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Chinaberry Tree by Jessie Fauset. London. 1932.  Elkin Mathews & Marrot. Introduction by Zona Gale. 310 pages. hardcover.

 

chinaberry tree elkin mathews and marrot 1932FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

This novel by the author of PLUM BUN and THERE IS CONFUSION illuminates the lives of an educated, middle-class black family in the early twentieth century. Set in the small town of Red Brook, New Jersey, THE CHINABERRY TREE focuses on the compelling stories of the beautiful Laurentine Strange and her vivacious younger cousin, Melissa Paul. Laurentine, the illegitimate daughter of a black mother and a prominent married white man, endures a lonely childhood, learning to protect herself through isolation. Melissa, also tainted by the blot of illegitimacy, refuses to be ostracized. She tries to establish her own identity, but her efforts are threatened when she almost elopes with her half brother. As the two women struggle for respect and legitimacy, each of them finally discovers a sense of place within the small black community.

 

FROM THE DUSTJACKET:

 

The fine mind and spirit, with the hampering circumstance of the Negro body—hampering because the white neighbor makes it so—is the theme of this powerful and dramatic story of a group of modern Negroes, in which Miss Fauset amply fulfils the promise which made Plum Bun something of a sensation. ‘Miss Fauset has worked out the difficult situation between Laurentine and Melissa with a fine appreciation of the psychological factors in a story that is well above the ordinary. . . She has opened a door on the life of the Negro of intellectual interest and on a society little known to the whites. It is, as Zona Gale points out in her introduction, the life of a great segment of humanity which deserves to be better understood.’ – HARRY HANSEN. Some Press Opinions of Jessie Fauset's previous novel, PLUM BUN – The English Review: ‘We do not know anything of the author, but this American story of hers offers a new theme to English readers and shows accomplishment both in style and arrangement . . .  depicted with real charm, and the little touches of domestic affection in the book are delightful.’  S. P. B. MAIS in The Daily Telegraph: ‘This novel is refreshing, for it impinges on the actual.’ The Times Literary Supplement: "This long, careful novel is written with marked earnestness . . . . the contrast between the sisters' mode of life is illuminative of many matters about which the author feels deeply . . . written throughout with insight and sincerity.’ ARNOLD PALMER in The Sphere:  'The name of Jessie Fauset is not known to me; I approached her novel without prejudice and found that, as a writer, she possessed almost all the qualities I most admire. She writes with great simplicity and directness . . . Plum Bun is' an exceptionally good piece of work. It is unusual . . . it is admirably written, with an apparent effortlessness which is the hallmark of mastery; it deserves to be read and richly repays reading by providing a genuine experience.’ The Daily Express : 'Miss Fauset writes with understanding and sympathy.’

 

 

Fauset JessieJessie Redmon Fauset (April 27, 1882 – April 30, 1961) was an African-American editor, poet, essayist, novelist, and educator. Her literary work helped sculpt African-American literature in the 1920s as she focused on portraying a true image of African-American life and history. Her black fictional characters were working professionals which was an inconceivable concept to American society during this time. Her story lines related to themes of racial discrimination, "passing", and feminism. From 1919 to 1926, Fauset's position as literary editor of The Crisis, a NAACP magazine, allowed her to contribute to the Harlem Renaissance by promoting literary work that related to the social movements of this era. Through her work as a literary editor and reviewer, she discouraged black writers from lessening the racial qualities of the characters in their work, and encouraged them to write honestly and openly about the African-American race. She wanted a realistic and positive representation of the African-American community in literature that had never before been as prominently displayed. Before and after working on The Crisis, she worked for decades as a French teacher in public schools in Washington, DC, and New York City. She published four novels during the 1920s and 1930s, exploring the lives of the black middle class. She also was the editor and co-author of the African-American children's magazine The Brownies' Book. She is known for discovering and mentoring other African-American writers, including Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay.

 

 

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Check zenosbooks.com to see if we have a copy for sale. 

 

 

 

Time for some Franz Kafka!

 

After listening to me gripe about some recent journey through bureaucratic hell, a friend recently made reference to Franz Kafka's The Castle, a scene where a clerk slowly and carefully moves files one at a time in a perfect depiction of the methodical mindlessness of the socio-biomachine that is the modern bureaucratic state. It reminded me of every interaction I have ever had with the phone company, the bank, the government, the insurance company. A perfect book for our times, and... a Kafka title I have not yet read. As I rooted around through my shelves, I found a couple of different copies of The Castle. A relatively new translation by Mark Harman looks like the one to crack.  

 

0805241183The Castle. New York. 1998.  Schocken Books. New Translation Based On The Restored Text. 0805241183. Translated from the German by Mark Harman.  328 pages. hardcover. Jacket Photograph: Culver Pictures Jacket Design By Kathleen Digrado.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Franz Kafka's final novel tells the haunting tale of a man known only as K. and of his relentless, unavailing struggle with an inscrutable authority in order to gain entrance to the Castle. Although Kafka seemed to consider THE CASTLE a failure, critics, in wrestling with its enigmatic meaning, have recognized it as one of the great novels of our century. Unfinished at Kafka's death in 1924, the manuscript of THE CASTLE was edited for publication by Kafka's friend and literary executor, Max Brod. Both Brod's edition and the English-language translation of it that was prepared by Willa and Edwin Muir in 1930 have long been considered flawed. This new edition of Kafka's terrifying and comic masterpiece is the product of an international team of experts who went back to Kafka's original manuscript and notes to create a text that is as dose as possible to the way the author left it. The Times Literary Supplement hailed their work, saying that it will ‘decisively alter our understanding of Kafka and render previous editions obsolete.’ Mark Harman's brilliant translation closely follows the fluidity and breathlessness of the sparsely punctuated original manuscript, revealing levels of comedy, energy, and visual power that have not been previously accessible to English-language readers. W. H. Auden likened Kafka to Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe as the single most important writer of his age. Here, in this new edition, is a Kafka for the twenty-first century.

 

Harman MarkTranslator MARK HARMAN holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and has taught German and Irish literature at Oberlin and Dartmouth. In addition to writing scholarly essays on Kafka and other modern authors, he has edited and co-translated ROBERT WALSER REDISCOVERED: STORIES, FAIRY-TALE PLAYS, and CRITICAL RESPONSES and has translated SOUL OF THE AGE: SELECTED LETTERS OF HERMANN HESSE, 1891-1962. He teaches literature at the University of Pennsylvania. 

 

 

 

I also found this biography of Kafka...  

 

 

0394568400Citati, Pietro. Kafka. New York. 1990. Knopf. 0394568400. Translated from the Italian by Raymond Rosenthal. 320 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Kafka is a major biographical study of one of the most brilliant yet personally elusive writers of the 20th century, by an internationally admired scholar and writer. Translated from the Italian by Raymond Rosenthal. A superb account of the inner creative spirit of Kafka, this book contains brilliantly executed readings of all the major works.

 

Citati PietroPietro Citati (born February 20, 1930, Florence, Italy) is a famous Italian writer and literary critic. He has written critical biographies of Goethe, Alexander the Great, Kafka and Marcel Proust as well as a short memoir on his thirty-year friendship with Italo Calvino.

 

 

 

I would like to believe that any friend of Calvino's could probably be a friend of mine, in some imaginary universe of course, where I actually hop-nobbed with folks like that. Within a few pages I discovered a number of things about Kafka about which I was previously unaware. Who knew that Kafka was " a tall man, thin and lithe, who carried his long body as though it had been given to him as a gift." Or that he actually seemed to like his job at the Institute for Workers Accident Insurance Company for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague (I find that one a little hard to believe, but I'll let the biographer make his case). 

 

 

 Kafka FranzFranz Kafka (July 3, 1883  - June 3, 1924) was a German-language Czech writer (born in Prague) of novels and short stories. Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and trained as a lawyer. After earning a law degree in 1906, he worked most of his adult life at the Workers Accident Insurance Company for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague. In his spare time, he wrote short stories, as well as hundreds of letters to close female friends and family, including his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his youngest sister Ottla. He had a complicated and troubled relationship with his father that had a major impact on his writing, and he was conflicted over his Jewishness and felt it had little to do with him. Only a small portion of his writings were published during his lifetime; most of them, including the three unfinished novels, AMERIKA, THE TRIAL, and THE CASTLE, were published posthumously. He is regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism. His works, such as ‘Die Verwandlung‘ (‘The Metamorphosis’), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle), are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, and mystical transformations. Kafka died of tuberculosis in a sanitorium near Vienna in 1924.

 

If you have a hankering for some Kafka, here are some possibilities . . . 

 


9780914671510Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka. Brooklyn. 2016. Archipelago Books. 9780914671510. Selected and translated from the German by Peter Worstman. 238 pages. paperback. Cover art: Franz Kafka. Cover design: Megan Mangum.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  In this new selection and translation, Peter Wortsman mines Franz Kafka's entire opus of short prose--including works published in the author s brief lifetime, posthumously published stories, journals, and letters--for narratives that sound the imaginative depths of the great German-Jewish scribe from Prague. It is the first volume in English to consider his deeply strange, resonantly humane letters and journal entries alongside his classic short fiction and lyrical vignettes Transformed is a vivid retranslation of one of Kafka's signature stories, Die Verwandlung, commonly rendered in English as The Metamorphosis. Composed of short, black comic parables, fables, fairy tales, and reflections, Konundrums also includes classic stories like In the Penal Colony, Kafka's prescient foreshadowing of the nightmare of the Twentieth Century, refreshing the writer's mythic storytelling powers for a new generation of readers. CONTENTS: Words are Miserable Miners of Meaning; Letter to Ernst Rowohlt; Reflections; Concerning Parables; Children on the Country Road; The Spinning Top; The Street-Side Window; At Night; Unhappiness; Clothes Make the Man; On the Inability to Write; From Somewhere in the Middle; I Can Also Laugh; The Need to Be Alone; So I Sat at My Stately Desk; A Writer's Quandary; Give it Up!; Eleven Sons; Paris Outing; The Bridge; The Trees; The Truth About Sancho Pansa; The Silence of the Sirens; Prometheus; Poseidon; The Municipal Coat of Arms; A Message from the Emperor; The Next Village Over; First Sorrow; The Hunger Artist; Josephine, Our Meistersinger, or the Music of Mice; Investigations of a Dog; A Report to an Academy; A Hybrid; Transformed; In the Penal Colony; From The Burrow; Selected Aphorisms; Selected Last Conversation Shreds; In the Caves of the Unconscious: K is for Kafka (An Afterword); The Back of Words (A Post Script).

 

 

The Trial

Written in 1914, THE TRIAL is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century: the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge which is never specified. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka’s nightmare has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers. The story is a Pilgrim’s Progress of the subconscious, the phantasmagoria of a sensitive mind oppressed and bewildered by the burden of living. 

 

 

 

trial no dwThe Trial. New York. 1937. Knopf. 1st American Edition. Illustrated by Georg Salter. Translated from the German by Willa and Edwin Muir. 297 pages. hardcover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0805241655The Trial. New York. 1998. Schocken Books. 1st Edition of This New Translation Based On The Restored Text. 0805241655. Translated from the German by Breon Mitchell. 276 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Kathleen DiGrado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

trial vintageThe Trial. New York. 1969. Vintage Books. 0394704843. Revised & With Additional Materials. Translated by E. M. Butler. Illustrated by George Salter. Translated from the German by Willa & Edwin Muir. 343 pages. paperback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0140009078The Trial. Middlesex. 1970. Penguin Books. Penguin Modern Classic Edition. 0140009078. Translated from the German by Willa and Edwin Muir. 256 pages. paperback. The cover shows 'Ruins', by Lotte B. Prechner at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metamorphosis

METAMORPHOSIS is one of the most terrifying stories ever written. A man wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect. Kafka describes his reactions and the reactions of his family - at first horrified, then kind, wrathful, despising, and finally negligent. This haunting parable on human reaction to suffering and disease has already become a classic.

 

 

 

metamorphosis vanguard 1946

Metamorphosis. New York. 1946. Vanguard Press. 1st American Edition. Drawings by Leslie Sherman. Translated from the German by A. L. Lloyd. 98 pages. hardcover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0684800705The Metamorphosis & Other Stories. New York. 1993. Scribners. New Translation. 0684800705. Newly Translated from the German by Joachim Neugroschel. 352 pages. paperback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amerika

Kafka began his first novel in 1911, but like the others, Amerika remained unfinished, and perhaps, as Klaus Mann suggested, ‘necessarily endless.’ Karl Rossman, the youthful hero of the novel, ‘a poor boy of seventeen,’ has been banished by his parents to America, following a scandal. There, he throws himself into adventure after misadventure, and experiences multiply as he makes his way into the heart of the country, to The Great Nature Theater of Oklahoma. In creating this new translation, Hofmann, as he explains in his introduction, returned to the manuscript version of the book, restoring matters of substance and detail. Fragments which have never before been presented in English are now reinstated-including the book’s original ending. ‘A century after his birth Kafka seems the last holy writer, and the supreme fabulist of modern man’s cosmic predicament.’ - John Updike, The New Yorker. ‘I believe that Kafka never wrote a more accurate picture of Central Europe than in his novel Amerika.’ - Eleanor Clark, The Griffin. ‘This fantasy of a New World, so full of a childlike genius. . . .this strange book - Amerika. But more lovers of the extraordinary will be found for it in time.’ - Thomas Mann.

 

 

 

amerika new directions 1940 no dwAmerika. Norfolk. 1940. New Directions. 1st American Edition. Illustrations by Emlen Etting. Preface by Klaus Mann. Translated from the German by Edwin Muir. 277 pages. hardcover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

081121513xAmerika. New York. 2002. October 2002. New Directions. New Translation. 081121513x. Translated from the German by Michael Hofman. 218 pages. hardcover. Cover: Corbis/Semadar Megged.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  The reason Franz Kafka’s Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared) is less known than his two other great novels may be that it never had Michael Hofmann as a translator. His magnificent new translation restores its rightful place as one of Kafka’s most delightful and most memorable works.’ -Charles Simic. ‘A major act of historical restoration: Max Brod’s renovations have been torn down, Edwin Muir’s 1928 English furniture has been removed and the result is that Amerika, the plot of the novel, can finally be seen as The Man Who Disappeared, a thrilling piece of writing.’ - Eliot Weinberger. Franz Kafka’s Amerika (The Man Who Disappeared) at last has the translator it deserves. Michael Hofmann’s startlingly visceral and immediate translation revives Kafka’s great comedy, and captures a new Kafka, free from Prague and loose in the new world, a Kafka shot through with light. The new English version of Amerika is at once highly charged and luminous and enormously nuanced. Kafka began his first novel in 1911, but like the others, Amerika remained unfinished, and perhaps, as Klaus Mann suggested, ‘necessarily endless.’ Karl Rossman, the youthful hero of the novel, ‘a poor boy of seventeen,’ has been banished by his parents to America, following a scandal. There, he throws himself into adventure after misadventure, and experiences multiply as he makes his way into the heart of the country, to The Great Nature Theater of Oklahoma. In creating this new translation, Hofmann, as he explains in his introduction, returned to the manuscript version of the book, restoring matters of substance and detail. Fragments which have never before been presented in English are now reinstated-including the book’s original ending. ‘A century after his birth Kafka seems the last holy writer, and the supreme fabulist of modern man’s cosmic predicament.’ - John Updike, The New Yorker. ‘I believe that Kafka never wrote a more accurate picture of Central Europe than in his novel Amerika.’ - Eleanor Clark, The Griffin. ‘This fantasy of a New World, so full of a childlike genius. . . .this strange book - Amerika. But more lovers of the extraordinary will be found for it in time.’ - Thomas Mann.

