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"A first-rate example of a literary historical novel."--Regan Upshaw, San Francisco Chronicle In his "Byron trilogy," Benjamin Markovits lovingly reinvents the nineteenth-century novel, true to its perfect prose, penetrating insight, and simmering passions. Inspired by the actual biography of Lord Byron--the greatest literary figure and most notorious sex symbol of his age--Markovits re¬imagines Byron's marriage to the capable, intellectual, and tormented Annabella and the scandal that broke open their lives and riveted the world around them: Byron's incestuous relationship with his impetuous half-sister, Gus. Their very different understandings of love and one's obligations to society lead them all--and the reader--headlong to a devastating conclusion.
"In this study of race relations in N.Y.C., Sleeper, an editorial writer for New York Newsday, harshly criticizes both black leaders and their liberal supporters for pointing a finger at America's racist society rather than setting concrete goals to overcome inequality." --Kirkus Reviews A report of the current state of race relations in New York City, which examines the differing views of militants, liberals and forgotten minorities, and presents suggestions for racial common sense that attempt to demolish long-standing stereotypes.
James Lasdun's two collections of short stories, Delirium Eclipse and Three Evenings, have won him outstanding praise as one of the most distinctive British writers of his generation, both as a stylist and as a storyteller. His work has been described by the New York Times Book Review as an "elegant pathology report on the modern soul," and the Village Voice calls his prose "art that burrows into troubling new territory even as it glides by like a dream." Besieged shows his gift for exploring the undertones of contemporary experience at its most haunting and electrically charged. Against a variety of stunningly evoked backgrounds--from the teeming banks of the Ganges in Varanasi to a homeless shelter in New York--these powerful, intensely focused narratives reverberate, as Michiko Kakutani put it in the New York Times, "insistently in the reader's mind long after he has finished the book." In "Ate/Menos" or "The Miracle," a young man takes unscrupulous advantage of a woman who mistakes him for someone else and finds himself enmeshed in her desperate obsessions and nightmares. In "The Siege," a wealthy recluse falls in love with the immigrant woman who lives in his basement. On discovering she is married and that her husband is a political prisoner, he embarks on a course of action that will lead simultaneously to his destruction and to his salvation. Two of the stories in this collection were made into major independent film. "Ate Menos" was the basis for the film Sunday, which won the Grand Jury Best Feature Award at Sundance. "The Siege" was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci for his film Besieged.
"A generous helping of [James's] very best, guaranteed to lift the spirit and raise the eyebrow."--Billy Collins Opal Sunset marks the exuberant introduction of Clive James's poetry to an American audience. Praised after the publication of Cultural Amnesia as one of the finest prose stylists of his generation, Clive James is now, with the publication of this collection, being granted recognition as the poet he has always been. For much of his long career it was hard to realize that James's gift for poetry underlay his achievements in other fields. First as a television critic on Fleet Street, and later as a television personality in his own right, he achieved such fame for writing the way he spoke that his poetry was regarded as an idiosyncratic sideline, as if no celebrity could write worthy verse. A conundrum presented itself: how could a serious poet also be a television star? But for James, a duty to the discipline of verse was always fundamental, and his accumulated poetic output became impossible to ignore. As early as the 1970s, James's long, mock epic "Peregrine Prykke's Pilgrimage through the London Literary World" received almost unprecedented attention in his adopted England, while later, his satirical short poem "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered" became not only a standard verse quoted at fancy dinner parties but entered the culture as lines to be memorized by unpublished writers everywhere. James was suddenly in the odd position of having written famous poems well before he became a famous poet. Finally, the publication of a volume of his collected verse, The Book of My Enemy, earned him in 2003 the reputation as a serious poet that he has long deserved. Less inhibited by fixed categories, a new generation of critics has confirmed what James's public has instinctively known, that he brings his poems to life with all the resources to be found in his prose: wit, imagination, social observation, and a dazzling play of language. In addition, his poems have an unmistakably characteristic rhythm that makes it compulsory to read them aloud. Switching between strict stanzas and free forms as the occasion suits, James brings a compulsively readable coherence to either mode; and always, over and above the binding force of his metrical assurance, there is a lyricism that brings even the plainest statement to extra life, and which often enters deeply into realms of human emotion. His later poems about the tragedy that struck his mother and father, for example, show an intensity of regret that mark his maturity as a poet and bring out his unashamed nostalgia for his homeland, Australia. Opal Sunset is a treasure chamber of epigrammatic jewels to which the reader will return again and again.
