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A startling history of modern Afghanistan: the story of a country caught in a vortex of terror. Veteran defense analyst and Afghanistan expert David Isby provides an insightful and meticulously researched look at the current situation in Afghanistan, her history, and what he believes must be done so that the US and NATO coalition can succeed in what has historically been known as "the graveyard of empires." Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the lowest literacy rates. It is rife with divisions between ethnic groups that dwarf current schisms in Iraq, and all the groups are lead by warlords who fight over control of the drug trade as much as they do over religion. The region is still racked with these confrontations along with conflicts between rouge factions from Pakistan, with whom relations are increasingly strained. After seven years and billions of dollars in aid, efforts at nation-building in Afghanistan has produced only a puppet regime that is dependent on foreign aid for survival and has no control over a corrupt police force nor the increasingly militant criminal organizations and the deepening social and economic crisis. The task of implementing an effective US policy and cementing Afghani rule is hampered by what Isby sees as separate but overlapping conflicts between terrorism, narcotics, and regional rivalries, each requiring different strategies to resolve. Pulling these various threads together will be the challenge for the Obama administration, yet it is a challenge that can be met by continuing to foster local involvement and Afghani investment in the region. This paperback edition includes a new 2011 afterword by the author.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson traverse the British Isles and the Italian peninsula in a rousing new series of adventures. After a thrilling jaunt in the far east, Holmes and Watson return to England to address an inheritance left by one of Watson's relatives in Cornwall, half of which he gave to his dear friend, Sherlock Holmes. Financially secure, the two are now free to spend as much time on Baker Street and the Continent as they please, and the duo find themselves as comfortable in Rome on the banks of the Tiber as the Thames. As Holmes rationalizes and ratiocinates his way through case after case, from "The Case of Two Bohemes" to "A Singular Event in Tranquebar," it's all in a day's work, until clues surface that his great nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, might still be alive . . .
From the fertile crescent to the far east, the great adventures of Holmes and Watson during the three-year gap between Holmes's "death" and his dramatic return. What exactly happened during Sherlock Holmes's "great hiatus" after his supposed death and triumphant return three years later? Riccardi images his travels in Europe and Asia during those years in nine original short stories set in places as far flung as Sumatra and Tibet. Given the uncertain grip of the British empire over its colonies, the murders and other mayhem Holmes confronts often have potentially grave political repercussions. Filled with local color and Holmes' signature wit and logic, Sherlockians the world over will relish this missing chapter in the life of the world's greatest detective.
Cutting through the myths about the white trade, this is the story of cocaine as it's never been told before. Cocaine is big business and getting bigger. Governments spend millions on a losing war against it, yet it's still the drug of choice in the West. In Cocaine Nation, Tom Feiling travels the trade routes from Colombia via Miami, Kingston, and Tijuana to London and New York. Cutting through the myths about the white trade, this is the story of cocaine as it's never been told before.
In 1610, The Tragedy of Macbeth was first performed. 400 years later: the sequel, written as a five-act play in blank verse. Ten years king, Malcolm sits on an uneasy throne. If Malcolm's mind is haunted by the ghosts of his royal father ("gracious Duncan") as well as the thane and lady who so bloodily betrayed him, Malcolm's soul is sickened, as was Macbeth's, by the witches' prophecy that from Banquo's seed would spring a line of Scottish kings: a prophecy that remained unfulfilled at the end of Shakespeare's play. The witches also taunt Malcolm with riddles all his own: that sorrows will visit him from Ireland (where his younger brother fled upon their father's death); that his love for Macbeth will breed fresh treachery. True to the Shakespearean model, its devious plot unfolding in five acts and its speech set to the measure of blank verse, Macbeth, Part II, draws bold the tragedy of a powerful man undone by the terrors he imagines and the truths he fails to see.
