces are animated by his passion for the ordinary and the everyday - from laundry to toothache, from cats to cleaning windows - his love of language, his lyrical observations of the world and above all his humanism, his belief in people. His letters to his wife Olga, also published here, are extraordinarily moving and beautifully distinct from his other writings. Uplifting, enjoyable and endlessly wise, Believe in People is a collection to treasure.

John Carey is Emeritus Merton Professor of English at Oxford University, a distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster, and the author of several books, including studies of Donne, Dickens and Thackeray, as well as The Intellectuals and the Masses. He is the editor of Faber anthologies of Reportage, Utopias and Science. His most recent book, What Good are the Arts?, was praised by Blake Morrison as 'incisive and inspirational'.

 

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(07/22/2014) Homage To The Lame Wolf: Selected Poems 1956-75 by Vasko Popa. Oberlin. 1979. Field Translation Series/Oberlin College. 132 pages.. hardcover. 0932440029. Cover design & illustration by Stephen J. Farkas, Jr. Translated from the Serbian & With An Introduction by Charles Simic. Field Translations Series 2.   keywords: Poetry Serbia Literature Translated

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Vasko Popa, the most important living Yugoslav poet, is presented here in a book-length American translation for the first time. His poetry has received wide international recognition and has been translated into almost every European language. The poems in this selection cover his career from the mid-1950’s to the present. Popa lived and worked in Belgrade.

Vasko Popa (June 29, 1922 - January 5, 1991) was a Serbian poet of Romanian descent. Popa was born in the village of Grebenac, Vojvodina, Yugoslavia (present-day Serbia). After finishing high school, he enrolled as a student of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy. He continued his studies at the University of Bucharest and in Vienna. During World War II, he fought as a partisan and was imprisoned in a German concentration camp in Beckerek (today Zrenjanin, Serbia). After the war, in 1949, Popa graduated from the Romanic group of the Faculty of Philosophy at Belgrade University. He published his first poems in the magazines Književne novine (Literary Magazine) and the daily Borba (Struggle). From 1954 until 1979 he was the editor of the publishing house Nolit. In 1953 he published his first major verse collection, Kora (Bark). His other important work included Nepocin-polje (No-Rest Field, 1956), Sporedno nebo (Secondary Heaven, 1968), Uspravna zemlja (Earth Erect, 1972), Vucja so (Wolf Salt, 1975), and Od zlata jabuka (Apple of Gold, 1978), an anthology of Serbian folk literature. His Collected Poems, 1943–1976, a compilation in English translation, appeared in 1978, with an introduction by the British poet Ted Hughes. On May 29, 1972 Vasko Popa founded The Literary Municipality Vršac and originated a library of postcards, called Slobodno lišce (Free Leaves). In the same year, he was elected to become a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Vasko Popa is one of the founders of Vojvodina Academy of Sciences and Arts, established on December 14, 1979 in Novi Sad. He is the first laureate of the Branko’s award (Brankova nagrada) for poetry, established in honour of the poet Branko Radicevic. In the year 1957 Popa received another award for poetry, Zmaj’s Award (Zmajeva nagrada), which honours the poet Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj. In 1965 Popa received the Austrian state award for European literature. In 1976 he received the Branko Miljkovic poetry award, in 1978 the Yugoslav state AVNOJ Award, and in 1983 the literary award Skender Kulenovic.
In 1995, the town of Vršac established a poetry award named after Vasko Popa. It is awarded annually for the best book of poetry published in Serbian language. The award ceremony is held on the day of Popa’s birthday, 29 June. Vasko Popa died on January 5, 1991 in Belgrade and is buried in the Aisle of the Deserving Citizens in Belgrade’s New Cemetery. Vasko Popa wrote in a succinct modernist style that owed much to surrealism and Serbian folk traditions (via the influence of Serbian poet Momcilo Nastasijevic) and absolutely nothing to the Socialist Realism that dominated Eastern European literature after World War II; in fact, he was the first in post-World War II Yugoslavia to break with the Socialist Realism. He created a unique poetic language, mostly elliptical, that combines a modern form, often expressed through colloquial speech and common idioms and phrases, with old, oral folk traditions of Serbia – epic and lyric poems, stories, myths, riddles, etc. In his work, earthly and legendary motifs mix, myths come to surface from the collective subconscious, the inheritance and everyday are in constant interplay, and the abstract is reflected in the specific and concrete, forming a unique and extraordinary poetic dialectics.In The New York Times obituary, the author mentions that the English poet Ted Hughes lauded Popa as an ‘epic poet’ with a ‘vast vision’. The author also mentions that in his introduction to ‘Vasko Popa: Collected Poems 1943-1976,’ translated by Anne Pennington Hughes says: ‘As Popa penetrates deeper into his life, with book after book, it begins to look like a universe passing through a universe. It is one of the most exciting things in modern poetry, to watch this journey being made.’ Since his first book of verse, Kora (Bark), Vasko Popa has gained steadily in stature and popularity. His poetic achievement - eight volumes of verse written over a period of thirty eight years - has received extensive critical acclaim both in his native land and beyond. He is one of the most translated Serbian poets and at the time he had become one of the most influential World poets.