"Brilliant ....certainly among the most gifted, vivid, and deft poets now writing in English."--Anthony Hecht, author of The Darkness and the Light An exuberant and bold series of poems drawing on the poet's life in the Catskill Mountains. Questions of exile and belonging figure prominently, as does the struggle to find a viable relationship with the natural world. In the chainsaw--the book's central image--all manner of human traits are reflected with an intense, often comical brilliance.
"Superb. . . . Every page of this narration bears examples of Lasdun's own poetic mastery. . . . Shockingly vivid."--Time Out Part political thriller, part meditation on the nature of desire and betrayal, Seven Lies tells the story of Stefan Vogel, a young East German, whose yearnings for love, glory, and freedom express themselves in a lifelong fantasy of going to America. By a series of increasingly dangerous maneuvers, he makes this fantasy come true, his past seemingly locked behind the Berlin Wall and a new life of unbounded bliss ahead of him. But then his world begins to fall apart.
Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifactsby David Shields Matthew Vollmer
Contemporary short stories enacting giddy, witty revenge on the documents that define and dominate our lives. In our bureaucratized culture, we're inundated by documents: itineraries, instruction manuals, permit forms, primers, letters of complaint, end-of-year reports, accidentally forwarded email, traffic updates, ad infinitum. David Shields and Matthew Vollmer, both writers and professors, have gathered forty short fictions that they've found to be seriously hilarious and irresistibly teachable (in both writing and literature courses): counterfeit texts that capture the barely suppressed frustration and yearning that percolate just below the surface of most official documents. The innovative stories collected in Fakes--including ones by Ron Carlson (a personal ad), Amy Hempel (a complaint to the parking department), Rick Moody (Works Cited), and Lydia Davis (a letter to a funeral parlor)--trace the increasingly blurry line between fact and fiction and exemplify a crucial form for the twenty-first century.
The account of a trial in which the very meaning of the Holocaust was put on the stand. D. D. Guttenplan's The Holocaust on Trial is a bristling courtroom drama where the meaning of history is questioned. The plaintiff is British author David Irving, one of the world's preeminent military historians whose works are considered essential World War II scholarship and whose biographies of leading Nazi figures have been bestsellers. Irving refuses to admit to Hitler's responsibility in the extermination of European Jewry, replying that the Holocaust as we know it never happened. The defendant is Deborah Lipstadt, who blew the whistle on Irving, calling him "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." Irving sued for libel, and under English law, it was up to Lipstadt to prove the truth of her writings, and the falseness of Irving's views.
"This incredible true story reads like the wildest fiction."--Booklist In the summer of 1783 the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships, the 741-ton Grosvenor, had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast Africa. Astonishingly, most of those on board reached the shore safely--91 members of the crew and 34 wealthy, high-born passengers, including women and children. They were hundreds of miles from the nearest European outpost--and they were not alone. "They surveyed one another with mutual incomprehension: on the one hand the dishevelled castaways; on the other, black warriors with high conical hairstyles, daubed with red mud..." Drawing upon unpublished material and new research, Stephen Taylor pieces together the strands of this compelling saga, sifting the myths from a reality that is no less gripping. Full of unexpected twists, Caliban's Shore takes the reader to the heart of what is now South Africa, to analyze the misunderstandings that led to tragedy, to tell the story of those who returned, and to unravel the mystery of those who stayed.
