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The Orwell Reader by George Orwell. New York. 1956. Harcourt Brace & Company. 456 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Janet Halverson.

 

orwell reader harcourt brace and company 1956FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Here is Orwell’s work in all its remarkable range and variety. The selections in this anthology show how Orwell developed as writer and as thinker; inevitably, too, they reflect and illuminate the history of the time of troubles in which he lived and worked. ‘A magnificent tribute to the probity, consistency and insight of Orwell’s topical writings’ (Alfred Kazin).

 

 

Orwell GeorgeEric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 to British parents in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. There, Blair’s father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (born Limouzin), brought him to England at the age of one. He did not see his father again until 1907, when Richard visited England for three months before leaving again. Eric had an older sister named Marjorie, and a younger sister named Avril. He would later describe his family’s background as ‘lower-upper-middle class’. At the age of six, Blair was sent to a small Anglican parish school in Henley-on-Thames, which his sister had attended before him. He never wrote of his recollections of it, but he must have impressed the teachers very favourably, for two years later, he was recommended to the headmaster of one of the most successful preparatory schools in England at the time: St Cyprian’s School, in Eastbourne, Sussex. Blair attended St Cyprian’s by a private financial arrangement that allowed his parents to pay only half of the usual fees. At the school, he formed a lifelong friendship with Cyril Connolly, future editor of the magazine Horizon, in which many of his most famous essays were originally published. Many years later, Blair would recall his time at St Cyprian’s with biting resentment in the essay ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’. However, in his time at St. Cyprian’s, the young Blair successfully earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton. After one term at Wellington, Blair moved to Eton, where he was a King’s Scholar from 1917 to 1921. Aldous Huxley was his French teacher for one term early in his time at Eton. Later in life he wrote that he had been ‘relatively happy’ at Eton, which allowed its students considerable independence, but also that he ceased doing serious work after arriving there. Reports of his academic performance at Eton vary; some assert that he was a poor student, while others claim the contrary. He was clearly disliked by some of his teachers, who resented what they perceived as disrespect for their authority. After Blair finished his studies at Eton, his family could not pay for university and his father felt that he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police, serving at Katha and Moulmein in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and in such essays as ‘A Hanging’ (1931) and ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (1936). Back in England he wrote to Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, and she and a friend found him a room in London, on the Portobello Road (a blue plaque is now on the outside of this house), where he started to write. It was from here that he sallied out one evening to Limehouse Causeway - following in the footsteps of Jack London - and spent his first night in a common lodging house, probably George Levy’s ‘kip’. For a while he ‘went native’ in his own country, dressing like other tramps and making no concessions, and recording his experiences of low life in his first published essay, ‘The Spike’, and the latter half of Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, where his Aunt Nellie lived and died, hoping to make a living as a freelance writer. In the autumn of 1929, his lack of success reduced Blair to taking menial jobs as a dishwasher for a few weeks, principally in a fashionable hotel (the Hotel X) on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, although there is no indication that he had the book in mind at the time. Ill and penniless, he moved back to England in 1929, using his parents’ house in Southwold, Suffolk, as a base. Writing what became Burmese Days, he made frequent forays into tramping as part of what had by now become a book project on the life of the poorest people in society. Meanwhile, he became a regular contributor to John Middleton Murry’s New Adelphi magazine. Blair completed Down and Out in 1932, and it was published early the next year while he was working briefly as a schoolteacher at a private school called Frays College near Hayes, Middlesex. He took the job as an escape from dire poverty and it was during this period that he managed to obtain a literary agent called Leonard Moore. Blair also adopted the pen name George Orwell just before Down and Out was published. In a November 15 letter to Leonard Moore, his agent, he left the choice of a pseudonym to Moore and to Victor Gollancz, the publisher. Four days later, Blair wrote Moore and suggested P. S. Burton, a name he used ‘when tramping,’ adding three other possibilities: Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. Orwell drew on his work as a teacher and on his life in Southwold for the novel A Clergyman’s Daughter (1935), which he wrote at his parents’ house in 1934 after ill-health - and the urgings of his parents - forced him to give up teaching. From late 1934 to early 1936 he worked part-time as an assistant in a second-hand bookshop, Booklover’s Corner, in Hampstead. Having led a lonely and very solitary existence, he wanted to enjoy the company of other young writers, and Hampstead was a place for intellectuals, as well as having many houses with cheap bedsitters. He worked his experiences into the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). In early 1936, Orwell was commissioned by Victor Gollancz of the Left Book Club to write an account of poverty among the working class in the depressed areas of northern England, which appeared in 1937 as The Road to Wigan Pier. He was taken into many houses, simply saying that he wanted to see how people lived. He made systematic notes on housing conditions and wages and spent several days in the local public library consulting reports on public health and conditions in the mines. He did his homework as a social investigator. The first half of the book is a social documentary of his investigative touring in Lancashire and Yorkshire, beginning with an evocative description of work in the coal mines. The second half of the book, a long essay in which Orwell recounts his personal upbringing and development of political conscience, includes a very strong denunciation of what he saw as irresponsible elements of the left. Gollancz feared that the second half would offend Left Book Club readers, and inserted a mollifying preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain. Soon after completing his research for the book, Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy. In December 1936, Orwell travelled to Spain primarily to fight, not to write, for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco’s Fascist uprising. In a conversation with Philip Mairet, the editor of the New English Weekly, Orwell said: ‘This fascism. somebody’s got to stop it.’ To Orwell, liberty and democracy went together and, among other things, guaranteed the freedom of the artist; the present capitalist civilization was corrupt, but fascism would be morally calamitous. John McNair (1887-1968) is also quoted as saying in a conversation with Orwell: ‘He then said that this (writing a book) was quite secondary and his main reason for coming was to fight against Fascism.’ He went alone, and his wife joined him later. He joined the Independent Labour Party contingent, a group of some twenty-five Britons who joined the militia of the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM - Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), a revolutionary Spanish communist political party with which the ILP was allied. The POUM, along with the radical wing of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT (the dominant force on the left in Catalonia), believed that Franco could be defeated only if the working class in the Republic overthrew capitalism - a position fundamentally at odds with that of the Spanish Communist Party and its allies, which (backed by Soviet arms and aid) argued for a coalition with bourgeois parties to defeat the Nationalists. In the months after July 1936 there was a profound social revolution in Catalonia, Aragon and other areas where the CNT was particularly strong. Orwell sympathetically describes the egalitarian spirit of revolutionary Barcelona when he arrived in Homage to Catalonia. According to his own account, Orwell joined the POUM rather than the Communist-run International Brigades by chance - but his experiences, in particular his and his wife’s narrow escape from the Communist purges in Barcelona in June 1937, greatly increased his sympathy for POUM and made him a life-long anti-Stalinist and a firm believer in what he termed Democratic Socialism, that is to say, in socialism combined with free debate and free elections. During his military service, Orwell was shot through the neck and nearly killed. At first it was feared that his voice would be permanently reduced to nothing more than a painful whisper. This wasn’t so, although the injury did affect his voice, giving it what was described as, ‘a strange, compelling quietness.’ He wrote in Homage to Catalonia that people frequently told him he was lucky to survive, but that he personally thought ‘it would be even luckier not to be hit at all.’ The Orwells then spent six months in Morocco in order to recover from his wound, and during this period, he wrote his last pre-World War II novel, Coming Up For Air. As the most English of all his novels, the alarms of war mingle with idyllic images of a Thames-side Edwardian childhood enjoyed by its protagonist, George Bowling. Much of the novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of old England. There were also massive new external threats and George Bowling puts the totalitarian hypothesis of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler in homely terms: ‘Old Hitler’s something different. So’s Joe Stalin. They aren’t like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it. They’re something quite new - something that’s never been heard of before.’ After the ordeals of Spain and writing the book about it, most of Orwell’s formative experiences were over. His finest writing, his best essays and his great fame lay ahead. In 1940, Orwell closed up his house in Wallington and he and Eileen moved into 18 Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, in the genteel neighbourhood of Marylebone, very close to Regent’s Park in central London. He supported himself by writing freelance reviews, mainly for the New English Weekly but also for Time and Tide and the New Statesman. He joined the Home Guard soon after the war began (and was later awarded the ‘British Campaign Medals/Defence Medal’). In 1941 Orwell took a job at the BBC Eastern Service, supervising broadcasts to India aimed at stimulating Indian interest in the war effort, at a time when the Japanese army was at India’s doorstep. He was well aware that he was engaged in propaganda, and wrote that he felt like ‘an orange that’s been trodden on by a very dirty boot’. The wartime Ministry of Information, which was based at Senate House, University of London, was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nonetheless, Orwell devoted a good deal of effort to his BBC work, which gave him an opportunity to work closely with people like T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Mulk Raj Anand and William Empson. Orwell’s decision to resign from the BBC followed a report confirming his fears about the broadcasts: very few Indians were listening. He wanted to become a war correspondent and also seems to have been impatient to begin work on Animal Farm. Despite the good salary, he resigned in September 1943 and in November became the literary editor of Tribune, the left-wing weekly then edited by Aneurin Bevan and Jon Kimche (it was Kimche who had been Box to Orwell’s Cox when they both worked as half-time assistants in the Hampstead bookshop in 1934-35). Orwell was on the staff until early 1945, contributing a regular column titled ‘As I Please.’ Anthony Powell and Malcolm Muggeridge had returned from overseas to finish the war in London. All three took to lunching regularly, usually at the Bodega just off the Strand or the Bourgogne in Soho, sometimes joined by Julian Symons (who seemed at the time to be Orwell’s true disciple), and David Astor, editor/owner of The Observer. In 1944, Orwell finished his anti-Stalinist allegory Animal Farm, which was first published in Britain on 17 August 1945 and in the U.S.A on the 26 August 1946 with great critical and popular success. Frank Morley, an editor Harcourt Brace, had come to Britain as soon as he could at the end of the War to see what readers were currently interested in. He asked to serve a week or so in Bowes and Bowes, a Cambridge bookshop. On his first day there customers kept asking for a book that had sold out - the second impression of Animal Farm. He left the counter, read the single copy left in the postal order department, went to London and bought the American rights. The royalties from Animal Farm were to provide Orwell with a comfortable income for the first time in his adult life. While Animal Farm was at the printer, and with the end of the War in sight, Orwell felt his old desire growing to be somehow in the thick of the action. David Astor asked him to act as a war correspondent for the Observer to cover the liberation of France and the early occupation of Germany, so Orwell left Tribune to do so. He was a close friend of Astor (some say the model for the wealthy publisher in Keep the Aspidistra Flying), and his ideas had a strong influence on Astor’s editorial policies. Astor, who died in 2001, is buried in the grave next to Orwell. Orwell and his wife adopted a baby boy, Richard Horatio Blair, born in May 1944. Orwell was taken ill again in Cologne in spring 1945. While he was sick there, his wife died during an operation in Newcastle to remove a tumour. She had not told him about this operation due to concerns about the cost and the fact that she thought she would make a speedy recovery. For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work - mainly for Tribune, the Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines - with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. Originally, Orwell was undecided between titling the book The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Eighty-Four but his publisher, Fredric Warburg, helped him choose. The title was not the year Orwell had initially intended. He first set his story in 1980, but, as the time taken to write the book dragged on (partly because of his illness), that was changed to 1982 and, later, to 1984. He wrote much of the novel while living at Barnhill, a remote farmhouse on the island of Jura, which lies in the Gulf stream off the west coast of Scotland. It was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near to the northern end of the island, lying at the end of a five-mile (8 km) heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the laird or landowner, Margaret Fletcher, lived and where the paved road, the only road on the island, came to an end. In 1948, he co-edited a collection entitled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. In 1949, Orwell was approached by a friend, Celia Kirwan, who had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, which the Labour government had set up to publish anti-communist propaganda. He gave her a list of 37 writers and artists he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. The list, not published until 2003, consists mainly of journalists (among them the editor of the New Statesman, Kingsley Martin) but also includes the actors Michael Redgrave and Charlie Chaplin. Orwell’s motives for handing over the list are unclear, but the most likely explanation is the simplest: that he was helping a friend in a cause - anti-Stalinism - that they both supported. There is no indication that Orwell abandoned the democratic socialism that he consistently promoted in his later writings - or that he believed the writers he named should be suppressed. Orwell’s list was also accurate: the people on it had all made pro-Soviet or pro-communist public pronouncements. In fact, one of the people on the list, Peter Smollett, the head of the Soviet section in the Ministry of Information, was later (after the opening of KGB archives) proven to be a Soviet agent, recruited by Kim Philby, and ‘almost certainly the person on whose advice the publisher Jonathan Cape turned down Animal Farm as an unhealthily anti-Soviet text’, although Orwell was unaware of this. In October 1949, shortly before his death, he married Sonia Brownell. Orwell died in London at the age of 46 from tuberculosis. He was in and out of hospitals for the last three years of his life. Having requested burial in accordance with the Anglican rite, he was interred in All Saints’ Churchyard, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire with the simple epitaph: ‘Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25, 1903, died January 21, 1950’; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name. He had wanted to be buried in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die, but the graveyards in central London had no space. Fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see if any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard. Orwell’s friend David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be buried there, although he had no connection with the village. Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father’s death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sally Hemings by Barbara Chase-Riboud. New York. 1979. Viking Press. hardcover. 348 pages. June 1979.  Jacket painting by Cornelia Gray. 0670616052.