Charles Simic is the author of six volumes of poetry, of which DISMANTLING THE SILENCE, RETURN TO A PLACE LIT BY A GLASS OF MILK, and CHARON’S COSMOLOGY are the most recent. A professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, he has published many other translations of Yugoslav poetry.

 

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(07/23/2014) Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise by Georges Perec. London. 2011. Vintage Classics. 90 pages. hardcover. 9780099541226. Translated from the French by David Bellos. keywords: Literature France Translated Job Promotion

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   So having weighed the pros and cons you ve decided to approach your boss to ask for that well-earned raise in salary but before you schedule the all-important meeting you decide to dip into this handy volume in the hope of finding some valuable tips but instead find a hilarious, mind-bending farcical account of all the many different things that may or may not happen on the journey to see your boss which uses no punctuation or capitalisation and certainly no full stops. Georges Perec famously wrote a whole novel without using the letter e. Now, in this playful short novel, brilliantly translated by David Bellos, Perec once again dispenses with the normal rules for literary composition, with similarly pyrotechnic results.

 

 

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(07/24/2014) Meteor by Karel Capek. New York. 1935. Putnam. 256 pages. hardcover. Translated from the Czech by M. & R. Weatherall. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In a magnificent display of technical and intellectual brilliance, Karel Capek has produced not only an original, but also a moving and tender novel. An aeroplane crashes in flames. The pilot is killed, and the passenger, shockingly burned, internally injured, unidentifiable. The identity of the aeroplane is also a mystery, and after some days of unconsciousness the passenger dies - nameless and unknown. Three people - a nurse, a clairvoyant, and a poet - are so moved by his fate that each of them reconstructs one aspect of the circumstances that led him to such a terrible end. Through their imaginations we learn the whole story. The core of the narrative is psychologically sound. It is plausible and it is compelling. But there is an illusive beauty playing through the pages of METEOR, sensitive and delicate, casting a spell over the events - and over the reader. It will add many readers to Capek’s select but devotedly appreciative audience in this country. ‘Both the subject and technique of Karel Capek’s novel are refreshingly unusual. The book is impressive in its sheer candle power, its richness of suggestion and its deep psychological understanding.’ —Time and Tide (London). ‘With what a light touch, with what agility, Mr. Capek keeps us in touch with essentials! Imaginative in the best sense, compassionate and enjoying life’s many flavors, humorous, a little melancholy, he stands all by himself.’ - The Spectator (London).

Karel Capek (January 9, 1890 - December 25, 1938), Czech dramatist, novelist, and essayist, was born in 1890 in a small town in northern Bohemia. He studied at the University of Prague where he graduated as doctor of philosophy and then devoted himself to authorship. His literary reputation was established by his play R.U.R. (1920), which had an international vogue. In the following year came THE WORLD WE LIVE IN (the insect play), which was written in collaboration with his brother, Josef. The fantastic elements in these two plays are found also in the two novels which immediately followed them, ABSOLUTE AT LARGE (1923) and KRAKATIT (1924). Quite a different phase of his activity is seen in his LETTERS FROM ITALY (1924), a type of travel book which was repeated very successfully in LETTERS FROM ENGLAND’ (1924), LETTERS FROM SPAIN (1931), and LETTERS FROM HOLLAND (1933). His TALES FROM TWO POCKETS (1932) show him to be as skilful in handling realistic subject-matter as he was previously in the treatment of fantastic themes, and several of these tabloid detective stories are models of their kind. In general it may be said that Capek introduced a new spirit into Czech literature by blending a whimsical humour, derived at least in part from the study of English writers, with his native capacity for taking life seriously.

