The Books in My Life
Author: Henry Miller
Publisher: New Directions Publishing
In this unique work, Henry Miller gives an utterly candid and self-revealing account of the reading he did during his formative years. Some writers attempt to conceal the literary influences which have shaped their thinking––but not Henry Miller. In The Books in My Life he shares the thrills of discovery that many kinds of books have brought to a keenly curious and questioning mind. Some of Miller’s favorite writers are the giants whom most of us revere––authors such as Dostoeyvsky, Boccaccio, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Lao-Tse. To them he brings fresh and penetrating insights. But many are lesser-known figures: Krishnamurti, the prophet-sage; the French contemporaries Blaise Cendrars and Jean Giono; Richard Jeffries, who wrote The Story of My Heart; the Welshman John Cowper Powys; and scores of others. The Books in My Life contains some fine autobiographical chapters, too. Miller describes his boyhood in Brooklyn, when he devoured the historical stories of G. A. Henty and the romances of Rider Haggard. He tells of the men and women whom he regards as "living books": Lou Jacobs, W. E. B. DuBois, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and others. He offers his reminiscences of the New York Theatre in the early 1900’s––including plays such as Alias Jimmy Valentine and Nellie, the Beautiful Cloak Model. And finally, in Miller’s best vein of humor, he provides a satiric chapter on bathroom reading. In an appendix, Miller lists the hundred books that have influenced him most.
A new edition of William Carlos Williams’ loving and groundbreaking book about American history, with a new introduction by Rick Moody. Although admired by D. H. Lawrence, this modern classic went generally unnoticed during the years after its publication in 1925. Yet it is “a fundamental book, essential if one proposes to come to terms with American literature” (Times Literary Supplement). William Carlos Williams was not a historian, but he was fascinated by the texture of American history. Beginning with Columbus’s discovery of the Indies and moving on through Sir Walter Raleigh, Cotton Mather, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, Edgar Allan Poe, and Abraham Lincoln, Williams found in the fabric of familiar episodes new shades of meaning and configurations of character. He brought a poetic imagination to the task of reconstructing a live tradition for Americans, and what results is one of the finest works of prose to have been penned by any writer of the twentieth century.
Spoken Into the Void
Author: Adolf Loos
Publisher: Mit Press
The Vienna Jubilee Exhibition of 1898 provided the occasion for these remarkable essays by the Austrian architect, theorist, and irreverent critic of his own culture, Adolf Loos. The rational underpinnings of his later accusation that "ornament is crime," first appear in these polemical thrusts at the stylized work of Viennese sucessionists Joseph Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, Hermann Obrist, and Gustav Klimt, among others.
Author: Irene Nemirovsky
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Suite Française is both a brilliant novel of wartime and an extraordinary historical document. An unmatched evocation of the exodus from Paris after the German invasion of 1940, and of life under the Nazi occupation, it was written by the esteemed French novelist Irène Némirovsky as events unfolded around her. This haunting masterpiece has been hailed by European critics as a War and Peace for the Second World War. Though she conceived the book as a five-part work (based on the form of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony), Irène Némirovsky was able to write only the first two parts, Storm in June and Dolce, before she was arrested in July 1942. She died in Auschwitz the following month. The manuscript was saved by her young daughter Denise; it was only decades later that Denise learned that what she had imagined was her mother’s journal was in fact an invaluable work of art. Storm in June takes place in the tumult of the evacuation from Paris in 1940, just before the arrival of the invading German army. It moves vividly between different levels of society–from the wealthy Péricand family, whose servants pack up their possessions for them, to a group of orphans from the 16th arrondissement escaping in a military truck. Némirovsky’s immense canvas includes deserting soldiers and terrified secretaries, cynical bank directors and hapless priests, egotistical writers and hardscrabble prostitutes–all thrown together in a chaotic attempt to escape the capital. Moving between them chapter by chapter, this thrilling novel describes a journey hampered and in some cases abandoned because of confusion, shelling, rumour, lack of supplies, bad luck and ordinary human weakness. Cars break down or are stolen; relatives are forgotten; friends are divided; but there are also moments of love and charity. Throughout, whether depicting saintly forbearance or the basest selfishness, Storm in June neither sweetens nor demonizes its characters; unsentimentally, with stunning perceptiveness, Némirovsky shows the complexities that mean no-one is simply a hero or villain. The second volume, Dolce, is set in the German-occupied village of Bussy. Again, Némirovsky switches seamlessly between social strata, from tenant farmers to the local aristocracy. The focus, however, is on the delicate, secret love affair between a German soldier and the French woman in whose house he has been billeted; the passion, doubts and deceits of their burgeoning relationship echo the complex mixture of hostility and acceptance felt by the occupied community as a whole. Némirovsky is amazingly sensitive in her depiction of changing, often contradictory emotions, but her attention to the personal is matched by her sharp-eyed discussion of small-town life and the politics of occupation. In this myth-dissolving book, the French villagers see the Germans as oppressive warriors, but also as handsome young men, and occupation does nothing to remedy the condescension and envy that bedevil relations between rich and poor. Quite apart from the astonishing story of its survival, Suite Française is a novel of genius and lasting artistic value. Subtle, often fiercely ironic, and deeply compassionate, it is both a piercing record of its time and a humane, profoundly moving novel. From the Hardcover edition.