The mantras, witticisms, and philosophies of Ted Kennedy, collected by the editor of the New York Times bestselling The Kennedy Wit. "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die." --Democratic National Convention, 1980 "Like my brothers before me, I pick up the fallen standard. Sustained by the memory of our priceless years together, I shall try to carry forward that special commitment to justice, to excellence, and to courage that distinguished their lives." --Speech given before the start of the 1968 Democratic Convention A collection of quotations and philosophies from Ted Kennedy, grouped thematically in categories ("Words of Inspiration," "On the Kennedy Family and its Legacy," "Personal Reflections," "On Religion and Public life," "Lighter Moments," etc.). Each section will include a brief introduction by the editor to set off the group of quotes, which range from charming little one-liners to Kennedy's letter to Pope Benedict that President Obama hand-delivered to the Vatican in July 2009.
Columbus is back and as deadly as ever. But the hunter has now become the hunted, in this sequel to the national bestseller The Silver Bear. He told you not to like him. To get close to Columbus, the Silver Bear, means death. Exactly whose death remains to be determined. Recouping in Europe after losing his fence and best friend during his mission to assassinate his father, Columbus now finds his reverie interrupted by multiple assassins searching for the elusive Silver Bear. As Columbus eliminates each killer, more and more appear--a hydra effect he can only eliminate by finding the origin of the hit, a source connected to his own past. Racing across the globe, as both hunter and hunted, Columbus' travels take him to Italy, where he meets a mysterious woman named Risina. A woman with her own secret past, she may be Columbus' only hope of salvation.
"Guttentag brings the story lines together in a conclusion that leaves you morally conflicted, yet surprisingly satisfied."--San Francisco Chronicle When a high-profile lawyer is murdered at the Chateau Marmont, lackluster detective Jimmy McCann takes to the streets and finds himself enmeshed in this complex web of prostitution and drugs, learning that the killer, a young girl named Casey, is a victim in her own right. Delving into Casey's troubled community of homeless runaways, characterized by abuse, rape, death and disease, but also by friendship, loyalty and love, Bill Guttentag has crafted a stunning literary crime novel.
"Of all the work by young men who have sprung up since 1920 one book survives--The Enormous Room by E. E. Cummings."--F. Scott Fitzgerald The most notable work of fiction from our most beloved modernist poet, The Enormous Room was one of the greatest--yet still not fully recognized-- American literary works to emerge out of World War I. Drawing on E. E. Cummings's experiences in France as a volunteer ambulance driver, this novel takes us through a series of mishaps that led to the poet's being arrested for treason and imprisoned. Out of this trauma Cummings produced a work like no other--a story of oppression and injustice told with his characteristic linguistic energy and unflappable exuberance, which celebrates the spirit of the individual and offers a brave and brilliant opposition in the face of the inhumanity of war. Illustrated with drawings Cummings made while imprisoned in France and featuring an illuminating new introduction by Susan Cheever, this reissued edition offers a unique and multifaceted lens onto the inner life of the poet in his youth and demands recognition by a twenty-first-century readership.
The long-awaited memoir by "the most prolific and popular of all contemporary composers" (New York Times). A world-renowned composer of symphonies, operas, and film scores, Philip Glass has, almost single-handedly, crafted the dominant sound of late-twentieth-century classical music. Yet here in Words Without Music, he creates an entirely new and unexpected voice, that of a born storyteller and an acutely insightful chronicler, whose behind-the-scenes recollections allow readers to experience those moments of creative fusion when life so magically merged with art. "If you go to New York City to study music, you'll end up like your uncle Henry," Glass's mother warned her incautious and curious nineteen-year-old son. It was the early summer of 1956, and Ida Glass was concerned that her precocious Philip, already a graduate of the University of Chicago, would end up an itinerant musician, playing in vaudeville houses and dance halls all over the country, just like his cigar-smoking, bantamweight uncle. One could hardly blame Mrs. Glass for worrying that her teenage son would end up as a musical vagabond after initially failing to get into Juilliard. Yet, the transformation of a young man from budding musical prodigy to world-renowned composer is the story of this commanding memoir. From his childhood in post-World War II Baltimore to his student days in Chicago, at Juilliard, and his first journey to Paris, where he studied under the formidable Nadia Boulanger, Glass movingly recalls his early mentors, while reconstructing the places that helped shape his artistic consciousness. From a life-changing trip to India, where he met with gurus and first learned of Gandhi's Salt March, to the gritty streets of New York in the 1970s, where the composer returned, working day jobs as a furniture mover, cabbie, and an unlicensed plumber, Glass leads the life of a Parisian bohemian artist, only now transported to late-twentieth-century America. Yet even after Glass's talent was first widely recognized with the sensational premiere of Einstein on the Beach in 1976, even after he stopped renewing his hack license and gained international recognition for operatic works like Satyagraha, Orphée, and Akhnaten, the son of a Baltimore record store owner never abandoned his earliest universal ideals throughout his memorable collaborations with Allen Ginsberg, Ravi Shankar, Robert Wilson, Doris Lessing, Martin Scorsese, and many others, all of the highest artistic order. Few major composers are celebrated as writers, but Philip Glass, in this loving and slyly humorous autobiography, breaks across genres and re-creates, here in words, the thrill that results from artistic creation. Words Without Music ultimately affirms the power of music to change the world.
