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Fantasies Of The Master Race by Ward Churchill (edited by M. Annette Jaimes). Monroe. 1992. Common Courage Press. paperback. 304 pages. Published Simultaneously In Cloth. keywords: American Indian Politics Literature. 0962883867.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Chosen an ‘Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in the United States’ by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. In this volume of incisive essays, Ward Churchill looks at representations of American Indians in literature and film, delineating a history of cultural propaganda that has served to support the continued colonization of Native America. During each phase of the genocide of American Indians, the media has played a critical role in creating easily digestible stereotypes of Indians for popular consumption. Literature about Indians was first written and published in order to provoke and sanctify warfare against them. Later, the focus changed to enlisting public support for ‘civilizing the savages,’ stripping them of their culture and assimilating them into the dominant society. Now, in the final stages of cultural genocide, it is the appropriation and stereotyping of Native culture that establishes control over knowledge and truth. The primary means by which this is accomplished is through the powerful publishing and film industries. Whether they are the tragically doomed ‘noble savages’ walking into the sunset of Dances With Wolves or Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan, the exotic mythical Indians constitute no threat to the established order. Literature and art crafted by the dominant culture are an insidious political force, disinforming people who might otherwise develop a clearer understanding of indigenous struggles for justice and freedom. This book is offered to counter that deception, and to move people to take action on issues confronting American Indians today.

Ward LeRoy Churchill (born October 2, 1947) is an American author and political activist. He was a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1990 to 2007. The primary focus of his work is on the historical treatment of political dissenters and Native Americans by the United States government. His work features controversial and provocative views, written in a direct, often confrontational style. In January 2005, Churchill's work attracted publicity because of the widespread circulation of a 2001 essay, ‘On the Justice of Roosting Chickens‘. In the essay, he claimed that the September 11 attacks were a natural and unavoidable consequence of what he views as unlawful US policy, and he referred to the ‘technocratic corps’ working in the World Trade Center as ‘little Eichmanns‘. In March 2005 the University of Colorado began investigating allegations that Churchill had engaged in research misconduct; it reported in June 2006 that he had done so. Churchill was fired on July 24, 2007, leading to a claim by some scholars that he was fired because of the ‘Little Eichmanns’ comment. Churchill filed a lawsuit against the University of Colorado for unlawful termination of employment. In April 2009 a Denver jury found that Churchill was wrongly fired, awarding him $1 in damages. In July 2009, a District Court judge vacated the monetary award and declined Churchill's request to order his reinstatement, deciding the university has ‘quasi-judicial immunity’. In February 2010, Churchill appealed the judge's decision. In November 2010, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the lower-court's ruling. In September 10, 2012, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld the lower courts' decisions in favor of the University of Colorado. On April 1st, 2013, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

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The Human Comedy: Collected Short Stories by Honore de Balzac. New York. 2014. New York Review of Books. paperback. 428 pages. Cover image: Della Rocca, ‘An Embarrassment of Riches’ (detail); The Bridgeman Art Library. Cover design: Katy Homans. Newly Translated from the French by Linda Asher, Carol Cosman, and Jordan Stump. Introduction by Peter Brooks. keywords: Literature France Translated 19th Century. 9781590176641.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   AN NYRB CLASSICS ORIGINAL ‘In Balzac, every living soul is a weapon loaded to the very muzzle with will.’ - CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. Characters from every corner of society and all walks of life - lords and ladies, businessmen and military men, poor clerks, unforgiving moneylenders, aspiring politicians, artists, actresses, swindlers, misers, parasites, sexual adventurers, crackpots, and more - move through the pages of The Human Comedy, Balzac’s multivolume magnum opus, an interlinked chronicle of modernity in all its splendor and squalor. The Human Comedy includes the great roomy novels that have exercised such a sway over Balzac’s many literary inheritors, from Dostoyevsky and Henry James to Marcel Proust; it also contains an array of short fictions in which Balzac is at his most concentrated and forceful. Nine of these, all newly translated, appear in this volume, and together they provide an unequaled overview of a great writer’s obsessions and art. Here are ‘The Duchesse de Langeais,’ ‘A Passion in the Desert,’ and ‘Sarrasine’; tales of madness, illicit passion, ill-gotten gains, and crime. What unifies them, Peter Brooks points out in his introduction, is an incomparable storyteller’s fascination with the power of storytelling, while throughout we also detect what Proust so admired: the ‘mysterious circulation of blood and desire.’ ‘I have learned more [from Balzac] than from all the professional historians, economists, and statisticians put together.’ - FRIEDRICH ENGELS.

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

 

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Memoirs Of A Polyglot: The Autobiography of William Gerhardie by William Gerhardie. New York. 1973. St Martin's Press. hardcover. 408 pages. Preface by Michael Holroyd. 0356031470.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Written with a rare candour, this enchanting and entertaining book describes the early life of this ‘unique, isolated and important figure in English letters.’ William Gerhardie has been quoted as saying that his hopes lie in ‘ever being discovered astonishingly anew.’ He has revised and briefly expanded his autobiography (first written in 1931) for its inclusion in Macdonald’s new definitive editions of his works, all of which are introduced by Prefaces by Michael Holroyd. Mr Gerhardie writes about his grandparents and parents, and about his childhood in St Petersburg where his father, a Br1tish cotton manufacturer settled in the 1890s. He joined the Scots Greys in the First World War, was commissioned and posted to the British Embassy at Petrograd, where he saw the Russian Revolution in various stages. MEMOIRS OF A POLYGLOT is illustrated with photographs, many of them charming examples from family albums. At Oxford, he wrote FUTILITY, the first of his novels. MEMOIRS OF A POLYGLOT wonderfully illuminates the literary personality and the enduring works of this author, of whom C. P. Snow has said: ‘He is a comic writer of genus. but his art is profoundly serious. William Gerhardie was the friend some of the most interesting people of the 1920s and 1930s - from Beaverbrook to the Sitweils - and writes brilliantly, and amusingly about the literary and political scene. ‘The narrative,’ Michael Holroyd says in his Preface, ‘which contains so many percipient little pen portraits, stops for no man, but merely seems to pick them up in its stride.’ As Michael Ivens has commented, William Gerhardie’s life has been full of ‘odd and incredible events’ and these - including many travels - are described in MEMOIRS OF A POLYGLOT with zest, humour and remarkable insight. 

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

 

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Poetry For My People by Henry Dumas. Carbondale. 1970. Southern Illinois University Press. hardcover. 184 pages.  Preface by Imamu Ameer Baraka Leroi Jones. Introduction by Jay Wright. Edited by Hale Chatfield & Eugene Redmond. keywords: Literature America Black African American. 0809304430.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   The poems of Henry Dumas demonstrate concisely what an African heritage can mean to an American writer. The poems in this collection of Dumas’s poetry, published and unpublished at the time of his death in 1968 at the age of thirty-four,. represent a diversity of themes and techniques. Even amid this considerable variety, however, we can distinguish themes and devices which occur with sufficient regularity to become characteristic. Naturally, the plight of the black man in America is first among Dumas’s thematic concerns. In this regard, the poet’s chief metaphor involves a living entity (a tree, for example) transplanted from African to American soil, which fails to nourish it properly and even threatens to poison it to death—a fate from which it is able to defend itself by relying upon the African heritage (spirits, gods, ancestors) it recalls within its very cells. To provide the appropriate tone and atmosphere for such poems as these, Dumas makes frequent use of African place names and often employs Swahili or even Arabic words. To protest, as some readers are inclined to do, that such names and words often appear in unlikely or fantastic contexts is to miss the essential point: namely, that the fundamental ‘truth’ in these poems is a strong attachment not merely to the African past itself but also to the emotions, attitudes, and predispositions which it continually engenders and enriches. It is true, of course, that black Americans have for years been giving careful and scholarly attention to the matter of their African heritage. Dumas’s poetry may be viewed, in part, as an assertion of that heritage and an exploration of its effects.

 

  HENRY DUMAS, a prize-winning writer, was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, on July 20, 1934, and moved to New York City when he was ten years old. His life was ended abruptly on May 23, 1968, by bullets from the gun of a New York Transit policeman in the subway. Reasons for the killing have remained vague and unsatisfactory. Before his death Dumas had been active on the ‘little’ magazine circuit as well as in the initial opening scene of the Black Arts Movement, publishing his stories and poems in Negro Digest/Black World, Rutgers’ Anthologist, the Hiram Poetry Review, Umbra and Black Fire. Since his death his reputation and writings have attracted a large and international community of readers. On the heels of the publication of ARK OF BONES AND OTHER STORIES and PLAY EBONY PLAY IVORY, writers, artists and students gathered in several largely Black areas of the country to read from the works and proclaim the genius of Dumas. Among the anthologies and periodicals which have printed his work since his death are: Black Scholar, Essence, Brothers and Sisters, Confrontation, Galaxy of Black Writing, You Better Believe it, Open Poetry and Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writings. Just before his death, Dumas was employed by Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis.

 

Imamu Ameer Baraka (LeRoi Jones), who has provided a Preface to this volume, is one of America’s most esteemed black writers. His best known books are Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note; Blues People; and The Dead Lecturer. In 1964 he won the Obie Award for his play Dutchman, which was made into a motion picture in 1967. Recently he has been giving readings and lectures on college and university campuses throughout the United States.

 

Jay Wright, who has written an Introduction to this volume, has studied at the University of California (Berkeley), Union Theological Seminary, and Rutgers University. He is a widely published poet and playwright and has held several fellowships. Recently he has served as a reader in the Academy of American Poets Schools Program in New York City and as poet in-residence at Tougaloo College and Talladega College.

 

Hale Chatfield, coeditor of this volume with Eugene Redmond, is a member of the English faculty at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. He is founder and editor of the Hiram Poetry Review, and the author of two book-length collections of poetry. His work appears regularly in literary periodicals. In July 1968 he was named chairman of the Poetry Advisory Panel to the Ohio Arts Council.

 

Eugene Redmond, currently Writer-in-Residence at Oberlin College, has won several prizes for poetry. He holds the B.A. degree in English Literature from Southern Illinois University and the M.A. degree from Washington University. This year October House will publish his first book-length collection of poems, THE EYE IN THE CEILING.

 

 

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Graveyard Of The Angels by Reinaldo Arenas. New York. 1987. Avon. Paperback Original. Translated from the Spanish by Alfred J. MacAdam. 122 pages. May 1987. paperback. 0380750759

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   ‘A GREAT LOVE IS, ABOVE ALL, A GREAT PROVOCATION. .. ‘ A beautiful young mulatto in long-ago Havana, Cuba, takes a white man into her bed. In itself, this act of love was more commonplace than remarkable. But Cecilia Valdés was the illegitimate daughter of don Cándido, a wealthy slave trader arid coffee baron. Her inamorato was Leonardo, don Cándido’s son. Such can be the stuff of tragedy. For highly acclaimed exiled Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, it is the jumping-off place for hilarious farce-risque, absurd, wildly funny, and quintessentially irreverent. Arenas, whose searing prose has exposed the brutalities and haunting beauty of his native land in his earlier works, tells here a tale filled with heartbreak; touches it with magic; and creates a fantastic, bittersweet tragicomedy that captures the essence of the bondage of the human heart. ‘A remarkable writer as much for his talent as for his intellectual dignity. I am his reader and his admirer!’ - Octavio Paz.

