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Alive with the exuberance, contradictions, and variety of the Golden State, this Depression-era guide to California is more than 700 pages of information that is, as David Kipen writes in his spirited introduction, "anecdotal, opinionated, and altogether habit-forming." Describing the history, culture, and roadside attractions of the 1930s, the WPA Guide to California features some of the very best anonymous literature of its era, with writing by luminaries such as San Francisco poet Kenneth Rexroth, composer-writer- hobo Harry Partch, and authors Tillie Olsen and Kenneth Patchen.
"Ever since I could chase a bone, I've longed to talk...."The first talking-dog story in Western literature--from the writer generally acknowledged, alongside William Shakespeare, as the founding father of modern literature, no less?Indeed, The Dialogue of the Dogs features, in a condensed, powerful version, all the traits the author of Don Quixote is famous for: It's a picaresque rich in bawdy humor, social satire, and fantasy, and it uses story tactics that were innovative at the time, such as the philandering husband who, given syphilis by his wife, is hospitalized. Late one feverish night he overhears the hospital's guard dogs telling each other their life's story--a wickedly ironic tale within the tale within the tale, wherein the two virtuous canines find themselves victim, time and again, to deceitful, corrupt humanity. Here in a sparkling new translation, the parody of a Greek dialogue is so entertaining it belies the stunningly prescient sophistication of this novella--that it is a story about telling stories, and about creating a new way to discuss morality that isn't rooted in empiricism. In short, it's a masterful work that flies in the face of the forms and ethics of its time...and perhaps ours as well. The Art of The Novella Series Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
Los Angeles in the 1930s returns to print an invaluable document of Depression-era Los Angeles, illuminating a pivotal moment in L.A.'s history, when writers like Raymond Chandler, Nathanael West, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were creating the images and associations--and the mystique--for which the City of Angels is still known. Many books in one, Los Angeles in the 1930s is both a genial guide and an addictively readable history, revisiting the Spanish colonial period, the Mexican period, the brief California Republic, and finally American sovereignty. It is also a compact coffee table book of dazzling monochrome photography. These whose haunting visions suggest the city we know today and illuminate the booms and busts that marked L.A.'s past and continue to shape its future.
San Diego in the 1930s offers a lively account of the city's culture, roadside attractions, and history--from the days of the Spanish missions to the pre-Second World War boom. The guide is revealing both in the opinions it embodies and in the juicy details it records--tidbits such as the bloodiest and most incompetently fought battle of the Mexican-American War, Emma Goldman's abruptly terminated speech to local Wobblies in 1912, and even a delightfully anachronistic way to beat a San Diego speeding ticket. Brimming with tours that can prove challenging to retrace, this book reminds us of the changes wrought by seven decades of intervening war, peace, and biotechnology. Unlatching a remarkable trapdoor into the past, this compact and charming document of the Depression era invites repeated browsing and is generously illustrated with striking black-and-white photographs that bring the period to life.
"San Francisco has no single landmark by which the world may identify it," according to San Francisco in the 1930s, originally published in 1940. This would surely come as a surprise to the millions who know and love the Golden Gate Bridge or recognize the Transamerica Building's pyramid. This invaluable Depression-era guide to San Francisco relates the city's history from the vantage point of the 1930s, describing its culture and highlighting the important tourist attractions of the time. David Kipen's lively introduction revisits the city's literary heritage--from Bret Harte to Kenneth Rexroth, Jade Snow Wong, and Allen Ginsberg--as well as its most famous landmarks and historic buildings. This rich and evocative volume, resonant with portraits of neighborhoods and districts, allows us a unique opportunity to travel back in time and savor the City by the Bay as it used to be.
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