 

0670616052FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   One of the greatest love stories in American history is also one of the least known, and most controversial. Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, had a mistress for thirty-eight years, whom he loved and lived with until he died, the beautiful and elusive Sally Hemings. But it was not simply that Jefferson had a mistress that provoked the scandal of the times; it was that Sally Hemings was a quadroon slave, and that Jefferson fathered a slave family, many of whose descendents, known and unknown, are alive today. In this moving novel, which spans two continents, sixty years, and seven presidencies, Barbara Chase-Riboud re-creates a love story, based on the documents and evidence of the day but giving free rein to the novelist’s imagination. The story opens in the Paris of 1787, two scant years before the French Revolution and but a decade after the start of our own, where Thomas Jefferson is serving as the American ambassador to the court of France. A widower, Jefferson had brought his elder daughter, Martha, to France with him, but now he decides to bring over his younger daughter, Polly, as well. Sent with her as maid and servant is fourteen-year-old Sally Hemings. Over the next several months Jefferson grows increasingly infatuated with his slave, and before long becomes her lover. Highly intelligent and sensitive, and increasingly educated and sophisticated through her Paris sojourn, Sally Hemings could have opted not to return to America when Jefferson was called home, could have chosen freedom on the basis that slavery had been abolished on French soil. Bit she did return with Jefferson to Monticello, thus reenslaving herself to him. She never left Monticello again, and Jefferson, despite pressures to do so, did not remarry; the reason, no doubt, was Sally Hemings. Woven into this rich and complex narrative of love and enslavement is the story of the early Republic and of the personages of Aaron Burr, Dolley and James Madison, John and Abigail Adams, and John Trumbull. And like a series of somber counterpoints to the compelling love story are three salient themes: the slave rebellions of Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner; murders, those of George Wythe, Jefferson’s old professor and benefactor, and of George, the Lewis slave in Kentucky; and, above all, survival, that of Sally Hemings but also that of her indomitable mother, Elizabeth. Here were two generations of slave mistresses: Sally Hemings, mistress to a president, and her mother, mistress to a president’s father-in-law. The strange and complex ties between these two American families - the Jeffersons and the Hemingses, one white, one black—form in a sense the underside of our history. In this brilliant novel, Barbara Chase-Riboud presents the remarkable love story of Jefferson and Hemings as a poignant, tragic, and unforgettable addendum to the history of the races, and of the sexes, in America.

 

 

Chase Riboud BarbaraBarbara Chase-Riboud (born June 26, 1939) is an American novelist, poet, sculptor and visual artist best known for her historical fiction. Much of her work has explored themes related to slavery and exploitation. Chase-Riboud attained international recognition with the publication of her first novel, SALLY HEMINGS, in 1979. The novel has been described as the ‘first full blown imagining’ of Hemings' life as a slave and her relationship with Jefferson. In addition to stimulating considerable controversy, the book earned Chase-Riboud the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best novel written by an American woman. She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Carl Sandburg Prize for poetry and the Women's Caucus for Art's lifetime achievement award. In 1965, she became the first American woman to visit the People's Republic of China after the revolution and in 1996, she was knighted by the French Government and received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

 

 

 

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The Real Life Of Sebastian Knight by Vladimir Nabokov. Norfolk. 1941. 206 pages. November 1941. hardcover.

 

 

real life of sebastian knightFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 THE REAL LIFE OF SEBASTIAN KNIGHT is a perversely magical literary detective story-subtle, intricate, leading to a tantalizing climax-about the mysterious life of a famous writer. Many people knew things about Sebastian Knight as a distinguished novelist, but probably fewer than a dozen knew of the two love affairs that so profoundly influenced his career, the second one in such a disastrous way. After Knight’s death, his half brother sets out to penetrate the enigma of his life, starting with a few scanty clues in the novelist’s private papers. His search proves to be a story as intriguing as any of his subject’s own novels, as baffling, and, in the end, as uniquely Nabokov Vladimirrewarding.