The bestseller that reminded us what it means to be an American is more timely than ever in this updated and enlarged edition, including "Schlesinger's Syllabus," an annotated reading list of core books on the American experience. The classic image of the American nation -- a melting pot in which differences of race, wealth, religion, and nationality are submerged in democracy -- is being replaced by an orthodoxy that celebrates difference and abandons assimilation. While this upsurge in ethnic awareness has had many healthy consequences in a nation shamed by a history of prejudice, the cult of ethnicity, if pressed too far, threatens to fragment American society to a dangerous degree. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in history and adviser to the Kennedy and other administrations, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., is uniquely positioned to wave the caution flag in the race to a politics of identity. Using a broader canvas in this updated and expanded edition, he examines the international dimension and the lessons of one polyglot country after another tearing itself apart or on the brink of doing so: among them the former Yugoslavia, Nigeria, even Canada. Closer to home, he finds troubling new evidence that multiculturalism gone awry here in the United States threatens to do the same. "One of the most devastating and articulate attacks on multiculturalism yet to appear."--Wall Street Journal "A brilliant book . . . we owe Arthur Schlesinger a great debt of gratitude."--C. Vann Woodward, New Republic
"Mutual Contempt is at once a fascinating study in character and an illuminating meditation on the role character can play in shaping history."--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy loathed each other. Their antagonism, propelled by clashing personalities, contrasting views, and a deep, abiding animosity, would drive them to a bitterness so deep that even civil conversation was often impossible. Played out against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s, theirs was a monumental political battle that would shape federal policy, fracture the Democratic party, and have a lasting effect on the politics of our times. Drawing on previously unexamined recordings and documents, as well as memoirs, biographies, and scores of personal interviews, Jeff Shesol weaves the threads of this epic story into a compelling narrative that reflects the impact of LBJ and RFK's tumultuous relationship on politics, civil rights, the war on poverty, and the war in Vietnam. As Publishers Weekly noted, "This is indispensable reading for both experts on the period and newcomers to the history of that decade." "An exhaustive and fascinating history. . . . Shesol's grasp of the era's history is sure, his tale often entertaining, and his research awesome."--Russell Baker, New York Review of Books "Thorough, provocative. . . . The story assumes the dimensions of a great drama played out on a stage too vast to comprehend."--Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post (1997 Critic's Choice) "This is the most gripping political book of recent years."--Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
The definitive work on the Spanish Civil War, a classic of modern historical scholarship and a masterful narrative. Paul Preston is the world's foremost historian of Spain. This surging history recounts the struggles of the 1936 war in which more than 3,000 Americans took up arms. Tracking the emergence of Francisco Franco's brutal (and, ultimately, extraordinarily durable) fascist dictatorship, Preston assesses the ways in which the Spanish Civil War presaged the Second World War that ensued so rapidly after it. The attempted social revolution in Spain awakened progressive hopes during the Depression, but the conflict quickly escalated into a new and horrific form of warfare. As Preston shows, the unprecedented levels of brutality were burned into the American consciousness as never before by the revolutionary war reporting of Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Herbert Matthews, Vincent Sheean, Louis Fischer, and many others. Completely revised, including previously unseen material on Franco's treatment of women in wartime prisons, The Spanish Civil War is a classic work on this pivotal epoch in the twentieth century.
A new edition of the beloved volume by Joy Harjo, one of our foremost Native American poets. First published in 1983 and now considered a classic, She Had Some Horses is a powerful exploration of womanhood's most intimate moments. Joy Harjo's poems speak of women's despair, of their imprisonment and ruin at the hands of men and society, but also of their awakenings, power, and love.
Over a quarter-century's work from the 2003 winner of the Arrell Gibson Award for Lifetime Achievement. This collection gathers poems from throughout Joy Harjo's twenty-eight-year career, beginning in 1973 in the age marked by the takeover at Wounded Knee and the rejuvenation of indigenous cultures in the world through poetry and music. How We Became Human explores its title question in poems of sustaining grace. To view text with line endings as poet intended, please set font size to the smallest size on your device.
"This breathtakingly honest collection of writings is alive with deeply felt and beautifully expressed emotions."--Wilma Mankiller In her fifth book, Joy Harjo, one of our foremost Native American voices, melds memories, dream visions, myths, and stories from America's brutal history into a poetic whole. To view text with line endings as poet intended, please set font size to the smallest size on your device.
A tantalizing, droll study of the idiosyncratic existence of the very rich, through the unexpected lens of the naturalist. Journalist Richard Conniff probes the age-old question "Are the rich different from you and me?" and finds that they are indeed a completely different animal. He observes with great humor and finesse this socially unique species, revealing their strategies for ensuring dominance and submission, their flourishes of display behavior, the intricate dynamics of their pecking order, as well as their unorthodox mating practices. Through comparisons to other equally exotic animals, Conniff uncovers surprising commonalities. * How did Bill Gates achieve his single greatest act of social dominance by being nice? * How does the flattery of the rich resemble the grooming behavior of baboons? * What made the British aristocracy the single most successful animal dominance hierarchy in the history of the planet? * How does Old Money's disdain for the nouveaux riches resemble the pig-grunting of mountain gorillas? This marvelously entertaining field guide captures in vivid detail the behaviors and habitats of the world's most captivating yet elusive animal.
"Who can ask for better cosmic tour guides to the universe than Drs. Tyson and Goldsmith?" --Michio Kaku, author of Hyperspace and Parallel Worlds Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on recent scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, ?Origins? explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit Rover's exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter's moons, coauthors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanizing tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.
