From the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as “a roadmap to my life.”
M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.
Woven throughout are reflections on the writer’s craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith’s life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.
Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature, and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable multiplatform artists at work today.
From the Hardcover edition.
Publishing Co., 1995), this anthology will be most useful to
instructors who must try to do justice to Aristotle in a semester-long
ancient-philosophy survey, but it will also be appropriate for a variety
of introductory-level courses. Introductory Readings provides accurate,
readable, and integrated translations that allow the reader to follow
Aristotle's use of crucial technical terms and to grasp the details of
his argument. Included are adaptations of the glossary and notes that
helped make its parent volume a singularly useful aid to the study of
In CliffsNotes on Mythology, you'll review the myths from seven different cultures and gain an overview of the stories that people have lived by from ancient times to the present. The gods and their stories depict life's lessons and personal relationships and present a moral code of human conduct. These stories are also a map to understanding history.
This CliffsNotes guide covers Egyptian, Babylonian, Indian, Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies, as well as the Arthurian legends. Features that help you figure out these important works includeAn introduction to mythologyThe main gods of various culturesReview questionsRecommended readingsGenealogical tables of major gods
Classic literature or modern-day treasure — you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
This revised edition has been updated and corrected in the light of new scholarship and critical thinking since its first publication.
Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly illuminate some of the greatest works of the West to reveal how we have lost our passionate engagement with and responsiveness to the world. Their journey takes us from the wonder and openness of Homer’s polytheism to the monotheism of Dante; from the autonomy of Kant to the multiple worlds of Melville; and, finally, to the spiritual difficulties evoked by modern authors such as David Foster Wallace and Elizabeth Gilbert.
Dreyfus, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, for forty years, is an original thinker who finds in the classic texts of our culture a new relevance for people’s everyday lives. His lively, thought-provoking lectures have earned him a podcast audience that often reaches the iTunesU Top 40. Kelly, chair of the philosophy department at Harvard University, is an eloquent new voice whose sensitivity to the sadness of the culture—and to what remains of the wonder and gratitude that could chase it away—captures a generation adrift.
Re-envisioning modern spiritual life through their examination of literature, philosophy, and religious testimony, Dreyfus and Kelly unearth ancient sources of meaning, and teach us how to rediscover the sacred, shining things that surround us every day. This book will change the way we understand our culture, our history, our sacred practices, and ourselves. It offers a new—and very old—way to celebrate and be grateful for our existence in the modern world.
The House of Medici picks up where Barbara Tuchman's Hibbert delves into the lives of the Medici family, whose legacy of increasing self-indulgence and sexual dalliance eventually led to its self-destruction. With twenty-four pages of black-and-white illustrations, this timeless saga is one of Quill's strongest-selling paperbacks.
Plato's account of Socrates' trial and death (399 BC) is a significant moment in Classical literature and the life of Classical Athens. In these four dialogues, Plato develops the Socratic belief in responsibility for one's self and shows Socrates living and dying under his philosophy. In Euthyphro, Socrates debates goodness outside the courthouse; Apology sees him in court, rebutting all charges of impiety; in Crito, he refuses an entreaty to escape from prison; and in Phaedo, Socrates faces his impending death with calmness and skilful discussion of immortality.
Christopher Rowe's introduction to his powerful new translation examines the book's themes of identity and confrontation, and explores how its content is less historical fact than a promotion of Plato's Socratic philosophy.
The Literature Book is a fascinating journey through the greatest works of world literature, from the Iliad to Don Quixote to The Great Gatsby. Around 100 crystal-clear articles explore landmark novels, short stories, plays, and poetry that reinvented the art of writing in their time, whether Ancient Greece, post-classical Europe, or modern-day Korea.
As part of DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Literature Book uses infographics and images to explain key ideas and themes. Biographies of important authors offer insight into their lives and other writings, and a section on Further Reading details more than 150 additional works to explore.
Discover masterpieces from the world's greatest authors, and explore the context, creative history, and literary traditions that influenced each major work of fiction with The Literature Book.
The Complete Stephen King Universe is the only definitive reference work that examines all of Stephen King's novels, short stories, motion pictures, miniseries, and teleplays, and deciphers the threads that exist in all of his work. This ultimate resource includes in-depth story analyses, character breakdowns, little-known facts, and startling revelations on how the plots, themes, characters, and conflicts intertwine.