 

 

VLADIMIR NABOKOV (1899-1977) was one of the twentieth century's greatest writers in Russian and English. Poet, novelist, dramatist, memoirist, critic, translator, essayist, and scientist, he was awarded the National Medal for Literature in 1973. He taught creative writing and Russian literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. Among his most celebrated works are LOLITA; PALE FIRE; ADA; SPEAK, MEMORY; and his translation of Pushkin's EUGENE ONEGIN.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Traces Of Thomas Hariot by Muriel Rukeyser. New York. 1971. Random House. 366 pages. hardcover. 0394449231. 

 

 

0394449231FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   A study of the life of little-known Elizabethan Thomas Hariot - friend of Ralegh, Drake and Marlowe, and one of the first English explorers of the New World. Hariot was linked to poets, mathematicians and pioneer scientists, involved in the scientific, political, philosophical and sexual heresies of his time, and an expert in ships and navigation as well as an astronomer and philosopher.

 

 

Rukeyser MurielMuriel Rukeyser (15 December 1913 – 12 February 1980) was an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. Kenneth Rexroth said that she was the greatest poet of her ‘exact generation’. One of her most powerful pieces was a group of poems entitled The Book of the Dead (1938), documenting the details of the Hawk's Nest incident, an industrial disaster in which hundreds of miners died of silicosis. Her poem ‘To be a Jew in the Twentieth Century’ (1944), on the theme of Judaism as a gift, was adopted by the American Reform and Reconstructionist movements for their prayer books, something Rukeyser said ‘astonished’ her, as she had remained distant from Judaism throughout her early life.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bureaucrats by Honore de Balzac. Evanston. 1993. Northwestern University Press. 247 pages. paperback. Cover: Honore Daumier, ‘Le ventre Legiuslatif, from Association Mensuelle.’ Translated from the French by Charles Foulkes. Edited and with an introduction by Marco Diani. 0810109875. Originally published as Les Employés (1837 - Scènes de la vie Parisienne).
 

 

0810109875FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   THE BUREAUCRATS (Les Employés) stands out in Balzac’s immense oeuvre by offering a compelling analysis of an important nineteenth-century French institution: the state bureaucracy. In the nearly one hundred novels and long stories that make up THE HUMAN COMEDY, Balzac considers a broad array of personal, social, and political phenomena that were undergoing significant change and conflict; marriage and the family, money, aristocracy and the legitimation of the middle class, Paris and the provinces, obsession, ambition, and failure are recurring elements of this vast portrait. In it Balzac detailed a number of distinctive institutions - journalism and publishing, banking, the church, law - but never did he concentrate his vision so precisely and so penetratingly on a distinctive modern institution as he did in THE BUREAUCRATS. The novel portrays the state bureaucracy and its ranks of civil servants in a biting critique of the bureaucratic mentality. The plot revolves around the efforts of one man, aided by his unscrupulous wife, to reorganize and streamline the entire system. Rabourdin’s Plan, as it comes to be known in the novel, will halve the government’s size while doubling its revenue. When the plan is leaked, Rabourdin’s rival, an utter incompetent, nonetheless gains the overwhelming support of the frightened and desperate body of low-ranking employees. The novel contains recognizable themes of Balzac’s work: obsessive ambition, conspiracy and human pettiness, a melodramatic struggle between social ‘good’ and the evils of folly and stupidity. But this work is more than a typical nineteenth-century realist novel representing personal drama played out against the background of social and historical forces. It is also an unusual, dramatized analysis of a developing political institution and its role in shaping social class and mentality. Charles Foulkes’s highly readable translation of this important but neglected novel is enhanced by the introduction by Marco Diani, which demonstrates the novel’s appeal across a number of disciplines: French literature, history, political science, sociology, and applied literary and social theory. This modern translation of THE BUREAUCRATS, the first English-language version available in over sixty years, will help establish Balzac as a serious observer and critic of government and of the class of the civil servants it produces.

 

 

Balzac Honore deHonoré 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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Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois. New York. 1938. Harcourt Brace & Company. 746 pages. March 1938.

 

black reconstruction in america harcourt brace 1938 no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A distinguished scholar introduces the pioneering work in the study of the role of black Americans during the Reconstruction by the most gifted and influential black intellectual of his time. BLACK RECONSTRUCTION IN AMERICA is a book by W. E. B. Du Bois, first published in 1935. It is revisionist approach to looking at the Reconstruction of the south after its defeat in the American civil war. On the whole, the book takes a Marxist approach to looking at reconstruction. The essential argument of the text is that the Black and White laborers, who are the proletariat, were divided after the civil war on the lines of race, and as such were unable to stand together against the white propertied class, the bourgeoisie. This to Du Bois was the failure of reconstruction and the reason for the rise of the Jim Crow laws, and other such injustices. In addition to creating a landmark work in early U.S. Marxist sociology, at the time Dubois’ historical scholarship and use of the techniques of primary source data research on the post war political economy of the former Confederate States’ were equally ground breaking. He performed the first systematic and rigorous analysis of the political economy of the reconstruction period of the southern states; based upon actual data collected during period. This research completely disestablished the anecdotal, racist bromides which had come to form the basis of the so-called ‘scholarship’ of the reconstruction period. Dubois’ research discredited forever the notion that the post-emancipation and post-Appomattox south had degenerated into either economic or political chaos, and had been kept in a state of chaos by the armed forces of the Union, through their military occupation. On the contrary, the reconstruction state governments had for example, established their states’ first, universal primary education systems. They did this because the reconstruction state constitutions (which they had written) had, for the first time, established as a right, the free public primary schooling of their states’ children. These governments had also been the first to establish public health departments to promote public health and sanitation, and to combat the spread of epidemic disease that is inherent in the semi-tropical climate of the south. And when the redeemer government’s seized power in later years and re-wrote these states’ constitutions to reestablish ‘race law’ and the Jim-Crow system, they did not touch the education and public health and welfare laws and constitutional principles that the reconstruction governments had established.Du Bois W E B

 

 

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was internationally renowned as a writer, scholar, and activist. Among his published works are THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLKS, JOHN BROWN, and BLACK RECONSTRUCTION: AN ESSAY TOWARD A HISTORY OF THE PART WHICH BLACK FOLK PLAYED IN THE ATTEMPT TO RECONSTRUCT DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, 1860—1880. He also wrote other major fiction, including DARK PRINCESS.
 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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Satan is a Woman by Gil Brewer. New York. 1951. Facwett Gold Medal. paperback. 158 pages. September 1951. #169. 

 

fgm satan is a woman 169FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   She carried hell in her heart. SATAN IS A WOMAN. There is a legend of olden time that the Devil is not a fallen archangle at all, but a woman with flaxen hair and green eyes - a beautiful creature with an angel face, who can bend innocent young men to her will, and bring them to their doom. Larry Cole never heard of this legend. He lived it.

 

 

Brewer GilFlorida writer Gil Brewer (1922-1983) was the author of dozens of wonderfully sleazy sex/crime adventure novels of the 1950's and 60's, including Backwoods Teaser and Nude on Thin Ice; some of them starring private eye Lee Baron (Wild) or the brothers Sam and Tate Morgan (The Bitch). Gil Brewer, who had not previously published any novels, began to write for Gold Medal Paperbacks in 1950-51. Brewer wrote some 30 novels between 1951 and the late 60s – very often involving an ordinary man who becomes involved with, and is often corrupted and destroyed by, an evil or designing woman. His style is simple and direct, with sharp dialogue, often achieving considerable intensity. Brewer was one of the many writers who ghost wrote under the Ellery Queen byline as well. Brewer also was known as Eric Fitzgerald, Bailey Morgan, and Elaine Evans.

 

 

 

  

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Country Place by Ann Petry. Boston. 1947. Houghton Mifflin. 266 pages. Cover: Paul Sample.

 

country place houghton mifflin 1947FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

With all the compassionate insight into human beings for which she is noted, Ann Petry exposes the hypocrisies of a tranquil New England town in this dramatic story of a war veteran who searches to find out whether his wife has been unfaithful. ‘Gossip, malice, infidelity, murder. . . are some of the dominant matters treated in Country Place.’ - New York Times. African American novelist Ann Petry drew on her personal experiences of the New England Hurricane of 1938 in her 1947 novel, COUNTRY PLACE. Although the novel is set in the immediate aftermath of World War II, Petry identified the 1938 storm as the source for the storm that is at the center of her narrative of gossip, malice, infidelity and murder amongst whites in a small town in America that reveals the ‘hidden evil and menace under the bland, innocent externals of a town's life. . . A dramatic story about a group of New Englanders whose commonplace exterior covers many tensions. We see the small, sleepy town through the eyes of the local druggist, an elderly, kindly man who owns the respect and confidence of his neighbors. The action takes place during a hurricane, and as the storm progresses the novel unfolds the violence beneath the surface of the storm, a violence composed of ordinary characters in all too ordinary situations.’ (Laura Z. Hobson). Second novel by the author of THE STREET.