"Any reader who aspires to be scientifically literate will find this a good starting place."--Publishers Weekly While we may be familiar with some of science's greatest equations, we may not know that each and every equation emerged not in "Eureka!" moments but in years of cultural developments and scientific knowledge. With vignettes full of humor, drama, and eccentricity, philosopher and science historian Robert P. Crease shares the stories behind ten of history's greatest equations, from the "first equation," 1 + 1 = 2, which promises a rational, well-ordered world, to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which reveals the limitations of human knowledge. For every equation, Crease provides a brief account of who discovered it, what dissatisfactions lay behind its discovery, and what the equation says about the nature of our world.
In her seventh volume of poetry, Adrienne Rich searches to reclaim--to discover--what has been forgotten, lost, or unexplored. "I came to explore the wreck. / The words are purposes. / The words are maps. / I came to see the damage that was done / and the treasures that prevail." These provocative poems move with the power of Rich's distinctive voice.
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In this, her thirteenth book of verse, the author of "The Dream of a Common Language" and "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law" writes of war, oppression, the future, death, mystery, love and the magic of poetry.
"Adrienne Rich's new prose collection could have been titled The Essential Rich."--Women's Review of Books These essays trace a distinguished writer's engagement with her time, her arguments with herself and others. "I am a poet who knows the social power of poetry, a United States citizen who knows herself irrevocably tangled in her society's hopes, arrogance, and despair," Adrienne Rich writes. The essays in Arts of the Possible search for possibilities beyond a compromised, degraded system, seeking to imagine something else. They call on the fluidity of the imagination, from poetic vision to social justice, from the badlands of political demoralization to an art that might wound, that may open scars when engaged in its work, but will finally suture and not tear apart. This volume collects Rich's essays from the last decade of the twentieth century, including four earlier essays, as well as several conversations that go further than the usual interview. Also included is her essay explaining her reasons for declining the National Medal for the Arts. "The work is inspired and inspiring."--Alicia Ostriker "[S]o clear and clean and thorough. I learn from her again and again."--Grace Paley
"Highsmith's writing is wicked . . . it puts a spell on you, after which you feel altered, even tainted." --Entertainment Weekly With Norton's publication of The Black House, Patricia Highsmith's entire body of work is now back in print. First published in 1981, this volume is one of Highsmith's most nuanced and psychologically suspenseful works. The stories in The Black House mine classic Highsmith terrain as they sketch the lives of suburban dwellers that appear quite normal at first but unravel to reveal their proximity to the macabre. This collection is a perfect example of Highsmith's view of human nature and a fitting capstone to the reintroduction of one of the twentieth century's greatest writers.
In Deep Water, set in the quiet, small town of Little Wesley, Patricia Highsmith has created a vicious and suspenseful tale of love gone sour. Vic and Melinda Van Allen's loveless marriage is held together only by a precarious arrangement whereby, in order to avoid the messiness of divorce, Melinda is allowed to take any number of lovers as long as she does not desert her family. Eventually, Vic can no longer suppress his jealousy and tries to win back his wife by asserting himself through a tall tale of murder--one that soon comes true. In this complex portrayal of a dangerous psychosis emerging in the most unlikely of places, Highsmith examines the chilling reality behind the idyllic facade of American suburban life.
Long out of print, this Highsmith classic resurfaces with a vengeance. The great revival of interest in Patricia Highsmith continues with the publication of this novel that will give dog owners nightmares for years to come. With an eerie simplicity of style, Highsmith turns our next-door neighbors into sadistic psychopaths, lying in wait among white picket fences and manicured lawns. In A Dog's Ransom, Highsmith blends a savage humor with brilliant social satire in this dark tale of a highminded criminal who hits a wealthy Manhattan couple where it hurts the most when he kidnaps their beloved poodle. This work attesets to Highsmith's reputation as "the poet of apprehension" (Graham Greene).
At last back in print, one of Patricia Highsmith's most disturbing works. Rife with overtones of Dostoyevsky, The Glass Cell, first published forty years ago, combines a quintessential Highsmith mystery with a penetrating critique of the psychological devastation wrought by the prison system. Falsely convicted of fraud, the easygoing but naive Philip Carter is sentenced to six lonely, drug-ravaged years in prison. Upon his release, Carter is a more suspicious and violent man. For those around him, earning back his trust can mean the difference between life and death. The Glass Cell's bleak and compelling portrait of daily prison life--and the consequences for those who live it--is, sadly, as relevant today as it was when the book was first published in 1964.