 

  Reinaldo Arenas (July 16, 1943 - December 7, 1990) was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government. Arenas was born in the countryside, in the northern part of the Province of Oriente, Cuba, and later moved to the city of Holguín. In 1963, he moved to Havana to enroll in the School of Planification and, later, in the Faculty of Letters at the Universidad de La Habana, where he studied philosophy and literature without completing a degree. The following year, he began working at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. While there, his talent was noticed and he was awarded prizes at Cirilo Villaverde National Competition held by UNEAC (National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists). (Soto 1998) Interestingly, his Hallucinations was awarded ‘first Honorable Mention’ in 1966 although, as the judges could find no better entry, no First Prize was awarded that year (Colchie 2001). His writings and openly gay lifestyle were, by 1967, bringing him into conflict with the Communist government. He left the Biblioteca Nacional and became an editor for the Cuban Book Institute until 1968. From 1968 to 1974 he was a journalist and editor for the literary magazine La Gaceta de Cuba. In 1973, he was sent to prison after being charged and convicted of ‘ideological deviation’ and for publishing abroad without official consent. He escaped from prison and tried to leave Cuba by launching himself from the shore on a tire inner tube. The attempt failed and he was rearrested near Lenin Park and imprisoned at the notorious El Morro Castle alongside murderers and rapists. He survived by helping the inmates to write letters to wives and lovers. He was able to collect enough paper this way to continue his writing. However, his attempts to smuggle his work out of prison were discovered and he was severely punished. Threatened with death, he was forced to renounce his work and was released in 1976. In 1980, as part of the Mariel Boatlift, he fled to the United States. Despite his short life and the hardships imposed during his imprisonment, Arenas produced a significant body of work. His Pentagonia is a set of five novels that comprise a ‘secret history’ of post revolutionary Cuba. It includes the poetical Farewell to the Sea, Palace of the White Skunks and the Rabelaisian Color of Summer. In these novels Arenas’ style ranges from a stark realist narrative to absurd satiric humor. He traces his own life story in what to him is the absurd world of Castro’s Cuba. In each of the novels Arenas himself is a major character, going by a number of pseudonyms. His autobiography, Before Night Falls was on the New York Times list of the ten best books of the year in 1993. In 2000 this work was made into a film, directed by Julian Schnabel, in which Arenas was played by Javier Bardem. In 1987, Arenas was diagnosed with AIDS, but he continued to write and speak out against the Cuban government. He mentored many Cuban Exile writers, including John O’Donnell-Rosales. After battling AIDS, Arenas committed suicide by taking an overdose of drugs and alcohol on December 7, 1990, in New York. In a suicide letter written for publication, Arenas wrote: ‘Due to my delicate state of health and to the terrible depression it causes me not to be able to continue writing and struggling for the freedom of Cuba, I am ending my life. I want to encourage the Cuban people out of the country as well as on the Island to continue fighting for freedom. Cuba will be free. I already am.’

 

 

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My Inventions and Other Writings by Nikola Tesla. New York. 2011. Penguin Books. Introduction by Samantha Hunt. 167 pages. paperback. Cover image: Inventor and physicist Nikola Tesla. Cover college: Janet Hansen. 9780143106616

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Famous for his pioneering contributions to the electronic age, his lifelong feud with Thomas Edison, and his erratic behavior, Nikola Tesla was one of the most brilliant and daring inventors and visionaries of his time. Originally written in 1919 as a series of articles in Electrical Experimenter magazine, MY INVENTIONS is Tesla's autobiography, with meditations on his major discoveries and innovations, including the rotating magnetic field, the magnifying transmitter, and the Tesla coil. This volume also includes three articles by Tesla, as well as an enlightening introduction that discredits many of the myths surrounding the thinker's eccentric life.

 

Tesla Nikola  Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric power development was also involved in the corporate struggle between making alternating current or direct current the power transmission standard, referred to as the War of Currents. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission, which was his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project. In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He even built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited. Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal 'mad scientist.' His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success. He lived most of his life in a series of New York hotels, through his retirement. He died on 7 January 1943. His work fell into relative obscurity after his death, but in 1960 the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor. Tesla has experienced a resurgence in interest in popular culture since the 1990s.

 

 

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Comic Sagas and Tales from Iceland by Vidar Hreinsson (editor). New York. 2013. Penguin Books. paperback. 329 pages. Cover: llumination from the Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbok, depicting King Harold Fine-Hair cutting the fetters from the giant Dofri. keywords: Literature Iceland Sagas Translated. 9780140447743.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

   ‘The axe bit well and the head went flying off and landed some distance away. Then Thorgeir rode off.’ COMIC SAGAS AND TALES brings together the finest comic stories from medieval Iceland. With feuding families and moments of grotesque violence, the sagas see such classic mythological figures as murdered fathers, disguised beggars, corrupt chieftains and avenging sons do battle with axes, words and cunning. The tales, meanwhile, follow heroes and comical fools through dreams, voyages and religious conversions in Iceland and beyond. Shaped by the Icelanders’ oral culture and their conversion to Christianity, these stories are works of ironic humour and stylistic innovation. In the introduction to these new translations, Vidar Hreinsson examines how the stories satirized old-style sagas while exploiting their classic themes of quests and revenge. This edition also includes a map, glossary, index of characters, suggested further reading and notes. Translated by Martin S. Regal, John Tucker, Ruth C. Ellison, Frederic Heinemann, George Clark, Robert Kellogg, Judith Jesch And Anthony Maxwell. Edited With An Introduction And Notes By Vidar Hreinsson.

 

 

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The Bush Soldiers by John Hooker. New York. 1984. 439 pages. October 1984. hardcover. 0670197513. Jacket design by Nell Stuart. Jacket painting by Hodges Soileau, 1984. keywords: Literature Australia.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   It is August 1943. The Japanese have invaded Australia and are holding its eastern coastal cities. In the deserted interior moving from one desolate outpost to another, are a group of men united by little more than their bravery and common plight. Two of them are English and the rest Australian; some of them are old - the hero, Geoffrey Sawtell, saw action In World War I as a raw Australian recruit in the trenches - and some very young; some of them are experienced and one is nothing but a drifter. Yet in this inhospitable landscape they are in certain respects all equal. After sabotaging a mine held by the Japanese, the bush soldiers retreat into central Australia, looking constantly for their pursuers, seeing nothing but the infrequent smoke of a campfire. Chapters recounting their adventures alternate with flashbacks about the heroic Sawtell - his love, his work, his inarticulate deep search for an ideal of progressive Australian life. But as the men move deeper into the country not even Sawtell, the one most attuned to the land essential beauty can escape the truth that they are all foreigners and newcomers in this ancient, aboriginal place. And the cruel terrain and their own weaknesses suggest that the Japanese nightmare is not, perhaps, the principal one. The tension mounts as the enemy continually eludes them; the final tragedy is played out when - their supplies depleted, their way uncertain, their destiny clouded - the implacable truth of the Australian bush brings the soldiers to their knees and all but two of them to their certain death. Of John Hooker and THE BUSH SOLDIERS, the Australian poet and novelist David Malouf has written, ‘Difficult to say what is most admirable, the action of his epic plot, the daring with which he moves from a precise vision of Australia between the wars to his imaginary historical moment, the irony of his contrast between British, Australian, and aboriginal heroes, the complexity with which he presents his leading character, or the surprise he springs in locating the real enemy not in the Japanese invaders but in the invaded land itself, before which Geoffrey Sawtell’s virtues as a man of action, and all his weaponry, are of no value whatsoever. THE BUSH SOLDIERS is set in the past - in fact an imaginary one - but its argument is utterly contemporary. It’s a real achievement.’

 

 

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Goodbye, Sweetwater: New & Selected Stories by Henry Dumas. New York. 1988. Thunder's Mouth Press. hardcover. 348 pages.  Jacket design by Loretta Li.  keywords: Literature America Black African American. 0938410598.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   This long-overdue collection/anthology of the late Henry Dumas’s powerful fiction (praised by The New York Times as ‘rich, talented and original’) brings together for the first time a broad selection of works, whose penetrating force, humor and savage clarity make vivid the richness of the black experience in America. These pieces, whose settings range from impoverished rural Arkansas to the explosive Harlem of the sixties, treat with courage and honesty the tensions between blacks and whites, from North to South; yet Dumas’s expansive breath of vision extends beyond racial hostilities to encompass universal conflicts – between man and nature, justice and injustice, love and hatred, good and evil. Among the stories in this collection that depict smoldering anger that sparks and blazes into violence, the grimly prophetic ‘Harlem’ stands out. Here, Dumas, who was killed in 1968 by a New York City policeman under still-unexplained circumstances, describes a black man watching the neighborhood boil over, even small children ‘infected by the strange malady of hate and boredom,’ as a police riot squad closes in on a crowd maddened by an attack on a black youth in an inexorable escalation of violence. Man and nature collide in an excerpt from Dumas’s haunting (only) novel, JONOAH AND THE GREEN STONE. Young John is orphaned and set adrift in a large flat-bottomed skiff when the Mississippi crosses the mudline and climbs over the levee, sweeping away people, animals, homes, crops. Adopted by the Mastersons, a family also dispossessed by the flood, John is rechristened ‘Jonoah’, because his boat has saved them all from the deluge. When a white man they rescue threatens Jonoah’s newfound family, the boy learns the difference between the mortal danger of the river and the moral danger of human malice. In the never-before-published title story ‘Goodbye, Sweetwater,’ menace hovers over Sulfur Springs, Arkansas, reduced to a wasteland by a nearby factory. There, sixteen-year-old Layton Bridges, watches the trains pass from his perch in a chinaberry tree in his grandmother’s yard and dreams of rejoining his mother in New York. A tense encounter with a local white man uncovers resentments that challenge his impending manhood. Praised as a writer ‘of both the mind and the flesh.  a master at the reins.’ Henry Dumas created a literature at once authentic in its depiction of human joy and despair and suggestive of the larger mysteries of life. In these stories, men, women and children endure poverty, violence and humiliation, but sustained by love and hope, they persist in a triumph of human dignity. The ultimate power of this vision, borne upon the lyric precision of his prose, should bring wide recognition to the masterful fiction of Henry Dumas.