The untold story of an eccentric, scientific visionary whose death-defying research has saved millions of lives. Sixty years ago, cars and airplanes were still deathtraps waiting to happen. Today, both are safer than ever, thanks in part to one pioneering air force doctor's research on seatbelts and ejection seats. The exploits of John Paul Stapp (1910-1999) come to thrilling life in this biography of a Renaissance man who was once blasted--faster than a .45 caliber bullet--across the desert in his Sonic Wind rocket sled, only to be slammed to a stop in barely a second. The experiment put him on the cover of Time magazine and allowed his swashbuckling team to gather the data needed to revolutionize automobile and aircraft design. But Stapp didn't stop there. From the legendary high-altitude balloon tests that ensued to the ferocious battles for car safety legislation, Craig Ryan's book is as much a history of America's transition into the Jet Age as it is a biography of the man who got us there safely.
A dramatic work of historical detection illuminating one of the most significant--and long forgotten--Supreme Court cases in American history. In 1820, a suspicious vessel was spotted lingering off the coast of northern Florida, the Spanish slave ship Antelope. Since the United States had outlawed its own participation in the international slave trade more than a decade before, the ship's almost 300 African captives were considered illegal cargo under American laws. But with slavery still a critical part of the American economy, it would eventually fall to the Supreme Court to determine whether or not they were slaves at all, and if so, what should be done with them. Bryant describes the captives' harrowing voyage through waters rife with pirates and governed by an array of international treaties. By the time the Antelope arrived in Savannah, Georgia, the puzzle of how to determine the captives' fates was inextricably knotted. Set against the backdrop of a city in the grip of both the financial panic of 1819 and the lingering effects of an outbreak of yellow fever, Dark Places of the Earth vividly recounts the eight-year legal conflict that followed, during which time the Antelope's human cargo were mercilessly put to work on the plantations of Georgia, even as their freedom remained in limbo. When at long last the Supreme Court heard the case, Francis Scott Key, the legendary Georgetown lawyer and author of "The Star Spangled Banner," represented the Antelope captives in an epic courtroom battle that identified the moral and legal implications of slavery for a generation. Four of the six justices who heard the case, including Chief Justice John Marshall, owned slaves. Despite this, Key insisted that "by the law of nature all men are free," and that the captives should by natural law be given their freedom. This argument was rejected. The court failed Key, the captives, and decades of American history, siding with the rights of property over liberty and setting the course of American jurisprudence on these issues for the next thirty-five years. The institution of slavery was given new legal cover, and another brick was laid on the road to the Civil War. The stakes of the Antelope case hinged on nothing less than the central American conflict of the nineteenth century. Both disquieting and enlightening, Dark Places of the Earth restores the Antelope to its rightful place as one of the most tragic, influential, and unjustly forgotten episodes in American legal history.