 

 

 

9780805242119Amerika: The Missing Person. New York. 2008. Schocken Books. 9780805242119. Newly Translated from the German & With A Preface by Mark Harman. 300 pages. hardcover. Jacket photograph of the Empire State Building under construction by the Wurts Brothers/Milstein Division of United States History, Local History & Genealogy, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. Jacket design by Jonathan Sainsbury.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  FRANZ KAFKA'S diaries and letters suggest that his fascination with America grew out of a desire to break away from his native Prague, even if only in his imagination. Kafka died before he could finish what he liked to call his ‘American novel,’ but he clearly entitled it Der Verschollene (‘The Missing Person’) in a letter to his fiancee, Felice Bauer, in 1912. Kafka began writing the novel that fall and wrote the last completed chapter in 1914, but it wasn't until 1927, three years after his death, that AMERIKA - the title that Kafka's friend and literary executor Max Brod gave his edited version of the unfinished manuscript - was published in Germany by Kurt Wolff Verlag. An English translation by Willa and Edwin Muir was published in Great Britain in 1932 and in the United States in 1946. Over the last thirty years, an international team of Kafka scholars has been working on German-language critical editions of all of Kafka's writings, going back to the original manuscripts and notes, correcting transcription errors, and removing Brod's editorial and stylistic interventions to create texts that are as close as possible to the way the author left them. With the same expert balance of precision and nuance that marked his award-winning translation of THE CASTLE, Mark Harman now restores the humor and particularity of language in his translation of the critical edition of Der Verschollene. Here is the story of young Karl Rossmann, who, following an incident involving a housemaid, is banished by his parents to America. With unquenchable optimism and in the company of two comic-sinister companions, he throws himself into misadventure after misadventure, eventually heading toward Oklahoma, where a career in the theater beckons. Though we can never know how Kafka planned to end the novel, Harman's superb translation allows us to appreciate, as closely as possible, what Kafka did commit to the page.

 

 

 

The Castle

The world of Kafka, as already revealed in THE TRIAL, is one in which the individual struggles against ubiquitous, elusive, and anonymous powers determining and yet simultaneously opposing his every step. Kafka defines each situation very clearly, but at the same time an atmosphere of fearful uncertainty grows out of the weirdly illogical sequence of simple events. The tale of the arrival of a stranger in the village below the Castle, which seemingly rules it, reflects the pathos of human isolation and of man’s quest for freedom and responsibility, and the religious spirit which pervades all Kafka’s work. Upon his death in 1924, Kafka instructed his literary executor, Max Brod, to destroy all his manuscripts. Wisely refusing his friend’s last wishes, Brod edited the uncompleted CASTLE, along with other unfinished works, ordering the fragments into a coherent whole, and had them published. Brod’s interpretation of the work as a novel of personal salvation was accepted and strengthened by Willa and Edward Muir, who provided the standard English translation in 1930. Recent scholarship, less willing to accept Brod’s version, has led to a new critical edition of the novel, which was published in German in 1982 and which purports to be closer to Kafka’s intentions.

 

castle kafka knopf 1930 no dwThe Castle. New York. 1930. Knopf. 1st American Edition. Translated from the German by Edwin and Willa Muir.  340 pages. hardcover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there's more...

 

 

 


0805238638The Complete Stories. New York. 1983. Schocken Books. 0805238638. Introduction by John Updike. Edited by Nahum N. Glatzer. 486 pages. hardcover. Jacket photograph: ‘View of Old Prague from the Gunpowder Tower’ by Jan Parik. Jacket design by Margaret M. Wagner.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  The Centennial Edition in honor of Kafka's birthday collecting the entire body of Kafka's short stories and parables and reflecting his concern for modern man's search for identity, place, and purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pmc diaries of franz kafkaThe Diaries Of Franz Kafka. Middlesex. 1972. Penguin Books. Penguin Modern Classics Edition. 014003403x. Translated from the German by Joseph Kresh and Martin Greenberg with the cooperation of Hannah Arendt. Edited by Max Brod.  519 pages. paperback.  The cover, designed by Germano Facetti, shows a detail from 'Lied des Spottvogels' by Paul Klee.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Franz Kafka is the great enigma of early twentieth-century literature. Advocates of Impressionism, Existentialism, and even Christianity vie with each other in claiming him as an exemplar of their doctrines. He is seen as the successor of Dostoyevsky, the disciple of Kierkegaard and the forerunner of Sartre. Yet beside the profound searching of his great ‘trilogy of loneliness’ - the words are those of Max Brod, his lifelong friend and editor of the Diaries - such controversy seems insignificant. Kafka’s diaries cover the period from 1910 to 1923, the year before his death at the age of forty. They reveal to us the extraordinary inner world in which he lived. Here he describes, perhaps to relieve the pain which they caused him, his fear, isolation, and frustration, his feelings of guilt and his sense of being an outcast. In between come quick glimpses of the real world, of the father he worshipped, and of the woman he could not bring himself to marry. And throughout this personal journal Kafka the writer is experimenting, searching for his true mode of expression.

 

 

 

parables kafka worn dwParables. New York. 1947. Schocken Books. Translated from the German by Willa and Edwin Muir, and Clement Greenberg. Bilingual. Schocken Library #7. 127 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  This collection of Franz Kafka's mythological tales is drawn from his short pieces, his notebooks, diaries, letters, and the novel, The Trial. Some of the material appears here for the first time in English. As an innovation in Kafka editing, the original German is printed opposite the English translation. This device, usually employed only for verse translation, is adopted here in the belief that these short pieces may be read as poems, and that for such a reading the original text is required. The parables are divided into three main groups: 'Israel,’ ‘Hellas’ and ‘Occident.’ Central myths of these cultural traditions are boldly re-examined and rewritten by Kafka in terms of his richly humorous and uniquely modern sensibility. After having read Kierkegaard on Abraham, Kafka speculates on other possible versions of the Father of the Jews. He transforms Poseidon, Greek god of the sea, into a cranky bureaucrat always too busy with his bookkeeping to examine his oceans. In the final section, ‘Occident,’ Kafka develops his parables about such figures as the hunter Gracchus, Sancho Panza and Robinson Crusoe. "Had one to name the author who comes nearest to bearing the same kind of relation to our age as Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe bore to theirs, Kafka is the first one would think of." - W. H. Auden.

 

 

 

Biographies... 

 

 

 

0300106319Murray, Nicholas. Kafka: A Biography. New Haven. 2004.  Yale University Press. 1st American Edition. Very Good in Dustjacket. ISBN:0300106319. 440 pages. hardcover. Jacket photograph: Franz Kafka, ca. 1910s.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Although Franz Kafka (1883-1924) completed only a small number of works in his lifetime, perhaps no other author has had a greater influence on twentieth-century consciousness. This engrossing biography of the Czech novelist and short-story writer emphasizes the cultural and historical contexts of his fiction and focuses for the first time on his complex relationship with his father. Nicholas Murray paints a picture of Kafka’s German-speaking Jewish family and the Prague mercantile bourgeoisie to which they belonged. He describes Kafka’s demanding professional career, his ill health, and the constantly receding prospects of a marriage he craved. He analyzes Kafka’s poor relationship with his father, Hermann, which found its most eloquent expression in Kafka’s story ‘The Judgement,’ about a father who condemns his son to death by drowning. And he asserts that the unsettling flavor of Kafka’s books-stories suffused with guilt and frustration-derives from his sense of living in a mysteriously antagonistic world, of being a criminal without having knowingly committed a crime. Compelling and empathetic, this book sheds new light on a man of unique genius and on his enigmatic works.

 

Murray NicholasNicholas Murray is a British biographer, poet and journalist. Murray is a freelance author based in Wales and London. Born in Liverpool he is the author of several literary biographies including lives of Franz Kafka, Aldous Huxley, Bruce Chatwin, Andrew Marvell and Matthew Arnold, four collections of poems, and two novels. His biography of Matthew Arnold was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1997 and his biography of Aldous Huxley was shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Award in 2003. His biography of Franz Kafka has been translated into nine languages. He is a regular contributor of poems, essays and reviews to a wide range of newspapers and literary magazines In 1996 he was the inaugural Gladys Krieble Delmas Fellow at the British Library Centre for the Book and he is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy and vice-chair of English PEN’s Writers in Translation Committee. He has lectured at literary festivals and universities in Britain, Europe and the United States. From 2003-2007 he was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Mary University, London and from 2010-2011 an RLF Fellow at King's College, London. He is a tutor in biography and creative non-fiction at the City Literary Institute in London. So Spirited a Town: Visions and Versions of Liverpool was published by Liverpool University Press in November 2007 and a book about the British Victorian travellers and explorers, A Corkscrew is Most Useful, was published by Little, Brown in April 2008. In November 2010 his book about Bloomsbury in the “Real” series was published: Real Bloomsbury (Seren, ISBN 9781854115263). His book about the British poets of the First World War, The Red Sweet Wine of Youth (Little, Brown) appeared in February 2011 and his verse broadside against the British coalition government, Get Real! also appeared in February 2011. In April 2012 Acapulco: New and Selected Poems appeared from Melos Press. His latest book is Of Earth, Water, Air and Fire: animal poems (Melos, 2013). Murray also runs a small poetry imprint, Rack Press, and writes the Bibliophilicblogger literary blog. In August 2015, Murray was one of 20 authors of Poets for Corbyn, an anthology of poems endorsing Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the Labour Party leadership election.

 

 

 

 

0436230518Grusa, Jiri. Franz Kafka of Prague. London. 1983.  Secker & Warburg. 0436230518. Translated from the German by Eric Mosbacher. 127 pages. paperback.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Gathers photographs of Kafka, his family, and Prague, both in his time and the present day, and includes quotations from his work.

 

Grusa JiriJirí Gruša (10 November 1938, in Pardubice – 28 October 2011, in Hannover) was a Czech poet, novelist, translator, diplomat and politician. Gruša was born in Pardubice, Bohemia (Czech Republic), and later moved to Prague. He graduated from the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague. He worked for periodicals Tvár, Sešity and Nové knihy. He started coming under the scrutiny of the communist regime of then Czechoslovakia in 1969 because of his writings. He was banned from publishing and had to work in a construction cooperative. He took part in distribution of samizdat literature. He was arrested in 1974 for ‘the crime of initiating disorder’ after distributing nineteen copies of his first novel, Dotazník (The Questionnaire) and voicing his intention to have it published in Switzerland. After world-wide protest, he was released after two months. He later became a signer of the human rights document, Charter 77. In 1981 his citizenship was revoked, and between 1982 and 1990 he lived in the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1990 conditions in Czechoslovakia became more favorable and he returned to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1991–1997, he served as an ambassador to Germany. Later, he joined the minority government of Václav Klaus as a Minister of Education. The government lost support of the opposition parties and President Václav Havel orchestrated establishment of a new caretaker government. Even though Gruša was a non-party minister, he was replaced by Jan Sokol. He served as an ambassador to Austria until 2004. From 2005 to 2009 he was Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. From 2004 to 2009 he was the President of PEN International. Gruša participated in standardisation of the term ‘Tschechien’ as the official name of the Czech Republic in German language. See Name of the Czech Republic for overview. Gruša died at the age of 72 on 28 October 2011 during a heart operation in Germany. Václav Havel wrote (before his own death a month and a half later on December 18) that Gruša was ‘one of a few close people whom I deeply respected and who have left this world recently.’ 

 

 

 

 

0374222363Pawel, Ernst. The Nightmare Of Reason: A Life Of Franz Kafka. New York. 1984. Farrar Straus Giroux. 0374222363.  496 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  A comprehensive and interpretative biography of Franz Kafka that is both a monumental work of scholarship and a vivid, lively evocation of Kafka's world.. inventory #6043

 

Pawel ErnstErnst Pawel (Born: 1920, Wrocław, Poland - August 1994, Great Neck, NY) is the author of three novels and the award-winning The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0195202791Hayman, Ronald. Kafka: A Biography. New York. 1982. Oxford University Press. 0195202791. 349 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  The first full-scale biography of Kafka since Max Brod's memoir of 1937. Hayward portrays the milieu in which Kafka was raised, as part of the first generation of Jews fully liberated from the ghetto but still surrounded by violence and mistrust.

 

Hayman RonaldRonald Hayman (born 4 May 1932) is a British critic, dramatist, and writer best known for his biographies. He has worked in the theatre as an actor and director. His books include biographies of Nietzsche, Kafka, Brecht, Sartre and Proust. He writes for the Independent and the Guardian, broadcasts regularly and writes the Radio 3 comedy series Such Rotten Luck. He lives in London. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0395561434Karl, Frederick. Franz Kafka-Representative Man: Prague, Germans, Jews, and The Crisis Of Modernism. New York. 1991. Ticknor & Fields. 0395561434.  768 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  From the cauldron of fin-de-siècle Middle Europe emerged the writer who most startlingly embodies this century's artistic vision and whose name is virtually synonymous with the century—Franz Kafka. The definitive critical biography of one of the world's greatest writers, Franz Kafka: Representative Man examines Kafka as the quintessential expression of modernism. Not just a personal biography, Franz Kafka: Representative Man presents a vivid and authoritative picture of the historical, cultural, and artistic world from which Kafka arose, examining the entire body of his writing in light of his status as the representative man of our time. Freud, Nietzsche, Einstein, Picasso, Rilke, Mahler, and Stravinsky—all were a part of the radically subversive movement known as modernism, and all are included in Dr. Karl's monumental study. Yet of all these brilliant minds that transformed our notions of the human condition, it is Kafka who has come to embody our century. Informed by a lifetime of thought and research, and drawing on newly discovered letters—not yet translated into English—from Kafka to his parents, Frederick Karl, the acclaimed biographer of Conrad and Faulkner, leads us on an intellectual journey through the labyrinth of Prague, amid the growing ethnic tensions that would explode in the Second World War, in an empire struggling with its national identity and on the verge of collapse. Dr. Karl, with astonishing command and penetrating insight, interweaves the many strands of person, place, and time to illuminate Kafka the individual, the artist, and the representative man. This book is an invaluable contribution to literary studies and the history of modern culture.

 

Karl FrederickFrederick Robert Karl (1927–2004) was a literary biographer, best known for his work on Joseph Conrad, a literary critic, and an editor. He spent 25 years teaching at City College of New York and then followed with 18 years at New York University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kafka and Prague...