 

  HENRY DUMAS, a prize-winning writer, was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, on July 20, 1934, and moved to New York City when he was ten years old. His life was ended abruptly on May 23, 1968, by bullets from the gun of a New York Transit policeman in the subway. Reasons for the killing have remained vague and unsatisfactory. Before his death Dumas had been active on the ‘little’ magazine circuit as well as in the initial opening scene of the Black Arts Movement, publishing his stories and poems in Negro Digest/Black World, Rutgers’ Anthologist, the Hiram Poetry Review, Umbra and Black Fire. Since his death his reputation and writings have attracted a large and international community of readers. On the heels of the publication of ARK OF BONES AND OTHER STORIES and PLAY EBONY PLAY IVORY, writers, artists and students gathered in several largely Black areas of the country to read from the works and proclaim the genius of Dumas. Among the anthologies and periodicals which have printed his work since his death are: Black Scholar, Essence, Brothers and Sisters, Confrontation, Galaxy of Black Writing, You Better Believe it, Open Poetry and Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writings. Just before his death, Dumas was employed by Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education in East St. Louis.

 

 

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Coup D’Etat: The Technique of Revolution by Curzio Malaparte. New York. 1932. Dutton. hardcover. 251 pages.  Translated from the Italian by Sylvia Saunders. keywords: History Revolution Coup D’Etat Translated.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Here is the handbook for the modern revolutionist, from the pen of a man who has seen many of Europe’s post-war insurrections at first hand. The nineteenth-century Napoleonic model of the coup d’Etat, which dramatically seized the emblems of government, is dead. It has been superseded by a cold, efficient Marxian technique, first and most brilliantly used by Trotsky in 1917. The October Revolution of the Bolsheviks has rendered useless all the traditional methods of safeguarding the modern state from overthrow: it has changed insurrection from a picturesque drama to a machine. Such is the thesis of Signor Malaparte’s book, which is at the same time a brilliant account of modern dictators - Lenin, Trotsky, Mussolini, Pilsudski, Primo de Rivera - and the means by which they came to power. The book closes with a caustic analysis of Adolph Hitler, present aspirant to dictatorship in Germany, and restates the problems of internal security for a modern government. It is a volume which inevitably recalls Machiavelli’s PRINCE, as a realistic and ruthless account of modern statecraft.

 

  Curzio Malaparte (9 June 1898 – 19 July 1957), born Kurt Erich Suckert, was an Italian journalist, dramatist, short-story writer, novelist and diplomat. His chosen surname, which he used from 1925, means ‘evil/wrong side’ and is a play on Napoleon's family name ‘Bonaparte‘ which means, in Italian, ‘good side’. Born in Prato, Tuscany, to a Lombard mother and a German father, he was educated at Collegio Cicognini and at the La Sapienza University of Rome. In 1918 he started his career as a journalist. Malaparte fought in World War I, earning a captaincy in the Fifth Alpine Regiment and several decorations for valor, and in 1922 took part in Benito Mussolini's March on Rome. In 1924, he founded the Roman periodical La Conquista dello Stato (‘The Conquest of the State’, a title that would inspire Ramiro Ledesma Ramos' La Conquista del Estado). As a member of the Partito Nazionale Fascista, he founded several periodicals and contributed essays and articles to others, as well as writing numerous books, starting from the early 1920s, and directing two metropolitan newspapers. In 1926 he founded with Massimo Bontempelli (1878–1960) the literary quarterly ‘900’. Later he became a co-editor of Fiera Letteraria (1928–31), and an editor of La Stampa in Turin. His polemical war novel-essay, Viva Caporetto! (1921), criticized corrupt Rome and the Italian upper classes as the real enemy (the book was forbidden because it offended the Regio Esercito). In Tecnica del Colpo di Stato (1931) Malaparte attacked both Adolf Hitler and Mussolini. This led to Malaparte being stripped of his National Fascist Party membership and sent to internal exile from 1933 to 1938 on the island of Lipari. He was freed on the personal intervention of Mussolini's son-in-law and heir apparent Galeazzo Ciano. Mussolini's regime arrested Malaparte again in 1938, 1939, 1941, and 1943 and imprisoned him in Rome's infamous jail Regina Coeli. During that time (1938–41) he built a house, known as the Casa Malaparte, on Capo Massullo, on the Isle of Capri. Shortly after his time in jail he published books of magical realist autobiographical short stories, which culminated in the stylistic prose of Donna Come Me (WOMAN LIKE ME) (1940). His remarkable knowledge of Europe and its leaders is based upon his experience as a correspondent and in the Italian diplomatic service. In 1941 he was sent to cover the Eastern Front as a correspondent for Corriere della Sera. The articles he sent back from the Ukrainian Fronts, many of which were suppressed, were collected in 1943 and brought out under the title Il Volga nasce in Europa (‘The Volga Rises in Europe’). Also, this experience provided the basis for his two most famous books, KAPUTT (1944) and THE SKIN (1949). KAPUTT, his novelistic account of the war, surreptitiously written, presents the conflict from the point of view of those doomed to lose it. From November 1943 to March 1946 he was attached to the American High Command in Italy as an Italian Liaison Officer. Articles by Curzio Malaparte have appeared in many literary periodicals of note in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. After the war, Malaparte's political sympathies veered to the left, and he became member of the Italian Communist Party. In 1947 Malaparte settled in Paris and wrote dramas without much success. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Malaparte became interested in the Maoist version of Communism, but his journey to China was cut short by illness, and he was flown back to Rome. Io in Russia e in Cina, his journal of the events, was published posthumously in 1958. Malaparte's final book, Maledetti Toscani, his attack on bourgeois culture, appeared in 1956. Shortly after the publication of this book, he became a Catholic. He died from lung cancer on 19 July 1957.

 

 

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Zeely by Virginia Hamilton. New York. 1967. Macmillan. hardcover. 122 pages.  Jacket art by Symeon Shimin. Illustrated by Symeon Shimin. keywords: Black Children. 0027424707.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Zeely Tayber was more than six and a half feet tall, thin and deeply dark as a pole of Ceylon ebony. She had very high cheekbones and her eyes seemed to turn in on themselves. Geeder couldn’t say what expression she saw on Zeely’s face. She knew only that it was calm, and that it had pride in it, and that the face as the most beautiful she had ever seen. To Ceeder Perry, eleven years old and free for the first time to make her summer on the farm something special, Zeely is the embodiment of dreams. One day Geeder finds a remarkable photograph in an old magazine - a portrait of a Watutsi queen who looks just like Zeely. Suddenly she decides that the regal Zeely must be a queen too, and, swept up in her fantasies, she tells all the children in the village. Only Zeely herself can bring Geeder back to reality. How she succeeds is at once moving, surprising and reassuring - to Geeder most of all.

 

  VIRGINIA HAMILTON was born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, a small town not unlike the Crystal of Zeely, her first book for children.

 

 

 

SYMEON SHIMIN is a well-known painter and illustrator. Born in Russia, he came to America in 1912. Among his finest books for children are Listen, Rabbit by Aileen Fisher and One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor Schweitzer.

 

 

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The Quotable Kierkegaard by Soren Kierkegaard. Princeton. 2013. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 234 pages. Jacket illustration: Details of Sketch of Soren Kierkegaard based on a sketch by Niels Christian Kierkegaard (180601882). Edited by Gordon Marino. keywords: Philosophy Denmark Literature Translated. 9780691155302.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE AND AUTHORITATIVE COLLECTION OF KIERKEGAARD QUOTATIONS EVER PUBLISHED. ‘The Quotable Kierkegaard serves equally well as an introduction or a reference book. There is no better way to sample the unique flavor of Kierkegaard’s thought. And if you ever need a quotation for a speech or a sermon, for an epigraph or an epitaph, for a dedication or a denunciation, you’re sure to find a striking one here.’ - David Lodge, author of Small World, Therapy, and other novels. ‘Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven - in the spring at the earth.’ - Søren Kierkegaard. The father of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a philosopher who could write like an angel. With only a sentence or two, he could plumb the depths of the human spirit. In this collection of some 800 quotations, the reader will find dazzling bon mots next to words of life-changing power. Drawing from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard’s writings, this book presents a broad selection of his wit and wisdom, as well as a stimulating introduction to his life and work. Organized by topic, this volume covers notable Kierkegaardian concerns such as anxiety, despair, existence, irony, and the absurd, but also erotic love, the press, busyness, and the comic. Here readers will encounter both well-known quotations (‘Life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forward’) and obscure ones (‘Beware false prophets who come to you in wolves’ clothing but inwardly are sheep - i.e., the phrasemongers’). Those who spend time in these pages will discover the writer who said ‘my grief is my castle,’ but who also taught that ‘the best defense against hypocrisy is love.’ Illuminating and delightful, this engaging book also provides a substantial portrait of one of the most influential of modern thinkers; Gathers some 800 quotations; Drawn from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard’s writings; Includes an introduction, a brief account and timeline of Kierkegaard’s life, a guide to further reading, and an index.

 

Gordon Marino is professor of philosophy and director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. He is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age, the coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard, and the editor of Basic Writings of Existentialism.

 

 

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Poems 1918-1936: Volume 1 of The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff by Charles Reznikoff. Santa Barbara. 1976. Black Sparrow Press. Edited by Seamus Cooney. 227 pages. hardcover. 0876852622

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0876852622   A scarce work from Reznikoff, who died while the project was at press, but had already signed the colophon pages of this edition. Reznikoff’s first book of poetry, Rhythms, was privately published in 1918. He took a series of writing and editing jobs to support himself, working on the editorial staffs of the American Law Book Company and, beginning in 1955, the Jewish Frontier. In 1930, Reznikoff married Marie Syrkin, who later became a distinguished professor at Brandeis University. Throughout the 1930s, Reznikoff gained recognition as one of the principal proponents of Objectivism, along with Louis Zukofsky, George Oppen, and Carl Rakosi. The group of poets established the Objectivist Press, which published three of Reznikoff’s books. His work enjoyed little commercial success, however, and much of it continued to be self-published. The most comprehensive edition of Reznikoff’s work is Poems 1918-1975: The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff (Black Sparrow Press, 1989). His other books of poetry include Holocaust (1975) and Testimony (1965), which are his most celebrated works, as well as Going To and Fro and Walking Up and Down (1941), Jerusalem the Golden (1934), Poems (1920), and Rhythms (1918). He also published several prose works and a number of plays. After his death, a novel entitled The Manner Music was discovered by his patron, John Martin, and published posthumously in 1976, with an introduction by Robert Creeley. Apart from his foray in the south and a year spent as a Hollywood screenwriter in the 1930s, Reznikoff was a lifelong resident of New York City. He died on January 22, 1976.

 

  Charles Reznikoff (August 31, 1894 – January 22, 1976) was an American poet known for his long work, Testimony: The United States (1885-1915), Recitative (1934-1979). The term Objectivist was first coined for him. The two-volume Testimony was based on court records and explored the black experience in the United States. He followed this with Holocaust (1975), based on court testimony about Nazi death camps during World War II. When Louis Zukofsky was asked by Harriet Monroe to provide an introduction to what became known as the Objectivist issue of Poetry, he contributed his essay, Sincerity and Objectification: With Special Reference to the Work of Charles Reznikoff. This established the name of the loose-knit group of 2nd generation modernist poets and the two characteristics of their poetry: sincerity and objectification.