 

The Signet paperback edition:

 

 signet country place s1426

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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The Narrows by Ann Petry. Boston. 1953. Houghton Mifflin. 428 pages.

 

narrows houghton mifflinFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Originally published in 1953, The Narrows spins the unforgettable tale of a forbidden love affair between Link Williams, a college-educated twenty-six-year-old black man, and Camilo Sheffield, a wealthy married white woman. Set in the sleepy New England town of Monmouth, Connecticut, and 'filled with dramatic force, earthy humor, and tragic intensity', this classic novel deftly evokes a divisive era in America's not-so-distant past.

 

 

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

 

 

 

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 The Street by Ann Petry. Boston. 1946. Houghton Mifflin. A Literary Fellowship Prize 1st Novel. 436 pages.

 

street houghton mifflinFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   THE STREET tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FROM THE SIGNET PAPERBACK EDITION - 

 

 

 

signet street 710 The unforgettable story of a beautiful woman beset by the passion, sin, and violence of the city. THE STREET - Her first novel, The Street, written while her husband was in the Army, is, she says, a kind of summing up of the things she saw and heard during the six years that she worked and lived in one of America’s largest ghettoes - New York’s Harlem. It won a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship award, and in 1946 was published by that company (which also published her second novel, Country Place, a non-racial account of a New England town during a hurricane). Of The Street said The Survey Graphic: ‘Miss Petry has written a strong and disturbing book. It is a callous reader, indeed, who will not be haunted by it for a long time.’ Born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Ann Petry comes from a New England family that has specialized in some branch of chemistry for three generations. If she had not married and gone to live in New York City, she would probably have made pharmacy her life work. Instead she found a variety of jobs in advertising and journalism that would give her an opportunity to write. While interviewing celebrities, covering political rallies and three-alarm fires for a Harlem weekly, reporting on murders and all other forms of sudden death, she acquired an intimate and disturbing knowledge of Harlem and its ancient, evil housing; its tragic, broken families; its high death rate.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship Of Reason In The West by John Ralston Saul. New York. 1992. Free Press. 640 pages. Cover design by Michael Langenstein. 0029277256.

 

0029277256The pitfalls of rationalism and and the rise of bureaucracy.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   In a wide-ranging, provocative anatomy of modern society and its origins, novelist and historian John Ralston Saul explores the reason for our deepening sense of crisis and confusion. Throughout the Western world we talk endlessly of individual freedom, yet Saul shows that there has never before been such pressure for conformity. Our business leaders describe themselves as capitalists, yet most are corporate employees and financial speculators. We are obsessed with competition, yet the single largest item of international trade is a subsidized market in armaments. We call our governments democracies, yet few of us participate in politics. We complain about 'invasive government,' yet our legal, educational, financial, social, cultural and legislative systems are breaking down. While most observers view these problems separately, Saul demonstrates that they are largely manifestations of our blind faith in the value of reason. Over the last 400 years, our 'rational elites' have gradually instituted reforms in every phase of social life. But Saul show that they have also been responsible for moist of the difficulties and violence of the same period. This paradox arises from a simple truth, which our elites deny: far from being a moral force, reason is no more than an administrative method. Their denial has helped to turn the modern West into a vast, incomprehensible, directionless machine, run by process-minded experts - 'Voltaire's bastards' - whose cult of scientific management if bereft of both sense and morality. Whether in politics, art, business, the military, entertainment, science, finance, academia or journalism, these experts share the same outlook and methods. The result, Saul maintains, is a civilization of immense technological power whose people increasingly dwell in a world of illusion. Already known to millions of readers as the author of novels which portray the overwhelming effects of this power on the modern individual by weaving together international finance, the oil and arms business, guerilla warfare, drug traffic, and the world of art, here Saul lays aside the mask of fiction to speak in his own voice. Only by withdrawing from our addiction to 'solutions', he argues, reclaiming the citizens' right to question and participate in public life, and Saul John Ralstonrecovering a common sense capacity for intelligent panic, can we find a way out of our permanent crisis.

 

 

JOHN RALSTON SAUL holds a Ph. D. in history from King's College, ran a Paris-based investment firm, worked as a Canadian oil executive, and has written extensively about North Africa and Southeast Asia. His novel, THE PARADISE EATER, won the Premio Letteratio Internazionale in 1990.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 The Shooting Gallery & Other Stories by Yuko Tsushima. New York. 1988. Pantheon Books. paperback. 138 pages. Translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt. 0394757432.

 

0394757432FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Eight stories by one of Japan's most important women authors concern the struggles of women in a repressive society. An unwed mother introduces her children to their father. A woman confronts the 'other woman'. A young single mother resents her children. These stories touch on universal themes of passion and jealousy, motherhood's joys and sorrows, and the tug-of-war between responsibility and entrapment.

 

 

Tsushima YukoYuko Tsushima was born in 1947, the daughter of novelist Osamu Dazai, author of THE SETTING SUN and NO LONGER HUMAN, who committed suicide in 1948. While still in her senior year at university she published her first short story, and her reputation as one of Japan’s most remarkable young writers is based largely on works of short fiction. Nine volumes of her short stories have appeared to date; they include Mugura no Haha (1974), Waga Chichitachi (1975), Kusa no Fushido (1977), Hikari no Ryobun (1979), and Suifu (1982). In addition, she has published three full-length novels - Choji (1978), Moeru Kaze (1980), and Yama o Hashiru Onna (1980). Both Choji (Child of Fortune) and Yama o Hashiru Onna were awarded major literary prizes. Yuko Tsushima lives in Tokyo with her daughter.

 

 

 

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Half-Truths & One-And-A-Half Truths by Karl Kraus. Montreal. 1976. Engendra Press. hardcover. 128 pages. Design by Anthony Crouch. Edited and translated from the German by Harry Zohn. 0919830005.

 

0919830005FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   ‘This, and only this, is the substance of our civilization: the speed with which stupidity sucks us into its vortex.’ An intrepid guardian of the truth in an age drowning in lies, Karl Kraus (1874-1936), the great Viennese editor, moralist, polemicist and pacifist - and perhaps the foremost aphorist of modern times - unrelentingly assailed those powers whom he regarded as the mainspring of a Europe in an advanced state of putrefaction. Journalists, nationalists, warmongers, ‘psychoanais’ – all who corrupted the quality of life through their defilement of language found themselves on the receiving end of satiric barbs launched by the outraged humanitarian, who (true satirist that he was) measured everything he witnessed against unbending standards. ‘Hate must make a person productive; otherwise one might as well love.’ Karl Kraus was a passionate lover as well as a productive hater; HALF-TRUTHS & ONE-AND-A-HALF TRUTHS strikes a balance between aphoristic sayings born of contempt or indignation and those having their source in more positive – though no less intense – feelings and concerns. The process of artistic creation, the role of the satirist, the significance of language (‘the divining rod which finds sources of thought’) and the mysteries inherent in the relationship between the sexes are some of the themes on which Kraus expressed himself aphoristically; Professor Zohn’s selection and translation have resulted in one of the more quotable books to have appeared in the English language in recent years

 

 

Kraus KarlKARL KRAUS (1874-1936) was a major influence on the intellectual life of Vienna, whose seminal thinkers and artists have profoundly changed twentieth-century thought. On some of them Kraus’s influence was fundamental. Indeed, as the critic George Steiner recently noted, ‘without Kraus, Wittgenstein’s philosophy might well have been nonexistent.’ Kraus is difficult to classify in any category; he stands unique in world literature. Many critics believe him to be the greatest satirist since Swift; he was also one of the most brilliant aphorists. As a critic of society, in violent opposition to the all-pervading corruption of the spirit in public life, he was without equal. The four contributors to In These Great Times are natives of Vienna. 

 

Harry Zohn is a native of Vienna and currently chairman of the department of Germanic and Slavic languages at Brandeis University, where he has taught since 1951. The many books which he has written or edited include a study of Karl Kraus (1971), and the Austrian reader Der farbenvolle Untergang. Among the works which Professor Zohn has translated may be mentioned The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Sigmund Freud’s Delusion and Dream, Walter Benjamin’s Illuminations, Marianne Weber’s Max Weber: A Biography, and selections from the German satirist Kurt Tucholsky. Professor Zohn holds the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit awarded by the Federal Republic of Germany, and is a member of the Austrian P.E.N. Club.

 

 

 

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Tituba of Salem Village by Ann Petry. New York. 1964. Thomas Y. Crowell. hardcover. 256 pages. Jacket by John Wilson. 

 

tituba of salem villageFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

james joyce italo svevo city lights 1950FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett. New York. 1995. Penguin Books. Edited & With An Introduction and Notes By David Blewett. 480 pages. The cover shows a detail of Lord George Graham in His Cabin by William Hogarth in the National Maritime Museum, London. 9780140433326.