 

 

 

 

franz kafka and prague golden griffin 1950Eisner, Pavel. Franz Kafka and Prague. New York. 1950. Golden Griffin. 100 pages. hardcover.  Jacket design by Ladislav Sutnar.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Here, at long last, is a book on Franz Kafka that rips away the veil of obscurity which has enshrouded Kafka's works and Kafka the man. Pavel Eisner has succeeded in rescuing Kafka from the realms of mysticism and mystery, where he has unfortunately been placed for too long a time by his critics and friends, and has made him understandable and coherent - Kafka has been called at various times a mystic, a romantic, an ecstatic, a moralist, a dreamer, a satirist. He himself has compared his work with "a new secret doctrine, a cabala."' Out of this welter of confusing labels and symbols, the reader has sought for a key to understand this strange man of genius, Pavel Eisner has supplied that key, giving us a "factually incontrovertible account of the situation and circumstances which determined Kafka's existence" - his life in the spiritual ghetto of Prague. He opens wide the gates of the old city of Prague, takes us into the insulated life of Prague's Jewry of former years, into the very home of Kafka himself. And here in the German-Jewish-Czech milieu where Kafka lived, dreamed, worked, and wrote, we are introduced to the special, peculiar, esoteric factors which shaped the lives and thoughts of "these strangers in exile, linked to death itself." - Jules Koslow.

 

Eisner PavelPavel Eisner (16 January 1889 – 8 July 1958), also known as Paul Eisner and under the pseudonym Vincy Schwarze, was Czech-German linguist and translator and the author of many studies about Czech language. He is considered one of the most important Czech translators of all time and was said to be proficient in 12 languages - English, French, Icelandic, Italian, Hungarian, German, Norwegian, Persian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, and Tibetan. He produced some of the earliest Czech language translations of Franz Kafka's work. Eisner came from a Jewish family in Prague. He was bilingual from his childhood. He went to college at Prague's German University, where he studied Slavonic, German, and Romance languages and graduated in 1918. He worked as a translator for the Czech Chamber of Commerce and Crafts and, at the same time, edited for the German newspaper, Prager Presse. During this time, he also contributed to several cultural magazines. During the German occupation, he and his wife were persecuted as members of the Jewish community, though he managed to publish a book under the pseudonym, Vincy Schwarze.

 

 

 

0879516445Wagenbach, Klaus. Kafka's Prague: A Travel Reader. Woodstock. 1996. Overlook Press. 0879516445. Translated From German by Shaun Whiteside. 123 pages. hardcover.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Franz Kafka, whose cool prose, sparse in vocabulary and yet ‘Kleistian’ in tone, whose literary images-of the performing ape or the transformed Samsa, the country surveyor or the penal colony-and whose expert reports on power as it was to be exerted from the middle of our century has left such an enduring influence on almost all the world’s literatures, hardly ever left his home city of Prague during his short life (1883-1924): several business trips, a number of educational visits, many stays in sanatoria, six months in Berlin, and a few months in the Bohemian countryside-nothing more. ‘Prague;’ Kafka wrote as a nineteen-year-old, ‘doesn’t let go. This little mother has claws: ’ And in 1912, at the age of twenty-nine, with four years’ work as a clerk behind him, and on the point of writing his first novel: ‘How can I live in Prague! This yearning for people that I have, and which becomes fear when fulfilled, can only be assuaged in the holidays. . .’ Two years later in his diary: ‘Leave Prague. Counter this most powerful human injury that has ever befallen me with the strongest antidote at my disposal: ’ And in 1917, with resignation: ‘Prague: Religions fade away like people: ’ So if you wish to know what houses Kafka lived in (almost all of them are still standing) or what he means when he writes: ‘I prefer to go strolling in parks and avenues;’ in short, what Kafka ‘had before his eyes;’ you must go to Prague, in reality or in the imagination. This travel book-cum-reader is intended as an accompaniment for both kinds of journey, and I have taken special care to show the houses and streets as they appeared in Kafka’s lifetime.

 

Wagenbach KlausKlaus Wagenbach, a publisher and renowned Kafka expert, has written six books on the author, including Kafka: A Biography of His Youth and Kafka's Prague. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sembene Ousmane

(Born  January 1, 1923)

Ousmane Sembene   Ousmane Sembene (January 1, 1923 or January 8, 1923 – June 9, 2007), who was born into a Senegalese fishing family in 1923. Essentially self-educated, he became a fisherman just like his father: 'I have earned my living since I was 15,' Sembene says. He moved to Dakar until the outbreak of World War Two, when he was drafted into the French army and saw action in Italy and Germany. Returning to Senegal for a short time, Sembene realized that in order to further his literary ambitions he would have to move to France. He went to Marseilles where he worked as a docker, joined the French Communist Party, and became a union organizer. He also began writing. His output has been prodigious. Le Docker noir appeared in 1956, a semi-autobiographical novel written gods bits of wood doubledayin Marseilles; followed a year later by Oh Pays, mon beau peuple! about the problems of re-adaptation encountered by an African returning home with a French wife and new ideas. Three years later, Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu was published. In 1962 Ousmane wrote Voltaique, a volume of short stories which included the story La Noire de ... which he later turned into a prize-winning film. A fourth novel, L' Harmattan, was released in 1964, after which Ousmane had the opportunity to study at the Moscow film school. Two more short novels - Véhi Ciosane ou Blanche Genese (White Genesis), and Le Mandat (The Money-Order) - followed, the latter becoming a film that won a prize at the Venice film festival and established Ousmane's reputation as a director. In 1973 another novel, Xala, was published, going on to become one of a series of successful films. Ousmane's latest novel appeared in 1981 - the massive two-volumed work Le Dernier de l'empire. Heinemann has published several of Ousmane's novels in translation: Les Bouts de Bois de Dieu as God's Bits of Wood, Le Mandat suivi de Véhi Ciosane as The Money-Order with White Genesis, and Xala. Le Docker noir appeared in 1987, as Black Docker.

 

 Ousmane Sembene's most famous novel, GOD'S BITS OF WOOD, tells the story of workers who go on strike in 1947-48 on the Dakar-Niger railway.  It is a vivid and moving novel, evincing all of the colour, passion and tragedy of those decisive years in the history of West Africa. Because the author is a perceptive documentarist and social critic as well as a fine writer, GOD'S BITS OF WOOD does more than recount a fictional version of the Senegalese workers who struggled for unionization in the late 1940's. It also accurately describes the French West African institutional setting of that period and vividly conveys glimpses of native culture as it existed beneath the yoke of colonization. Traditional African values are dramatically portrayed as they conflict with the need for change and for acceptance of alien ideas in order to effect independence from oppression. The characters, however, are not mere vehicles for these historical and cultural themes, but human beings whose enormous tasks serve to underscore their strengths and frailties. The agonies they experience at having to place priorities on values, goals and personal relationships perhaps parallel those of any people who hold freedom necessary for life. 

 

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0435908960 ‘My client’s guilt seems proven simply through the colour of his skin. He is the beast capable of anything, the savage who drinks the blood of his victims.’ Diaw Falla, the black docker, is highly regarded in his community - a little Africa in the south of France. His toil in the docks, a perpetual and unequal rivalry of bone against steel, is directed to one end, to finance his true obsession, writing. He is driven on by the hope he has invested in his masterpiece; the salvation which will raise him above his daily hardships and lead to fame and happiness. But he is a victim of a society in which he is constantly on trial, and in which all trust is misplaced. In this, his first novel, Sembene Ousmane, the leading French African writer and film maker, draws on his own experiences and the problems of racism, prejudice and injustice to recreate vividly the uneasy atmosphere of the Marseilles docklands, and France, in the 1950s

 

 

 

 

 

0435906712 From the author of such acclaimed novels as GOD’S BITS OF WOOD and BLACK DOCKER, these two novellas deal with harsh realities. In Niiwam, an agonised father carries the corpse of his son on a bus from one side of Dakar to the other— there is a meeting of the living and the dead, the contemporary and the traditional. And in Taaw, a poverty-stricken family rise up against a tyrannical father. ‘(In Niiwam and Taaw) Ousmane, a praised filmmaker, succeeds in turning his prose into something most visual. Each new event is written as another frame might be filmed, the author’s eye like a camera — focusing in on different characters- with special intensity.’ Pretoria News ‘ . . . the novellas, while dealing with sombre, almost brutal themes, have a wealth of character, detail and humour which underlie serious matters.’ - The New African.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0882080679A biting satire about the downfall of a businessman-polygamist who assumes the role of the colonializer in French-speaking Africa. XALA is the story of a El Hadji Abdou Kader Beye, a rich businessman struck by what he believes to be a curse of impotence (‘xala’ in Wolof) on the night of his wedding to his beautiful, young third wife. El Hadji grows obsessed with removing the curse through visits to marabouts, but only after losing most of his money and reputation does he discover the source to be the beggar who lives outside his offices, whom he wronged in acquiring his fortune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aws last of the empire In Sembene Ousmane's THE LAST OF THE EMPIRE, Senegal’s President, Leon Mignane, has mysteriously vanished. His Cabinet splits into rival factions and popular unrest grows - until the Army steps in. The elderly Minister of Justice comes to see himself as the survivor of an era of corruption and compromise that the young now rightly reject as ‘the last of the Empire.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0879530154This collection of finely crafted short stories focuses on a theme of universal significance: the struggle for the liberation of the human spirit against both physical and psychological oppression. In the title story, ‘Tribal Scars,’ Ousmane poses the intriguing question of how and why Black Africans began the custom of scarring their faces and bodies. Through a creative leap into the past, Ousmane suggests that ritual scarring began as an act of defiance against Western slavers and over time became a symbol of African strength and pride. The story stands as one of the most powerful commentaries in literature on both the inhumanities of slavery and man's ingenuity for endurance and survival against overwhelming odds. ‘Tribal Scars’ will haunt the conscience of every reader, Other stories in the collection show how even during the post-independence era in Africa, Africans remain culturally shackled by some of the same chains that bound their ancestors. In his charming ‘Love in Sandy Lane’ he shows himself to be a relentless critic of his fellow Africans who sacrifice authentic love relationships for the sham glory of imitating the former European ruling class. 0435901427‘The Promised Land,’ a story which Ousmane made into a prize-winning film entitled ‘Black Child,’ paints a tragic picture of a young African girl's search for a better life in France only to find herself subjected to a form of modern slavery. Ousmane's message is clear and relevant: slavery in the past is not so different from slavery today; the first scarred the physical being, the second the soul. Many of the stories alto raise the question of the rights of women in African society. In ‘The Bital's Fourth Wife,’ Ousmane satirizes Musttm attitudes toward divorce, and in ‘Her Three Days,’ he harshly attacks polygamy by painting a portrait of a woman who is no longer favored by her husband. ‘Letters from France’ depicts the tragedy of a young girl who is forced by her father to marry a very old man. Taken together, these stories represent a call for women to reject the oppression of tradition and assert their rights. ‘Ousmane merits wide readership as a writer of deep humanity.’—Library Journal 'The stories in this collection clearly illustrate Ousmane's versatility and ability to shape many of the raw experiences of his life into artistic realities. He has given us the chance to embrace a wide range of African realities.’ —Charles Larson, from the Introduction. Sembene Ousmane is a popular West African novelist, playwright, and prizewinning film producer. He is the author of numerous books.

 

 

 

 

0435908944 Ousmane's theme in both of these novellas is the state of modern Africa. Dieng's experience of bureaucratic incompetence and deceit in The Money Order leads him eventually to a public act of despair, while in White Genesis Ousmane captures the decline of a way of life through a tragic tale of incest. His vision is not, however, cynical or negative. The special excitement of his work lies in his ability, even in describing the destruction of a village or the expulsion of a lone mother with child, to see an ever-present, creative opportunity for regeneration. Sembene Ousmane is one of the leading French African writers. Born in Senegal, he worked variously as a fisherman, plumber and mason, and began to write while employed as a docker in Marseilles. His work, which includes novels, short stories and films, is characterized by a special closeness to the lives of ordinary people. He is recognized internationally and this collection won a prize at the Dakar International Festival. The Money Order went on, as a film, to win a prize at the Venice Film Festival. 'On the basis of these two first rate novelettes, Sembene Ousmane must surely rank as one of Africa's finest writers.' Eustace Palmer

 

 

 

 

A biography of Sembene Ousmane -  

 

9780253221513 Gadjigo, Samba. Ousmane Sembene: the Making of a Militant Artist. Bloomington. 2010. Indiana University Press. 9780253221513. Translated by Moustapha Diop. Foreword by Danny Glover. 189 pages. paperback. Cover photos: front, courtesy of Thomas Jacob and back (top), courtesy of Ousmane Sembene: back (bottom).

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -  Samba Gadjigo presents a unique personal portrait and intellectual history of novelist and filmmaker Ousmane Sembène. Though Sembène has persistently deflected Gadjigo Sambaattention away from his personality, his life, and his past, Gadjigo has had unprecedented access to the artist and his family. This book is the first comprehensive biography of Sembène and contributes a critical appraisal of his life and art in the context of the political and social influences on his work.Beginning with Sembènes life in Casamance, Senegal, and ending with his militant career as a dockworker in Marseilles, Gadjigo places Sembéne into the context of African colonial and postcolonial culture and charts his achievements in film and literature. This landmark book reveals the inner workings of one of Africa’s most distinguished and controversial figures.

 

Samba Gadjigo is Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dubliners by James Joyce. New York. 1917. Huebsch. 288 pages. hardcover.

 

dubliners no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

  

   Perhaps the greatest short story collection in the English language, James Joyce's DUBLINERS is both a vivid and unflinching portrait of 'dear, dirty Dublin' at the turn of the century, and a moral history of a nation and a people whose 'golden age' has passed. From the opening story, 'The Sisters', in which a boy first encounters death, to the powerful and evocative 'The Dead', which brings the collection to its haunting climax, DUBLINERS startles the reader into realizing universal human truths in moments Joyce called epiphanies. And his richly drawn characters - at once intensely Irish and utterly universal - haunt us log after the first reading. In writing that never fails to provoke and mesmerize, Joyce takes us deep into the heart of the city of his birth, capturing the cadences of Dubliners' speech in remarkably realistic portrayals of their inner lives. This magnificent collection of fifteen stories reveals Joyce at his most accessible and perhaps most profound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce JamesJames Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, on February 2, 1882. He was the oldest of ten children in a family that experienced increasing financial difficulties during his childhood. After attending Clongowes Wood College and Belevedere College (both Jesuit institutions) in Dublin, he entered the Royal University, where he studied languages and philosophy. Upon his graduation, in 1902, Joyce left Ireland for France but returned the following year because his mother was dying. In 1904 he met Nora Barnacle (they fell in love on June 16, ‘Bloomsday’), and in October of that year they went together to Europe, settling in Trieste. In 1909 and again in 1912 Joyce made unsuccessful attempts to publish Dubliners, a collection of fifteen stories that he intended to be ‘a chapter of the moral history of my country focused on Dublin, ‘the centre of paralysis.’ In 1914 Dubliners finally appeared, followed by the semiautobiographical novel A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, a reworking of an earlier manuscript, STEPHEN HERO. During the First World War Joyce and Nora lived in Zurich; in 1920 they moved to Paris, where Ulysses was published in 1922. FINNEGANS WAKE, Joyce’s most radical and complex work, began appearing in installments in 1928 and was published in its entirety in 1939. After the German occupation of Paris, Joyce and Nora (who were married in 1931) moved to Zurich, where he died in January. His complete oeuvre includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, ‘For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.’

 

The Politics Of War by Gabriel Kolko. New York. 1969. Random House. 687 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Ronald Clyne. January 1969.

 

An extraordinary work of historical scholarship that merges the economic, the diplomatic, and the military aspects of World War II to draw the contours of the global crisis that have lasted from 1945 on to the present. It is dense work, but well worth the effort. You'll never think about the postwar world quite the same again.

