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A young man who is rapidly going to the dogs in Berlin is packed off by his father to a university in a sleepy provincial town. There a brilliant lecture awakens in him a wild passion for learning--as well as a peculiarly intense fascination with the graying professor who gave the talk. The student grows close to the professor, becoming a regular visitor to the apartment he shares with his much younger wife. He takes it upon himself to urge his teacher to finish the great work of scholarship that he has been laboring at for years and even offers to help him in any way he can. The professor welcomes the young man's attentions, at least on some days. On others, he rages without apparent reason or turns away from his disciple with cold scorn. The young man is baffled, wounded. He cannot understand. But the wife understands. She understands perfectly. And one way or another she will help him to understand too.
An original study of exile, told through the biography of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig By the 1930s, Stefan Zweig had become the most widely translated living author in the world. His novels, short stories, and biographies were so compelling that they became instant best sellers. Zweig was also an intellectual and a lover of all the arts, high and low. Yet after Hitler's rise to power, this celebrated writer who had dedicated so much energy to promoting international humanism plummeted, in a matter of a few years, into an increasingly isolated exile--from London to Bath to New York City, then Ossining, Rio, and finally Petrópolis--where, in 1942, in a cramped bungalow, he killed himself. The Impossible Exile tells the tragic story of Zweig's extraordinary rise and fall while it also depicts, with great acumen, the gulf between the world of ideas in Europe and in America, and the consuming struggle of those forced to forsake one for the other. It also reveals how Zweig embodied, through his work, thoughts, and behavior, the end of an era--the implosion of Europe as an ideal of Western civilization.
Yes, the world is getting noisier, and yes, silence is increasingly hard to find, argues George Prochnik. In this inquiry into noise and silence, the author examines how present-day life has gotten so loud and what we all lose when we're unable to find quiet. Among the people that reader will meet in this book are an architect who is collaborating with the deaf community at Gallaudet University to create a new kind of silent architecture; a soldier in Afghanistan who places silence at the heart of survival in war; a sound designer for shopping malls who ensures that stores never stop their auditory assault on our senses, and a group of commuters who kept background music out of Grand Central Station. Prochnik's well thought out case for silence will appeal to anyone interested the health and environmental effects of an ever more noisy world, or just in cutting down on the stresses in their own life. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Winner of the 2007 Gradiva AwardAn innovative work of biography that traces the lasting impact of the friendship between Sigmund Freud and pioneering American psychologist James Jackson Putnam. In 1909 Sigmund Freud made his only visit to America, which included a trip to "Putnam Camp"-the eminent American psychologist James Jackson Putnam's family retreat in the Adirondacks. "Of all the things that I have experienced in America, this is by far the most amazing," Freud wrote of Putnam Camp. Putnam, a Boston Unitarian, and Freud, a Viennese Jew, came from opposite worlds, cherished polarized ambitions, and promoted seemingly irreconcilable visions of human nature-and yet they struck up an unusually fruitful collaboration. Putnam's unimpeachable reputation played a crucial role in legitimizing the psychoanalytic movement. By the time of Putnam's death in 1918, psychoanalysis had been launched in America, where-in large part thanks to the influence of Putnam, and in a development Freud had not anticipated-it went on to become a practice that moved beyond the vicissitudes of desire to cultivate the growth and spiritual aspirations of the individual as a whole. Putnam Camp reveals details of Putnam's and Freud's personal lives that have never been fully explored before, including the crucial role Putnam's muse, Susan Blow-founder of America's first kindergarten, pioneering educator and philosopher in the American Hegelian movement-played in the intense debate between these two great thinkers. As the great-grandson of Putnam, author George Prochnik had access to a wealth of personal firsthand material from the Putnam family-as well as from the James and Emerson families-all of which contribute to a new and intimate vision of the texture of daily life at a moment when America was undergoing a cultural and intellectual renaissance.
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