After discovering The Complete Stephen King Universe, you will never read Stephen King the same way again.
n important milestone came in 1927 when, for the first time, a novelist was invited to speak: E.M. Forster had recently published his masterpiece, A Passage to India, and rose to the occasion, delivering eight spirited and penetrating lectures on the novel.
The decision to accept the lectureship was a difficult one for Forster. He had deeply ambivalent feelings about the use of criticism. Although suspecting that criticism was somewhat antithetical to creation, and upset by the thought that time spent on the lectures took away from his own work, Forster accepted. His talks were witty and informal, and consisted of sharp penetrating bursts of insight rather than overly-methodical analysis. In short, they were a great success. Gathered and published later as Aspects of the Novel, the ideas articulated in his lectures would gain widespread recognition and currency in twentieth century criticism.
Of all of the insights contained within Aspects of the Novel, none has been more influential or widely discussed than Forster's discussion of "flat" and "round" characters. So familiar by now as to seem commonplace, Forster's distinction is meant to categorize the different qualities of characters in literature and examine the purposes to which they are put. Still, it would be wrong to reduce this book to its most famous line of argument and enquiry. Aspects of the Novel also discusses the difference between story and plot, the characteristics of prophetic fiction, and narrative chronology. Throughout, Forster draws on his extensive readings in English, French, and Russian literature, and discusses his ideas in reference to such figures as Joyce, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, James, Sterne, Defoe, and Proust.
The three plays of the Oresteia portray the bloody events that follow the victorious return of King Agamemnon from the Trojan War, at the start of which he had sacrificed his daughter Iphigeneia to secure divine favor. After Iphi-geneia’s mother, Clytemnestra, kills her husband in revenge, she in turn is murdered by their son Orestes with his sister Electra’s encouragement. Orestes is pursued by the Furies and put on trial, his fate decided by the goddess Athena. Far more than the story of murder and ven-geance in the royal house of Atreus, the Oresteia serves as a dramatic parable of the evolution of justice and civilization that is still powerful after 2,500 years.
The trilogy is presented here in George Thomson’s classic translation, renowned for its fidelity to the rhythms and richness of the original Greek.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Collected by an unidentified Icelander, probably during the twelfth or thirteenth century, The Poetic Edda was rediscovered in Iceland in the seventeenth century by Danish scholars. Even then its value as poetry, as a source of historical information, and as a collection of entertaining stories was recognized. This meticulous translation succeeds in reproducing the verse patterns, the rhythm, the mood, and the dignity of the original in a revision that Scandinavian Studies says "may well grace anyone's bookshelf."
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In CliffsNotes on The Odyssey, you follow along on Homer's grand adventure. This epic poem unfurls the story of Odysseus' triumph over Troy and arduous journey home to reclaim his kingdom. At 2,500 years old, it is one of the finest books ever written; as poetry, it sets the standard for comparison; and it serves as one of the foundations of the Western world's cultural heritage.
This study guide carries you along on Odysseus' journey by providing summaries and critical analyses of each book. You'll also explore the life and background of the epic, Homer, and gain insight into the Homeric Question. Other features that help you study includeCharacter analyses of major playersA character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the charactersCritical essays on the literary devices and major symbols of The OdysseyA review section that tests your knowledgeA Resource Center full of books, articles, films, and Internet sites
Classic literature or modern-day treasure—you'll understand it all with expert information and insight from CliffsNotes study guides.
They burst out of obscurity in Spain not only to capture the great prize of the papacy, but to do so twice. Throughout a tumultuous half-century—as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly ambitious political adventurers—they held center stage in the glorious and blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance, standing at the epicenter of the power games in which Europe’s kings and Italy’s warlords gambled for life-and-death stakes.
Five centuries after their fall—a fall even more sudden than their rise to the heights of power—they remain immutable symbols of the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo Borgia, who bought the papal crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare Borgia, who became first a teenage cardinal and then the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time; Lucrezia Borgia, who was as shockingly immoral as she was beautiful. These have long been stock figures in the dark chronicle of European villainy, their name synonymous with unspeakable evil.
But did these Borgias of legend actually exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they helped to shape, a time of wars and political convulsions that reverberate to the present day, when Western civilization simultaneously wallowed in appalling brutality and soared to extraordinary heights.
Stunning in scope, rich in telling detail, G. J. Meyer’s The Borgias is an indelible work sure to become the new standard on a family and a world that continue to enthrall.