 

politics of war random house 1969FROM THE PUBLISHER -

In THE POLITICS OF WAR, Gabriel Kolko has written anew kind of history of the epic events of World War II, a chronicle that merges the diplomatic, economic, and military aspects of the war to paint the contours of the global crises that have lasted from 1945 down to the present It is the first history of 1943-1945 period to assess critically American diplomacy in the context of the political and economic outcome of a world torn asunder: a world emerging from the war, confronting revolutions and revolutionaries everywhere, racked by hunger and the collapse of nations, and opening the first chapter of the cold war between the former Allies. Kolko presents the basic forces in the confrontation: the Communists and revolutionaries seeking to alter existing societies; the Soviet Union, a critical source of stability as well as change; and Great Britain, fatally weakened and heir to an empire in collapse. He shows how the United States responded to each of these factors, seeking to define and advance its own conception of a reformed world economic and political order, and America's future role in it. The Politics of War is the first volume to treat extensively United States peace aims for the postwar world and relate them to the conduct of American diplomacy in Poland and Eastern Europe, the first consideration of the United States' reaction to the Resistance and leftist mass movements from France to the Far East At the same time Kolko assesses the character of the radical movements in Europe and China in a manner that reveals the potential and nature of the vast forces of social revolution in modern times, movements s frequently in conflict with the Soviet Union as with the United States. THE POLITICS OF WAR is an account of the causes of modern political and social changes as well as the diplomacy of the Allies. Kolko has presented the first global history of the political basis and consequence of military strategy in a manner that throws entirely new light on reasons behind major military events: the dropping of the atomic bombs, the war in China, the Paris uprising of August 1944, or the last months of the military campaign against Germany. He makes the military and political realities one unified problem confronting the heads of state, portraying World War II as the leaders themselves regarded it. Based on a vast store of new and unexploited sources, unpublished as well as published, in THE POLITICS OF WAR the reader sees how and on what premises American leaders guided the nation through wartime diplomatic crises concerning the entire world and the future of American power. The volume is the most complete and original critical account of the period yet published, drawing on a larger quantity and variety of information than any single history of the war. THE POLITICS OF WAR is a broad and moving panorama of a world at war and in total upheaval, and the American role and response to the monumental military, political, and economic events. It is the first balanced history of the most important sustained crisis of our time, a microcosm that reveals the roots of the problems of the world today. 

 

Kolko GabrielGabriel Morris Kolko (August 17, 1932 - May 19, 2014) was an American-born Canadian historian and author. His research interests included American capitalism and political history, the Progressive Era, and US foreign policy in the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanity Fair - 3 Volumes by William Makepeace Thackeray. New York. 1865. Harper & Brothers. There are 40 plates and numerous text illustrations, all done by Thackeray himself. 350 pages, 354 pages, 346 pages. hardcovers.

 

vanity fair 3 volsVANITY FAIR follows the adventures of Becky Sharp, beautiful, resourceful, driven, and completely amoral. Becky makes full use of her connections after leaving finishing-school to secure a job as a governess in a seedy household with an established family. She goes on to win the hearts of young and old, provided of course that they have something to offer her. Ultimately, Becky becomes a courtesan on the Continent, living well beyond her means. This, Thackeray's greatest novel, is a delightful journey through the world of early nineteenth-century English manners. Thackeray is a master at pointing out the folly of the good-at-heart and the evil of those with grace and wit. The novels of Thackeray, particularly VANITY FAIR, were great obsessions of C. L. R. James, the Trinidadian author, who was reportedly reading Thackeray at eight years old. I love Thackeray for his sharp satire of the petty pretensions of middle-class British society at the time. A good, sound, vintage set, containing a great treasure on the inside - There are 40 plates and numerous text illustrations, all done by Thackeray himself.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   VANITY FAIR is the story of Becky Sharp, one of the most beautiful, willful, and resourcefully charming pleasure-seekers in literature. With finishing- school credentials and proper connections, Becky begins as a governess, wins the hearts of the moneyed young and old, and, in the light of presentation at court and calculated scandals, emerges a full-fledged courtesan on the Continent, living surprisingly well beyond her means. Thackeray’s greatest novel is a moral tapestry of early nineteenth-century English manners, and his persistent theme is the folly of the good-at-heart, the evil of those endowed with grace and wit. Anthony Trollope called Thackeray ‘. one of the recognized stars of the literary heaven. ’ V. S. Pritchett finds Thackeray ‘. the first of our novelists to catch life visually and actually as it passes in fragments before us. he is above all a superb impressionist-perhaps our greatest.’

 

Thackeray William MakepeaceWilliam Makepeace Thackeray (18 July 1811 – 24 December 1863) was an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.

 

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. New York. 1955. Coward-McCann. 252 pages. hardcover.

 

Tom Ripley is my favorite psychopath. Even though he is frighteningly amoral, I still find myself somehow rooting for him as he murders his best friend, engages in art forgery (and commits murder to cover it up), plays with the lives of others (and murders some of them of course) simply because he feels he was snubbed, indulges in a lot of sexually ambiguous behavior, and never hesitates to play a game of cat-and-mouse with anyone who crosses his path.

 

talented mr ripleyFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

He was young and handsome with expensive tastes and no money. But he had a latent talent for crime and one summer in Italy he thought he saw a way of turning his skill into a tidy little fortune. It was a small matter of murdering his best friend; then assuming his identity and along with it, his carefree, money-cushioned life. A beautifully simple foolproof plan. it worked perfectly without a single hitch. Until one day one woman began to suspect the truth. And the talented Mr. Ripley learned that murder was just the bare beginning of evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highsmith PatriciaBorn 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.

 

 

The Black Jacobins by C. L. R. James. New York. 1939. Dial Press. 328 pages. hardcover.

 

The Haitian Revolution was unique - the only successful slave uprising in history, and in THE BLACK JACOBINS, C. L. R. James restores that rebellion to the center stage of world history where it belongs.

 

black jacobins dial press 1939FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    In 1789 the French West Indian colony of San Domingo supplied two thirds of the overseas trade of France and was the greatest individual market for the European slave trade. Its whole structure rested on the labor of half a million Negro slaves controlled by a handful of whites. To cow the Negroes into docility necessitated a regime of calculated brutality and terrorism, and it was not unusual for a white master to fill a disobedient slave with gunpowder and blow him up with a match. Rebellious slaves were buried up to the neck in sand and their faces smeared with sugar so that the flies might devour the. Others were flogged with the long cowhide rigoise, often receiving as many as one hundred blows. All that was needed to start an organized rebellion in an atmosphere so full of smouldering hatred was a dynamic leader, and he emerged in the person of Toussaint l'Ouverture. His post as a plantation steward had given him experience in administration and authority, and he had further, by diligent study, taught himself to read and write. Not only was he a commanding personality but he was so strong physically that when he was nearly sixty years old he could still jump on a horse running at full speed and do what he liked with it. With Toussaint at the helm, the revolution quickly took shape, and over a period of time succeeded in completely liberating the enslaved Negroes and driving the whites from their colonial possession. The revolt, the only successful slave uprising in history, saw one man completely transform thousands of trembling slaves into a people able to organize themselves and defeat the most powerful European nations of their day. It is one of the great epics of revolutionary struggle and achievement, and in this book C. L. R. James, one of the foremost of contemporary historians, vividly traces the story of the San Domingo revolution as reflected in the achievements of Toussaint l'Ouverture. A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba.

 

 

James C L RCyril Lionel Robert James was an Afro-Trinidadian journalist, socialist theorist and writer. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, then a British Crown colony, James attended Queen's Royal College in Port of Spain before becoming a cricket journalist, and also an author of fiction. He would later work as a school teacher, teaching among others the young Eric Williams. Together with Ralph de Boissi?re, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, James was a member of the anti-colonialist Beacon Group, a circle of writers associated with The Beacon magazine. In 1932, he moved to Nelson in Lancashire, England in the hope of furthering his literary career. There he worked for the Manchester Guardian and helped the cricketer Learie Constantine write his autobiography. In 1933, James moved to London. James had begun to campaign for the independence of the West Indies while in Trinidad, and his Life of Captain Cipriani and the pamphlet The Case for West-Indian Self Government were his first important published works, but now he became a leading champion of Pan-African agitation and the Chair of the International African Friends of Abyssinia, formed in 1935 in response to Fascist Italy's invasion of what is now Ethiopia. He then became a leading figure in the International African Service Bureau, led by his childhood friend George Padmore, to whom he later introduced Kwame Nkrumah. In Britain, he also became a leading Marxist theorist. He had joined the Labour Party, but in the midst of the Great Depression he became a Trotskyist by 1934, James was a member of an entrist Trotskyist group inside the Independent Labour Party. In this period, amid his frantic political activity, James wrote a play about Toussaint L'Ouverture, which was staged in the West End in 1936 and starred Paul Robeson and Robert Adams. That same year saw the publication in London of James's only novel, Minty Alley, which he had brought with him in manuscript from Trinidad; it was the first novel to be published by a black Caribbean author in the UK. He also wrote what are perhaps his best-known works of non-fiction: World Revolution, a history of the rise and fall of the Communist International, which was critically praised by Leon Trotsky, and The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, a widely acclaimed history of the Haitian revolution, which would later be seen as a seminal text in the study of the African diaspora. In 1936, James and his Trotskyist Marxist Group left the Independent Labour Party to form an open party. In 1938, this new group took part in several mergers to form the Revolutionary Socialist League. The RSL was a highly factionalised organisation and when James was invited to tour the United States by the leadership of the Socialist Workers' Party, then the US section of the Fourth International, in order to facilitate its work among black workers, he was encouraged to leave by one such factional opponent, John Archer, in the hope of removing a rival. James moved to the USA in late 1938, and after a tour sponsored by the SWP stayed on for over twenty years. But by 1940 he had developed severe doubts about Trotsky's analysis of the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers state and left the SWP along with Max Shachtman, who formed the Workers' Party. Within the WP he formed the Johnson-Forest Tendency with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee in order to spread their views within the new party. While within the WP the views of the J-F tendency underwent considerable development and by the end of the Second World War they had definitively rejected Trotsky's theory of Russia as a degenerated workers state, instead analysing it as being state capitalist. This political evolution was shared by other Trotskyists of their generation, most notably Tony Cliff. Unlike Cliff, they were increasingly looking towards the autonomous movements of oppressed minorities, a theoretical development already visible in James' thought in his discussions with Leon Trotsky which took place in 1939. An interest in such autonomous struggles came to take centre stage for the tendency. After 1945 the WP saw the prospects for a revolutionary upsurge as receding. The J-F Tendency, by contrast, were more enthused by prospects for mass struggles and came to the conclusion that the SWP, which they considered more proletarian than the WP, thought similarly to themselves about such prospects. Therefore, after a short few months as an independent group when they published a great deal of material for a small group, the J-F tendency joined the SWP in 1947. James would still describe himself as a Leninist, despite his rejection of Lenin's conception of the vanguard role of the revolutionary party, and argue for socialists to support the emerging black nationalist movements by 1949, he came to reject the idea of a vanguard party. This led his tendency to leave the Trotskyist movement and rename itself the Correspondence Publishing Committee. In 1955, nearly half the membership of Committee would leave under the leadership of Raya Dunayevskaya to form a separate tendency of Marxist-humanism and found the organization, News and Letters Committees. Whether Raya Dunayevskaya's faction constituted a majority or minority seems to be a matter of dispute. Historian Kent Worcester claims that Dunayevskaya's supporters formed a majority of the pre-split Correspondence Publishing Committee but Martin Glaberman has claimed in New Politics that the faction loyal to James had a majority. The Committee split again in 1962 as Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs, two key activists, left to pursue a more Third Worldist approach. The remaining Johnsonites, including leading member Martin Glaberman reconstituted themselves as Facing Reality, which James advised from Britain until the group dissolved, against James' advice, in 1970. James's writings were influential in the development of Autonomist Marxism as a current within Marxist thought, though he himself saw his life's work as developing the theory and practice of Leninism. In 1953, James was forced to leave the US under threat of deportation for having overstayed his visa by over ten years. In his attempt to remain in the USA, James wrote a study of Herman Melville, Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In, and had copies of the privately published work sent to every member of the Senate. He wrote the book while being detained on Ellis Island. He returned back to England and then, in 1958 returned to Trinidad, where he edited The Nation newspaper for the pro-independence People's National Movement party. He also had become involved again in the Pan-African movement, believing that the Ghana revolution showed that decolonisation was the most important inspiration for international revolutionaries. James also advocated the West Indies Federation, and it was over this that he fell out with the PNM leadership. He returned to Britain, then to the USA in 1968, where he taught at the University of the District of Columbia. Ultimately, he returned to Britain and spent his last years in Brixton, London. In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of books by James were republished or reissued by Allison and Busby, including four volumes of selected writings: The Future In the Present, Spheres of Existence, At the Rendezvous of Victory and Cricket. In 1983, a short British film featuring James in dialogue with the famous historian E. P. Thompson was made. A public library in Hackney, London is named in his honor; in 2005 a reception there to mark its 20th anniversary was attended by his widow, Selma James. C. L. R. James is widely known as a writer on cricket, especially for his autobiographical 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary. This is considered a seminal work of cricket writing, and is often named as the best single book on cricket ever written. The book's key question, which is frequently quoted by modern journalists and essayists, is inspired by Rudyard Kipling and asks: What do they know of cricket who only cricket know? James uses this challenge as the basis for describing cricket in an historical and social context, the strong influence cricket had on his life, and how it meshed with his role in politics and his understanding of issues of class and race. The literary quality of the writing attracts cricketers of all political views. While editor of The Nation, he led the successful campaign in 1960 to have Frank Worrell appointed as the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team.

Salka Valka by Halldor Laxness. London. 1936. George Allen & Unwin. The Danish Edition, Translated from the Original Icelandic by Gunnar Gunnarsson Was First Published In 1934. This Edition, Translated from the Danish by F. H. Lyon, Has Been Revised by The Author. 430 pages.

 

salka valka allen and unwin 1936 worn boards no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   SALKA VALKA was Laxness's breakthrough novel and reflected his Socialistic views which marked his novels in the 1930s and 1940s. The story depicted a young woman, Salka, and a small fishing community. Evil enters into the community in the form of merchants and fishing entrepreneurs and is pitted against labor movement. The book gained a huge success in England. The Evening Standard wrote that Greta Garbo would be the perfect Salka in its film adaptation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laxness HalldorHALLDOR LAXNESS winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1955. Born in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, his college education was begun in his homeland and continued abroad with the French Benedictines in Luxembourg and the Jesuits in London. Mr. Laxness is the author of twelve full-scale novels. Many of these have been published in twenty-five to thirty languages and have been best sellers in many different countries. INDEPENDENT PEOPLE, one of his five novels published in English, was a best seller in this country in 1946. He is also the author of five dramas, a book of poetry, and several volumes of essays. Halldor Laxness was also vice president, together with Jean-Paul Sartre, of the Italian-sponsored Community of European Writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minty Alley by C. L. R. James. London. 1936. Secker & Warburg. 320 pages. hardcover.

 

Reading MINTY ALLEY makes one wish that C. L. R. James had spent a little more time writing fiction.