 

9780140433326RODERICK RANDOM was published in 1748 to immediate acclaim, and established Smollett among the most popular of eighteenth-century novelists. In this picaresque tale, Roderick Random suffers misfortune after misfortune as he drifts from one pummeling to another and he still somehow manages to keep his brand of fatalistic good humor.  

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Narrated by an unheroic, apparently rudderless hero named Random, Smollett's wildly energetic and entertaining novel is held together not least by the narrator's outrage and dismay. Although RODERICK RANDOM was first published anonymously, the secret of Smollett's authorship was soon discovered, with the result that many readers thought they recognized similarities between the life of the hero and that of his creator. Certainly Roderick Random's early years - disinherited and without wealth and influence - and his university career, apprenticeship and service as a naval surgeon, vividly reflect the experiences of the author. How Random learns to survive the fickle hand of fortune, recovers his long-lost father, marries his beloved Narcissa, and dispatches his enemies is the stuff, not of autobiography, but of a novel which profoundly satirizes the moral chaos of its times. Dickens and Thackeray, among other great Victorians, applauded Smollett for his wit and invention, and in RODERICK RANDOM we enjoySmollett Tobias the novel of a pioneer opening up the frontiers of fiction.

 

 

 

Tobias George Smollett (19 March 1721 – 17 September 1771) was a Scottish poet and author. He was best known for his picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751), which influenced later novelists such as Charles Dickens. George Orwell admired Smollett very much. His novels were amended liberally by printers; a definitive edition of each of his works was edited by Dr. O. M. Brack, Jr. to correct variants.

 

 

 

 

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The Republic Of Dreams by Nelida Pinon. New York. 1989. Knopf. 663 pages. July 1989. hardcover. 0394555252. Jacket illustration by Steven Rydberg. Jacket design by Carol Devine Carson. Translated from the Portuguese by Helen Lane. (original title: Republica dos sonhos, 1984 - Livraria Francisco Alves Editora S/A, Rio de Janeiro).

 

0394555252FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   This huge, mesmeric novel marks the debut in English of one of the most brilliant and admired of today’s Latin American writers. It is a novel that brings before the reader four generations of a family torn between its Spanish past and its Brazilian present. It is a revelation of the complexities and astonishments not only of family life but of Brazil itself - a revelation also of the power of storytelling and the nature of dreaming. As the novel opens, the matriarch Eulália has begun her final task - the task of dying. Long, long ago, when she first came to Brazil from Spain, a young bride with her young and already formidable, iron-willed husband, Madruga, they brought with them the passion, inspired by Grandfather Xan, for making memories into tales -tales told as sustenance, proof, and hallmark, tales told as protection against the killing rush of time. Now, as both Eulália and her era near their end, that tradition achieves its most poignant flowering-in a burst of family lore, recrimination, and recollected dreams, as the clan, gathered at Eulália’s side, relives the past and vies for the future. Madruga - founder of the family in Brazil - is the central figure not only of his own stories but of almost everyone else’s, as he is of their lives. His reminiscences have the sweep and drama of history. His authority and - equally despotic - his love have shaped the lives of all his five children. His granddaughter Breta, whom he has chosen as heir to his greatest treasure-his memory-sees the family as ‘stubbornly programming the life of its members’ so as to justify Madruga’s desertion, decades before, of their ancestral Spain. His fellow émigré Venâncio-the historian, the dreamer (in counterpoint to Madruga’s colonizer- industrialist)-feels unfit to live in the reality forged by men like his old friend. Through the recollections- unfolding in layers, moving backward and forward across the century - of Madruga and those connected to him by blood or circumstances, a stunning dynastic drama is played out. At the same time, Nélida Piñon’s magnificent novel invites us to experience each of its two realms - the new world of Brazil, infatuated with what is to come while longing for what is lost, and the interior world of fantasy, remembrance, and emotion in which we all live - as a republic of dreams.

 

 

Pinon NelidaNélida Piñon (born May 3, 1937) is a Brazilian writer. Born in Rio de Janeiro of Galician immigrants. Her first novel was Guia-Mapa de Gabriel Arcanjo (The Guidebook of Archangel Gabriel), written in 1961, it concerns a protagonist discussing Christian doctrine with her guardian angel. In the 1970s she became noted for erotic novels A casa de paixão (The House of Passion) and A força do destino (The Force of Destiny), written in 1977. In 1984 she perhaps had her greatest success with A Republica dos Sonhos, English translation The Republic of Dreams. The work involves generations of a family from Galicia who emigrated to Brazil. This relates to her own family's experience. She is a former President of Academia Brasileira de Letras (Brazilian Academy of Letters).

 

 

 

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Tales of the German Imagination: From the Brothers Grimm to Ingeborg Bachmann by Peter Wortsman (editor). New York. 2012. Penguin Books. paperback. 361 pages. Cover: 'Melancholy of the Mountains', 1929, Coloured woodcut by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Translated from the German, selected and editied with an introduction by Peter Wortsman. 9780141198804.

 

9780141198804FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Bringing together tales of melancholy and madness, nightmare and fantasy, this is a new collection of the most haunting German stories from the past 200 years. Ranging from the Romantics of the early nineteenth century to works of contemporary fiction, it includes Hoffmann's hallucinatory portrait of terror and insanity 'The Sandman'; Chamisso's influential black masterpiece 'Peter Schlemiel', where a man barters his own shadow; Kafka's chilling, disturbing satire 'In the Penal Colony'; the Dadaist surrealism of Kurt Schwitters' 'The Onion'; and Bachmann's modern fairy tale 'The Secrets of the Princess of Kagran'. Macabre, dreamlike and expressing deep unconscious fears, these stories are also spiked with unsettling humour, showing stylistic daring as well as giving insight into the darkest recesses of the human condition. Peter Wortsman's powerful translations are accompanied by brief overviews of the lives of each author, and an introduction discussing the notion of 'angst' and the stories' place in the context of German history.

 

 

Wortsman PeterPeter Wortsman is a translator and writer living in New York whose English rendering of Posthumous Papers of a Living Author, by Robert Musil, now in its third edition (Eridanos, 1988; Penguin, 1995; Archipelago Books, 2006—and recently excerpted in Flypaper, Penguin Mini-Classics, 2011), has been called “a classic in itself.” Wortsman is the author of a book of short fiction, A Modern Way to Die (Fromm International, 1991); two stage plays, The Tattooed Man Tells All (2000) and Burning Words (2004); an artists’ book, it-t=i (Here and Now Press, 2005), on which he collaborated with his brother, the artist Harold Wortsman; and travel writing in leading newspapers, journals, and websites, several of which are anthologized in the last four issues of The Best Travel Writing 2008-2011. A former Fulbright and Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow, Wortsman is the recipient of the 1985 Beard’s Fund Short Story Award and the 2008 Geertje Potash-Suhr Prosapreis of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German. His short fiction appeared most recently in the Spring 2011 issue of The Berlin Journal, and his latest nonfiction was published, in German translation, in the April 2011 issue of Cicero, Magazin für politische Kultur. He also recently published essays in Die Welt and Die Zeit. The project he worked on while at the Academy, an anthology he compiled and translated, with the working title “The Singing Bone, Enigmatic Tales of the German Imagination” will be published in 2013 by Penguin Classics, Penguin UK. Photo credit: Jean-Luc Fievet.

 

 

 

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The Italics Are Mine by Nina Berberova. New York. 1969. Harcourt Brace & World. 606 pages. hardcover. Jacket photograph & design by Robert A. Propper. Translated from the Russian by Philippe Radley. 

 

italics are mineFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   This is the autobiography of Nina Berberova, who was born in St Petersburg in 1901, the only child of an Armenian father and a North Russian mother. After the Revolution, and the persecution of intellectuals which followed, she was forced to flee to Paris, where she was to remain for 25 years. There she formed part of a group of literary Russian emigres that included Gorky, Bunin, Svetaeva, Nabokov and Akhmatova, and earned a precarious living as a journalist, barely surviving the hardship and poverty of exile. In 1950 she left France for the United States to begin a new life with no money and no knowledge of English.