From the best-selling translator of Némirovsky's Suite Française comes this bold new translation that reinterprets Guy de Maupassant's best works for a new generation. A Parisian civil servant turned protégé of Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant is considered not only one of the greatest short story writers in all of French literature but also a pioneer of psychological realism and modernism who helped define the form. Credited with influencing the likes of Chekhov, Maugham, Babel, and O. Henry, Maupassant had, at the time of his death at the age of forty-two, written six novels and some three hundred short stories. Yet in English, Maupassant has, curiously, remained unappreciated by modern readers due to outdated translations that render his prose in an archaic, literal style. In this bold new translation, Sandra Smith--the celebrated translator of Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise--brings us twenty-eight of Maupassant's essential stories and two novellas in lyrical yet accessible language that brings Maupassant into vibrant English. In addition to her sparkling translation, Smith also imposes a structure that captures the full range of Maupassant's work. Dividing the collection into three sections that reflect his predominant themes--nineteenth-century French society, the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and the supernatural--Smith creates "an arrangement suggesting a culture of relation, of structure, of completion" (Richard Howard). In "Tales of French Life," we see Maupassant explore the broad swath of French society, not just examining the lives of the affluent as was customary for writers in his day. In the title story of the collection, "The Necklace," Maupassant crafts a devastating portrait of misplaced ambition and ruin in the emerging middle class. The stories in "Tales of War" emerge from Maupassant's own experiences in the devastating Franco-Prussian War and create a portrait of that disastrous conflict that few modern readers have ever encountered. This section features Maupassant's most famous novella, "Boule de Suif." The last section, "Tales of the Supernatural," delves into the occult and the bizarre. While certain critics may attribute some of these stories and morbid fascination as the product of the author's fevered mind and possible hallucinations induced by late-stage syphilis, they echo the gothic horror of Poe as well as anticipate the eerie fiction of H. P. Lovecraft. The result takes readers from marriage, family, and the quotidian details of life to the disasters of war and nationalism, then to the gothic and beyond, allowing us to appreciate Maupassant in an idiom that matches our own times. The Necklace and Other Stories enables us to appreciate Maupassant as the progenitor of the modern short story and as a writer vastly ahead of his time.
A beguiling exploration of the joys of reading across boundaries, inspired by the author's year-long journey through a book from every country. Ann Morgan writes in the opening of this delightful book, "I glanced up at my bookshelves, the proud record of more than twenty years of reading, and found a host of English and North American greats starting down at me...I had barely touched a work by a foreign language author in years...The awful truth dawned. I was a literary xenophobe." Prompted to read a book translated into English from each of the world's 195 UN-recognized countries (plus Taiwan and one extra), Ann sought out classics, folktales, current favorites and commercial triumphs, novels, short stories, memoirs, and countless mixtures of all these things. The world between two covers, the world to which Ann introduces us with affection and no small measure of wit, is a world rich in the kind of narratives that engage us passionately: we meet an irreverent junk food-obsessed heroine in Kuwait, an explorer from Togo who spent years among the Inuit in Greenland, and a former child circus performer of Roma background seeking sanctuary in Switzerland. Ann's quest explores issues that affect us all: personal, political, national, and global. What is cultural heritage? How do we define national identity? Is it possible to overcome censorship and propaganda? And, above all, why and how should we read from other cultures, languages, and traditions? Illuminating and inspiring, The World Between Two Covers welcomes us into the global community of stories.
Hailed as Elizabeth Spencer's best novel (Michael Gorra, New York Review of Books), this lost masterpiece of midcentury America traces the decline of the fortunate and the search for redemption in Kennedy-era America. Winner of five O. Henry Awards and the 2013 Rea Prize for Short Fiction, Elizabeth Spencer has long been considered a master of the short story, yet her novels are no less a showcase for her uncanny ability to depict how "twisted, chafing, inescapable, and life-supporting" (Alice Munro) the ties that bind families and marriages are. Nowhere are these skills more evident than in her fourth novel, No Place for an Angel, a Jamesian portrait of Cold War America that follows two fracturing marriages--Catherine and Jerry Sasser, a Texas heiress and a ruthless political fixer, and Irene and Charles Waddell, a worldly pair involved with American policymaking in Italy--as they cross paths from the oil fields of Texas to Rome and New York. Witty, mordant, but above all deeply perceptive of the secret emotional worlds of her characters, Spencer portrays the limitless ambition of the postwar world, the soaring rise of her characters, and, finally, their diminishing fortunes, which lead to smaller but firmer destinies.