 

 

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The Royal Game & Other Stories by Stefan Zweig. New York. 1981. Harmony Books. Translated From The German By Jill Sutcliffe. Introduction By John Fowles. keywords: Literature Austria Germany Translated Vienna. 250 pages. Jacket design by Shirley Tuckley. 0517545535.

The stories of Stefan Zweig are exquisite gems. In his day he was one of most popular writers of his time, but now many of his books are out-of-print. Thankfully, a few presses like Pushkin Press are making some of Zweig's work available once again. THE ROYAL GAME & OTHER STORIES contains some of Zweig's classics.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   It is difficult to imagine, while reading the five newly translated stories here, how a writer of Stefan Zweig's awesome gifts came to suffer literary obscurity. Such formidable figures as Thomas Mann, Richard Strauss, and Sigmund Freud all praised Zweig; his books were international best-sellers. As John Fowles writes in his introduction to The Royal Game and Other Stories, Zweig is a 'remarkably fertile and gifted writer. Stefan Zweig's stories have a dark magnetism; they explore the limitless scope of every kind of single-mindedness-obsessional love, pathological revenge, and even madness in chess. Zweig wrote: 'A psychological problem is as attractive for me in a living person as in an historical person. my novels and biographies come out of the same source. , an insatiable curiosity. ' Zweig pushes his fictional characters through traps and pitfalls that divert them from their characteristic behavior and then follows them to the extremes to which their minds will eventually lead. The reader is inexorably drawn into a web of hidden secrets and unforgettable characters. THE ROYAL GAME AND OTHER STORIES brings to the modern reader a compelling kind of narrative wizardry little found today. As John Fowles, author of The French Lieutenant's Woman, concludes in his introduction, 'Now I must let Zweig's troubled, but always humane, spirit speak for itself. It has wandered much too far out of the English-speaking world's memory. It is time, on this centenary of his birth, that we read him again. ' Five stories you will always remember by a writer you will never forget. In LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, a celebrated novelist returns home early one morning. His servant hands him tea and a letter; the letter is written in an unfamiliar, shaky, feminine hand. It begins, 'To you who never knew me,' and gradually reveals a woman's obsession and impossible love. THE BURNING SECRET is a story from the land of childhood. During the days of Imperial Austria, a young baron arrives in Semmering for a mountain holiday. At an elegant dinner, he finds an object for his lust: a sensual Jewess, who is accompanied by her small boy. The baron befriends the boy, gains his confidence, and closes in on the married mother. AMOK is a tale of dark passion. As John Fowles says, 'Conrad's literal typhoons are carried over into the domain of the sexual. ' A European doctor commits a crime. Guilt-ridden and alcoholic, he is banished to the remote tropics. At first, he successfully fights death and disease - later, they seep into his very being. A wealthy married woman mysteriously appears at his isolated outpost, pregnant with her lover's child. Trapped by her own passion, she requests the doctor's services. He agrees but only if she will first surrender herself to him. Frau Wagner, in 'FEAR,' is respectable-she has a husband, children, and servants. Yet something has gone wrong; she lives and dreams the horror that her secret love will be discovered. THE ROYAL GAME is the story of a man who enters into a fateful chess match. Imprisoned years before by the Gestapo, a single chess book saves Dr. B. from the madness of solitary confinement. Now while he is aboard a ship to Buenos Aires, his fellow passengers urge him to challenge Czenotivic, the world champion, to a match. Dr. B. hesitates, then agrees. The madness of his imprisonment returns. 'Stefan Zweig has suffered, since his death in 1942, a darker eclipse than any other famous writer of this century. Even 'famous writer' understates the prodigious reputation he enjoyed in the last decade or so of his life, when he was arguably the most widely read and translated serious author in the world. ' - From the Introduction by John Fowles.

STEFAN ZWEIG was born in 1881 in Vienna to a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He was first known as a poet and translator and then as a biographer, producing studies of an assortment of people-notably, Erasmus, Joseph Fouch?, and Marie Antoinette. His well-known collection of stories, Kaleidoscope, appeared in 1934 and his one-truly remarkable-novel, Beware of Pity, appeared in 1939. Zweig traveled widely, and living in Salzburg between the wars, he made friends with the greats-Romain Rolland, Freud, Toscanini. Recognition as a writer came early, and by the time he was forty, he had already achieved literary fame. In 1934, with Nazism entrenched across the border, Zweig left Austria to settle in England-his publishing life was destroyed by the Nazis and he saw his dream of a united Europe shattered. Shortly after completing the title story in this collection in 1942, Zweig took his own life in Petropolis, Brazil.

 

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The Day Is Born Of Darkness by Mikhail Dyomin. New York. 1976. Knopf. Translated From The Russian By Tony Kahn. keywords: Autobiography Crime Criminals Prison Translated Russia. 371 pages. Jacket design by Lidia Ferrara. 0394491661. April 1976.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Mikhail Dyomin was only 16 when he went to jail for the first time, for evading a compulsory wartime work order. But it was the beginning for him of a 15-year career as a professional criminal, as an inhabitant of one of the strangest and least-known societies on the face of the earth - the Soviet underworld. This extraordinary first-person account of his life there - as a thief, as a convict, as a writer of prison ballads sung in camps from Magadan to the Aral Sea - is an authentic voice out of Russia's lower depths, brilliantly evocative of the color and violence that still lurk behind Communism's stolid gray facade, an engrossing tale of adventure, and probably the fullest picture yet given of life on the wrong side of the law in the Soviet Union. Here in riveting detail are the realities of outlaw existence: the battles in prison ; the tricks of housebreaking, con games, train robbery; the arcana of convict life, from instructions for making a deck of cards out of blood and bread, to tips on eating nettles. Here are the gypsy camps, the brothels and thieves' dens, the black markets and village fairs and long, lonely trains howling into the Asian night, the whole exotic rogue's-world of crime. And here are the characters Dyomin encountered, fought with, loved: Queen Margo, the sophisticated and monumentally connected Grande Dame of Crime; Saloma the Onanist, ultimate prison camp escapist; Khasan, the homicidal cardshark, with his court of cutthroat lovers; the author's deadly enemy Snuffles, whom he finally kills, and dozens more. Dyomin's first robbery, his attendance at the all-European Thieves' Conference in Lvov, his chilling run-in with political terrorists, his narrow escapes, murders, love affairs, imprisonments - adventure piled on adventure, and all recounted with the energy, style, and rolling pace of a born storyteller. THE DAY IS BORN OF DARKNESS ends with the author's discharge from a Siberian labor camp, his dream of becoming a published poet about to come true. Once on the outside, he went on to write five more books under the name Dyomin, becoming a popular and successful writer. In 1971, he quietly defected during a visit to Paris, where he now lives and writes.

Mikhail Dyomin has taken his writing name from the forged identity papers he was forced to use while in hiding within the Soviet criminal underground. He was born Georgy Trifonov in 1926. His mother belonged to the pre-revolutionary nobility; his father, a top Red Army commissar in the Civil War, fell into disfavor and was persecuted during the Stalinist era. Dyomin was first arrested in 1942, at the age of sixteen, for disobeying a compulsory work order. Sentenced to two years of hard labor in a Moscow foundry, he was finally given a medical discharge. He worked for a while as an advertising artist, until an office-wide investigation by the secret police sent him fleeing, without identity papers, into the underground. There he lived for several years, working with a pickpocket gang and 'riding the rails. ' After his arrest, he spent six years in some of the most notorious Arctic camps--as a member of the criminal elite--and during this time earned a name for himself as a 'scribbler' of prison songs and poems. Dyomin's first literary scholarship was earned upon his release from the Siberian camp, when his fellow inmates took up a collection to see him through his first book. In the fifteen years following his release, he published six books; he became a member of the Writers' Union and was by all measures a successful, popular author. Yet, he was dissatisfied with the restrictions imposed by state censorship, and during a visit to France some years ago, he quietly defected. He now lives in a small apartment in Paris, where he continues to write.

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The Egyptologists by Kingsley Amis & Robert Conquest. New York. 1966. Random House. keywords: Literature England. 247 pages.

A very funny story about male subterfuge and the war between the sexes, precisely the kind of story that Kingsley Amis tells so well. 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Every Thursday night in certain parts of London, husbands kiss their wives and then hurry off to attend the weekly meeting of a certain exclusive learned society. Jekyll-like, these men shed their air of scholarly absorption as they near headquarters-a building situated at a specially selected hard-to-find address, where a plaque, inscribed in specially designed hard-to-decipher lettering, reads: METROPOLITAN EGYPTOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Should the reader be at first in some doubt as to the real nature of the activities of the Egyptologists, it is only to be expected. The members' expertise in camouflage and deception has baffled the most perceptive people, and at various times the Society has been suspected of engaging in espionage, in drug-smuggling, in the activity implied by its all-male membership-and even in Egyptology. Why does the Society protect itself so vigilantly against inquiring outsiders? What is the significance of the safeguards listed in Article 22 of its Constitution? And what goes on behind the locked doors of its Isis Room? Hint: if even a fraction of the lecherous males of the world adopted the brilliant masquerade conceived by the authors in this engaging farce, learned societies would proliferate by the thousands.

Kingsley Amis, born in London in 1922, was educated at the City of London School and St. John's College, Oxford. During World II he was a lieutenant in the Royal Corps of Signals. From 1949 to 1961 he was Lecturer in English at various universities in Great Britain, and also fulfilled an appointment as Visiting Lecturer at Princeton in 1958-59. Mr. Amis won immediate attention with his first novel, Lucky Jim, and has since written four others, as well as a collection of short stories, two books of poetry and a critical survey of science fiction. Born in 1917,

Robert Conquest was educated at Winchester and Oxford, served in a line regiment in World War II and afterward in the British Diplomatic Service, Since 1956 he has interspersed free-lance writing with academic appointments at the London School of Economics and the Columbia University Russian Institute, among others, He has also been the Literary Editor of the Spectator. Mr. Conquest is the author of two books of poems, a science-fiction novel, five works of Soviet political and literary themes, and, with Kingsley Amis, has edited the science-fiction 'Spectrum' anthologies.

