Some one said: “The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.” Precisely, and they are that which we know.
Celebrated poet and playwright T. S. Eliot was one of the twentieth century’s most influential literary critics. In Selected Essays, he compiled his most significant works of criticism and theory written between 1917 and 1932. Included here are what Eliot considered the best essays from The Sacred Wood; his essays on Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists; Tradition and the Individual Talent; Dante; For Lancelot Andrewes; Homage to John Dryden; and many others.
This expanded edition is annotated with footnotes and includes a biographical note about the author.
“Mr. Eliot is a master of critical exposition.” —The New York Times
A German Jew, Auerbach was forced out of his professorship at the University of Marburg in 1935. He left for Turkey, where he taught at the state university in Istanbul. There he wrote Mimesis, publishing it in German after the end of the war. Displaced as he was, Auerbach produced a work of great erudition that contains no footnotes, basing his arguments instead on searching, illuminating readings of key passages from his primary texts. His aim was to show how from antiquity to the twentieth century literature progressed toward ever more naturalistic and democratic forms of representation. This essentially optimistic view of European history now appears as a defensive--and impassioned--response to the inhumanity he saw in the Third Reich. Ranging over works in Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English, Auerbach used his remarkable skills in philology and comparative literature to refute any narrow form of nationalism or chauvinism, in his own day and ours.
For many readers, both inside and outside the academy, Mimesis is among the finest works of literary criticism ever written. This Princeton Classics edition includes a substantial introduction by Edward Said as well as an essay in which Auerbach responds to his critics.
While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes—of the ultimate professional reader: the college professor.
What does it mean when a literary hero travels along a dusty road? When he hands a drink to his companion? When he's drenched in a sudden rain shower? Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature—a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower—and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.
This revised edition includes new chapters, a new preface, and a new epilogue, and incorporates updated teaching points that Foster has developed over the past decade.
Toni Morrison's brilliant discussions of the "Africanist" presence in the fiction of Poe, Melville, Cather, and Hemingway leads to a dramatic reappraisal of the essential characteristics of our literary tradition. She shows how much the themes of freedom and individualism, manhood and innocence, depended on the existence of a black population that was manifestly unfree--and that came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.
Written with the artistic vision that has earned Toni Morrison a pre-eminent place in modern letters, Playing in the Dark will be avidly read by Morrison admirers as well as by students, critics, and scholars of American literature.
"By going for the American literary jugular...she places her arguments...at the very heart of contemporary public conversation about what it is to be authentically and originally American. [She] boldly...reimagines and remaps the possibility of America."
"Toni Morrison is the closest thing the country has to a national writer."
The New York Times Book Review
In The War Against Cliché, Amis serves up fresh assessments of the classics and plucks neglected masterpieces off their dusty shelves. He tilts with Cervantes, Dickens and Milton, celebrates Bellow, Updike and Elmore Leonard, and deflates some of the most bloated reputations of the past three decades. On every page Amis writes with jaw-dropping felicity, wit, and a subversive brilliance that sheds new light on everything he touches.
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.
Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.
In these collected articles, essays, and wild autobiographical tales, Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road, leads readers down the highways and through the myriad subcultures of mid-twentieth-century America, guiding them along with his ingenious observations and brilliant command of language. He cruises to San Francisco high on Benzedrine with a barefoot blond model in a white bathing suit; traipses from New York to Florida with photographer Robert Frank and a $300 German camera; takes a bus ride along the edge of a precipice in Montana; and revels in the swampy blues of an old Southern bum at a Des Moines diner.
On a journey of the mind, Kerouac courses through the philosophy, origins, and dreams of the Beats, those “crazy illuminated hipsters” of post-war America; describes his theory of experimental prose with the “Essentials of Spontaneous Writing”; and gives a tour of the San Francisco Renaissance, pointing out the new American poets who are “childlike graybeard Homers singing on the street.” This sweeping portrait of the art, sounds, and people of a nation in transition could only be told with Kerouac’s inimitable wisdom and charm.
For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments. Their stories intertwined with those they were reading—Pride and Prejudice, Washington Square, Daisy Miller and Lolita—their Lolita, as they imagined her in Tehran.
Nafisi’s account flashes back to the early days of the revolution, when she first started teaching at the University of Tehran amid the swirl of protests and demonstrations. In those frenetic days, the students took control of the university, expelled faculty members and purged the curriculum. When a radical Islamist in Nafisi’s class questioned her decision to teach The Great Gatsby, which he saw as an immoral work that preached falsehoods of “the Great Satan,” she decided to let him put Gatsby on trial and stood as the sole witness for the defense.
Azar Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. It is a work of great passion and poetic beauty, written with a startlingly original voice.
Praise for Reading Lolita in Tehran
“Anyone who has ever belonged to a book group must read this book. Azar Nafisi takes us into the vivid lives of eight women who must meet in secret to explore the forbidden fiction of the West. It is at once a celebration of the power of the novel and a cry of outrage at the reality in which these women are trapped. The ayatollahs don’ t know it, but Nafisi is one of the heroes of the Islamic Republic.”—Geraldine Brooks, author of Nine Parts of Desire
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
One of the most beloved books in American literature, Walden is must reading for any American or anyone interested in reading great literature. But for those who go there looking for reasons Thoreau became a recluse they are sure to be disappointed. Instead, reading Walden is more of a journey to the self and how that self can live in the world. This new edition has an insightful and lyrical essay introducing the text by Sam Pickering, the inspiration for the Dead Poets Society. His essay is the most provocative piece on Walden since e. B. White.
A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?
Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.
In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annex” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Praise for The Diary of a Young Girl
“A truly remarkable book.”—The New York Times
“One of the most moving personal documents to come out of World War II.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“There may be no better way to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II than to reread The Diary of a Young Girl, a testament to an indestructible nobility of spirit in the face of pure evil.”—Chicago Tribune
“The single most compelling personal account of the Holocaust . . . remains astonishing and excruciating.”—The New York Times Book Review
“How brilliantly Anne Frank captures the self-conscious alienation and naïve self-absorption of adolescence.”—Newsday
"The classic argument for a women's literary tradition."—Scott Heller, Chronicle of Higher Education
"The authors force us to take a new look at the grandes dames of English literature, and the result is that they will never seem quite the same again."—Le Anne Schreiber, New York Times Book Review
"Imperative reading."—Carolyn G. Heilbrun, Washington Post Book World
"A masterpiece."—Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The Madwoman in the Attic, The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century, originally published in 1979, has long since become a classic, one of the most important works of literary criticism of the 20th century. This new edition contains an introduction titled "The Madwoman in the Academy" that is, quite simply, a delight to read, warmly witty, provocative, informative and illuminating."—Joyce Carol Oates, Princeton University
"A groundbreaking study of women writers. . . . The book brought the concerns of feminism to the study of female writers and presented the case for the existence of a distinctly feminine imagination."—Martin Arnold, The New York Times
"The authors are brilliant academics but they wear their erudition lightly. It remains imperative reading for those who want to understand better the grandes dames of English literature, and is still one of the most powerful pieces of writing from a feminist point of view. Argumentative, polemical, witty and thought-provoking, this is a book which will make the reader return to the original texts." —Yorkshire Post (Leeds)
"A feminist classic and still one of the best books on the female Victorian Writers."—Judith Shulevitz, New York Times Book Review