 

 

minty alleyFROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this Trinidadian West Indian novel, Haynes, a young middle-class man trying to save money, moves into cheaper lodgings at No. 2 Minty Alley. He is determined to keep his distance from the other colorful inhabitants of Minty Alley, but gradually becomes part of its rich cultural life, discovering a great deal about the various lodgers and at the same time, about himself. The characters of Maisie, Haynes, Mrs. Rouse, and Benoit are unforgettable for both Haynes and the reader. The book is also an interesting exploration of the 'mutually impoverishing alienation of the educated West Indian from the mainstream. '. MINTY ALLEY is an early classic of modern Caribbean writing in English. It is the only novel written by C. L. R. James and belongs to the ‘Beacon period’ of Caribbean literature in the late 20s and 30s of this century. C. L. R. James promised another novel after MINTY ALLEY, first published in 1936, but that novel never emerged. MINTY ALLEY and James’s short stories establish the compassionate creative imagination that was to illuminate a brilliant social, political and historical analysis of the Caribbean and the world at large. They also underline a special dimension of the spirit behind his creative critical writing. C. L. R. JAMES’s works include THE BLACK JACOBINS, HISTORY OF PAN AFRICAN REVOLT, BEYOND A BOUNDARY, FACING REALITY; PARTY POLITICS IN THE WEST INDIES, MARINERS RENEGADES AND CASTAWAYS, WORLD REVOLUTION, and others.

 

 

James C L RCyril Lionel Robert James (4 January 1901–19 May 1989) was an Afro-Trinidadian journalist, socialist theorist and writer. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, then a British Crown colony, James attended Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain before becoming a cricket journalist, and also an author of fiction. He would later work as a school teacher, teaching among others the young Eric Williams. Together with Ralph de Boissière, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, James was a member of the anti-colonialist Beacon Group, a circle of writers associated with The Beacon magazine. In 1932, he moved to Nelson in Lancashire, England in the hope of furthering his literary career. There he worked for the Manchester Guardian and helped the cricketer Learie Constantine write his autobiography. In 1933, James moved to London. James had begun to campaign for the independence of the West Indies while in Trinidad, and his Life of Captain Cipriani and the pamphlet The Case for West-Indian Self Government were his first important published works, but now he became a leading champion of Pan-African agitation and the Chair of the International African Friends of Abyssinia, formed in 1935 in response to Fascist Italy’s invasion of what is now Ethiopia. He then became a leading figure in the International African Service Bureau, led by his childhood friend George Padmore, to whom he later introduced Kwame Nkrumah. In Britain, he also became a leading Marxist theorist. He had joined the Labour Party, but in the midst of the Great Depression he became a Trotskyist. By 1934, James was a member of an entrist Trotskyist group inside the Independent Labour Party. In this period, amid his frantic political activity, James wrote a play about Toussaint L’Ouverture, which was staged in the West End in 1936 and starred Paul Robeson and Robert Adams. That same year saw the publication in London of James’s only novel, Minty Alley, which he had brought with him in manuscript from Trinidad; it was the first novel to be published by a black Caribbean author in the UK. He also wrote what are perhaps his best-known works of non-fiction: World Revolution (1937), a history of the rise and fall of the Communist International, which was critically praised by Leon Trotsky, and The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938), a widely acclaimed history of the Haitian revolution, which would later be seen as a seminal text in the study of the African diaspora. In 1936, James and his Trotskyist Marxist Group left the Independent Labour Party to form an open party. In 1938, this new group took part in several mergers to form the Revolutionary Socialist League. The RSL was a highly factionalised organisation and when James was invited to tour the United States by the leadership of the Socialist Workers’ Party, then the US section of the Fourth International, in order to facilitate its work among black workers, he was encouraged to leave by one such factional opponent, John Archer, in the hope of removing a rival. James moved to the USA in late 1938, and after a tour sponsored by the SWP stayed on for over twenty years. But by 1940 he had developed severe doubts about Trotsky’s analysis of the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers state and left the SWP along with Max Shachtman, who formed the Workers’ Party. Within the WP he formed the Johnson-Forest Tendency with Raya Dunayevskaya (his pseudonym being Johnson and Dunayevskaya’s Forest) and Grace Lee (later Grace Lee Boggs) in order to spread their views within the new party. While within the WP the views of the J-F tendency underwent considerable development and by the end of the Second World War they had definitively rejected Trotsky’s theory of Russia as a degenerated workers state, instead analysing it as being state capitalist. This political evolution was shared by other Trotskyists of their generation, most notably Tony Cliff. Unlike Cliff, they were increasingly looking towards the autonomous movements of oppressed minorities, a theoretical development already visible in James’ thought in his discussions with Leon Trotsky which took place in 1939. An interest in such autonomous struggles came to take centre stage for the tendency. After 1945 the WP saw the prospects for a revolutionary upsurge as receding. The J-F Tendency, by contrast, were more enthused by prospects for mass struggles and came to the conclusion that the SWP, which they considered more proletarian than the WP, thought similarly to themselves about such prospects. Therefore, after a short few months as an independent group when they published a great deal of material for a small group, the J-F tendency joined the SWP in 1947. James would still describe himself as a Leninist, despite his rejection of Lenin’s conception of the vanguard role of the revolutionary party, and argue for socialists to support the emerging black nationalist movements. By 1949, he came to reject the idea of a vanguard party. This led his tendency to leave the Trotskyist movement and rename itself the Correspondence Publishing Committee. In 1955, nearly half the membership of Committee would leave under the leadership of Raya Dunayevskaya to form a separate tendency of Marxist-humanism and found the organization, News and Letters Committees. Whether Raya Dunayevskaya’s faction constituted a majority or minority seems to be a matter of dispute. Historian Kent Worcester claims that Dunayevskaya’s supporters formed a majority of the pre-split Correspondence Publishing Committee but Martin Glaberman has claimed in New Politics that the faction loyal to James had a majority. The Committee split again in 1962 as Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs, two key activists, left to pursue a more Third Worldist approach. The remaining Johnsonites, including leading member Martin Glaberman reconstituted themselves as Facing Reality, which James advised from Britain until the group dissolved, against James’ advice, in 1970. James’s writings were influential in the development of Autonomist Marxism as a current within Marxist thought, though he himself saw his life’s work as developing the theory and practice of Leninism. In 1953, James was forced to leave the US under threat of deportation for having overstayed his visa by over ten years. In his attempt to remain in the USA, James wrote a study of Herman Melville, Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In, and had copies of the privately published work sent to every member of the Senate. He wrote the book while being detained on Ellis Island. He returned back to England and then, in 1958 returned to Trinidad, where he edited The Nation newspaper for the pro-independence People’s National Movement (PNM) party. He also had become involved again in the Pan-African movement, believing that the Ghana revolution showed that decolonisation was the most important inspiration for international revolutionaries. James also advocated the West Indies Federation, and it was over this that he fell out with the PNM leadership. He returned to Britain, then to the USA in 1968, where he taught at the University of the District of Columbia. Ultimately, he returned to Britain and spent his last years in Brixton, London. In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of books by James were republished or reissued by Allison and Busby, including four volumes of selected writings: The Future In the Present, Spheres of Existence, At the Rendezvous of Victory and Cricket. In 1983, a short British film featuring James in dialogue with the famous historian E. P. Thompson was made. A public library in Hackney, London is named in his honor; in 2005 a reception there to mark its 20th anniversary was attended by his widow, Selma James. C. L. R. James is widely known as a writer on cricket, especially for his autobiographical 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary. This is considered a seminal work of cricket writing, and is often named as the best single book on cricket (or even the best book on any sport) ever written. The book’s key question, which is frequently quoted by modern journalists and essayists, is inspired by Rudyard Kipling and asks: What do they know of cricket who only cricket know? James uses this challenge as the basis for describing cricket in an historical and social context, the strong influence cricket had on his life, and how it meshed with his role in politics and his understanding of issues of class and race. The literary quality of the writing attracts cricketers of all political views. While editor of The Nation, he led the successful campaign in 1960 to have Frank Worrell appointed as the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team. In 1938, this new group took part in several mergers to form the Revolutionary Socialist League. The RSL was a highly factionalised organisation and when James was invited to tour the United States by the leadership of the Socialist Workers’ Party, then the US section of the Fourth International, in order to facilitate its work among black workers, he was encouraged to leave by one such factional opponent, John Archer, in the hope of removing a rival. James moved to the USA in late 1938, and after a tour sponsored by the SWP stayed on for over twenty years. But by 1940 he had developed severe doubts about Trotsky’s analysis of the Soviet Union as a degenerated workers state and left the SWP along with Max Shachtman, who formed the Workers’ Party. Within the WP he formed the Johnson-Forest Tendency with Raya Dunayevskaya and Grace Lee in order to spread their views within the new party. While within the WP the views of the J-F tendency underwent considerable development and by the end of the Second World War they had definitively rejected Trotsky’s theory of Russia as a degenerated workers state, instead analysing it as being state capitalist. This political evolution was shared by other Trotskyists of their generation, most notably Tony Cliff. Unlike Cliff, they were increasingly looking towards the autonomous movements of oppressed minorities, a theoretical development already visible in James’ thought in his discussions with Leon Trotsky which took place in 1939. An interest in such autonomous struggles came to take centre stage for the tendency. After 1945 the WP saw the prospects for a revolutionary upsurge as receding. The J-F Tendency, by contrast, were more enthused by prospects for mass struggles and came to the conclusion that the SWP, which they considered more proletarian than the WP, thought similarly to themselves about such prospects. Therefore, after a short few months as an independent group when they published a great deal of material for a small group, the J-F tendency joined the SWP in 1947. James would still describe himself as a Leninist, despite his rejection of Lenin’s conception of the vanguard role of the revolutionary party, and argue for socialists to support the emerging black nationalist movements by 1949, he came to reject the idea of a vanguard party. This led his tendency to leave the Trotskyist movement and rename itself the Correspondence Publishing Committee. In 1955, nearly half the membership of Committee would leave under the leadership of Raya Dunayevskaya to form a separate tendency of Marxist-humanism and found the organization, News and Letters Committees. Whether Raya Dunayevskaya’s faction constituted a majority or minority seems to be a matter of dispute. Historian Kent Worcester claims that Dunayevskaya’s supporters formed a majority of the pre-split Correspondence Publishing Committee but Martin Glaberman has claimed in New Politics that the faction loyal to James had a majority. The Committee split again in 1962 as Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs, two key activists, left to pursue a more Third Worldist approach. The remaining Johnsonites, including leading member Martin Glaberman reconstituted themselves as Facing Reality, which James advised from Britain until the group dissolved, against James’ advice, in 1970. James’s writings were influential in the development of Autonomist Marxism as a current within Marxist thought, though he himself saw his life’s work as developing the theory and practice of Leninism. In 1953, James was forced to leave the US under threat of deportation for having overstayed his visa by over ten years. In his attempt to remain in the USA, James wrote a study of Herman Melville, Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In, and had copies of the privately published work sent to every member of the Senate. He wrote the book while being detained on Ellis Island. He returned back to England and then, in 1958 returned to Trinidad, where he edited The Nation newspaper for the pro-independence People’s National Movement party. He also had become involved again in the Pan-African movement, believing that the Ghana revolution showed that decolonisation was the most important inspiration for international revolutionaries. James also advocated the West Indies Federation, and it was over this that he fell out with the PNM leadership. He returned to Britain, then to the USA in 1968, where he taught at the University of the District of Columbia. Ultimately, he returned to Britain and spent his last years in Brixton, London. In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of books by James were republished or reissued by Allison and Busby, including four volumes of selected writings: The Future In the Present, Spheres of Existence, At the Rendezvous of Victory and Cricket. In 1983, a short British film featuring James in dialogue with the famous historian E. P. Thompson was made. A public library in Hackney, London is named in his honor; in 2005 a reception there to mark its 20th anniversary was attended by his widow, Selma James. C. L. R. James is widely known as a writer on cricket, especially for his autobiographical 1963 book, Beyond a Boundary. This is considered a seminal work of cricket writing, and is often named as the best single book on cricket ever written. The book’s key question, which is frequently quoted by modern journalists and essayists, is inspired by Rudyard Kipling and asks: What do they know of cricket who only cricket know? James uses this challenge as the basis for describing cricket in an historical and social context, the strong influence cricket had on his life, and how it meshed with his role in politics and his understanding of issues of class and race. The literary quality of the writing attracts cricketers of all political views. While editor of The Nation, he led the successful campaign in 1960 to have Frank Worrell appointed as the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team.

 

 

 

 

Dance On The Volcano by Marie Chauvet. New York. 1959. William Sloane Associates. Translated From The French By Salvator Attanasio. 376 pages. Jacket design by Charles Walker.

 

dance on the volcanoFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   18th-century Haiti: gaiety hid smouldering violence, the 'dance on the volcano. ' Lovely young Minette sang her way to fame - to tragedy and great love. If you read for history, here are the political and emotional tides, the passionate men and women who brought about the Slave Rebellions of Haiti which were sparked by the French Revolution. If you read for drama, it is in every mood and movement of the story, Minette was the first colored person to entertain a white audience in Port-au-Prince, She became a great star. She also became passionately involved in the fight for freedom. The Comedie du Port-au-Prince was desperate for new talent when Minette made her appearance. The daughter of a freed slave and a white planter, she had a voice in a thousand. And she was lovely, with her creamy skin and great, slanted eyes. Excited crowds applauded her to fame. But she met the pain and humiliation of prejudice, too; met them with pride. She reached out for love - and thought she had found it in Jean Baptiste Papointe, a man of color who had risen to the status of a rich planter with slaves of his own. Warped by his struggle against bitter prejudice, he could be hard and cruel. But he needed Minette's love. These two and the people around them give the rich texture of living history to this exceptionally fine story. It is based on contemporary records, Through them Mme. Chauvet, Haitian herself, recaptures the vivid life of the island - the white creoles, the people of color, the French military - along with the tragedy and hopes and heroism of the time. 

 

 

Vieux Chauvet MarieMarie Vieux Chauvet (1916–1973) was a Haitian novelist. Born and educated in Port-au-Prince, her most famous works were the novels Fille d'Haïti (1954), La Danse sur le Volcan (1957), Fonds des Nègres (1961), and Amour, Colère, Folie (1969). The trilogy Amour, Colère, Folie was published by Gallimard press in Paris with the support of Simone de Beauvoir. The trilogy was perceived as an attack on the Haitian despot François Duvalier. Fearing the dictator's legions of Tonton Macoutes, her husband bought all the copies of the book he could find in Haiti, and Chauvet's daughters bought the remaining copies from Gallimard in Paris a few years later. She died in the United States of America.

 


The Complete Sagas Of Icelanders by Vidar Hreinsson (general editor). Reykjavik. 1997. Leifur Eiriksson Publishing. hardcover. 5 Volumes. Editorial Team: Robert Cook, Terry Gunnell, Keneva Kunz, and Bernard Scudder. Introduction by Robert Kellogg.