 

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The Politics Of Heroin In Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy. New York. 1972. Harper & Row. keywords: Asia Politics America Heroin Drugs Crime. 464 pages. Jacket design by Apteryx Studio. 0060129018.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   An exhaustive history that traces the growing, processing, transporting, and distribution of narcotics since the end of World War II. A landmark book of investigative reporting and history. The fabled Golden Triangle, where Laos, Thailand, and Burma meet, long a traditional opium-growing area, now provides 70 percent of the world's illicit supply of heroin. And many elements in the governments of these countries, and in the government of South Vietnam - most of which are supported by U. S. military and financial aid - are deeply (and lucratively) involved in the growing, processing, transport, and distribution of narcotics. How has this situation come about? Basing their narrative on firsthand research in Asia and Europe, the authors trace the whole story since the end of World War II. They demonstrate that during the First Indochina War (1946-1954) the security of Saigon and its environs and the loyalty of the hill tribes depended on profits from and some protection for the opium traffic. Similarly, it became necessary for the United States, when it took over the French commitment in 1954, to look the other way in the matter of the involvement in the drug traffic of succeeding Vietnamese regimes. After Diem's downfall in 1963 it became apparent that money from the rackets--especially narcotics--was vital to any regime's survival.    The authors found that in Laos, opium crops found their way from the hill villages into a secret base at Long Tieng; in Burma, the CIA financed remnants of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Army, which later became self-supporting by taking over 90 pecent of the opium shipments from the rebel Shan States of Burma; that in Thailand, shaky regimes relied on American support and opium money to help bolster their stability. They also found that the Mafia, working through Corsican criminal syndicates from Marseille, had established outposts in Southeast Asia for its international narcotics smuggling operations during the French occupation. In spite of recent well-publicized seizures of massive shipments of heroin from Southeast Asia, heroin continues to flood the country, spreading into every level of this society and shredding the fabric of everyday life. U. S. government estimates of the number of addicts has leaped from 315,000 in 1969 to over 560,000 in 1972. This book puts all the pieces of this ghastly puzzle together, and then maps the possible avenues out of the horror, suggesting that America may have to choose between our commitments in Southeast Asia and getting heroin out of our high schools. In 1971, at the age of twenty-five, Alfred W. McCoy set out on an eighteen-month trip to Europe and Asia to investigate the global heroin trade. The resultant book, THE POLITICS OF HERON IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, brought him international recognition as a groundbreaking theorist of the politics and economics of drug trafficking. Its publication also embroiled him in a controversy with the Central Intelligence Agency Incensed by McCoy's charges that the agency had covered up the involvement of our Indochinese allies in heroin trafficking and had itself participated in aspects of the drug trade, the CIA tried to suppress the book before its release. Twenty years of research have led to this revised and updated edition of McCoy's classic. In it, he concludes that, with global production and consumption of narcotics at record levels and heroin use in America on the rise, it is time to confront the failure of the U. S. government's drug policy. 'Driven by a myopic moralism' since the legal sale of narcotics was banned in the early 1920s, U. S. policymakers, McCoy observes, have refused to recognize that their repression of the drug trade has only served to make it grow. Now dispersed across continents as a result of prohibition, the illicit drug trade is more resistant to suppression than ever before. The heroin problem will worsen, according to McCoy, until the U. S. government also puts an end to the CIA's involvement in the narcotics trade, which since World War II has been an integral part of the agency's efforts to maintain U. S. power abroad. If Congress had imposed restraints on CIA covert operations two decades ago, McCoy argues, it 'might have prevented the agency's complicity in the disastrous cocaine and heroin epidemics of the 1980s. This remarkable expose of official U. S. hypocrisy in its approaches to one of the world's greatest social problems offers an analysis that is destined to influence the public debate on drugs for years to come.

Alfred W. McCoy is professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Educated at Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, and Yale, he has spent the past twenty years writing about the politics and history of Southeast Asia. He is the author of several books on the Philippines, one of which won the country's National Book Award, and the editor of Southeast Asia Under Japanese Occupation. An internationally recognized expert on drug trafficking and organized crime, he is also the author of DRUG TRAFFIC: NARCOTICS ANA1 ORGANIZED CRIME IN AUSTRALIA.

Cathleen B. Read is studying for a Ph. D. in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.

Leonard P. Adams II has published several scholarly articles and is a Ph. D. candidate in Chinese history at Yale University. A landmark book of investigative reporting and history.

 

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0195160282Thinking It Through: An Introduction To Contemporary Philosophy by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Oxford/New York. 2003. Oxford University Press. 412 pages. Jacket design by Mary Belibasakis. 0195160282.

Kwame Anthony Appiah is one of our most articulate public intellectuals. This book came out a couple of years ago and it provides a clearly-written and jargon-free introduction to modern philosophy.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

THINKING IT THROUGH is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence, including the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language. Noted philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to 'do' philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs--or being a follower of a particular thinker--Appiah argues that 'the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry. ' Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, THINKING IT THROUGH is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More importantly, Appiah not only explains what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving students examples that they can use in their own attempts to navigate the complex issues confronting any reflective person in the twenty-first century. Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work, THINKING IT THROUGH guides students through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges their understanding of the central questions of human life. REVIEWS - 'The distinguishing mark of this work, which will set it clearly apart from all the best introductory books of this kind, is the way it makes deep and insightful connections among the various topics. It introduces the reader to all the main problems of contemporary philosophy, and makes philosophical concepts come alive in systematic exploration of the deep thoughts and difficult arguments to which Appiah gives lucid access. '--Neil Tennant, The Ohio State University. 'An extraordinarily successful introduction to philosophy: wise, witty and deeply engaging. '--Paul Boghossian, New York University. 'This book is excellent, one of the best of its kind that I've seen. It accomplishes what few general introductions to philosophy even attempt: to integrate contemporary discussion and argument into a treatment of our perennial problems without losing sight of their roots. '--David Sosa, University of Texas at Austin.

Appiah Kwame Anthony

Born May 8, 1954

Kwame Anthony Akroma-Ampim Kusi Appiah was born in London but moved as an infant to Ghana, where he grew up. His father, Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, a lawyer and politician, was also, at various times, a Member of Parliament, an Ambassador and a President of the Ghana Bar Association; his mother, the novelist and children's writer, Peggy Appiah, whose family was English, was active in the social, philanthropic and cultural life of Kumasi, where they lived. His three younger sisters Isobel, Adwoa and Abena, were born in Ghana. As a child, he spent a good deal of time in England, staying with his grandmother, Dame Isobel Cripps, widow of the English statesman Sir Stafford Cripps. Kwame Appiah was educated at the University Primary School at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; at Ullenwood Manor, in Gloucestershire, and Port Regis and Bryanston Schools, in Dorset; and, finally, at Clare College, Cambridge University, in England, where he took both B. A. and Ph. D. degrees in the philosophy department. His Cambridge dissertation explored the foundations of probabilistic semantics; once revised, these arguments were published by Cambridge University Press as Assertion and Conditionals. Out of that first monograph grew a second book, For Truth in Semantics, which dealt with Michael Dummett's defenses of semantic anti-realism. Since Cambridge, he has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Harvard universities and lectured at many other institutions in the United States, Germany, Ghana and South Africa, as well as at the ?cole des Hautes ?tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; and he is now a member of the Princeton University faculty, where he is a member of the Philosophy Department and the University Center for Human Values. Professor Appiah has also published widely in African and African-American literary and cultural studies. In 1992, Oxford University Press published In My Father's House, which deals, in part, with the role of African and African-American intellectuals in shaping contemporary African cultural life. His current interests range over African and African-American intellectual history and literary studies, ethics and philosophy of mind and language; and he has also taught regularly about African traditional religions; but his major current work has to do with the philosophical foundations of liberalism and with questions of method in arriving at knowledge about values. Professor Appiah joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 as Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. In 1996, he published Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race with Amy Gutmann; in 1997 the Dictionary of Global Culture, co-edited with Henry Louis Gates Jr. Along with Professor Gates he has also edited the Encarta Africana CD-ROM encyclopedia, published by Microsoft, which became the Perseus Africana encyclopedia in book form. This is now available in a revised multi-volume edition from Oxford University Press. In 2003, he coauthored Bu Me B?: Proverbs of the Akan, an annotated edition of 7,500 proverbs in Twi, the language of Asante. He is also the author of three novels, of which the first, Avenging Angel, was largely set at Clare College, Cambridge, and he reviews regulalry for the New York Review of Books. In 2004, Oxford University Press published his introduction to contemporary philosophy entitled Thinking It Through. In January 2005, Princeton University Press published The Ethics of Identity and in February 2006 Norton published Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, which won the 2007 Arthur Ross Award of the Council on Foreign Relations. In January 2008, Harvard University Press will publish his Experiments in Ethics, based on his 2005 Flexner lectures at Bryn Mawr. Professor Appiah has homes in New York city and near Pennington, in New Jersey, which he shares with his partner, Henry Finder, Editorial Director of the New Yorker magazine. In 2007, he is the President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association and he will take on the task of Chairing the Executive Board of the American Philosophical Association in 2008. He is also currently Chair of the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies.

 

 

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delicate prey and other storiesThe Delicate Prey and Other Stories by Paul Bowles. New York. 1950. Random House. 307 pages. Jacket design by E. McKnight Kauffer.

I first discovered the existence of Paul Bowles in an essay by Gore Vidal. At the time I was a teenager working in a small used bookstore where a large portion of my meager earnings wound up going right back to the store for books. I asked the proprietor of the store if we had any books by Paul Bowles. She pulled a volume from the shelf behind the counter saying 'Yes, and it is a first edition.' At the time I could not understand why anyone would buy a hardcover book when a paperback edition of that same book existed, but since there was no paperback copy of the book in the store I put down the cash to purchase this first edition. This was the first first edition I even purchased knowing that it was actually a first edition, and it was a good start to my book collecting mania... These are amazing stories that reminded me in some ways of Poe, but communicating to me an even stronger sense of horror alsong with a sense of the incomprehensibility of different cultures. Highly recommended !

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

Despite the fact that many of them have appeared in out-of-the-way places, the stories of Paul Bowles have already created a sensation among critics and low and fellow-writers. Of the seventeen stories in this volume, all but one are set in Arab North Africa, the Far East or Latin America. They share an almost Gothic preoccupation with violence - particularly that violence arising out of the clash of the Westerner with the alien world of the East.

Bowles Paul

Born December 30, 1910

Paul Frederic Bowles (December 30, 1910 – November 18, 1999) was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. Following a cultured middle-class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris in the 1930s. He studied music with Aaron Copland, and in New York wrote music for various theatrical productions, as well as other compositions. He achieved critical and popular success with the publication in 1949 of his first novel The Sheltering Sky, set in what was known as French North Africa, which he had visited in 1931. In 1947 Bowles settled in Tangier, Morocco, and his wife, Jane Bowles followed in 1948. Except for winters spent in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) during the early 1950s, Tangier was his home for the remaining 52 years of his life. Paul Bowles died in 1999 at the age of 88. His ashes are buried in Lakemont Cemetery in upstate New York.

 

 

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0375405836Jesse James: Last Rebel Of The Civil War by T. J. Stiles. New York. 2002. Knopf. 511 pages. Jacket photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress. Jacket design by Steven Amsterdam. 0375405836.

