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Originally published in 1949, Gilbert Highet's seminal The Classical Tradition is a herculean feat of comparative literature and a landmark publication in the history of classical reception. As Highet states in the opening lines of his Preface, this book outlines "the chief ways in which Greek and Latin influence has moulded the literatures of western Europe and America". With that simple statement, Highet takes his reader on a sweeping exploration of the history of western literature. To summarize what he covers is a near-impossible task. Discussions of Ovid and French literature of the Middle Ages and Chaucer's engagement with Virgil and Cicero lead, swiftly, into arguments of Christian versus "pagan" works in the Renaissance, Baroque imitations of Seneca, and the (re)birth of satire. Building momentum through Byron, Tennyson, and the rise of "art of art's sake", Highet, at last, arrives at his conclusion: the birth and establishment of modernism. Though his humanist style may appear out-of-date in today's postmodernist world, there is a value to ensuring this influential work reaches a new generation, and Highet's light touch and persuasive, engaging voice guarantee the book's usefulness for a contemporary audience. Indeed, the book is free of the jargon-filled style of literary criticism that plagues much of current scholarship. Accompanied by a new foreword by renown critic Harold Bloom, this reissue will enable new readers to appreciate the enormous legacy of classical literature in the canonical works of medieval, Renaissance, and modern Europe and America.
At the age of twenty-one, Brian Boyd wrote a thesis on Vladimir Nabokov that the famous author called "brilliant." After gaining exclusive access to the writer's archives, he wrote a two-part, award-winning biography, Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years (1990) and Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years (1991). This collection features essays written by Boyd since completing the biography, incorporating material he gleaned from his research as well as new discoveries and formulations.

Boyd confronts Nabokov's life, career, and legacy; his art, science, and thought; his subtle humor and puzzle-like storytelling; his complex psychological portraits; and his inheritance from, reworking of, and affinities with Shakespeare, Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Machado de Assis. Boyd offers new ways of reading Nabokov's best English-language works: Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, and the unparalleled autobiography, Speak, Memory, and he discloses otherwise unknown information about the author's world. Sharing his personal reflections, Boyd recounts the adventures, hardships, and revelations of researching Nabokov's biography and his unusual finds in the archives, including materials still awaiting publication. The first to focus on Nabokov's metaphysics, Boyd cautions against their being used as the key to unlock all of the author's secrets, showing instead the many other rooms in Nabokov's castle of fiction that need exploring, such as his humor, narrative invention, and psychological insight into characters and readers alike. Appreciating Nabokov as novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, scientist, and individual, Boyd helps us understand more than ever the author's multifaceted genius.

Pale Fire is regarded by many as Vladimir Nabokov's masterpiece. The novel has been hailed as one of the most striking early examples of postmodernism and has become a famous test case for theories about reading because of the apparent impossibility of deciding between several radically different interpretations. Does the book have two narrators, as it first appears, or one? How much is fantasy and how much is reality? Whose fantasy and whose reality are they? Brian Boyd, Nabokov's biographer and hitherto the foremost proponent of the idea that Pale Fire has one narrator, John Shade, now rejects this position and presents a new and startlingly different solution that will permanently shift the nature of critical debate on the novel. Boyd argues that the book does indeed have two narrators, Shade and Charles Kinbote, but reveals that Kinbote had some strange and highly surprising help in writing his sections. In light of this interpretation, Pale Fire now looks distinctly less postmodern--and more interesting than ever.

In presenting his arguments, Boyd shows how Nabokov designed Pale Fire for readers to make surprising discoveries on a first reading and even more surprising discoveries on subsequent readings by following carefully prepared clues within the novel. Boyd leads the reader step-by-step through the book, gradually revealing the profound relationship between Nabokov's ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, and metaphysics. If Nabokov has generously planned the novel to be accessible on a first reading and yet to incorporate successive vistas of surprise, Boyd argues, it is because he thinks a deep generosity lies behind the inexhaustibility, complexity, and mystery of the world. Boyd also shows how Nabokov's interest in discovery springs in part from his work as a scientist and scholar, and draws comparisons between the processes of readerly and scientific discovery.


This is a profound, provocative, and compelling reinterpretation of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

Three award-winning works of adventure, survival, and the early days of aviation from the celebrated author of The Little Prince, collected in one volume.
 
Ranging from the northern skies of France to the South American Andes, this volume includes two memoirs and a novel, each informed by the lauded pilot and poet’s experiences as a pioneering aviator during World War II.
 
Wind, Sand and Stars
Recounting his early days flying airmail routes across the African Sahara, Saint-Exupéry explores the spiritual, philosophical, and physical wonders of navigating the passes of the Pyrenees, the peaks of the Andes, and the wasteland of the Libyan desert. This memoir, a National Book Award winner that was voted a National Geographic Top Ten Adventure Book of All Time, is “a beautiful book, a brave book, and a book that should be read against the confusion of this world” (The New York Times).
 