Quiet Days in Clichy
Author: Henry Miller
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
This tender and nostalgic work dates from the same period as Tropic of Cancer (1934). It is a celebration of love, art, and the Bohemian life at a time when the world was simpler and slower, and Miller an obscure, penniless young writer in Paris. Whether discussing the early days of his long friendship with Alfred Perles or his escapades at the Club Melody brothel, in Quiet Days in Clichy Miller describes a period that would shape his entire life and oeuvre.
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Publisher: Cheapest Books via PublishDrive
-THE DOUBLE- centers on a government clerk who goes mad. It deals with the internal psychological struggle of its main character, Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, who repeatedly encounters someone who is his exact double in appearance but confident, aggressive, and extroverted, characteristics that are the polar opposites to those of the toadying "pushover" protagonist. The motif of the novella is a doppelganger (Russian "dvoynik"), known throughout the world in various guises such as the fetch. * * * It was a little before eight o’clock in the morning when Yakov Petrovitch Golyadkin, a titular councillor, woke up from a long sleep. He yawned, stretched, and at last opened his eyes completely. For two minutes, however, he lay in his bed without moving, as though he were not yet quite certain whether he were awake or still asleep, whether all that was going on around him were real and actual, or the continuation of his confused dreams. Very soon, however, Mr. Golyadkin’s senses began more clearly and more distinctly to receive their habitual and everyday impressions. The dirty green, smoke-begrimed, dusty walls of his little room, with the mahogany chest of drawers and chairs, the table painted red, the sofa covered with American leather of a reddish colour with little green flowers on it, and the clothes taken off in haste overnight and flung in a crumpled heap on the sofa, looked at him familiarly. At last the damp autumn day, muggy and dirty, peeped into the room through the dingy window pane with such a hostile, sour grimace that Mr. Golyadkin could not possibly doubt that he was not in the land of Nod, but in the city of Petersburg, in his own flat on the fourth storey of a huge block of buildings in Shestilavotchny Street.
Author: Joseph Conrad
Author: Roberto Calasso
The eighteenth-century Venetian painter Giambattista Tiepolo spent his life executing commissions in churches, palaces, and villas, often covering vast ceilings like those at the Würzburg Residenz in Germany and the Royal Palace in Madrid with frescoes that are among the glories of Western art. The life of an epoch swirled around him—but though his contemporaries appreciated and admired him, they failed to understand him. Few have even attempted to tackle Tiepolo’s series of thirty-three bizarre and haunting etchings, the Capricci and the Scherzi, but Roberto Calasso rises to the challenge, interpreting them as chapters in a dark narrative that contains the secret of Tiepolo’s art. Blooming ephebes, female Satyrs, Oriental sages, owls, snakes: we will find them all, as well as Punchinello and Death, within the pages of this book, along with Venus, Time, Moses, numerous angels, Cleopatra, and Beatrice of Burgundy—a motley company always on the go. Calasso makes clear that Tiepolo was more than a dazzling intermezzo in the history of painting. Rather, he represented a particular way of meeting the challenge of form: endowed with a fluid, seemingly effortless style, Tiepolo was the last incarnation of that peculiar Italian virtue sprezzatura, the art of not seeming artful. From the Hardcover edition.