Jesse James as a member of a death squad? This book gives us a totally new look at an old American legend. T. J. Stiles shows us a Jesse James who was not only a product of very intensely political times, but also the creation of a 'media-machine' by way of an ex-Confederate journalist named John Newman Edwards, who had a great deal to do with the 'Jesse James' image.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

A brilliant biography of Jesse James, and a stunning reinterpretation of an American icon. Stripped of the familiar myths surrounding him, James emerges a far more significant figure: ruthless, purposeful, intensely political; a man who, in the midst of his crimes and notoriety, made himself a spokesman for the renewal of the Confederate cause during the bitter decade that followed Appomattox. Traditionally, Jesse James has been portrayed as a Wild West bandit, a Robin Hood of sorts. But in this meticulously researched, vividly written account of his life, he emerges as far more complicated. Raised in a fiercely pro-slavery atmosphere in bitterly divided Missouri, he began at sixteen to fight alongside some of the most savage Confederate guerrillas. When the Civil War ended, his violent path led him into the brutal conflicts of Reconstruction. We follow James as he places himself squarely in the forefront of the former Confederates' bid to capture political power with his reckless daring, his visibility, his partisan pronouncements, and his alliance with a rising ex-Confederate editor, John Newman Edwards, who helped shape James's image for their common purpose. In uniting violence and the news media on behalf of a political cause, James was hardly the quaint figure of legend. Rather, as his life played out across the racial divide, the rise of the Klan, and the expansion of the railroads, he was a forerunner of what we have come to call a terrorist. T. J. Stiles has written a memorable book-a revelation of both the man and his time.

Stiles T J

Born July 29, 1964

A native of rural Minnesota, T. J. Stiles studied history at Carleton College and Columbia University. His writings about American history include articles in Smithsonian, essays in the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post, and a five-volume series of primary-source anthologies.

 

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037542248xWizard Of The Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. New York. 2006. Pantheon Books. Translated from the Gikuyu by The Author. 771 pages. Jacket illustration & design by Peter Mendelsund. 037542248x. August 2006.

Ngugi's most important novel since PETALS OF BLOOD, WIZARD OF THE CROW is an extraordinary novel of twentieth-century Africa, that is by turns spiritual, funny, historical, fantastical, harrowing, and ultimately deeply human.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

From the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic-a magisterial comic novel that is certain to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature. In exile now for more than twenty years, Ngugi wa Thiong'o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time, the power and scope of his work garnering him international attention and praise. His aim in WIZARD OF THE CROW is, in his own words, nothing less than 'to sum up Africa of the twentieth century in the context of two thousand years of world history. ' Commencing in 'our times' and set in the 'Free Republic of Aburlria,' the novel dramatizes with corrosive humor and keenness of observation a battle for control of the souls of the Aburlrian people. Among the contenders: His High Mighty Excellency; the eponymous Wizard, an avatar of folklore and wisdom; the corrupt Christian Ministry; and the nefarious Global Bank. Fashioning the stories of the powerful and the ordinary into a dazzling mosaic, WIZARD OF THE CROW reveals humanity in all its endlessly surprising complexity. Informed by richly enigmatic traditional African storytelling, WIZARD OF THE CROW is a masterpiece, the crowning achievement in Ngugi wa Thiong'o's career thus far.

Ngugi wa Thiongo

Born January 5, 1938

Ngugi wa Thiong'o has taught at Amherst College, Yale University, and New York University. He is Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and is director of the university's International Center for Writing and Translation. His books include PETALS OF BLOOD, for which he was imprisoned by the Kenyan government in 1977. He lives in Irvine, California.

 

 

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0807050067The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and The Hidden History Of The Revolutionary Atlantic by Peter Linebaugh & Marcus Rediker. Boston. 2000. Beacon Press. 433 pages. Jacket design: Sara Eisenman. Jacket art, clockwise from top left: 'Many poor women imprisoned, and hanged for Witches,' 1655, Rare Books Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations; 'A Negro hung alive by the Ribs to a Gallows. 0807050067.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 The culture of the Atlantic in an era of rapid expansion of trade, and the influence of sailors, slaves, pirates, and others in the creation of a new global economy. The notion of pirates as a free-enterprise and somewhat democratic alternative to the indentured sailors and more-or-less captive roving workforce options of the time is truly thought provoking. I'll never see pirates in quite the same way again. The intersection of aspects of the slave trade and the growing abolitionist movement with the developing Atlantic culture is a fascinating story told well by Linebaugh and Rediker. Certainly my favorite book of 2000 and one of my all-time favorites. 'For most readers the tale told here will be completely new. For those already well acquainted with the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the image of that age which they have been so carefully taught and cultivated will be profoundly challenged. ' - David Montgomery, author of Citizen Worker. Long before the American Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a motley crew of sailors, slaves, pirates, laborers, market women, and indentured servants had ideas about freedom and equality that would forever change history. THE MANY HEADED-HYDRA recounts their stories in a sweeping history of the role of the dispossessed in the making of the modern world. When an unprecedented expansion of trade and colonization in the early seventeenth century launched the first global economy, a vast, diverse, and landless workforce was born. These workers crossed national, ethnic, and racial boundaries, as they circulated around the Atlantic world on trade ships and slave ships, from England to Virginia, from Africa to Barbados, and from the Americas back to Europe. Marshaling an impressive range of original research from archives in the Americas and Europe, the authors show how ordinary working people led dozens of rebellions on both sides of the North Atlantic. The rulers of the day called the multiethnic rebels a 'hydra' and brutally suppressed their risings, yet some of their ideas fueled the age of revolution. Others, hidden from history and recovered here, have much to teach us about our common humanity.

 

Linebaugh Peter and Rediker Marcus

Peter Linebaugh, professor of history at the University of Toledo, is a contributing editor of ALBION'S FATAL TREE and author of THE LONDON HANGED. A member of the Midnight Notes Collective, he lives in Toledo, Ohio.

Marcus Rediker, associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, is author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, winner of the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Prize and the Organization of American Historians' Merle Curti Social History Award. He is a contributing author of WHO BUILT AMERICA? and lives in Pittsburgh.

 

 

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epitaph of a small winner noondayEpitaph Of A Small Winner by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis. New York. 1952. Noonday Press. Drawings by Shari Frisch. Translated from the Portuguese by William L. Grossman. 223 pages. Cover: Shari Frisch. (original title: Memorias postumas de Bras Cubas).

THE POSTHUMOUS MEMOIRS OF BRAS CUBAS by Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, also translated as EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER, is a Brazilian classic. The narrator of the story is Bras Cubas, who unfortunately for him, is now dead.

FROM THE PUBLISHER –

Funny and profound are these reflections and musings of a man from beyond the grave. Satirical, witty, completely human in feeling, EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER is that rarest of works, a book which is at the same time both profound and thoroughly delightful. It tells the story of Braz Cubas, a wealthy Carioca, or rather it is Braz, now dead, who tells his story. For EPITAPH OF A SMALL WINNER is a posthumous memoir, the memories of a ghost, a man who now beyond life can view it with dispassion - the illicit love affairs, the political ambitions, the jealousies and hatreds which comprised his sixty-four years. But though the grave has given Braz distance, it has not dampened his sense of humor. On the contrary, it has sharpened it; Braz Cubas is certainly the wittiest ghost in literature. Most ghosts take themselves far too seriously; but not Braz. If he has returned to haunt mankind, it is by means of laughter. He is the spirit of satire moving among us, pointing out our idiosyncrasies and foibles. 'Machado de Assis, son of a poor mulatto of Rio, became the most illustrious of Brazilian writers. His work brings to mind at once Anatole France and Lawrence Sterne, yet is nonetheless original. ' - Andre Maurois. 'A master of psychology and of an ironic brand of humour.' Samuel Putnam. 

 

Assis Joaquim Maria Machado De

Born June 21, 1839

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, often known as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho, (June 21, 1839, Rio de Janeiro-September 29, 1908, Rio de Janeiro) was a Brazilian novelist, poet and short-story writer. He is widely regarded as the most important writer of Brazilian literature. However, he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime. Machado's works had a great influence on Brazilian literary schools of the late 19th century and 20th century. Jose Saramago, Carlos Fuentes, Susan Sontag and Harold Bloom are among his admirers and Bloom calls him 'the supreme black literary artist to date. ' Son of Francisco Jose de Assis (a mulatto housepainter, descendent of freed slaves) and Maria Leopoldina Machado de Assis (a Portuguese washerwoman), Machado de Assis lost both his mother and his only sister at an early age. Machado is said to have learned to write by himself, and he used to take classes for free will. He learned to speak French first and English later, both fluently. He started to work for newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, where he published his first works and met established writers such as Joaquim Manuel de Macedo. Machado de Assis married Carolina Xavier de Novais, a Portuguese descendant of a noble family. Soon the writer got a public job and this stability permitted him to write his best works. Machado de Assis began by writing popular novels which sold well, much in the late style of Jose de Alencar. His style changed in the 1880s, and it is for the sceptical, ironic, comedic but ultimately pessimistic works he wrote after this that he is remembered: the first novel in his 'new style' was Epitaph for a Small Winner, known in the new Gregory Rabassa translation as The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (a literal translation of the original title, Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas). In their brilliant comedy and ironic playfulness, these resemble in some ways the contemporary works of George Meredith in the United Kingdom, and Eca de Queiros in Portugal, but Machado de Assis' work has a far bleaker emotional undertone. Machado's work has also been compared with Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Machado de Assis could speak English fluently and translated many works of William Shakespeare and other English writers into Portuguese. His work contains numerous allusions to Shakespearean plays, John Milton and influences from Sterne and Meredith. He is also known as a master of the short story, having written classics of the genre in the Portuguese language, such as O Alienista, Missa do Galo, 'A Cartomante' and 'A Igreja do Diabo. ' Along with other writers and intellectuals, Machado de Assis founded the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 1896 and was its president from 1897 to 1908, when he died. The translator, Dr. William L. Grossman, is of all things an authority on transportation law and economics. Called to Brazil in 1948 as head of the economics department of a Brazilian college, he learned Portuguese, and, fascinated by the works of Machado de Assis, spent his academic holidays translating Epitaph of a Small Winner. Dr. Grossman has returned to this country as a transportation consultant and professor at New York University.

 

 

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demonsDemons by Fyodor Dostoevsky. New York. July 1994. Knopf. Newly Translated From The Russian By Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. 733 pages. Jacket illustration from GODS' MAN by Lynd Ward. Jacket design by Archie Ferguson. 0679423141.