 

 

 

Berberova NinaNina Nikolayevna Berberova (26 July 1901 – 26 September 1993) was a Russian writer who chronicled the lives of Russian exiles in Paris in her short stories and novels. She visited post-Soviet Russia and died in Philadelphia. Born in 1901 to an Armenian father and a Russian mother, Nina Berberova was brought up in St Petersburg. She left Russia in 1922 with poet Vladislav Khodasevich (who died in 1939). The couple lived in several European cities before settling in Paris in 1925. There Berberova began publishing short stories for the Russian emigre publications Poslednie Novosti (‘The Latest News’) and Russkaia Mysl’ (‘Russian Thought’). The stories collected in Oblegchenie Uchasti (‘The Easing of Fate’) and Biiankurskie Prazdniki (‘Billancourt Fiestas’) were written during this period. She also wrote the first book length biography of composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1936, which was controversial for its openness about his homosexuality. In Paris she was part of a circle of poor but distinguished visiting literary Russian exiles which included Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Nabokov, Boris Pasternak, Tsvetaeva and Mayakovsky. After living in Paris for 25 years, Berberova emigrated to the United States in 1950 and became an American citizen in 1959. Since 1954 was married for George Kochevitsky - the Russian pianist and the teacher.) She began her academic career in 1958 when she was hired to teach Russian at Yale. She continued to write while she was teaching, publishing several povesti (long short stories), critical articles and some poetry. She left Yale in 1963 for Princeton, where she taught until her retirement in 1971. In 1991 Berberova moved from Princeton, New Jersey to Philadelphia. Berberova’s autobiography, which details her early life and years in France, was written in Russian but published first in English as The Italics are Mine (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969). The Russian edition, Kursiv Moi, was not published until 1983. Much of Berberova’s early literary archive (1922–1950) is located in the Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection at Stanford University. Her later literary archive (after 1950) is in the Nina Berberova Papers and Nina Berberova Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

 

 

 

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The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul. New York. 1997. Free Press. 199 pages. Jacket design by Tom Stvan. Jacket photograph by Philip Wallick/PPD International. Author photograph by Beverley Rockett. 0684832577. January 1997.

 

0684832577FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Civilizations, like individuals, are often blinded to their true character by sentiment and ideology - and ours is perhaps the most glaring example. In a powerful meditation already hailed as ‘the best work of popular philosophizing produced in this country in a decade or more’ (The Globe and Mail), John Ralston Saul argues that while Fascism was defeated in World War II, its ‘corporatist’ doctrines powerfully influence our own society today. Saul explores how these corporatist priorities have now become so woven into our social fabric that they threaten the practice of Western democracy. Our civic order, Saul argues, has been remade to serve the needs of business managers and technocrats. In turn, other parts of society have come to mimic this arrangement as they themselves fracture into competing interest groups and ethnic blocs, virtually eliminating the role of the citizen. This largely unseen social order has deep and vexing roots in Western thought. Saul examines how this structure is bolstered today by political and intellectual charlatans who misleadingly describe it as a ‘common sense’ arrangement, rather than what it is: an insidious war of attrition against the individual as citizen and the delicate system of open dialogue and doubt that alone guarantees the future of democracy. An international bestseller whose publication is widely regarded as a pivotal event, THE UNCONSCIOUS CIVILIZATION is a crucible of contemporary thought from a writer possessed of the originality and power to elevate today’s debate above its present limits and expose our system in a light both terrifying and profound.Saul John Ralston

 

 

 

JOHN RALSTON SAUL is an internationally renowned novelist and essayist and the author of VOLTAIRE’S BASTARDS and THE DOUBTER’S COMPANION, among other works. Named one of Utne Reader’s 100 visionaries, he gave the prestigious 1995 Massey Lectures at the University of Toronto, on which THE UNCONSCIOUS CIVILIZATION is based. Translated into several languages, the book has been a Canadian bestseller for close to a year.

 

 

 

 

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Incantations & Other Stories by Anjana Appachana. New Brunswick. 1992. Rutgers University Press. 150 pages. Cover photograph by Kasha Dalal. Cover design by the Senate. 0813518288.

 

0813518288FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   This first collection of fiction by Anjana Appachana provides stories that are beautifully written, the characters in them carefully and respectfully drawn. All the stories are set in India, but the people in them seem somehow displaced within their own society—a society in transition but a transition that does not come fast enough to help them. Appachana manages to capture the pervasive humor, poignancy, and self-delusion of the lives of the people she observes, but she does so without seeming to pass judgment on them. She focuses on unexpected moments, as if catching her characters off guard, lovingly exposing the fragile surfaces of respectability and convention that are so much a part of every society, but particularly strong in India, with its caste system, gender privileges, and omnipresent bureaucracies. One of the most unusual aspects of many of the stories is the way in which they are informed by but never ruled by the author's feminism. She never lectures her readers but lets us see for ourselves. Appachana's vision is unique, her writing superb. Readers will thank her for allowing them to enter Appachana Anjanaterritory that is at once distant and exotic and familiar and recognizable.

 

 

Anjana Appachana graduated from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. In 1984 she left India to live in the United States, where she graduated from Pennsylvania State University. One of the stories in this collection won an O'Henry Festival prize in 1989. She now lives in Tempe, Arizona, and is working on a novel.

 

 

 

 

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Dancing With Mermaids by Miles Gibson. New York. 1986. Dutton. 196 pages. Jacket painting by Hilary Gibson. Jacket design by Mark O'Connor. 0525244441.

 

0525244441A lively tale of madness in a seaside English town.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   A rare gem that did not nearly the acclaim it should have at publication. Ray Bradbury called this 1985 novel, ‘Absolutely first rate. Absolutely wonderful’, when it was first published in 1985. And The New Yorker described it as ‘a wild, poetic exhalation that sparkles and hoots and flies’. Strange things and mysterious events are happening to the seashore rustics in the Dorset fishing town of Rams Horn, whose lives are dominated by lust and other dark forces they can’t quite comprehend.

 

 

Gibson MilesMiles Gibson (born 1947) is a reclusive English novelist, poet and artist. Gibson was born in a squatters camp at an abandoned World War II airbase - RAF Holmsley South in the New Forest and raised in Mudeford, Dorset. He was educated at Sandhills Infant School, Somerford Junior School and Somerford Secondary Modern. Upon leaving school he migrated to London and worked in advertising as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson after winning a place in their ten most ingenious undergraduate writers in Britain today competition, despite lacking the primary qualification of a university education. He later flirted with Fleet Street as a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph Magazine under the brilliant editorship of John Anstey. He was the Telegraph's runner-up Young Writer of the Year, in 1969. Gibson’s darkly satirical writing has been described as both 'magic realism' and 'absurdist fiction.' Although his narratives remain linear in construction his employment of black humour, pastiche, and untrustworthy narrators[6] places him firmly among the postmodernists. When the Huffington Post ran a list of their favorite literary novelists to take the plunge into genre fiction, they included Gibson's Einstein: 'Miles Gibson, one of the very few British authors to successfully pen a magical realism novel based in the UK, is known for his toying with genre. Maybe his most notable genre piece came in 2004 with sci-fi comedy Einstein, one of the genre's forgotten treasures.' His works include two collections of poetry, The Guilty Bystander (1970) and Permanent Damage (1973), as well as the novels The Sandman (1984), Dancing with Mermaids (1985), Vinegar Soup (1987), Kingdom Swann (1990), Fascinated (1993), The Prisoner of Meadow Bank (1995), Mr Romance (2002)[8] and Einstein (2004). His works for children include Say Hello to the Buffalo, illustrated by Chris Riddell (1994), Little Archie (2004) and Whoops - There Goes Joe, illustrated by Neal Layton (2006). Kingdom Swann was adapted by David Nobbs as the feature-length comedy drama Gentlemen's Relish for BBC TV, starring Billy Connolly, Sarah Lancashire and Douglas Henshall (2001). He has written drama for BBC Radio 4 and his essays, poetry and short stories have appeared in various newspapers, journals and anthologies.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey by Janet Malcolm. New York. 2001. Random House. 213 pages. Jacket photograph courtesy of the author. Jacket design by Robbin Schiff. 0375506683. November 2001.

 

0375506683FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   To illuminate the mysterious greatness of Anton Chekhov's writings, Janet Malcolm takes on three roles: literary critic, biographer, and journalist. Her close readings of the stories and plays are interwoven with episodes from Chekhov's life and framed by an account of Malcolm's journey to St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Yalta. She writes of Chekhov's childhood, his relationships, his travels, his early success, and his self-imposed 'exile'--always with an eye to connecting them to themes and characters in his work. Lovers of Chekhov as well as those new to his work will be transfixed by Reading Chekhov.

Malcolm Janet

 

 

 

 

Janet Malcolm's previous books are Diana and Nikon: Essays on Photography; Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession; In the Freud Archives; The Journalist and the Murderer; The Purloined Clinic: Selected Writings; The Silent Woman: Slyvia Plath and Ted Hughes; and The Crime of Sheila McGough. She lives in New York with her husband, Gardner Botsford.

 

 

 

 

 

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At the Dusk of Dawn: Selected Poetry and Prose by Albery Allson Whitman. Boston. 2009. Northeastern University Press. hardcover. 331 pages. Jacket illustration: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Edited by Ivy G. Wilson. Northeastern Library of Black Literature. 9781555537074.