A Slate, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2014 From across strange aeons comes the long-awaited annotated edition of "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale" (Stephen King). "With an increasing distance from the twentieth century...the New England poet, author, essayist, and stunningly profuse epistolary Howard Phillips Lovecraft is beginning to emerge as one of that tumultuous period's most critically fascinating and yet enigmatic figures," writes Alan Moore in his introduction to The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft. Despite this nearly unprecedented posthumous trajectory, at the time of his death at the age of forty-six, Lovecraft's work had appeared only in dime-store magazines, ignored by the public and maligned by critics. Now well over a century after his birth, Lovecraft is increasingly being recognized as the foundation for American horror and science fiction, the source of "incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction" (Joyce Carol Oates). In this volume, Leslie S. Klinger reanimates Lovecraft with clarity and historical insight, charting the rise of the erstwhile pulp writer, whose rediscovery and reclamation into the literary canon can be compared only to that of Poe or Melville. Weaving together a broad base of existing scholarship with his own original insights, Klinger appends Lovecraft's uncanny oeuvre and Kafkaesque life story in a way that provides context and unlocks many of the secrets of his often cryptic body of work. Over the course of his career, Lovecraft--"the Copernicus of the horror story" (Fritz Leiber)--made a marked departure from the gothic style of his predecessors that focused mostly on ghosts, ghouls, and witches, instead crafting a vast mythos in which humanity is but a blissfully unaware speck in a cosmos shared by vast and ancient alien beings. One of the progenitors of "weird fiction," Lovecraft wrote stories suggesting that we share not just our reality but our planet, and even a common ancestry, with unspeakable, godlike creatures just one accidental revelation away from emerging from their epoch of hibernation and extinguishing both our individual sanity and entire civilization. Following his best-selling The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Leslie S. Klinger collects here twenty-two of Lovecraft's best, most chilling "Arkham" tales, including "The Call of Cthulhu," At the Mountains of Madness, "The Whisperer in Darkness," "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Colour Out of Space," and others. With nearly 300 illustrations, including full-color reproductions of the original artwork and covers from Weird Tales and Astounding Stories, and more than 1,000 annotations, this volume illuminates every dimension of H. P. Lovecraft and stirs the Great Old Ones in their millennia of sleep.
For fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time comes this landmark novel about autism, memory, and, ultimately, redemption. Sent to a "therapeutic community" for autism at the age of eleven, Todd Aaron, now in his fifties, is the "Old Fox" of Payton LivingCenter. A joyous man who rereads the encyclopedia compulsively, he is unnerved by the sudden arrivals of a menacing new staffer and a disruptive, brain-injured roommate. His equilibrium is further worsened by Martine, a one-eyed new resident who has romantic intentions and convinces him to go off his meds to feel "normal" again. Undone by these pressures, Todd attempts an escape to return "home" to his younger brother and to a childhood that now inhabits only his dreams. Written astonishingly in the first-person voice of an autistic, adult man, Best Boy--with its unforgettable portraits of Todd's beloved mother, whose sweet voice still sings from the grave, and a staffer named Raykene, who says that Todd "reflects the beauty of His creation"--is a piercing, achingly funny, finally shattering novel no reader can ever forget.
In this virtuosic debut, a world-class soprano seeks to reclaim her voice from the curse that winds through her family tree. Lulu can't sing. Since the traumatic birth of her daughter, the internationally renowned soprano hasn't dared utter a note. She's afraid that her body is too fragile and that she may have lost her talent to a long-dreaded curse afflicting all of the mothers in her family. When Lulu was a child, her strong-willed grandmother Ada filled her head with fables of the family's enchanted history in the Polish countryside. A fantastical lore took hold--an incantatory mix of young love, desperate hope, and one sinister bargain that altered the family's history forever. Since that fateful pact, Ada tells Lulu, each mother in their family has been given a daughter, but each daughter has exacted an essential cost from her mother. Ada was the first to recognize young Lulu's transcendent talent, spotting it early on in their cramped Chicago apartment, then watching her granddaughter ascend to dizzying heights in packed international concert halls. But as the curse predicted, Lulu's mother, a sultry and elusive jazz singer, disappeared into her bitterness in the face of Lulu's superior talent--before disappearing from her family's life altogether. Now, in the early days of her own daughter's life, Lulu now finds herself weighing her overwhelming love for her child against the burden of her family's past. In incandescent prose, debut novelist Adrienne Celt skillfully intertwines the sensuous but precise physicality of both motherhood and music. She infuses The Daughters with the spirit of the rusalka, a bewitching figure of Polish mythology that inspired Dvořák's classic opera. The result is a tapestry of secrets, affairs, and unimaginable sacrifices, revealing a family legacy laced with brilliance, tragedy, and most mysterious and seductive of all--the resonant ancestral lore that binds each mother to the one that came before.