My favorite Dostoevsky novel . Dostoevsky has been blasted by both the left and the right for this book, a prophetic novel of the impact of revolutionary nihilism in Russia shortly before the time of the Russian Revolution. Lenin even makes a brief appearance.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 Completed in 1872, DEMONS is rivaled only by THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV for the place of Dostoevsky’s greatest work. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, whose acclaimed translations of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, and NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND have become the standard versions in English, now give us a brilliant new rendering of this towering masterpiece, previously translated as THE POSSESSED. Dostoevsky first conceived of the book as a ‘novel-pamphlet’ in which he intended to ‘say everything’ about the new Russian nihilists, the growing group of anti-czarist political terrorists. The present novel grew out of an actual event in the winter of 1869: Ivan Ivanov, a student at the Petrov Agricultural Academy in Moscow and a man of strong character, had broken with his fellow young revolutionaries and was subsequently murdered by a small group of them headed by Sergei Nechaev. Around this crime and the ensuing trial of the Nechaevists in the summer of 1871, Dostoevsky constructed this superbly nuanced work, inexhaustibly rich in character and circumstance, which he also intended as a broad condemnation of the legion of ideas, or ‘demons,’ that had migrated from the West and were threatening the soul of the Russian nation. His magnificent achievement has, proven to be one of the most powerfully prophetic statements about Russia’s political destiny, not only in his own day but in ours as well. Like all of Dostoevsky’s great novels, Demons is also a ‘philosophical tale. ’ As it reveals its many faces-comic, satirical, symbolic, and tragic-it enacts the drama of the promethean revolt of modern humanity against the institutions and values of tradition, and offers a brilliant investigation into the workings of the human will and the nature of evil. With this glorious new version all the stunning idiosyncrasies of the Russian original are available to English readers for the first time. RICHARD PEVEAR and LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. They are married and live in France. This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven. This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven.

Dostoevsky Fyodor

Born November 11, 1821

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the context of the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. He began writing in his 20s, and his first novel, Poor Folk, was published in 1846 when he was 25. His major works include Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880). His output consists of eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels and numerous other works. Many literary critics rate him as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature. RICHARD PEVEAR and LARISSA VOLOKHONSKY were awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize for their version of THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV. They are married and live in France. . (original title: Besy, 1872). This translation has been made from the Russian text of the Soviet Academy of Sciences edition, volumes ten and eleven.

 

 

 

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locosLocos: A Comedy Of Gestures by Felipe Alfau. New York. 1936. Farrar & Rinehart. 307 pages

Talk about an unappreciated classic. Written in English by a Spaniard living in New York, this book languished in limbo from 1936 until it was reissued by The Dalkey Archive in 1988. From a cafe in Madrid to the pickpocket convention this book is a real gem and was way ahead of its time.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

The interconnected stories that form this novel take place in a Madrid as exotic as the Baghdad of the 1001 Arabian Nights and feature unforgettable characters in revolt against their young ‘author. ’ ‘For them,’ he complains, ‘reality is what fiction is to real people; they simply love it and make for it against my almost heroic opposition. By the end of this book my characters are no longer a tool for my expression, but I am a helpless instrument of their whims and absurd contretemps. In short, my characters have taken seriously the saying that ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ and I have failed in my attempts to convince them of the contrary. ’ These fables of identity are enchanting despite Alfau’s frequent reminders that these are mere puppets, figures of the imagination; nor can the reader fail to find, despite Alfau’ s mock warning, ‘beneath a more or less entertaining comedy of meaningless gestures, the vulgar aspects of a common tragedy. ’ First published in 1936 and undeservedly neglected for the last fifty years, LOCOS anticipated the ‘magic realism’ of the Latin Americans as well as the inventions of such later writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Flann O’Brien, John Barth, and Donald Barthelme. Modern readers are now in a better position to appreciate Alfau’s ingenuity and art, and to wonder how such a book, whose place in modem fiction is now so clear, could have gone unrecognized for so many years.

Alfau Felipe

Born August 24, 1902

Felipe Alfau (1902–1999), was a Spanish American (Catalan American) novelist and poet. Like his contemporaries Luigi Pirandello and Flann O'Brien, Alfau is considered a forerunner of later postmodern writers such as Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, and Gilbert Sorrentino. Born in Barcelona, Alfau emigrated with his family at the age of fourteen to the United States, where he lived the remainder of his life. Alfau earned a living as a translator; his sparse fictional and poetic output remained obscure throughout most of his life. Alfau wrote two novels in English: LOCOS: A COMEDY OF GESTURES and CHROMOS. LOCOS — a metafictive collection of related short stories set in Toledo and Madrid, involving several characters that defy the wishes of the author, write their own stories, and even assume each others' roles — was published by Farrar and Rinehart in 1936. The novel, for which Alfau was paid $250, received some critical acclaim, but little popular attention. The novel was republished in 1987 after an editor for the small publisher Dalkey Archive Press found the book at a barn sale in Massachusetts, read it, and contacted Alfau after finding his telephone number in the Manhattan phone book. The novel's second incarnation was modestly successful, but Alfau refused payment, instructing the publisher to use the earnings from LOCOS to fund some other unpublished work. When asked if he had written any other books, Alfau provided the manuscript for CHROMOS, which had been resting in a drawer since 1948. CHROMOS, a comic story of Spanish immigrants to the United States contending with their two cultures, went on to be nominated for the National Book Award in 1990. Alfau also wrote a book of poetry in Spanish, SENTIMENTAL SONGS (La poesia cursi), written between 1923 and 1987 and published in 1992, and a book of children's stories, OLD TALES FROM SPAIN, written in 1929.

 

 

 

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short account of greek philosophy perennial p138A Short Account of Greek Philosophy by G. F. Parker. New York. 1969. Harper Perennial. P138. 194 pages. Cover design by Ted Bernstein.

A readable summary of Greek philosophy.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Each year sees an increased number of students entering the upper forms of our schools, our colleges and our universities. Most are not only studying some subject or subjects in depth but are also following a course of General or Liberal Studies. Many have no first-hand or formal acquaintance with Classical thought and are constantly meeting references to Greek philosophers and common philosophical terms. They are also discovering that, however important and interesting their particular subjects, there is a great deal of truth in the words of Sir Karl Popper: ‘We are not students of some subject matter but students of problems. And problems cut right across the borders of any subject matter or discipline. ’ The history of man’s thought recognizes no arbitrarily erected barriers. There are, too, the ‘students’ who are not formally enrolled in any educational establishment and who are traveling each year to Greece in unprecedented numbers to explore at first hand the more palpable remains of Classical and pre-Classical ages. Excellent guide books for the traveler are already numerous and continue to multiply. But however good the guide books, one cannot easily capture the spirit o, say, Heracleitus or Democritus or Plato as one wanders round an ancient temple site or modern museum. It has been my intention to provide information and some common ground for students, whatever their subjects of study or interests may be. Plato and Aristotle cannot be ignored; nor can they be understood except in relation to their times and their predecessors, the pre-Socratic philosophers. And the pre-Socratics are not merely important; they are intellectually exciting and have a certain affinity with our present age. ' – From the Preface by the author.

 

 

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0618134247Dark Star Safari: Overland From Cairo To Cape Town by Paul Theroux. Boston. 2003. Houghton Mifflin. 472 pages. Jacket photograph by Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos, Inc. 0618134247. March 2003.

Paul Theroux is a national treasure. Publishers should be offering him huge advances, although I know that they don’t. I would take a trip with him just about anywhere, and what I mean by taking a trip with him is that I would read anything he chooses to write. His travel books are particularly interesting. Theroux understands that travel is struggle, inconvenience, boredom, and hardship, the essential elements of ‘adventure’. Don't pick up any of his travel books if you want to read about local cuisines, ruins, and churches. But if you are up for an adventure with a companion who truly engages creatively with his surroundings and likes to reflect on what he is reading while he is traveling, then Paul Theroux is for you. Consider the opening sentence from DARK STAR SAFARI - ‘All news out of Africa is bad. It made me want to go there, though not for the horror, the hot spots, the massacre-and-earthquake stories you read in the newspaper; I wanted the pleasure of being in Africa again. ’ Theroux often avoids doing it the easy way. His observations on the questionable value of paternalistic foreign aid are particularly interesting, and his picture of Africa, while as personal as one can get, feels true on a universal level at the same time. Once again, a thought-provoking and truly enjoyable book from Paul Theroux.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 Widely acclaimed as one of the world’s best travel writers, Paul Theroux takes us on the ultimate journey through the world’s most complex and mysterious continent. In the travel-writing tradition that made Paul Theroux’s reputation, DARK STAR SAFARI is a rich and insightful book whose itinerary is Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town: down the Nile, through Sudan and Ethiopia, to Kenya, Uganda, and ultimately to the tip of South Africa. Going by train, dugout canoe, ‘chicken bus,’ and cattle truck, Theroux passes through some of the most beautiful - and often life-threatening - landscapes on earth. This is travel as discovery and also, in part, a sentimental journey. Almost forty years ago, Theroux first went to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now he stops at his old school, sees former students, revisits his African friends. He finds astonishing, devastating changes wherever he goes. ‘Africa is materially more decrepit than it was when I first knew it,’ he writes, ‘hungrier, poorer, less educated, more pessimistic, more corrupt, and you can’t tell the politicians from the witch doctors. Not that Africa is one place. It is an assortment of motley republics and seedy chiefdoms. I got sick, I got stranded, but I was never bored. In fact, my trip was a delight and a revelation. ’ Seeing firsthand what is happening across Africa, Theroux is as obsessively curious and wittily observant as always, and his readers will find themselves on an epic and enlightening journey. DARK STAR SAFARI is one of his bravest and best books.

Theroux Paul 

Born: April 10, 1941

PAUL THEROUX is the internationally acclaimed author of such travel books as THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR, THE OLD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS, SUNRISE WITH SEAMONSTERS, and THE KINGDOM BY THE SEA. His many novels include HOTEL HONOLULU, KOWLOON TONG, MY OTHER LIFE, and MILLROY THE MAGICIAN. His novels SAINT JACK, THE MOSQUITO COAST, and HALF MOON STREET have been made into successful feature films. Theroux resides in Hawaii and on Cape Cod.

 

 

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(01/29/2015) Abominable Earthman by Frederik Pohl. New York. 1963. Ballantine Books. 159 pages.  paperback.   

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Frederik Pohl writes top-flight science fiction in so many areas that it is sometimes difficult to select what is best among such thickets of barbed humor. Nevertheless in the course of ten years, Ballantine Books has managed to publish six collections of pure, undiluted Frederik Pohl:  ALTERNATING CURRENTS, THE CASE AGAINST TOMORROW, TOMORROW TIMES SEVEN, THE MAN WHO ATE THE WORLD, TURN LEFT AT THURSDAY, and now THE ABOMINABLE EARTHMAN. Anyone lucky enough to have obtained the above now owns many stones which have become classics in the field (not to mention his novels, since they are mentioned inside). And, for three good reasons, there will be more. Because Mr. Pohl continues to write.   Because we are firmly devoted to the best in science fiction. And because we are particularly enchanted with a future which envisions us wandering hand-in-hand with Fred Pohl into the slightly acidulated sunset of his wonderful imagination. 