 

9781555537074FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

   Albery Allson Whitman (1851-1901), born the child of slaves in Kentucky, made his livelihood as a preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He also produced a prodigious amount of poetry. Many of these works--replete with 'mulatto' figures and vignettes about black, Native, and white subjects in the frontier spaces of the Midwest and Florida--prefigure current preoccupations in literary and cultural studies. This collection includes selections from all of his major narrative poems, along with other poems, letters, and a sermon. By collecting and republishing these works--many of which have been out of print for more than a century--this volume restores Whitman's standing as one of the most important post-Civil War African American writers.

 

 

Whitman Albery Allson

Albery Allson Whitman (1851-1901) was an African American poet, minister and orator. Born into slavery, Whitman created a successful career for himself as a writer, and during her lifetime was acclaimed as the 'Poet Laureate of the Negro Race'. Throughout his lifetime he worked as a manual laborer, school teacher, financial agent, fundraiser and pastor. He died in 1901 of pneumonia. Ivy G. Wilson is Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University. He is the author of Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism..

 

 

Ivy G. Wilson is Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University. He is the author of Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Nationalism.

 

 

 

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The Great Camouflage: Writings of Dissent  (1941-1945) by Suzanne Cesaire. Middletown. 2012. Wesleyan University Press. 9780819572752. Edited by Daniel Maximin. Translated by Keith L. Walker. 67 pages. paperback. Cover illustration: Suzanne Cesaire.

 

9780819572752FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

The Great Camouflage translates and assembles in one volume the seven articles Suzanne Césaire wrote for the cultural journal Tropiques. Césaire engages anthropology, esthetics, surrealism, history, and poetry as she grapples with questions of power and deception, self-deception, the economic slipknot of a post-slavery debt system, identity and inauthenticity, bad faith, psychological and affective aberration, and cultural zombification. All are caught in the web of "the great camouflage." The collection provides a multifaceted portrait of Césaire, and includes short writings from others who wrote passionately about her, including André Breton, André Masson, René Ménil, Daniel Maximin, and her husband Aimé Césaire and daughter, Ina Césaire.

 

 

Cesaire SuzanneSuzanne Césaire [née Roussi] (11 August 1915 – 16 May 1966), born in Martinique, an overseas department of France, was a French writer, teacher, scholar, anti-colonial and feminist activist, and Surrealist. Her husband was the poet and politician Aimé Césaire. Césaire (née Roussi) was born on 11 August 1915 in Poterie, Martinique, to Flore Roussi (née William), a school teacher, and Benoït Roussi, a sugar factory worker. She began her education at her local primary school in Rivière-Salée in Martinique (which still had the status of a French colonial territory at that time), before attending a girls' boarding-school in the capital, Fort-de-France. Having completed her secondary education, she went to study literature in Toulouse and then in Paris at the prestigious École normale supérieure from 1936-1938. During her first year as a student in Paris, Suzanne (then still named Roussi) meet Léopold Sédar Senghor, who introduced her to Aimé Césaire, a fellow student at the École normale supérieure. The following year, on 10 July 1937, the couple married at the town hall of the 14th arrondissement in Paris. During their studies, the Césaires were both part of the editorial team of the militant journal L'Étudiant noir. In 1938 the couple had their first child. The following year they returned to Martinique where they both took up teaching jobs at the Lycée Schoelcher. They went on to have six children together, divorcing in April 1963 after 25 years of marriage. Césaire wrote in French and published seven essays during her career as a writer. All seven of these essays were published between 1941 and 1945 in the Martinique cultural journal Tropiques, of which she was a co-founder and editor along with her husband, Aimé Césaire, and René Ménil, both of whom were notable French poets from Martinique. Her writing explored themes such as Caribbean identity, civilisation, and surrealism. While her writing remains largely unknown to Anglophone readers, excerpts from her essays "Leo Frobenius and the Problem of Civilisations", "A Civilisation’s Discontent", "1943: Surrealism and Us", and "The Great Camouflage" can be found translated into English in the anthology The Refusal of the Shadow: Surrealism and the Caribbean (Verso, 1996), edited by Michael Richardson. Césaire had a particular affinity with surrealism, which she described as "the tightrope of our hope". In her essay "1943: Surrealism and Us", she called for a Martinican surrealism: “Our surrealism will then deliver it the bread of its depths. Finally those sordid contemporary antinomies of black/white, European/African, civilised/savage will be transcended. The magical power of the mahoulis will be recovered, drawn forth from living sources. Colonial stupidity will be purified in the blue welding flame. Our value as metal, our cutting edge of steel, our amazing communions will be recovered." Césaire also developed a close relationship with André Breton following his visit to Martinique in 1941. She dedicated an essay to him ("André Breton, poet", 1941) and received a poem dedicated to her in return ("For madame Suzanne Césaire", 1941). This encounter with André Breton opened the way for her development of Afro-Surrealism. Her writing is often overshadowed by that of her husband, who is the better known of the two. However, in addition to her important literary essays, her role as editor of Tropiques can be regarded as an equally significant (if often overlooked) contribution to Caribbean literature. Tropiques was the most influential francophone Caribbean journal of its time and is widely acknowledged for the foundational role it played in the development of Martiniquan literature. Césaire played both an intellectual and administrative role in the journal's success. She managed the journal's relations with the censor — a particularly difficult role given the oppositional stance of Tropiques towards the war-time Vichy government — as well as taking responsibility for the printing. The intellectual impact she had on the journal is underlined by her essay "The Great Camouflage", which was the closing article of the final issue. Despite her substantial written and editorial contribution to the journal, the collected works of Tropiques, published by Jean-Michel Place in 1978, credits Aimé Césaire and René Ménil as the journal's catalysts. Tropiques published its last issue in September 1945, at the end of World War Two. With the closing of the journal, Suzanne Césaire stopped writing. The reasons for this are unknown. However, journalist Natalie Levisalles suggests that Suzanne Césaire would have perhaps made different choices if she had not had the responsibilities of mothering six children, teaching, and being the wife of an important politician and poet, Aimé Césaire. Indeed, her first daughter, Ina Césaire, remembers her saying regularly: "Yours will be the first generation of women who choose." Having stopped writing she pursued her career as a teacher, working in Martinique and Haiti. She was also an active feminist and participated in the Union des Femmes Françaises. Césaire was a pioneer in the search for a distinct Martiniquan literary voice. Though she was attacked by some Caribbean writers, following an early edition of Tropiques, for aping traditional French styles of poetry as well as supposedly promoting "The Happy Antilles" view of the island advanced by French colonialism, her essay of 1941, "Misère d'une poésie", condemned what she termed "Littérature de hamac. Littérature de sucre et de vanille. Tourisme littéeraire" [Literaure of the hammock, of sugar and vanilla. Literary tourism]. Her encounter with André Breton opened the way for her development of Afro-Surrealism, which followed in the footsteps of her use of surrealist concepts to illuminate the colonial dilemma. Her dictum - "La poésie martinique sera cannibale ou ne sera pas" [Cannibal poetry or nothing] - was an anti-colonial appropriation of a surrealist trope. Suzanne Césaire's repudiation of simple idealised answers - whether assimilationist, Africanist, or creole - to the situation of colonialism in the Caribbean has proved increasingly influential in later postcolonial studies.

 

 

 

 

 

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Passing by Nella Larsen. New York. 1929. Knopf. 217 pages. hardcover.

 

passing knopf 1929 no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

A landmark novel about the cultural meanings of race by the Harlem Renaissance’s premier woman writer. The beautiful, elegant, and ambitious Clare Kendry leads a dangerous life. A light-skinned African American married to a white man unaware of her racial heritage, Clare has severed all ties to her past to become part of white, middle-class society. Clare’s childhood friend, Irene Redfield, as light-skinned as Clare, has chosen to remain within the African-American community. Married to a successful doctor and the mother of two boys, Irene refuses to acknowledge the racism she grew up with and that continues to set limits on her family’s happiness. A chance encounter forces both women to confront the lies they have told others and the secret fears they have buried within themselves. First published in 1929, Passing is a remarkably candid exploration of the destabilization of racial and sexual boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Larsen Nella

Nellallitea 'Nella' Larsen, born Nellie Walker (April 13, 1891 – March 30, 1964), was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. First working as a nurse and a librarian, she published two novels—Quicksand (1928) and Passing (1929)—and a few short stories. Though her literary output was scant, she earned recognition by her contemporaries. A revival of interest in her writing has occurred since the late twentieth century, when issues of racial and sexual identity and identification have been studied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor. New York. 1960. Farrar Straus & Cudahy. 243 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Milton Glaser. 

violent bear it awayFROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this novel Flannery O’Connor is at the top of her powers. THE VIOLENT BEAR IT AWAY displays her astonishing gifts for satire with compassion and for pathos with humor. It tells the story of Francis Marion Tarwater, an orphan who lives backcountry with his great-uncle in Powderhead, Tennessee. Before the old man dies, he prophesies Tarwater’s fate: the Lord will call him to be a prophet. Another crucial prophecy he makes is to Rayber, his nephew, a schoolteacher, about Rayber’s son, Bishop: ‘Either Tarwater or me is going to baptize that child. If not me in my day, him in his.’ At the old man’s death, little Bishop, thanks to Rayber’s alert opposition, remains unbaptized, and on Tarwater falls the burden of baptizing him. A struggle over Bishop begins between Tarwater and Rayber. The clash between these two temperaments provides some of the funniest episodes in the book, as Rayber exerts himself to the straining point in his sincere desire to rescue Tarwater’s mind from darkness. Yet Tarwater, interiorly, is undergoing a struggle of his own. He does not want to be either prophet or baptist; he shows extraordinary strengths within himself in resisting his fate. The story moves inexorably to its climax and an outcome which neither Rayber nor Tarwater could foresee. In its special number devoted to ‘The American Imagination,’ the Times Literary Supplement praised Flannery O’Connor’s ‘merciless humour, extraordinary composure, and a compassion so universal that it raises all her local characters to a universal scale.’ These qualities of her special genius are so vividly present in this novel, and are set forth in prose of such clarity and vigor as to make THE VIOLENT BEAR IT AWAY clearly her most important work.