A renowned cultural critic tells his own deeply engaging story of growing up in the turbulent American culture of the postwar decades. At once a coming-of-age story, an intellectual autobiography, and vivid cultural history, Why Not Say What Happened is an eloquent, gripping account of an intellectual and emotional education from one of our leading critics. In this "acutely observed, slyly funny memoir" (Molly Haskell), Morris Dickstein evokes his boisterous and close-knit Jewish family, his years as a yeshiva student that eventually led to fierce rebellion, his teenage adventures in the Catskills and in a Zionist summer camp, and the later education that thrust him into a life-changing world of ideas and far-reaching literary traditions. Dickstein brilliantly depicts the tension between the parochial religious world of his youth and the siren call of a larger cosmopolitan culture, a rebellion that manifested itself in a yarmulka replaced by Yankees cap, a Shakespeare play concealed behind a heavy tractate of the Talmud, and classes cut on Wednesday afternoons to take in the Broadway theater. Tracing a path from the Lower East Side to Columbia University, Yale, and Cambridge, Dickstein leaves home, travels widely, and falls in love, breaking through to new experiences of intimacy and sexual awakening, only to be brought low by emotional conflicts that beset him as a graduate student--homesickness, a sense of cultural dislocation--issues that come to a head during a troubled year abroad. In Why Not Say What Happened we see Dickstein come into his own as a teacher and writer deeply engaged with poetry: the "daringly modern" Blake, the bittersweet "negotiations of time and loss" in Wordsworth, and the "shifting turns of consciousness itself" in Keats. While eloquently evoking the tumult of the sixties and a culture in flux, Why Not Say What Happened is enlivened by Dickstein's "Zelig-like presence at nearly every significant aesthetic and political turning of the second half of the American twentieth century" (Cynthia Ozick). Dickstein crafts memorable portraits of his own mentors and legendary teachers like Lionel Trilling, Peter Gay, F. R. Leavis, and Harold Bloom, who become inimitable role models. They provide him with a world-class understanding of how to read and nourish his burgeoning feeling for literature and history. In the tradition of classic memoirs by Alfred Kazin and Irving Howe, this frank and revealing story, at once keenly personal and broadly cultural, sheds light on the many different forms education can take.
Widely admired as the definitive cultural history of the 1960s, this groundbreaking work finally reappears in a new edition. The turbulent 1960s, almost from its outset, produced a dizzying display of cultural images and ideas that were as colorful as the psychedelic T-shirts that became part of its iconography. It was not, however, until Morris Dickstein's landmark Gates of Eden, first published in 1977, that we could fully grasp the impact of this raucous decade in American history as a momentous cultural epoch in its own right, as much as Jazz Age America or Weimar Germany. From Ginsberg and Dylan to Vonnegut and Heller, this lasting work brilliantly re-creates not only the intellectual and political ferment of the decade but also its disillusionment. What results is an inestimable contribution to our understanding of twentieth-century American culture.