Night Flight
Overseeing night-mail flights in Buenos Aires, Riviere is a believer in remaining faithful to the mission and has trained his pilots to stave off the fear of death. But when he discovers that one of his planes is lost in a storm after flying out of Patagonia, both his authority and his beliefs will be challenged, in a novel that won France’s Prix Femina Award and was made into a classic film.
 
Flight to Arras
Saint-Exupéry’s memoir of a harrowing reconnaissance mission during the Battle of France in 1940—as one of only a handful of pilots who continued to fight in solidarity against the inevitable German invasion—was a recipient of the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Aéro-Club de France.
 
“Saint-Exupéry . . . blends adventure with reflection in a way few writers have.” —Richard Bach
 
Translated by Lewis Galantière and Stuart Gilbert
Best-selling author Umberto Eco's latest work unlocks the riddles of history in an exploration of the "linguistics of the lunatic," stories told by scholars, scientists, poets, fanatics, and ordinary people in order to make sense of the world. Exploring the "Force of the False," Eco uncovers layers of mistakes that have shaped human history, such as Columbus's assumption that the world was much smaller than it is, leading him to seek out a quick route to the East via the West and thus fortuitously "discovering" America. The fictions that grew up around the cults of the Rosicrucians and Knights Templar were the result of a letter from a mysterious "Prester John"—undoubtedly a hoax—that provided fertile ground for a series of delusions and conspiracy theories based on religious, ethnic, and racial prejudices. While some false tales produce new knowledge (like Columbus's discovery of America) and others create nothing but horror and shame (the Rosicrucian story wound up fueling European anti-Semitism) they are all powerfully persuasive.

In a careful unraveling of the fabulous and the false, Eco shows us how serendipities—unanticipated truths—often spring from mistaken ideas. From Leibniz's belief that the I Ching illustrated the principles of calculus to Marco Polo's mistaking a rhinoceros for a unicorn, Eco tours the labyrinth of intellectual history, illuminating the ways in which we project the familiar onto the strange.

Eco uncovers a rich history of linguistic endeavor—much of it ill-conceived—that sought to "heal the wound of Babel." Through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, and Egyptian were alternately proclaimed as the first language that God gave to Adam, while—in keeping with the colonial climate of the time—the complex language of the Amerindians in Mexico was viewed as crude and diabolical. In closing, Eco considers the erroneous notion of linguistic perfection and shrewdly observes that the dangers we face lie not in the rules we use to interpret other cultures but in our insistence on making these rules absolute.

With the startling combination of erudition and wit, bewildering anecdotes and scholarly rigor that are Eco's hallmarks, Serendipities is sure to entertain and enlighten any reader with a passion for the curious history of languages and ideas.

Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness explores the novel’s participation in eighteenth-century “inquiries after happiness,” an ancient ethical project that acquired new urgency with the rise of subjective models of wellbeing in early modern and Enlightenment Europe. Combining archival research on treatises on happiness with illuminating readings of Samuel Johnson, Laurence Sterne, Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Godwin and Mary Hays, Brian Michael Norton’s innovative study asks us to see the novel itself as a key instrument of Enlightenment ethics. His central argument is that the novel form provided a uniquely valuable tool for thinking about the nature and challenges of modern happiness: whereas treatises sought to theorize the conditions that made happiness possible in general, eighteenth-century fiction excelled at interrogating the problem on the level of the particular, in the details of a single individual’s psychology and unique circumstances. Fiction and the Philosophy of Happiness demonstrates further that through their fine-tuned attention to subjectivity and social context these writers called into question some cherished and time-honored assumptions about the good life: happiness is in one’s power; virtue is the exclusive path to happiness; only vice can make us miserable. This elegant and richly interdisciplinary book offers a new understanding of the cultural work the eighteenth-century novel performed as well as an original interpretation of the Enlightenment’s ethical legacy.
In this volume a team of three dozen international experts presents a fresh picture of literary prose fiction in the Romantic age seen from cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. The work treats the appearance of major themes in characteristically Romantic versions, the power of Romantic discourse to reshape imaginative writing, and a series of crucial reactions to the impact of Romanticism on cultural life down to the present, both in Europe and in the New World. Through its combination of chapters on thematic, generic, and discursive features, Romantic Prose Fiction achieves a unique theoretical stance, by considering the opinions of primary Romantics and their successors not as guiding “truths” by which to define the permanent “meaning” of Romanticism, but as data of cultural history that shed important light on an evolving civilization.SPECIAL OFFER: 30% discount for a complete set order (5 vols.).The Romanticism series in the Comparative History of Literatures in European Languages is the result of a remarkable international collaboration. The editorial team coordinated the efforts of over 100 experts from more than two dozen countries to produce five independently conceived, yet interrelated volumes that show not only how Romanticism developed and spread in its principal European homelands and throughout the New World, but also the ways in which the affected literatures in reaction to Romanticism have redefined themselves on into Modernism. A glance at the index of each volume quickly reveals the extraordinary richness of the series’ total contents. Romantic Irony sets the broader experimental parameters of comparison by concentrating on the myriad expressions of “irony” as one of the major impulses in the Romantic philosophical and artistic revolution, and by combining cross-cultural and interdisciplinary studies with special attention also to literatures in less widely diffused language streams. Romantic Drama traces creative innovations that deeply altered the understanding of genre at large, fed popular imagination through vehicles like the opera, and laid the foundations for a modernist theater of the absurd. Romantic Poetry demonstrates deep patterns and a sharing of crucial themes of the revolutionary age which underlie the lyrical expression that flourished in so many languages and environments. Nonfictional Romantic Prose assists us in coping with the vast array of writings from the personal and intimate sphere to modes of public discourse, including Romanticism’s own self-commentary in theoretical statements on the arts, society, life, the sciences, and more. Nor are the discursive dimensions of imaginative literature neglected in the closing volume, Romantic Prose Fiction, where the basic Romantic themes and story types (the romance, novel, novella, short story, and other narrative forms) are considered throughout Europe and the New World. This enormous realm is seen not just in terms of Romantic theorizing, but in the light of the impact of Romantic ideas and narration on later generations. As an aid to readers, the introduction to Romantic Prose Fiction explains the relationships among the volumes in the series and carries a listing of their tables of contents in an appendix. No other series exists comparable to these volumes which treat the entirety of Romanticism as a cultural happening across the whole breadth of the “Old” and “New” Worlds and thus render a complex picture of European spiritual strivings in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, a heritage still very close to our age.
Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807-1930, is the first book to explore fully the British obsession with Gypsies throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Deborah Epstein Nord traces various representations of Gypsies in the works of such well-known British authors John Clare, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, and D. H. Lawrence. Nord also exhumes lesser-known literary, ethnographic, and historical texts, exploring the fascinating histories of nomadic writer George Borrow, the Gypsy Lore Society, Dora Yates, and other rarely examined figures and institutions.

Gypsies were both idealized and reviled by Victorian and early-twentieth-century Britons. Associated with primitive desires, lawlessness, cunning, and sexual excess, Gypsies were also objects of antiquarian, literary, and anthropological interest. As Nord demonstrates, British writers and artists drew on Gypsy characters and plots to redefine and reconstruct cultural and racial difference, national and personal identity, and the individual's relationship to social and sexual orthodoxies. Gypsies were long associated with pastoral conventions and, in the nineteenth century, came to stand in for the ancient British past. Using myths of switched babies, Gypsy kidnappings, and the Gypsies' murky origins, authors projected onto Gypsies their own desires to escape convention and their anxieties about the ambiguities of identity. The literary representations that Nord examines have their roots in the interplay between the notion of Gypsies as a separate, often despised race and the psychic or aesthetic desire to dissolve the boundary between English and Gypsy worlds. By the beginning of the twentieth century, she argues, romantic identification with Gypsies had hardened into caricature-a phenomenon reflected in D. H. Lawrence's The Virgin and the Gipsy-and thoroughly obscured the reality of Gypsy life and history.

“There is much to like about a book which
gets real about the male anus as a site of penetrability which is not
reducible to discourses of feminization, phallicization or psychosis.
With real panache and poetic flair, it returns us to an earlier moment
in queer theoretical discourse we would associate with Lee Edelman’s Homographesis (easily the best book ever written in queer theory and every page of The Penetrated Male reminded me of it), Calvin Thomas’ Male Matters,
and Leo Bersani’s “Is the Rectum a Grave?” Given the recent
squeamishness … in queer theoretical circles about shit, anality, and
penetrability, there is real value (and it is not some sort of nostalgia
for an earlier moment we might want to get back to) in this book which never shies away from any of these matters. As embodied and eroticized theory, it fills a much needed hole in contemporary discourse about the male body. It is a book I should like to have written.”


~ Michael O’Rourke



Through nuanced readings of a handful of modernist texts (Baudelaire, Huysmans, Wilde, Genet, Joyce, and Schreber’s Memoirs),
this book explores and interrogates the figure of the penetrated male
body, developing the concept of the behind as a site of both fascination
and fear. Deconstructing the penetrated male body and the genderisation
of its representation, The Penetrated Male offers new
understandings of passivity, suggesting that the modern masculine
subject is predicated on a penetrability it must always disavow. Arguing
that representation is the embodiment of erotic thought, it is an
important contribution to queer theory and our understandings of
gendered bodies.

 

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