The Bird's Nest
Author: Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson's third novel, a chilling descent into multiple personalities Elizabeth is a demure twenty-three-year-old wiling her life away at a dull museum job, living with her neurotic aunt, and subsisting off her dead mother’s inheritance. When Elizabeth begins to suffer terrible migraines and backaches, her aunt takes her to the doctor, then to a psychiatrist. But slowly, and with Jackson’s characteristic chill, we learn that Elizabeth is not just one girl—but four separate, self-destructive personalities. The Bird’s Nest, Jackson’s third novel, develops hallmarks of the horror master’s most unsettling work: tormented heroines, riveting familial mysteries, and a disquieting vision inside the human mind. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Irène Némirovsky, Sandra Smith
Publisher: Random House
"Two lost classics from the Ukranian-born, French-educated writer gathered together in one volume. Le Bal depicts the life of the Kampfs who, having recently gone up in the world thanks to luck with the stockmarket decide to throw a ball in order to launch themselves into society. Their daughter Antoinette, who has just turned fourteen, dreams of attending. But Madame Kampf is resolved not to present her daughter, already so grown up, to her admirers. Instead, Antoinette is forced to sleep in the laundry, as her bedroom is used as coatroom. In an unpremeditated fury of revolt and despair, Antoinette takes her revenge. It is swift and it is horrible. A cruel, funny and tender examination of class differences, of the dynamic between mother and daughter, Le bal is ultimately dedicated to the torments of childhood. Snow in Autumn pays homage to Nemirovsky's beloved Chekhov and chronicles the life of a devoted servant following her masters as they flee Revolutionary Moscow and emigrate to a life of hardship in Paris."
The Homeric Gods
Author: Walter Friedrich Otto
Publisher: Mimesis Edizioni
In many respects, this book is considered to be the best guide ever written on Homeric religion. The analysis by W. F. Otto, while being very careful in terms of interpretation, denotes an open consonance of the author with the spirit - sometimes brutal and, for our mentality, immoral - of Greek polytheism. A thrilling and amazing journey to Olympus.This is a new edition of the Pantheon Books (New York) 1952 publication.
The Art of the Publisher
Author: Roberto Calasso
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
An interior look at Roberto Calasso's work as a publisher and his reflections on the art of book publishing In this fascinating memoir, the author and publisher Roberto Calasso meditates on the art of book publishing. Recalling the beginnings of Adelphi in the 1960s, he touches on the Italian house's defining qualities, including the considerations involved in designing the successful Biblioteca series and the strategy for publishing a wide range of authors of high literary quality, as well as the historic critical edition of the works of Nietzsche. With his signature erudition and polemical flair, Calasso transcends Adelphi to look at the publishing industry as a whole, from the essential importance of graphics, jackets, and cover flaps to the consequences of universal digitization. And he outlines what he describes as the "most hazardous and ambitious" profile of what a publishing house can be: a book comprising many books, a form in which "all the books published by a certain publisher could be seen as links in a single chain"—a conception akin to that of other twentieth-century publishers, from Giulio Einaudi to Roger Straus, of whom the book offers brief portraits. An essential book for writers, readers, and editors, The Art of the Publisher is a tribute to the elusive yet profoundly relevant art of making books.
The Unnamable Present
Author: Roberto Calasso
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The strikingly original ninth book in Roberto Calasso’s monumental exploration of civilization The ninth part of Roberto Calasso’s monumental work in progress, The Unnamable Present, resonates deeply with the first book, The Ruin of Kasch (originally published in 1983, and recently reissued by FSG in a new translation). But while Kasch is an iconoclastic exploration of modern civilization, The Unnamable Present propels us into the twentieth century. Tourists, terrorists, secularists, hackers, fundamentalists, humanists—these are all tribes that inhabit and stir up the unnamable present. But for most everyone else, this is a world that is more elusive than ever before, one that "has no style of its own and uses every style," one that is impossible to grasp in its entirety. This is a world that seems to have no definition or past, but is suddenly illuminated when from behind it the silhouette of history emerges—especially of that period between 1933 and 1945, when the world itself was bent on self-annihilation. W. H. Auden gave the title “The Age of Anxiety” to a long poem set toward the end of the war. Today those voices sound more remote, as if they came from another realm. And though the anxiety hasn’t diminished, it no longer predominates. What predominates is something inchoate—and occasionally lethal. The Unnamable Present a globe-spanning meditation on how previously recognizable institutions of societal control, terror, history, religion, language, and government have scattered and reformed to create a reality that takes its shape from shapelessness itself. Translated with sensitivity by Calasso’s longtime translator, Richard Dixon, The Unnamable Present is a strikingly original and provocative triumph from the writer The Paris Review called “a literary institution of one.”
The author examines the myths and legends that underlie Hindu and Buddhist ideas and institutions