One of the greatest characters of medieval literature, the trickster Reynard the Fox, comes to life in this rollicking new translation. What do a weak lion king, a grief-stricken rooster, a dim-witted bear, and one really angry wolf have in common? The answer is they've all been had by one sly fox named Reynard. Originally bursting forth from Europe in the twelfth century, Reynard the Fox--a classic trickster narrative centered on a wily and gleefully amoral fox and his numerous victims in the animal kingdom--anticipated both Tex Avery and The Prince by showing that it's better to be clever than virtuous. However, where The Prince taught kings how to manipulate their subjects, Reynard the Fox demonstrated how, in a world of ruthless competition, clever subjects could outwit both their rulers and enemies alike. In these riotous pages, Reynard lies, cheats, or eats anyone and anything that he crosses paths with, conning the likes of Tybert the Cat, Bruin the Bear, and Bellin the Ram, among others. Reynard's rapacious nature and constant "stealing and roving" eventually bring him into conflict with the court of the less-than-perceptive Noble the Lion and the brutal Isengrim the Wolf, pitting cunning trickery against brute force. Unlike the animal fables of Aesop, which use small narratives to teach schoolboy morality, Reynard the Fox employs a dark and outrageous sense of humor to puncture the hypocritical authority figures of the "civilized" order, as the rhetorically brilliant fox outwits all comers by manipulating their bottomless greed. As James Simpson, one of the world's leading scholars of medieval literature, notes in his introduction, with translations in every major European language and twenty-three separate editions between 1481 and 1700 in England alone, the Reynard tales were ubiquitous. However, despite its immense popularity at the time, this brains-over-brawn parable largely disappeared. Now, for the first time in over a century, the fifteenth-century version of Reynard the Fox reemerges in this rollicking translation. Readers both young and old will be delighted by Reynard's exploits, as he excels at stitching up the vain, pompous, and crooked and escapes punishment no matter how tight the noose. Highlighted by new illustrations by Edith E. Newman, Simpson's translation of the late Middle English Caxton edition restores this classic as a part of a vital tradition that extends all the way to Br'er Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, and even Itchy & Scratchy. As Stephen Greenblatt writes in his foreword, Reynard is the "animal fable's version of Homer's Odysseus, the man of many wiles," proving that in a dog-eat-dog world the fox reigns supreme.
"Clive James is more or less the only living poet who manages to be both entertaining and moving." --Edward Mendelson, Columbia University Clive James is one of our finest critics and best-beloved cultural voices. He is also a prize-winning poet. Since he was first enthralled by the mysterious power of poetry, he has been a dedicated student. In fact, for him, poetry has been nothing less than the occupation of his lifetime, and in this book he presents a distillation of all he's learned about the art form that matters to him most. With his customary wit, delightfully lucid prose style and wide-ranging knowledge, Clive James explains the difference between the innocuous stuff so prevalent today and a real poem: the latter being a work of unity that insists on being heard entire and threatens never to leave the memory. A committed formalist and an astute commentator, James examines the poems and legacies of a panorama of twentieth-century poets, from Hart Crane to Ezra Pound, from Ted Hughes to Anne Sexton. In some cases he includes second readings or rereadings from later in life--just to be sure he wasn't wrong the first time! Whether demanding that poetry must be heard beyond the world of poetry or opining on his five favorite poets (Yeats, Frost, Auden, Wilbur, and Larkin), James captures the whole truth of life's transience in this unforgettably eloquent book on how to read and appreciate modern poetry.
"If there remains any doubt about Allan Gurganus's literary greatness, Local Souls should put this to rest forever."--Jamie Quatro, New York Times Book Review Decoy, the concluding novella of Allan Gurganus's hugely acclaimed Local Souls, was hailed as the standout of that work. Critics called it "humane, profound, hilarious, nostalgic, the literary equivalent of a bare-knuckled knockout punch" (Miami Herald). Like Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day it is a haunting lyrical portrayal of a life half-led. Set in mythical Falls, North Carolina, this mysterious and compelling tale maps the lifelong eroticized friendship between two married men. When Doc Roper, the town's beloved physician, announces he is retiring from practice to carve exquisite duck decoys, he triggers an epidemic of catastrophes. His dependent patient and next-door neighbor, Bill Mabry, feels cut loose. Then the close-knit town is devastated by a flood of near-biblical proportions. Working inexorably "to an unexpected moment of catharsis" (Dwight Garner, New York Times) Decoy--already emerging as an essential work of American literature--charts the tender border between life and death.