 

 

OConnor FlanneryMary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 – August 3, 1964) was an American writer and essayist, was born in Savannah, Georgia. An important voice in American literature, O'Connor wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. O'Connor's writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. Her Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was named the ‘Best of the National Book Awards’ by internet visitors in 2009. One of her hobbies was raising peacocks.

 

 

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This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith. London. 1961. Heinemann. 240 pages. hardcover. Cover by Jack Whitsett.

 

this sweet sickness heinemann 1961FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

 

This Sweet Sickness is a chilling novel. David Kelsey was a brilliant young chemist, and the firm he worked for, Fabrics, thought very highly of him. Everyone at his boarding-house thought highly of him too. He was handsome, successful, polite, and devoted to his ailing mother, with whom he spent every weekend. But David’s mother had been dead for years. David spent his weekends, unknown to anyone else, under another name, in a house he'd bought and furnished for the woman he loved, Annabelle. Annabelle his solace those weekends - her tastes were his, she understood and loved him. Yet Annabelle was married to another man and lived in another town, and had never seen the house David had bought for her. David wasn't going to put up with the situation much longer. He felt it was high time he did something about it. Patricia Highsmith has written an absorbing, terrifying novel of a man's madness - a man who was normal except in one respect, and who, because of his absorption, charming as he seemed most of the time, was finally Highsmith Patriciafrightfully destructive.

 

 

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1921, Patricia Highsmith spent much of her adult life in Switzerland and France. Educated at Barnard College, where she studied English, Latin, and Greek, she had her first novel, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, published in 1950 and saw it quickly made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Despite receiving little recognition in her native land during her lifetime, Highsmith, the author of more than twenty books, won the O. Henry Memorial Award, The Edgar Allan Poe Award, Le Grand Prix de Littérarure Policière, and the Award of the Crime Writers’ Association of Great Britain. She died in Switzerland in 1995, and her literary archives are maintained in Berne.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Country Doctor's Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov. London. 1975. Collins & Harvill. Translated from the Russian by Michael Glenny. 158 pages. Jacket design by Michael Harvey. 0002621037.

0002621037FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    Somerset Maugham; Anton Chekhov; A. J. Cronin; some of the most popular and successful writers in both English and Russian literature have been doctors. The powers of observation and human insight fostered by a medical training added to a creative temperament can be an ideal combination in making a writer. With his collection of stories a new name for English-speaking readers is added to the list of doctor-authors - Mikhail Bulgakov. To those who have read and enjoyed his novels of humour, tension and often grotesque fantasy - BLACK SNOW; THE HEART OF A DOG, THE WHITE GUARD and his chefd’oeuvre THE MASTER AND MARGARITA - it will be a rewarding surprise. Here, in a straightforward yet polished and gently ironic vein of writing, are a series of fascinating stories drawn directly from Bulgakov’s own experiences as a newly-qualified doctor during the turbulent years of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. With the ink still wet on his diploma, the 25-year-old Dr Mikhail Bulgakov was flung into the depths of rural Russia which was still largely untouched by such novelties as the telephone, electric light and the motor car. How he coped (and failed to cope) with the new and often appalling responsibilities of a lone practitioner in a vast country practice is described in a delightful blend ol candid realism and wry, self-deprecating humour.

 

bantam country doctors notebook

 

 

 

Bantam published the 1st American edition as a paperback original - 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulgakov MikhailEldest son of a professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov was born in that city in 1891. After graduating in. medicine at Kiev University, Bulgakov was sent in 1916 (as an alternative to army service) to his first practice in a remote country region of one of the north-western provinces of Russia. There he worked for two years in sole charge of a local govenment clinic serving a large and scattered rural population. Late in 1918, after a spell as a hospital intern, Bulgakov returned to his native Kiev, where he set up in private practice as a specialist in venereology. Driven out, it seems, by the intolerable strains imposed on a doctor in a city racked by civil war, he left Kiev for the Caucasus; it was at this time, in 1919 or 1920, that Bulgakov resolved to give up medicine for a full-time literary career. Moving north to Moscow in the early twenties, Bulgakov endured a period of hardship and struggle to gain recognition as a writer. His first success was his novel The White Guard, originally published in serial form in 1925 and based on his experience of Kiev in the civil war, which he turned into a play for the Moscow Arts Theatre with the altered title of The Days of the Titrbins. From then on Bulgakov’s career was intimately bound up with the stage, in particular with the Moscow Arts Theatre under the joint direction of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, where he worked as an. assistant producer and resident dramatist until his break with Stanislavsky in 1936. After some time spent as an opera librettist with the Bolshoi Theatre, he was reduced to literary impotence by Stalin’s increasingly harsh censorship. Bulgakov fell ill with a painful kidney complaint in 1939, went blind as a result of the disease and died in March 1940. In addition to the stories in the present collection (first published in two magazines in the mid-twenties) Bulgakov wrote altogether fourteen plays, three novels and a rich and varied collection of satirical stories. Although many of his works still remain unpublished in the USSR, enough of his best books and plays have appeared posthumously, between 1955 and 1967, to have secured for Mikhail Bulgakov a place as one of the most original and powerful Russian writers of the twentieth century.

 

 

 

 

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Scent Of Love by Edla Van Steen. Pittsburgh. 2001. Latin American Literary Review Press. Translated from the Portuguese & With A Foreword by David S. George. 110 pages. 1891270125. Originally published in Portuguese as Cheiro de amor. 

 

1891270125FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

 

    The fourth of Van Steen’s works to be published in English. This collection of two imaginative stories and a prizewinning title ‘novelette’ from the Brazilian actress, cabaret singer, and author demonstrates a variety of distinct voices and narrative styles. ‘Queen of the Abyss’, presented in modified dramatic form (including stage directions), extracts from the situation of an elderly man’s return, after several decades, to his former family a haunting lesson about the impossibility of rejecting the past. In ‘Less Than A Dream’, the discovery of an old infidelity subjects two beleaguered extended families to a succession of unpredictable, and hilarious, life changes. And ‘Scent of Love’, a newswoman’s reconstruction of the life of an impulsive woman revolutionary, deftly evokes the interrelatedness and complexity of sexual attraction, political allegiance, and moral relativism.

 

 

Van Steen EdlaEdla Van Steen (12 July 1936 – 6 April 2018) was a Brazilian journalist, actress and writer. The daughter of a Belgian father and a mother of German descent, she was born in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina and educated at a Catholic boarding school. She began work as a radio broadcaster and then became a journalist in Curitiba. In 1958, she starred in the film Garganta do Diabo (The Devil's Throat). She published a book of short stories Cio (In Heat) in 1965; technically it was her second collection of short stories - an earlier manuscript was lost before it could be published. She founded the art gallery Galeria Multipla and served as its director. Her novel Memórias do Medo (Memories of Fear) was published in 1974. In 1981, it was adapted for television. In 1977, she published her next collection of stories Antes do amanhecer (Before the dawn). The following year, she organized an anthology O Conto da Mulher Brasileira (The Story of the Brazilian Women); she also organized a week in honour of Brazilian writers, sponsored by the São Paulo Ministry of Culture. Her play O último encontro (The Last Encounter) received the Prêmio Molière and the Prêmio Mambembe for best play as well as a prize awarded by the São Paulo association of art critics. She wrote a second play Bolo de nozes (Nut Cake) in 1990. She translated works by playwrights such as Jean-Claude Brisville, Henrik Ibsen and Manfred Karge for the theatre. David George is associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and chair of foreign languages at Lake Forest College in Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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