 

Pohl Frederik  Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning more than seventy-five years—from his first published work, the 1937 poem ‘Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna’, to the 2011 novel All the Lives He Led and articles and essays published in 2012. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy and its sister magazine If; the latter won three successive annual Hugo Awards as the year's best professional magazine. His 1977 novel Gateway won four ‘year's best novel’ awards: the Hugo voted by convention participants, the Locus voted by magazine subscribers, the Nebula voted by American science fiction writers, and the juried academic John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He won the Campbell Memorial Award again for the 1984 collection of novellas Years of the City, one of two repeat winners during the first forty years. For his 1979 novel Jem, Pohl won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction. It was a finalist for three other years' best novel awards. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards. The Science Fiction Writers of America named Pohl its 12th recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in 1993 and he was inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1998, its third class of two dead and two living writers. Pohl won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2010, for his blog, ‘The Way the Future Blogs’.

 

 

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   The Avon Bard series of Latin American literature was a unique publishing venture for its time, for any time really. Their assemblage of extraordinary titles from authors all over Latin America translated by many of the finest translators -  Gregory Rabassa, Harriet De Onis, Barbara Shelby Merello, and Alfred MacAdam to name a few - allowed an American reading public to experience a literature that had not benefited from the level of exposure that some other world literatures had traditionally enjoyed. The professed goal of the imprint was to publish “distinguished Latin American Literature”, and that they did.

 

   During the 1950’s New American Library (specifically their Mentor imprint) was the only mass market paperback publisher to have an educational department focused on getting titles into the secondary school market. When Avon’s editor-in-chief, Charles R. Bryne, first announced the formation of the Bard imprint in May of 1955, Avon began the first paperback publisher to follow New American Library’s lead. The idea was that the Bard line would offer a list of books of high literary quality to be sold primarily in bookstores and in the secondary school market.

   Avon began by pulling titles from their own backlist to help create the line, and Bard's first titles were The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyaim and The Meaning and Psychology of Dreams by Wilhelm Stekel. Unfortunately, a lack of editorial focus and concentrated sales effort handicapped Bard’s growth from the onset, and it took a little while before the line got off to its half-hearted start in 1957. It probably did not help that the Hearst Corporation purchased a controlling interest in Avon in June of 1959. Literary mass market paperback publishing could not have been a priority for Hearst and company.

 

   In 1963 Avon hired a young Peter Mayer as “education editor.” Mayer’s decision to acquire the paperback rights for Call it Sleep by Henry Roth, a critically acclaimed but out-of-print novel, and to publish it in a mass market format with rounded corner edges, turned out to be a smart move. The book sold over a million copies and put Peter Mayer on the map as an innovative editor. In 1969, Robert Wyatt, another talented young editor, and Peter Mayer revived and re-launched the Bard line, which had been largely ignored since its inception. Bard became the paperback imprint for authors like Thornton Wilder and Saul Bellow.

 

   When Mayer acquired the paperback rights to One Hundred Years Of Solitude (published in hardcover by Harper & Row in a translation by Gregory Rabassa in 1970), the Avon Bard Latin American list was essentially born and Bard was on its way to becoming a major American publisher of Latin American fiction, even though the Garcia Marquez book was first published in paperback as an Avon book and only later as an Avon Bard title. According to Robert Wyatt, the plan to publish Latin American fiction did not follow any particular plan, but evolved over time: “We sort of tacked the Latin American titles on as they came along.”

 

   The 1970s were a good time for Latin American authors in the United States, in that “magical realism”, that blending of the elements of magic with the real world, was in the air. Writers of the “Boom” generation - that shorthand designation for a disparate group of authors that allowed publishers to effectively package a collection of talented writers into a aesthetic “school” or unified movement where there may not have been one - like Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Jose Lezama Lima, and Julio Cortazar were building reputations in the English-speaking world helped by a flood of translations from the Spanish and Portuguese by notable translators like Gregory Rabassa, Suzanne Jill Levine, Harriet de Onis, and others. Driven by the Venezuelan sculptor Jose Guillermo Castillo, the New York-based Center for Inter-American Relations proved instrumental in the development of this interest in Latin American poetry and prose, not only by publishing a journal three times a year focused on the art and literature of Latin America, but by arranging financing for the translations of nearly 70 books by Latin writers.

 

   With few exceptions though, authors from Latin America did not traditionally hit American bestseller lists. Two of the bestselling Latin American authors of all time are Jorge Amado and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. As of 1982, Jorge Amado's Gabriela, Clove And Cinnamon reportedly had sold 20,000 copies in hardback, not a huge number considering that it was originally published as a hardcover here in 1962, and that his works have ultimately been translated into 48 different languages. He is in fact second only to Paulo Coelho as the most translated Brazilian writer in the world. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez sold almost 800,000 in paperback by 1982 and to date has sold more than twenty million copies and been translated into more than thirty languages, even though it never managed to land on either the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times bestsellers list when it was first released in English. Sales for these two authors are exceptional however. Even the sale of a book in the 1970s by Jorge Luis Borges, widely considered one of the finest writers in the world, rarely reached 20,000.

   Publishers like Alfred A. Knopf had been publishing literature from Latin America for years – Alejo Carpentier, Adolfo Costa Du Rels, Eduardo Mallea, Graciliano Ramos, Ernesto Sabato to name a few. Later they introduced American readers to authors like Julio Cortazar, Jose Donoso, Clarice Lispector, Jose J. Veiga, and Joao Guimaraes Rosa.  Of course, the biggest Latin American star on their list was the Brazilian Jorge Amado.

 

   Other hardcover publishers also got involved in the publishing of translations from Latin America. Harper & Row published works by Reinaldo Arenas, Mario Benedetti, G. Cabrera Infante, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa.  E.P. Dutton not only published 10 books by Jorge Luis Borges in 13 years, they also brought to the United States translations of the work of Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jose Marmol, Manuel Puig, and Severo Sarduy to name a few. Farrar, Straus & Giroux offered works by Maria-Luisa Bombal, Carlos Fuentes, Jose Lezama Lima, Pablo Neruda, and Gustavo Sainz.

               

   There was however no paperback publisher to equal Avon's Bard imprint when it came to publishing Latin American literature in translation in this country. The range of their list was extraordinary - Luis Rafael Sanchez from Puerto Rico; Miguel Angel Asturias, the late Guatemalan novelist, poet and diplomat who won the 1967 Nobel Prize for Literature; Jorge Amado from Brazil; Machado de Assis, the 19th-century Brazilian novelist; Demetrio Aguilera Malta of Ecuador; Reinaldo Arenas , G. Cabrera Infante, and Alejo Carpentier from Cuba; Mario Vargas Llosa from Peru; Ivan Angelo, Ignacio De Loyola Brandao, Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes, Rachel De Queiroz, Marcio Souza, and Lygia Fagundes Telles from Brazil, all of whose books were published in this country by Bard as paperback originals.

 

   The first Avon Bard paperback original was The Emperor of the Amazon by the Brazilian writer, Marcio Souza. The book was translated by Thomas Colchie, who was at the time the literary agent for Mr. Souza as well as a number of other Latin American authors. Thomas Colchie had even planned a new translation of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa of Brazil, but that unfortunately for American readers never quite materialized.  By 1982 the Avon Bard list had published 22 titles by Latin American writers and reviews were generally good for the series. As these translated titles became more widely available in inexpensive paperback editions, the market for them expanded. Many of the books on the Bard list had print runs at the time of around 16,000 copies, not especially ambitious for a mass market paperback title.

 

   In 1987, as happens quite often in the publishing world, one imprint was folded into another, and Bard became Discus. You can see this reflected in print on books like Graveyard Of The Angels by Reinaldo Arenas (the title page reads “the Discus Imprint” and “Avon Publishers of Bard, Camelot, Discus and Flare Books”). By May 1988 all mention of Bard as an imprint had disappeared, even though many of the books retained the cover art that had made them so distinctive when originally launched as Bard books. Bard was pretty much dead throughout the late 80s, and early 90s, but in 1998 Avon's publisher, Lou Aronica, announced 'a revival and makeover of its dormant Bard imprint'. By this time however many others were publishing Latin American literature and Avon could no longer or would no longer push themselves in that particular direction as they once had. In July, 1999, When HarperCollins purchased Avon in July 1999, Lou Aronica was let go and the Bard imprint disappeared for good. In spite of this it is undeniable that Avon Bard had a 15-year track record as a remarkably successful publisher of cutting-edge Latin American literature in paperback and created a truly great line of books.

See a listing of individual Avon Bard Latin American titles


Sources cited - 

Campassi, Roberta . 100 Years of Jorge Amado. Publishnewsbrazil. April 10, 2012. http://publishnewsbrazil.com/2012/04/100-years-of-jorge-amado/

 

Donoso, Jose. The Boom In Spanish American Literature: A Personal History. New York. 1977. Columbia University Press.

 

Davis, Kenneth C..  Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America. Boston. 1984. Houghton Mifflin.

 

McDowell , Edwin. U.S. Is Discovering Latin America's Literature. New York Times.  February 16, 1982.

 

Rabassa, Gregory. If This Be Treason. New York. 2005. New Directions.

 

Sickels, Amy. Gabriel García Márquez: Cultural and Historical Contexts. http://salempress.com/store/pdfs/marquez_critical_insights.pdf

 

Schiffrin, Andre. The Business Of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing & Changed The Way We Read.  New York. 2000. Verso.

 


 

(03/26/2015) Jacob's Room by Virigina Woolf. New York. 1998. Signet/New American Library. Introduction By David Denby. 204 pages. January 1998. CE2665. paperback. Cover: Vanessa Bell. 0451526651

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

0451526651   The publication of Jacob's Room in 1922 marked a turning point in Virginia Woolf's career - and in the evolution of the English novel. Based on her own brother Thoby, who died in 1906, Jacob's Room follows the life of a fatherless boy, Jacob Flanders, from his childhood until his tragic death during World War I. Unlike her more traditional first novel, The Voyage Out, this novel is poetic, nearly plotless, and focuses on a flow of random impressions through the minds of its characters. A crab in a tidal pool, an unsuccessful dinner at a professor's house, a conversation about Greece, all become crucial reflections of human experience, revealing larger landscapes of sensibilities, values, and passions. So exquisitely crafted that both the universal qualities of youth and the uniqueness of one young man become powerfully fused, Jacob's Room is Woolf's first stream - of - consciousness novel - nonlinear, experimental, and possessing an ending that is among the most moving in all of English literature. E. M. Forster wrote that with Jacob's Room, 'a new type of fiction has swum into view.' It remains a pivotal work in the development of the novel form and a testament to Woolf's genius and literary daring. Cover painting: Vanessa Bell, Interior With Duncan Grant, 1934. Williamson Art Gallery & Museum.

 

 Woolf Virginia Adeline Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929), with its famous dictum, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Woolf suffered from severe bouts of mental illness throughout her life, thought to have been the result of what is now termed bipolar disorder, and committed suicide by drowning in 1941 at the age of 59.

 

 

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