Biography on a grand cultural level, here is the long-awaited story of Sam Wagstaff and his indelible influence on the world of late-twentieth-century art. Sam Wagstaff, the legendary curator, collector, and patron of the arts, emerges as a cultural visionary in this groundbreaking biography. Even today remembered primarily as the mentor and lover of Robert Mapplethorpe, the once infamous photographer, Wagstaff, in fact, had an incalculable--and largely overlooked--influence on the world of contemporary art and photography, and on the evolution of gay identity in the latter part of the twentieth century. Born in New York City in 1921 into a notable family, Wagstaff followed an arc that was typical of a young man of his class. He attended both Hotchkiss and Yale, served in the navy, and would follow in step with his Ivy League classmates to the "gentleman's profession," as an ad executive on Madison Avenue. With his unmistakably good looks, he projected an aura of glamour and was cited by newspapers as one of the most eligible bachelors of the late 1940s. Such accounts proved deceiving, for Wagstaff was forced to live in the closet, his homosexuality only revealed to a small circle of friends. Increasingly uncomfortable with his career and this double life, he abandoned advertising, turned to the formal study of art history, and embarked on a radical personal transformation that was in perfect harmony with the tumultuous social, cultural, and sexual upheavals of the 1960s. Accordingly, Wagstaff became a curator, in 1961, at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum, where he mounted both "Black, White, and Gray"--the first museum show of minimal art--and the sculptor Tony Smith's first museum show, while lending his early support to artists Andy Warhol, Ray Johnson, and Richard Tuttle, among many others. Later, as a curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts, he brought the avant-garde to a regional museum, offending its more staid trustees in the process. After returning to New York City in 1972, the fifty-year-old Wagstaff met the twenty-five-year-old Queens-born Robert Mapplethorpe, then living with Patti Smith. What at first appeared to be a sexual dalliance became their now historic lifelong romance, in which Mapplethorpe would foster Wagstaff's own burgeoning interest in contemporary photography and Wagstaff would help secure Mapplethorpe's reputation in the art world. In spite of their profound class differences, the artistic union between the philanthropically inclined Wagstaff and the prodigiously talented Mapplethorpe would rival that of Stieglitz and O'Keefe, or Rivera and Kahlo, in their ability to help reshape contemporary art history. Positioning Wagstaff's personal life against the rise of photography as a major art form and the simultaneous formation of the gay rights movement, Philip Gefter's absorbing biography provides a searing portrait of New York just before and during the age of AIDS. The result is a definitive and memorable portrait of a man and an era.
Based on a true story: Monte Schulz's prose novel fictionalizes the hardboiled exploits of a real-life femme fatale, told from her hapless husband's perspective. Veteran Joe Krueger is drifting in 1950s California, looking for work wherever he can find it. Tired after a long drive, he stops at a boardinghouse and meets sweet -- and sexy -- Ida, who rents him a room. That very night, Ida tells him "Mother" and "Father" have run their auto over a cliff, then seduces him in the teary aftermath. Smitten now, Joe starts helping out around the boardinghouse, and the two marry. The honeymoon is over when a shocking series of events force the Kruegers down to San Francisco, where Ida is injured in a bus accident. Soon enough, insurance investigators have chased them out of the city to another town where Ida schemes to swindle a motel owner out of her property. Next, the motel owner and her crippled husband are missing, a water softener salesman is shot, and workmen are digging holes in Joe Krueger's basement. Schulz shifts gears from his recent Jazz Age Trilogy, combining the exquisitely wrought language of those novels and a straight-for-the-throat pulpy narrative. Imagine the pathology laid bare in Don DeLillo's Libra fused with the sordid and desperate criminality of Jim Thompson's The Getaway, and the black humor of Bruce Jay Friedman. Based on the true story of Iva Kroeger and her husband Ralph, who were indicted for the murders of Mildred and Jay Arneson in 1962, Naughty culminates in a trial: Ida, whose crimes have (only just) begun to catch up to her, is at her zenith, pleading insanity and playing the part to the hilt. The reader learns Joe's and Ida's fates via excerpts from authentic court documents. Naughty explores exactly what happens when "a swell-looking babe" is unleashed on real life, leaving marks, patsies, and bodies in her wake.
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