 

 

complete sagas of icelandersFROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

    The first English translation of the entire corpus of the Sagas of Icelanders together with forty-nine Tales. Fifty translators and scholars from seven countries participated in this project. The Sagas of Icelanders are set in the Viking Age but written in Icelandic by anonymous authors during the 13th and 14th centuries. Their action spans the whole world known to the Vikings, but the stories centre on the unique settler society they founded in Iceland. Deeply rooted in the real world of their day, concise and straightforward in style, the Sagas explore perennial human problems: love and hate, fate and freedom. While steeped in Viking Age oral tradition, the Sagas depict the descendants of the settlers in Iceland, immediately before and after the year 1000, when they abandoned the ancient gods such as Odin and Thor and adopted Christianity. In this period, too, Icelanders ventured farther westwards; the culmination of this venture was Leif Eiriksson’s voyage to North America. The horizons of the Saga writers extended to the limits of the Viking world: westward to Greenland and Vinland, east to Russia and north to Lapland, south and east to Constantinople and Jerusalem. For sheer narrative artistry and skill of characterisation, the finest Sagas rank with the world’s greatest literary treasures – as epic as Homer, as deep in tragedy as Sophocles, as engagingly human as Shakespeare. The Sagas of Icelanders have served as a source of inspiration for many writers of later times – such diverse authors as Walter Scott, Jorge Luis Borges and W. H. Auden. Careful editorial planning and coordination ensured that the translators followed the same translation policy and produced the same high level of accuracy and readability. Coordination work included use of consistent English terms for key words and concepts, recurrent proverbs and phrases, and other cultural realia. The publishers are confident that these extensive editorial efforts have produced sound, quality translations. While they reflect the expertise of scholars in this specialist field, a prime concern was to produce a text in smooth and readable modern English. There are probably few examples of comparable coordinated translations of an entire literary corpus into another language. The Complete Sagas of Icelanders include extensive reference material: A comprehensive Introduction by Professor Robert Kellogg, Maps, Glossary, A Note on Poetic Imagery, Cross-Reference Index of Characters, Illustrations and Diagrams, and Tables. ‘In any case, there can be no arguing that the recent publication in English translations of the five-volume Complete Sagas of Icelanders, by Leifur Eiriksson Publishing in Reykjavik, erects a milestone on the international publishing scene.’ - Brad Leithauser, New York Review of Books. ‘All my literate life I have been looking for more English translations of the Sagas. To have them all, in this superb five-volume edition, is a dream come true.’- Ted Hughes, UK Poet Laureate. ‘The English is wonderfully accessible to this modern reader. Only now can I fully appreciate my own deep debt as a story-teller to Icelandic writers of long ago. Cheers!’- Kurt Vonnegut. ‘Although the glory of the sagas is indisputable, their literary influence would have been much greater if they had been written in the language of one of the major countries, and we would have regarded the sagas as an anticipation or even as the foundation of the European novel.’ - Milan Kundera. ‘The Sagas are the literature not only of the island where they were written, but of the whole Western world of their day. Even today, they provide the modern reader with fascinating insights; they are stories which reveal an immense variety of human conduct and condition.’- Jostein Gaarder.

 

 

Hreinsson VidarViðar Hreinsson grew up on a farm in Northern Iceland but studied Icelandic and literary theory in Iceland and Copenhagen. He is an independent literary scholar at the Reykjavik Academy and has taught and lectured on various aspects of Icelandic literary and cultural history at universities in both in Iceland and abroad, in Canada, USA and Scandinavia. He is the General Editor of the acclaimed The Complete Sagas of Icelanders I-V (1997), and he is the author of a two-volume biography of Icelandic Canadian poet Stephan G. Stephansson published in Iceland 2002 and 2003. The first volume was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize, and the biography as a whole received the 2003 Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing. A rewritten English version of this biography, Wakeful Nights, was published in Canada in 2012. He has written a number of scholarly articles on medieval sagas, 17th century literature, manuscript culture and Icelandic emigrant literature. More recently Viðar has been an environmental activist, written two biographies, served as the director of the Reykjavík Academy, and pursued research in Icelandic literary culture and critical cultural theory. At present he is working on a ecocritical research project that will result in a monograph that will at the same time analyse and depict the 17th century conception of nature, and the life of Jón Guðmundsson the Learned (1574-1658), a self-educated scholar, historian, poet, sorcerer and artist.


 

   

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

 

 avon bard1

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

avon bard colophon

 

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

 

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

 

 

avon bard 100 years of solitude   When Mayer acquired the paperback rights to One Hundred Years Of Solitude (published in hardcover by Harper & Row in a translation by Gregory Rabassa in 1970), the Avon Bard Latin American list was essentially born and Bard was on its way to becoming a major American publisher of Latin American fiction, even though the Garcia Marquez book was first published in paperback as an Avon book and only later as an Avon Bard title. According to Robert Wyatt, the plan to publish Latin American fiction did not follow any particular plan, but evolved over time: “We sort of tacked the Latin American titles on as they came along.”

 

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

 

avon bard2

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

  latin american lit knopf    latin american lit fsg

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

latin american lit harper  latin american lit dutton  

 

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

 

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

 

0380762404   The first Avon Bard paperback original was The Emperor of the Amazon by the Brazilian writer, Marcio Souza. The book was translated by Thomas Colchie, who was at the time the literary agent for Mr. Souza as well as a number of other Latin American authors. Thomas Colchie had even planned a new translation of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands by Joao Guimaraes Rosa of Brazil, but that unfortunately for American readers never quite materialized.  By 1982 the Avon Bard list had published 22 titles by Latin American writers and reviews were generally good for the series. As these translated titles became more widely available in inexpensive paperback editions, the market for them expanded. Many of the books on the Bard list had print runs at the time of around 16,000 copies, not especially ambitious for a mass market paperback title.

 

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

 

avon bard3

 

See a listing of individual Avon Bard Latin American titles


Sources cited - 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

Mad Toy by Roberto Arlt. Durham. 2002. Duke University Press. Translated From The Spanish By Michele McKay Aynesworth. 171 pages. 0822329409. paperback.

 

 

0822329409FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Roberto Arlt celebrated in Argentina for his tragicomic, punch-in-the-jaw writing during the 1920s and 1930s, was a forerunner of Latin American boom' and 'postboom' novelists such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Roberto Arlt celebrated in Argentina for his tragicomic, punch-in-the-jaw writing during the 1920s and 1930s, was a forerunner of Latin American boom' and 'postboom' novelists such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Mad Toy, Arlt's most acclaimed novel, is set against the chaotic background of Buenos Aires in the early twentieth century. Set in the badlands of adolescence, where acts of theft and betrayal become metaphors for creativity. Mad Toy is equal parts pulp fiction, realism, detective story, expressionist drama, and creative memoir. An immigrant son of a German father and an Italian mother, Arlt as a youth was poor, often hungry, and dropped out of school in the third grade. In MAD TOY he brings his personal experience to bear on the lives of his characters. Published in 1926 as El Juguete Rabioso, the novel follows the adventures of Silvio Artier, a poverty-striken and frustrated youth who is drawn to gangs and a life of petty crime. As Silvio struggles to bridge the gap between exuberant imagination and the sordid reality around him, he becomes fascinated with weapons, explosives, vandalism, and thievery, despite a desperate desire to rise above his origins. Flavored with a dash of romance, a hint of allegory, and a healthy dose of irony, the novel's language varies from the cultured idiom of the narrator to the dialects and street slang of the novel's many colorful characters. MAD TOY has appeared in numerous Spanish editions and has been adapted for the stage and for film. It is the second of his novels to be translated into English. 'Roberto Arlt is the greatest Argentine writer of the twentieth century. '- Ricardo Piglia.

 

Arlt Roberto

Roberto Arlt was an Argentinian who published numerous plays and novels during his lifetime.

Michele McKay Aynesworth is Assistant Professor of English at Huston-Tillotson College.


The Conjure Woman by Charles W. Chesnutt. Boston. 1928. Houghton Mifflin. 229 pages. hardcover.

 

conjure woman 1927 no dwFROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

One of Chesnutt's most important works was THE CONJURE WOMAN (first published in 1899), a collection of stories set in postbellum North Carolina in which Uncle Julius, a freed slave, entertains a white couple from the North with fantastical tales of antebellum plantation life. Julius's tales feature such supernatural elements as haunting, transfiguration, and conjuring that were typical of folk tales. While Julius's tales recall the Uncle Remus tales published by Joel Chandler Harris, they differ in that Uncle Julius' tales offer oblique or coded commentary on the psychological and social impact of slavery and racial inequality. While controversy exists over whether Chesnutt's Uncle Julius stories reaffirmed stereotypical views of African Americans, most critics contend that their allegorical critiques of racial injustice were surely not lost on some readers. Only seven of the Uncle Julius tales were collected in the THE CONJURE WOMAN. Chesnutt wrote a total of fourteen Uncle Julius tales, which were later collected in THE CONJURE WOMAN AND OTHER CONJURE TALES, published in 1993.

 

 

Chesnutt Charles W Charles Waddell Chesnutt (June 20, 1858 – November 17, 1932) was an American author, essayist, political activist and lawyer, best known for his novels and short stories exploring complex issues of racial and social identity in the post-Civil War South. The legacy of slavery and interracial relations had resulted in many free people of color who had attained education before the war, as well as slaves and freedmen of mixed race. Two of his books were adapted as silent films in 1926 and 1927 by the director and producer Oscar Micheaux. Chesnutt also established what became a highly successful legal stenography business, which provided his main income.

 

Check zenosbooks.com for a used copy of this book.


 

0520080351 Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America by Frank J. Donner. Berkeley. 1990. University of California Press. hardcover. 503 pages. 0520059514.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER - 

 

  This landmark exposé of the dark history of repressive police operations in American cities offers a richly detailed account of police misconduct and violations of protected freedoms over the past century. In an incisive examination of undercover work in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia as well as Washington, D.C., Detroit, New Haven, Baltimore, and Birmingham, Frank Donner reveals the underside of American law enforcement. Protectors of Privilege spotlights the repressive police tactics of the past thirty years, particularly the urban intelligence operations and abuses that burgeoned during the political unrest of the 1960s and 1970s. Donner examines the open police violence and corruption in Chicago; the power-hungry Frank Rizzo, whose fear mongering polarized Philadelphia in the 1970s and 1980s; the ties between the police department and right-wing movements in Los Angeles; and the tarnished professionalism of New York's finest. Meticulously documented, Protectors of Privilege traces the history of countersubversion and police misconduct from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth, beginning with the Gilded Age repression of economic protest and anarchist activities. Donner exposes the machinations of City Hall to curb organized labor early in this century, overheated police behavior during World War I, the ideological response to the Depression and its consequences, and police misconduct during the Cold War. More than just a description of police intelligence and abuse of power, Protectors of Privilege demonstrates how patterns of police behavior accord with patterns of city politics as a whole and uncovers the ties between police departments, the CIA, and private right-wing groups. Donner first documents the shift in police interest from crime to countersubversion and then traces the connections between police corruption and countersubversive activities, probing, for example, the role of infiltrators and agents provocateurs in stimulating the violence they then exposed. Protectors of Privilege offers the most comprehensive account yet published of police misconduct and violations of protected freedoms in America. In a period when protest movements and ghetto unrest could spur a renewal of police abuses, this book speaks to all Americans.

 

 

 

Donner Frank Frank Donner (November 25, 1911 – June 10, 1993) was a civil liberties lawyer, author and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Project on Political Surveillance. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Donner earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from Columbia University. Donner worked for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1940 to 1945 before leaving for private practice, primarily representing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and the United Steelworkers of America. With attorneys Arthur Kinoy and Marshall Perlin he founded the New York firm Donner, Kinoy & Perlin, which specialized in representing progressive and leftist clients, including Soviet spy Morton Sobell and the Labor Youth League. In the 1950s, the firm represented numerous individuals, including labor officials, who refused to take loyalty oaths or to testify on their membership in communist organizations, as well as several who were prosecuted under the Smith Act. Donner, himself, was brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, accused of membership in a Communist cell within the NLRB in the 1940s. He refused to testify, invoking his fifth amendment rights. Donner was a board member for the National Lawyers Guild. Beginning in 1980, Donner headed the Project on Political Surveillance for the ACLU. During that time he wrote several books outlining official use of domestic surveillance and the use of Red Squads, programs like COINTELPRO, and other agencies to infiltrate organizations suspected of political dissent. Donner also cited the government's use of scapegoats to divert attention from government criticism onto other political groups.

9780691161501 Cross and Scepter: The Rise of the Scandinavian Kingdoms From the Vikings to the Reformation by Sverre Bagge. Princeton. 2014. Princeton University Press. hardcover. 325 pages. Jacket design by Lorraine Betz Doneker. 9780691161501.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Christianity and European-style monarchy--the cross and the scepter--were introduced to Scandinavia in the tenth century, a development that was to have profound implications for all of Europe. Cross and Scepter is a concise history of the Scandinavian kingdoms from the age of the Vikings to the Reformation, written by Scandinavia's leading medieval historian. Sverre Bagge shows how the rise of the three kingdoms not only changed the face of Scandinavia, but also helped make the territorial state the standard political unit in Western Europe. He describes Scandinavia's momentous conversion to Christianity and the creation of church and monarchy there, and traces how these events transformed Scandinavian law and justice, military and administrative organization, social structure, political culture, and the division of power among the king, aristocracy, and common people. Bagge sheds important new light on the reception of Christianity and European learning in Scandinavia, and on Scandinavian history writing, philosophy, political thought, and courtly culture. He looks at the reception of European impulses and their adaptation to Scandinavian conditions, and examines the relationship of the three kingdoms to each other and the rest of Europe, paying special attention to the inter-Scandinavian unions and their consequences for the concept of government and the division of power. Cross and Scepter provides an essential introduction to Scandinavian medieval history for scholars and general readers alike, offering vital new insights into state formation and cultural change in Europe.

Bagge SverreSverre Bagge is professor emeritus of medieval history at the University of Bergen in Norway. His books include 'Kings, Politics, and the Right Order of the World in German Historiography'

 

krakatit Krakatit by Karel Capek. New York. 1925. Macmillan. Translated from the Czech by Lawrence Hyde. 408 pages.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   ‘Krakatit’ is an explosive powerful enough to destroy the world, which was discovered by the engineer Prokup. It is stolen from him, and he begins a long search to find the thief and recover the precious few grains which threaten the earth. The story leads to Balttin Castle, and its munition factory, where Prokup is held prisoner to force him to reveal the formula for Krakatit (and where he falls in love with a princess).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capek Karel Karel Capek (January 9, 1890 - December 25, 1938) was one of the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. Capek was born in Malé Svatonovice, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic). He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Capek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. He is perhaps best known as a science fiction author, who wrote before science fiction became widely recognized as a separate genre. He can be considered one of the founders of classical, non-hardcore European science fiction, a type which focuses on possible future (or alternative) social and human evolution on Earth, rather than technically advanced stories of space travel. However, it is best to classify him with Aldous Huxley and George Orwell as a speculative fiction writer, distinguishing his work from genre-specific hard science fiction. Many of his works discuss ethical and other aspects of revolutionary inventions and processes that were already anticipated in the first half of 20th century. These include mass production, atomic weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or intelligent salamanders. In addressing these themes, Capek was also expressing fear of impending social disasters, dictatorship, violence, and the unlimited power of corporations, as well as trying to find some hope for human beings.