Praise for The Borgias
“A vivid and at times startling reappraisal of one of the most notorious dynasties in history . . . If you thought you knew the Borgias, this book will surprise you.”—Tracy Borman, author of Queen of the Conqueror and Elizabeth’s Women
“The mention of the Borgia family often conjures up images of a ruthless drive for power via assassination, serpentine plots, and sexual debauchery. . . . [G. J. Meyer] convincingly looks past the mythology to present a more nuanced portrait.”—Booklist
“Meyer brings his considerable skills to another infamous Renaissance family, the Borgias [and] a fresh look into the machinations of power in Renaissance Italy. . . . [He] makes a convincing case that the Borgias have been given a raw deal.”—Historical Novels Review
“Fascinating . . . a gripping history of a tempestuous time and an infamous family.”—Shelf Awareness
From the Hardcover edition.
Out of the Flames tracks the history of The Chrisitianismi Restituto, examining Michael Servetus's life and times and the politics of the first information during the sixteenth century. The Chrisitianismi Restituto, a heretical work of biblical scholarship, written in 1553, aimed to refute the orthodox Christianity that Michael Servetus' old colleague, John Calvin, supported. After the book spread through the ranks of Protestant hierarchy, Servetus was tried and agonizingly burned at the stake, the last known copy of the Restitutio chained to his leg.
Servetus's execution marked a turning point in the quest for freedom of expression, due largely to the development of the printing press and the proliferation of books in Renaissance Europe. Three copies of the Restitutio managed to survive the burning, despite every effort on the part of his enemies to destroy them. As a result, the book became almost a surrogate for its author, going into hiding and relying on covert distribution until it could be read freely, centuries later.
Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone follow the clandestine journey of the three copies through the subsequent centuries and explore its author's legacy and influence over the thinkers that shared his spirit and genius, such as Leibniz, Voltaire, Rousseau, Jefferson, Clarence Dorrow, and William Osler.
In Stephen Mitchell’s Iliad, the epic story resounds again across 2,700 years, as if the lifeblood of its heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Hector and Priam flows in every word. And we are there with them, amid the horror and ecstasy of war, carried along by a poetry that lifts even the most devastating human events into the realm of the beautiful.
Mitchell’s Iliad is the first translation based on the work of the preeminent Homeric scholar Martin L. West, whose edition of the original Greek identifies many passages that were added after the Iliad was first written down, to the detriment of the music and the story. Omitting these hundreds of interpolated lines restores a dramatically sharper, leaner text. In addition, Mitchell’s illuminating introduction opens the epic still further to our understanding and appreciation.
Now, thanks to Stephen Mitchell’s scholarship and the power of his language, the Iliad’s ancient story comes to moving, vivid new life.
Reaching deep into the archives' letters, ledgers, and records from both inside and outside the home, he slowly pieces together the tragic story. The Casa welcomed girls in bad health and with little future, hoping to save them from an almost certain life of poverty and drudgery. Yet this "safe" house was cruelly dangerous. Victims of Renaissance Florence’s sexual politics, these young women were at the disposal of the city’s elite men, who treated them as property meant for their personal pleasure.
With scholarly precision and journalistic style, Terpstra uncovers and chronicles a series of disturbing leads that point to possible reasons so many girls died: hints of routine abortions, basic medical care for sexually transmitted diseases, and appalling conditions in the textile factories where the girls worked.
Church authorities eventually took the Casa della Pietà away from the women who had founded it and moved it to a better part of Florence. Its sordid past was hidden, until now, in an official history that bore little resemblance to the orphanage’s true origins. Terpstra’s meticulous investigation not only uncovers the sad fate of the lost girls of the Casa della Pietà but also explores broader themes, including gender relations, public health, church politics, and the challenges girls and adolescent women faced in Renaissance Florence.
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.
Straddling the series’ dominant themes of sex and power, Ardeur gives Anita fans a deeper look into the dynamics, both personal political, that have kept readers fascinated throughout the run of the series. Why is the ardeur the very best thing that could have happened to Anita, personally (aside from all the sex it requires her to have with hot men)? How is Anita’s alternate United States a logical legal extension of our own? And as the series continues, what other bargains might Anita have to make with herself and others in order to keep the people she loves safe from harm?
The collection includes essay introductions by Hamilton, giving context and extra insight into each essay’s subject.