 

 

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(07/25/2014) Futbol! Why Soccer Matters in Latin America by Joshua H. Nadel. Gainesville. 2014. University Press of Florida. 288 pages. hardcover. 9780813049380. Front cover: Pele celebrating Brazil’s World Cup victory, June 21, 1970. copyright Sven Simon/imago/ZUMApress.com. keywords: Sports Soccer Futbol Latin America History

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Lively and fascinating. Nadel shows beautifully how soccer and politics have long been deeply intertwined, serving both to further state agendas and open up space for protest and contestation.’--Laurent Dubois, author of Soccer Empire. ‘In much of Latin America, soccer is more than a game. It is linked to each nation's identity in similar yet unique ways. Nadel offers a comprehensive look at this process.’--Joseph L. Arbena, coeditor of Sport in Latin America and the Caribbean. ‘Thoughtful and engaging. Examining the history of the game, its powerful myths, and its engrossing reality, Nadel helps scholars, students, and fans to understand Latin Americans' passion for the world's sport.’--Gregg Bocketti, Transylvania University. ‘Nadel knows Latin American soccer like a professor, but he loves it like a fan, and his enthusiasm is contagious. He uses sports history to teach larger insights about Latin America. Fútbol! will make you smarter about the sport and about the region, too. It's a book you want to read.’--John Charles Chasteen, author of Born in Blood and Fire. ‘Here are the football cultures of Latin America in all their macho glory, but here too is the story of women's football and its challenge to Latino masculinities. Above all, here is an account of football and nationalism, erudite and engaged, that remains rooted in the realities of play.’--David Goldblatt, author of The Ball Is Round. Discover the dreams, passions, and rivalries that are at stake in Latin America's most popular sport. Fútbol! explains why competitors and fans alike are so fiercely dedicated to soccer throughout the region. From its origins in British boarding schools in the late 1800s, soccer spread across the globe to become a part of everyday life in Latin America--and part of the region's most compelling national narratives. This book illustrates that soccer has the powerful ability to forge national unity by appealing to people across traditional social boundaries. In fact, author Joshua Nadel reveals that what started as a simple game played an important role in the development of Latin American countries in the twentieth century. Examining the impact of the sport in Argentina, Honduras, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, and Mexico, Nadel addresses how soccer affects politics, the media, race relations, and gender stereotypes. With inspiring personal stories and a sweeping historical backdrop, Fútbol! shows that soccer continues to be tied to regional identity throughout Central and South America today. People live for it--and sometimes kill for it. It is a source of hope and a reason for suicide. It is a way out of poverty for a select few and an intangible escape for millions more. As soccer gains greater worldwide attention today, this book serves as an indispensable guide for understanding soccer’s especially vital importance in Latin America. 

Joshua H. Nadel is assistant professor of history and associate director of the Global Studies Program at North Carolina Central University.

 

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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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The Neglected Books Page

23 April 2019

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  • Opium Fogs, by Rosemary Tonks (1963)

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

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  • Emir, by Rosemary Tonks (1963)

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

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  • Two Lost Novels

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

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

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

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

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

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  • No Goodness in the Worm, by Gay Taylor (1930)

    I’ve been interested in reading No Goodness in the Worm ever since I read A Prison, A Paradise, the memoir in which Gay Taylor, writing under the pseudonym of Loran Hurnscot (compiled from what she saw as her two worst sins, sloth and rancour), recalled her obsession and affair with A. E. Coppard and the... Read more

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

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

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  • As It Was in the Beginning, by G. E. Trevelyan (1934)

    The anonymous TLS reviewer described G. E. Trevelyan’s third novel, As It Was in the Beginning (1934) as “almost unreadable in its intensity.” Thumbing through the book after getting it in the mail last month, I could see that was an apt assessment, and somewhat dreaded the level of attention I would have to devote... Read more

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  • Angry Man’s Tale, by Peter de Polnay (1939)

    At a time when many first-time novelists bemourn publishers’ reluctance to back their works with advertisement, Alfred A. Knopf’s half-page ad for Peter de Polnay’s Angry Man’s Tale (1939) stands as righteous refutation. Look at that headline (perhaps not the best choice of font, Mr. Knopf): “Not the book of the year. Not even the... Read

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

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

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