  

0631189084 American Civilization by C. L. R. James. Cambridge. 1993. Blackwell Publishers. Edited & Introduced By Anna Grimshaw and Keith Hart. Afterword By Robert A. Hill. 387 pages. Cover design by Workhaus Graphics. 0631189084.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

    In his study of Herman Melville, ‘Mariners, Renegades and Castaways’ C. L. R. James wrote: ‘My ultimate aim. is to write a study of American Civilization’. This project, long in gestation, at last sees the light of day in this posthumous publication of what may be seen as the most wide-ranging expression of James’s thought, the link between his mature writings on politics and his semi-autobiographical work, ‘Beyond a Boundary’. In the tradition of de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’, James addresses the fundamental question of the ‘right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. Ranging across American politics, society and culture, C. L. R. James sets out to integrate his analysis of American society in transition with a commentary on the popular arts of cinema and literature.

 

 

 

 

James C L R Cyril Lionel Robert James (4 January 1901–19 May 1989) was an Afro-Trinidadian journalist, socialist theorist and writer. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, then a British Crown colony, James attended Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain before becoming a cricket journalist, and also an author of fiction. He would later work as a school teacher, teaching among others the young Eric Williams. Together with Ralph de Boissière, Albert Gomes and Alfred Mendes, James was a member of the anti-colonialist Beacon Group, a circle of writers associated with The Beacon magazine. 

 

9780691126838 The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor. Princeton. 2009. Princeton University Press. 448 pages. Jacket illustration - Mithradates the Great, silver tetradrachm, 86-85BC. 9780691126838.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Machiavelli praised his military genius. European royalty sought out his secret elixir against poison. His life inspired Mozart's first opera, while for centuries poets and playwrights recited bloody, romantic tales of his victories, defeats, intrigues, concubines, and mysterious death. But until now no modern historian has recounted the full story of Mithradates, the ruthless king and visionary rebel who challenged the power of Rome in the first century BC. In this richly illustrated book--the first biography of Mithradates in fifty years--Adrienne Mayor combines a storyteller's gifts with the most recent archaeological and scientific discoveries to tell the tale of Mithradates as it has never been told before. The Poison King describes a life brimming with spectacle and excitement. Claiming Alexander the Great and Darius of Persia as ancestors, Mithradates inherited a wealthy Black Sea kingdom at age fourteen after his mother poisoned his father. He fled into exile and returned in triumph to become a ruler of superb intelligence and fierce ambition. Hailed as a savior by his followers and feared as a second Hannibal by his enemies, he envisioned a grand Eastern empire to rival Rome. After massacring eighty thousand Roman citizens in 88 BC, he seized Greece and modern-day Turkey. Fighting some of the most spectacular battles in ancient history, he dragged Rome into a long round of wars and threatened to invade Italy itself. His uncanny ability to elude capture and surge back after devastating losses unnerved the Romans, while his mastery of poisons allowed him to foil assassination attempts and eliminate rivals. The Poison King is a gripping account of one of Rome's most relentlessbut least understood foes.

 

 

Mayor Adrienne Adrienne Mayor is the author of ‘Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World’ and ‘The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times’ She is a visiting scholar in classics and history of science at Stanford University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0393033724 Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry Of Witness by Carolyn Forche. New York. 1993. Norton. 812 pages. Jacket painting by Fritz Winter, title 'Zerstorung', 1944. Jacket design by Susan Shapiro. 0393033724.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   This landmark anthology, the first of its kind, takes it impulse from the words of Bertolt Brecht: 'In these dark times, will there also be singing? / Yes, there will be singing. / About the dark times. ' Bearing witness to extremity - whether of war, torture, exile, or repression - the volume encompasses more than 140 poets from five continents, over the span of this century from the Armenian genocide to Tiananmen Square. 'Poetry cannot block a bullet or still a sjambok, but it can bear witness to brutality - thereby cultivating a flower in a graveyard. Carolyn Forche's AGAINST FORGETTING is itself a blow against tyranny, against prejudice, against injustice. It bears witness to the evil we would prefer to forget, but never can - and never should. ' - Nelson Mandela. 'In a class by itself, edited and and introduced with precise passion and Olympian breadth, AGAINST FORGETTING encapsulates both the horrors of our century and the power of musical language to make a place to live, breathe, hope, love. ' - Calvin Bedient. 'From every continent comes the news that our age is an age of murder and repression on a scale unimagined before. And yet I can't peruse this book without marveling at what beauty these writers have made of the calamity called the Twentieth Century. I would not have thought a poetry anthology could be so stirring.' - Arthur Miller.

 

 

Forche Carolyn Carolyn Forche, poet, translator, and activist, teaches writing at George Mason University. She has published two award-winning volumes of poetry, GATHERING THE TRIBES and THE COUNTRY BETWEEN US. In 1990 Ms. Forche received a Lannan Literary Award, granted to poets and writers of literary excellence 'whose work promotes a truer understanding of contemporary life.'

 

lonely londoners The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon. New York. 1956. St Martin's Press. 171 pages. Author photograph by Robin Adler.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   There is a new type in the streets of London. His clothes stand out baroque and garish in the subfusc London scene, his voice is calypso-like, his smile is disarming, and his skin is black. He is, in fact, one of the vast and growing army of West Indian immigrants who have invaded the larger cities and whose calypso tunes and infectious gaiety mask the serious problems of a precarious existence. This is a book about these people by one of them, written in the very idiom in which they speak and think. Though the author writes it as a novel, we doubt if any of its characters is really fictitious. Here you may see through the eyes of the narrator, Moses, such flamboyant individuals as Five Past Twelve, Captain, the amorous young Sir Galahad and a host of others, toiling, 'Liming', gossiping and love-making. We follow them to their Saturday-night socials, their jive sessions and rendezvous on the park benches, see them crouching under blankets for warmth in winter and airing themselves voluptuously in the summer sunshine of mean streets. Samuel Selvon is a young Trinidadian whose first novel A BRIGHTER SUN was given such generous critical appreciation on both sides of the Atlantic. Carl Carmer wrote, 'Not since I read Porgy have I been so impressed by a work that concerns itself with the nobilities of primitive peoples striving to overcome limitations placed upon them by poverty and discrimination. ' Under the laughter and the lilting rhythms of Trinidadian speech, THE LONELY LONDONERS has the same compassion which made his earlier work so memorable.

 

 

Selvon Samuel SAMUEL SELVON was born in Trinidad of Indian parents. He went to school and college on the Island, and during the war served for five years as a telegraphist in a mine-sweeper. After the war, he worked on The Trinidad Guardian, and began to write short stories in his spare time, several of which were accepted by the B. B. C. Encouraged by this success, he came to England, bringing with him the manuscript of a novel called A BRIGHTER SUN, which was published by Wingates in 1952 and by Viking in the United States. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for his second novel, AN ISLAND IS A WORLD. THE LONELY LONDONERS is his third novel and the second to be published in America.

 

0300090471 Emilio's Carnival by Italo Svevo. New Haven. 2001. Yale University Press. Newly Translated From The Italian By Beth Archer Brombert. Introduction By Victor Brombert. 233 pages. Jacket illustration by Umberto Veruda, Terzetto'. 0300090471.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   Italo Svevo's early novel SENILITA remained unknown for many years until James Joyce encountered the novelist in Trieste and came to admire SENILITA as a preeminent modern Italian novel. Joyce helped to launch Svevo's career, and years later Svevo achieved great fame with his masterpiece, THE CONFESSIONS OF ZENO. In SENILITA, Svevo tells the story of the amorous entanglement of Emilio, a failed writer already old at thirty-five, and Angiolina, a seductively beautiful but promiscuous young woman. A study in jealousy and self-torment, the novel traces the intoxicating effect of a narcissistic and amoral woman on an indecisive daydreamer who vacillates between guilt and moral smugness. The novel is suffused with a tragic sense of existence, and the unbreachable distance between one consciousness and another. Svevo 's unmistakably modern voice subtly captures rapid shifts in mood and intention, exploiting irony, indirection, and multiple points of view to reveal Emilio's increasing anguish as he comes to recognize the dissonance between himself and his world.

 

 

Svevo Italo Italo Svevo, nee Ettore Schmitz, was born in Trieste and lived there all of his life. His other works include UNA VITA, THE CONFESSIONS OF ZENO, several collections of short stories, and plays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Archer Brombert is a professional translator and author. Her most recent book is Edouard Manet, Rebel in a Frock Coat. Victor Brombert is Henry Putnam University Professor of Romance and Comparative Literatures, Emeritus, at Princeton University He has written numerous books, including, most recently, IN PRAISE OF ANTIHEROES: FIGURES AND THEMES IN MODERN EUROPEAN LITERATURE.


master margarita ardis The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Dana Point. 1995. Ardis Publishers. Translated From The Russian By Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O'Connor. 367 pages. 0875010679.

 

The Devil visits 1920s Moscow and reeks havoc in this black comedy of the effects of evil and the power of truth.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   This is the first translation of the most complete text of Bulgakov's exuberant comic masterpiece, and the first annotated edition. A literary sensation from its first publication, THE MASTER AND MARGARITA has become an astonishing publishing phenomenon in Russia and has been translated into more than twenty languages, and made into plays and films. Mikhail Bulgakov's novel is now considered one of the seminal works of twentieth-century Russian literature. In this imaginative extravaganza the devil, disguised as a magician, descends upon Moscow in the 1930s with his riotous band, which includes a talking cat and an expert assassin. Together they succeed in comically befuddling a population which denies the devil's existence, even as it is confronted with the diabolic results of a magic act gone wrong. This visit to the capital of world atheism has several aims, one of which concerns the fate of the Master, a writer who has written a novel about Pontius Pilate, and is now in a mental hospital. Margarita, the despairing and daring heroine, becomes a witch in an effort to save the Master, and agrees to become the devil's hostess at his annual spring ball by turns acidly satiric, fantastic, and ironically philosophical, this work constantly surprises and entertains, as the action switches back and forth between the Moscow of the 1930s and first-century Jerusalem. In a brilliant tour de force, Bulgakov provides a startlingly different version of Pontius Pilate's encounter with one Yeshua, a naive believer in the goodness of man. The interplay of these two narratives is part of the ingenious pleasure of this work which defies all genre classifications and expectations. The commentary and afterword provide new insight into the mysterious subtexts of the novel, and here, for the first time, THE MASTER AND MARGARITA is revealed in all its complexity.

 

 

 

Bulgakov Mikhail Eldest 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. Diana Burgin is Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and chairperson of the Modern Language Department. Her book, SOPHIA PARNOK: THE LIFE AND WORK OF RUSSIA’S SAPPHO was published earlier this year. Katherine Tiernan O’Connor is Professor of Russian at Boston University and the author of Boris Pasternak’s My Sister—Life: The Illusion of Narrative. She it currently writing a book on Chekhov’s letters. Ellendea Proffer has translated plays and prose by Bulgakov, and is the author of MIKHAIL BULGAKOV: LIFE AND WORK.

 

Diana Burgin is Professor of Russian at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and chairperson of the Modern Language Department. Her book, SOPHIA PARNOK: THE LIFE AND WORK OF RUSSIA'S SAPPHO was published earlier this year. Katherine Tiernan O'Connor is Professor of Russian at Boston University and the author of Boris Pasternak's My Sister--Life: The Illusion of Narrative. She it currently writing a book on Chekhov's letters. Ellendea Proffer has translated plays and prose by Bulgakov, and is the author of MIKHAIL BULGAKOV: LIFE AND WORK.


0805076530 Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story Of Britain's Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins. New York. 2005. Henry Holt. 477 pages. Jacket photograph - PopperfotolRetrofile.com. Jacket design by John Candell. 0805076530.

 

Until fairly recently this story of the brutality exacted on the Kenyan population, particularly the Kikuyus, by the colonial Kenyan government with the knowledge and approval of the British Foreign Office was not common knowledge. Caroline Elkins' book corrects this historical neglect and puts the resistance of the Kenyan people in in its proper context.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   For decades Western imperialists have waged wars and destroyed local populations in the name of civilization and democracy. From 1952 to 1960, after a violent uprising by native Kenyans, the British detained and brutalized hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu - the colony's largest ethnic group - who had demanded their independence. In the eyes of the British colonizers, the men and women who fought in the insurgency - Mau Mau as it was then called - weren't freedom fighters but rather savages of the lowest order. The British felt justified, in the name of civilization, in crushing those who challenged colonial rule, even if it meant violating their basic human rights. Later, to cover up this stain on its past, the British government ordered all documentation relating to detention and torture during its last days of rule in Kenya destroyed. In a groundbreaking debut, Harvard historian Caroline Elkins has recovered the lost history of the last days of British colonialism in Kenya. In a compelling narrative that draws upon nearly a decade of painstaking research - including hundreds of interviews with Kikuyu detention camp survivors and their captors - Elkins reveals for the first time what Britain so desperately tried to hide. In the aftermath of World War II and the triumph of liberal democracy over fascism, the British detained nearly the entire Kikuyu population - some one and a half million people - for more than eight years. Inside detention camps and barbed-wire villages, the Kikuyu lived in a world of fear, hunger, and death. Their only hope for survival was a full denunciation of their anti-British beliefs. IMPERIAL RECKONING is history of the highest order: meticulously researched, brilliantly written, and powerfully dramatic. An unforgettable act of historical re-creation, it is also a disturbing reminder of the brutal imperial precedents that continue to inform Western nations in their drive to democratize the world. 'IMPERIAL RECKONINGS is an incredible piece of historical sleuthing. The author has reconstructed the story that British officialdom almost succeeded in suppressing. Her sources are the Mau Mau fighters and sympathizers whom the British detained in concentration camps during the 1950s. Her interviews with the survivors of this British 'gulag' are a labor of love and courage - impressive in their frankness and deep emotional content as well as properly balanced between men and women, colonial officials, and Mau Mau detainees. Caroline Elkins tells a story that would never have made it into the historical record had she not persevered and collected information from the last generation of Mau Mau detainees alive to bear witness to what happened. ' - ROBERT TIGNOR, Rosengarten Professor Of Modern And Contemporary History, Princeton University. 'Caroline Eikins has written an important book that can change our understanding not just of Africa but of ourselves. Through exhaustive research in neglected colonial archives and intrepid reporting among long-forgotten Kikuyu elders in Kenya's Rift Valley, Eikins has documented not just the true scale of a huge and harrowing crime--Britain's ruthless suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion - but also the equally shocking concealment of that crime and the inversion of historical memory. ' - BULL BERKELEY, Author Of THE GRAVES ARE NOR YET FULL: RACE, TRIBE AND POWER IN THE HEART OF AFRICA.

 

 

 

Elkins Caroline CAROLINE ELKINS is an assistant professor of history at Harvard University. Her research in various aspects of the late colonial period in Africa has won numerous awards, including the Fulbright and Andrew W. Mellon fellowships, as well as a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She and her work were the subjects of a BBC documentary entitled Kenya: White Terror. This is her first book.


9780195385564 Why This World: A Biography Of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser. New York/Oxford. 2009. Oxford University Press. 479 pages. Jacket design by Carol Devine Carson. Jacket photo - Clarice Lispector in Washington, ca. 1954. 9780195385564.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   That rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf, Clarice Lispector is one of the most popular but least understood of Latin American writers. Now, after years of research on three continents, drawing on previously unknown manuscripts and dozens of interviews, Benjamin Moser demonstrates how Lispector's art was directly connected to her turbulent life. Born amidst the horrors of post-World War I Ukraine, Clarice's beauty, genius, and eccentricity intrigued Brazil virtually from her adolescence. Why This World tells how this precocious girl, through long exile abroad and difficult personal struggles, matured into a great writer, and asserts, for the first time, the deep roots in the Jewish mystical tradition that make her both the heir to Kafka and the unlikely author of ‘perhaps the greatest spiritual autobiography of the twentieth century.’ From Ukraine to Recife, from Naples and Berne to Washington and Rio de Janeiro, Why This World shows how Clarice Lispector transformed one woman's struggles into a universally resonant art.

 

 

Moser Benjamin Benjamin Moser (September 14, 1976) is an American writer who lives in Utrecht, Netherlands. Born in Houston, Moser attended high school in Texas and France before graduating from Brown University with a degree in History. He briefly studied Chinese and Portuguese. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Utrecht University. He is the New Books Columnist for Harper's Magazine, a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, and the author of a biography of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector titled Why This World. He discovered the books of Clarice Lispector while studying Portuguese-language literature. He has published translations from the Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. He speaks six languages in addition to these. He lives with Arthur Japin (a Dutch writer). 

 

christianity at glacier helgafell 1972 Christianity at Glacier by Halldor Laxness. Reykjavik. 1972. Helgafell. Translated from the Icelandic by Magnus Magnusson. 268 pages.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   A youthful emissary of the Bishop of Iceland goes to the beautiful and mysterious district under Glacier to investigate the local state of Christianity and the puzzling affairs of the pastor. The story is the young man's report to the bishop about some extraordinary happenings at Glacier and the remarkable characters whom he encounters during his investigations. - In this strange region all accepted distinctions between past and present, the natural and the supernatural seem at times to disappear. Pastor Jon Primus, the delinquent minister, turns out to be, among other things, a kind of holy man, with a mind that is highly elusive to the young academician. Completely neglectful of the formalities of his office, he is the parish jack-of-all-trades who repairs primitive utensils and shoes horses for all corners. Pastor Jon has a profound respect for life on earth and none at all for theory and philosophy which he describes as so many fables. As to theology, he will typically ask you to consider the lilies of the field. His capacity for destroying a logical argument is unsurpassed. Yet he has a worthy antagonist in the friend of his youth. Gudmundur Sigmundsson, now Dr. Godman Syngmann, the great guru, cosmopolitan engineer. super-businessman. angler and cosmobiologist extraordinary whose appearance at Glacier adds greatly to the confusion of the young man's mission. And finally There is Ua, the lady whose mysterious presence pervades the story: Who is she? The pastor's bride who ran away a long time ago with Dr. Synqmann? A former nun? The erstwhile madam of a sporting house in Buenos Aires? An ‘old-fashioned witch'?. A ghost? The mythical Bitch Goddess herself? Dr. Syndmann's scientifically produced re-incarnation? For some time shells very much a real woman. And then, at the end, she vanishes, mockingly, with the elusiveness of life itself. CHRISTIANITY AT GLACIER is a highly complex work, and Mr. Laxness has rarely been more entertaining and brilliantly inventive. From one point of view, it is a strangely timeless fable of modern times. It is also a novel of great philosophical and theological wit, set against a magically invoked background of nature.

 

 

Laxness Halldor Halldor Laxness was born near Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1902. His first novel was published when he wsa seventeen. The undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction, and one of the outstanding novelists of the century, he has written more than sixty books, including novels, short stories, essays, poems, plays, and memoirs. In 1955 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1998. 

 

confessions of zeno knopf Confessions Of Zeno by Italo Svevo. New York. 1930. Knopf. Translated From the Italian By Beryl De Zoete. 407 pages

 

My favorite book of all time. I have read this book many times over the years and each time I come away with something new. The original American translation of the book done by Beryl De Zoete and published in 1930, has held up well over the years I think. William Weaver published a translation in 2001. I started it but did not get very far. A translation By Dalya M. Sachs was comissioned by Northwestern Unversity Press to be published in 2002, but was withdrawn from publication due reportedly to some sort of copyright issue. That edition featured a lot of annotations and could be very interesting should it ever actually wind up being published. For the time being I think that I will stick to my Beryl De Zoete translation. 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   

   This is the great modern Italian novel. It is supremely ironical and deals with a delightfully abnormal character. Zeno, happily unconscious of his absurdity, writes an account of his eccentric and entertaining life for a psychoanalyst. He proposes to three sisters in the same evening and is accepted by the least attractive. He rationalizes his relations with his mistress by saying she would not love him, if she knew how much he loved his wife. Incidentally, he never loves his wife as much as when he is with his mistress. He entirely covers the walls of a room with dates, some scribbled in pencil, some painted in glaring colors, each representing the day of his final renunciation of cigarettes. Zeno, accomplished hypochondriac and master of indecision, suffers increasingly from the narcotic effect of his continual introspection, but is so essentially human that he will capture your sympathy and make you laugh, first at him and then at yourself.

 

 

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

 

 

 

de Zoete Beryl Beryl de Zoete was an English ballet dancer, orientalist, and critic. In addition to being a translator of Italo Svevo, she was an innovator in the field of dance. She taught eurhythmics, investigated Indian dance and theatre traditions, and collaborated with Walter Speis on Dance and Drama in Bali. An early marriage to Basil de Selincourt broke down. She then cohabited for many years with Arthur Waley, the noted translator of Chinese classics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


0813526051 Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe by John Evangelist Walsh. New Brunswick. 1998. Rutgers University Press. hardcover. 199 pages. 0813526051.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   With the publication of three short tales in the 1840s, Poe invented the detective story. Then his own sudden and bizarre death, still unsolved after 150 years, created a real-life mystery as tantalizing as any of his famous stories. Was it epilepsy? Lawless thugs? A diabetic coma? His heart ? Alcohol? Poe departed this life in the best mystery-novel style. While traveling alone from Richmond, Virginia, to New York City, he disappeared for nearly a week. When seen again, he was terribly drunk and nearly dead in the Baltimore. Taken to a hospital, he never said what happened to him, where he'd been all that time, or who he'd been with. A few days later, after alternating periods of silence and raving delirium, he died. The immediate cause of death given was "congestion of the brain," or "inflammation of the brain," serviceable phrases in a day that knew little of internal medicine. At first no one seriously questioned the verdict that the culprit was liquor, that Poe died as a result of complications arising from drunken debauchery. Inevitably, as the years passed and his fame grew, efforts were made to clear him of what seemed weak, wanton self-destruction. While many theories of a physical nature about precipitating causes have been suggested,-ranging from rabies to a blow on the head-no one has seriously probed the mystery of that missing week. Until now. Midnight Dreary examines the last days one of America's most admired authors, definitively untangling more than a century of speculation and finally putting to rest on its 150th anniversary what may be the greatest Poe mystery of all.

 

 

 

Walsh John Evangelist John Evangelist Walsh (December 27, 1927, Manhattan, New York City, NY - March 19, 2015, Monroe, WI) was an American author, biographer, editor, historian and journalist. He was best known for leading a team of 7 editors tasked with creating a condensed version of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Born in 1927, he first began working in journalism while serving in the US Army from 1946–1948, after which he worked for a variety of publishing companies, mainly condensing literature. He retired in his early 60s, while still regularly writing and publishing novels. He died on 19 March 2015 in Monroe, Wisconsin, at age 87. John Evangelist Walsh was born in Manhattan, New York on 27 December 1927 to Thomas and Ann (née Cunney) Walsh. He was of Irish descent. Walsh attended high school at the now-closed Power Memorial Academy in Manhattan, and after his senior year, enlisted in the US Army, serving in the infantry in Trieste, Italy, from 1946 to 1948. It was during that time when Walsh first became involved in journalism, reporting and taking photographs for The Spearhead and The Blue Devil, two military newspapers. Following his two years of service, he enrolled at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, but dropped out to take a job as a reporter The Oneonta Daily Star. He later worked as an editor at Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, and Reader's Digest, where he worked mainly on condensed-literature projects. He married his wife, Dorothy Schubis, on 17 November 1956 in Flushing, Queens, New York. Walsh's time at Reader's Digest marked an ambitious and unprecedented project: the condensation of the Bible, an enterprise that would make him and his colleagues well known on a national scale. According to John T. Beaudouin, the Reader's Digest Condensed Books editor during those years, the magazine had been eager to condense the Bible for a long time, but was not sure if it was feasible. He told The New York Times in 1982: ''We condensed a 14-volume set of 56 classics for young readers in the late 1960's, but the Bible had always been considered the ultimate challenge. We weren't sure we could do it, but after we studied the text and found it repetitive we thought we could.'' The first phases of planning began in 1975, and by 1979, a team of 7 editors was assembled, with John Walsh as the director. The whole project, however, was placed under the supervision of the Rev. Bruce M. Metzger, a Presbyterian minister and esteemed biblical scholar and author. He served as the final say in what verses and chapters were necessary for inclusion. The team decided to condense the Revised Standard Version (RSV) rather than the King James Version (KJV) because the RSV language was simpler to begin with, in contrast to the older vocabulary and abstruse language found in the KJV. The RSV is 850,000 words long, and the team set out to remove repetition and unnecessary inclusions. Walsh installed a strict system for condensation: first, editors must consult three unique scholarly analyses of any given passage before editing it. After changes were made, it would be reviewed by a second editor, and then sent to Walsh for inspection. If the condensation was deemed adequate, it would be given to the Rev. Metzger for a final appraisal. In the end, around 55% of the Old Testament and 25% of the New Testament was expunged, a total of 40% of the Bible overall. Walsh commented to the New York Times on the difficulty of project in 1982 on the date of the Bible's release: ''It was the hardest job I've ever done in my life. We were dealing with a library of ancient literature with so many different literary forms to which the condensation had to be adjusted and adapted.'' He then acknowledged he originally had qualms about the project, citing the Book of Revelation, which forbids changing "the words of the book of this prophecy." However, his early doubts were replaced by satisfaction in the end, telling the New York Times 'Our Bible is still the word of God, but it's easier to get into and stay with and appreciate.'' The project in its entirety took three years, and the Reader's Digest Bible was released on 22 September 1982. While the Reader's Digest Bible was perhaps his most famous accomplishment, Walsh was a lifelong writer. He was moderately well known in the historical nonfiction and literary biographical genres, some of his better known books being The Bones of Saint Peter: The First Full Account of the Discovery of the Apostle's Tomb, Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Poe the Detective: The Curious Circumstances Behind "The Mystery of Marie Roget", and Unraveling Piltdown: The Science Fraud of the Century and Its Solution. His books Midnight Dreary and Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial were nominated for Edgar Awards, and Midnight Dreary and The Shadows Rise: Abraham Lincoln and the Ann Rutledge Legend were both finalists for the Lincoln Prize. His only award-winning publication was Poe the Detective: The Curious Circumstances Behind "The Mystery of Marie Roget", which won an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime in 1969. After over 60 years in New York City, Walsh retired with his wife, Dorothy, to Monroe, Wisconsin, where he continued to publish books and write articles, mostly about Monroe and Green County history. He died on 19 March 2015 in a Monroe hospital, leaving behind nine unpublished texts, on such wide-ranging topics as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, the Shroud of Turin, Pearl Harbor, and two mystery novels. His obituary reported that he was writing just one day prior to his death.

 

 

 

beneath the wheel Beneath The Wheel by Hermann Hesse. New York. 1968. Farrar Straus Giroux. 187 pages. Jacket design by Charles Gottlieb.

 

The first Hermann Hesse novel I ever read, when I was 16 years old - a perfect time to fall under the spell of the romantic, rebellious, and ultimately tragic character of Hans Giebenrath.

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

   BENEATH THE WHEEL, Herman Hesse's second novel, was originally published in 1906. It belongs to the genre of 'school novels' that includes Heinrich Mann's THE BLUE ANGEL, Emil Strauss' FRIEND DEATH, and Robert Musil's YOUNG TORLESS, all of which were published around the same time. The story it tells, based in part on Hesse's own experience, constitutes an attack on educational systems that foster intellect, purposefulness and ambition to the detriment of emotion, instinct and soul. The young hero, Hans Giebenrath, is the talented son of a middle-class father who is described as having a 'heartfelt veneration of money. and blind submission to the inflexible laws of bourgeois respectability. ' At fourteen, Hans is selected by his teachers to compete against thirty-two other candidates for a scholarship, the examination is torture, and he is certain he has failed. When he learns that he has come out second, he enters on his new career full of the promise which, for a while, he is able to maintain. But something is wrong: his emotional nature has been crippled and he is on the verge of a mental breakdown. He seeks relief in friendship with a liberated and rebellious fellow-student, Hermann Heilner, but this does not work. Sick and broken, he returns home to recover his health, but the damage is irreparable. The duality of man's nature, a major theme throughout Hesse's work, is represented in BENEATH THE WHEEL by the complementary figures of Hans and Hermann, the latter escaping through art and a rejection of the system, while the former is crushed beneath the wheel. Hans' progress towards oblivion unfolds with many surprises, and the sensuous beauty of nature plays its part even at tragic moments, as in the finale when Hans is infatuated with the village girl, Emma, and when he goes off on a summer afternoon's drunken spree. The translation by Michael Roloff faithfully reflects the poetic and lyrical qualities of Hermann Hesse. The first American publication of BENEATH THE WHEEL will gratify the many readers only now discovering this writer who was so far ahead of his time.

 

Hesse Hermann HERMANN HESSE was born in Württemberg, Germany in 1877. His parents first met at a mission in India, and the repressive piety of his upbringing contributed towards his attempted suicide in 1892. He was determined to be ‘a writer and nothing else’. A major breakthrough came with the novel Peter Camenzind (1904), and in the same year he married his first wife, who bore him three sons. In 1912, the family moved to Switzerland, but his wife’s schizophrenia, the death of his father, and the illness of his youngest son caused Hesse to suffer a breakdown. His subsequent interest in psychiatry–he got to know Carl Jung personally–and his lifelong fascination with Indian religions had a profound influence on his novels, which he called ‘biographies of the soul’ (e.g. Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, The Glass Bead Game). He married twice more. In 1946 Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, though later he devoted much of his time to painting water-colours. He died in 1962 in Montagnola, Switzerland, where he is buried.

 



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    Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods Uwagba, Otegha. Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods. London. 2020. 4th Estate. 9780008440428. 71 pages. paperback.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - In this powerful and timely personal essay, best-selling author Otegha Uwagba reflects on racism, whiteness, and the mental labour required of Black people to navigate relationships with white people. Presented as a record of Uwagba's observations on this era-defining moment in history - that is,[…]

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  • Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones

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    Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Durham. 2008. Duke University Press. 9780822341161. 311 pages. paperback. Cover photograph - Claudia Jones in 1948.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - In LEFT OF KARL MARX, Carole Boyce Davies assesses the activism, writing, and legacy of Claudia Jones (1915-1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean radical intellectual, dedicated communist, and feminist. Jones is buried[…]

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  • Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People

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    Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People Painter, Nell Irvin. The History of White People. New York. 2010. Norton. 9780393049343. 496 pages. hardcover. Cover design by Keenan.  FROM THE PUBLISHER - A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of notions of white race - not merely a skin color but also a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively. Our story begins in Greek and Roman antiquity, where the[…]

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