Introducing his celebrated translations of these two poems and of the Shield, a very ancient poem of disputed authorship, Apostolos Athanassakis positions Hesiod simultaneously as a philosopher-poet, a bard with deep roots in the culture of his native Boeotia, and the heir to a long tradition of Hellenic poetry. For this eagerly anticipated revised edition, Athanassakis has provided an expanded introduction on Hesiod and his work, subtly amended his faithful translations, significantly augmented the notes and index, and updated the bibliography. Already a classic, Hesiod: Theogony, Works and Days, Shield is now more valuable than ever for students of Greek mythology and literature.-- Peter L. Smith
We see Leonardo, having just completed The Last Supper, and being celebrated by all of Florence for his miraculous portrait of the wife of a textile manufacturer. That painting—the Mona Lisa—being called the most lifelike anyone had ever seen yet, more divine than human, was captivating the entire Florentine Republic.
And Michelangelo, completing a commissioned statue of David, the first colossus of the Renaissance, the archetype hero for the Republic epitomizing the triumph of the weak over the strong, helping to reshape the public identity of the city of Florence and conquer its heart.
In The Lost Battles, published in England to great acclaim (“Superb”—The Observer; “Beguilingly written”—The Guardian), Jonathan Jones brilliantly sets the scene of the time—the politics; the world of art and artisans; and the shifting, agitated cultural landscape.
We see Florence, a city freed from the oppressive reach of the Medicis, lurching from one crisis to another, trying to protect its liberty in an Italy descending into chaos, with the new head of the Republic in search of a metaphor that will make clear the glory that is Florence, and seeing in the commissioned paintings the expression of his vision.
Jones reconstructs the paintings that Leonardo and Michelangelo undertook—Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari, a nightmare seen in the eyes of the warrior (it became the first modern depiction of the disenchantment of war) and Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina, a call to arms and the first great transfiguration of the erotic into art. Jones writes about the competition; how it unfolded and became the defining moment in the transformation of “craftsman” to “artist”; why the Florentine government began to fall out of love with one artist in favor of the other; and how—and why—in a competition that had no formal prize to clearly resolve the outcome, the battle became one for the hearts and minds of the Florentine Republic, with Michelangelo setting out to prove that his work, not Leonardo’s, embodied the future of art. Finally, we see how the result of the competition went on to shape a generation of narrative paintings, beginning with those of Raphael.
A riveting exploration into one of history’s most resonant exchanges of ideas, a rich, fascinating book that gives us a whole new understanding of an age and those at its center.
What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like Baa Baa Black Sheep be full of concealed loathing, resentment, and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. How to Read Literature is the book of choice for students new to the study of literature and for all other readers interested in deepening their understanding and enriching their reading experience.
In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. He also examines broader questions of character, plot, narrative, the creative imagination, the meaning of fictionality, and the tension between what works of literature say and what they show. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism, and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors, from Shakespeare and J. K. Rowling to Jane Austen and Samuel Beckett./div
• Full exposure to the grammar and morphology that students will encounter in actual texts
• Self-contained instructional chapters, with challenging, carefully tailored exercises
• Progressively more complex chapters to build the student's knowledge of declensions, tenses, and constructions by alternating emphasis on morphology and syntax
• Readings based on actual texts and include unadapted passages from Xenophon, Lysias, Plato, Aristophanes, and Thucydides.
• Concise introduction to the history of the Greek language
• Composite list of verbs with principal parts, and an appendix of all paradigms
• Greek-English and English-Greek glossaries
•Robust online supplements for teaching and learning available at atticgreek.org
•Answer Key to exercises also available from UC Press (978-0-520-27574-4)
The history books have cast Katherine of Aragon, the first queen of King Henry VIII of England, as the ultimate symbol of the Betrayed Woman, cruelly tossed aside in favor of her husband’s seductive mistress, Anne Boleyn. Katherine’s sister, Juana of Castile, wife of Philip of Burgundy and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, is portrayed as “Juana the Mad,” whose erratic behavior included keeping her beloved late husband’s coffin beside her for years. But historian Julia Fox, whose previous work painted an unprecedented portrait of Jane Boleyn, Anne’s sister, offers deeper insight in this first dual biography of Katherine and Juana, the daughters of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella, whose family ties remained strong despite their separation. Looking through the lens of their Spanish origins, Fox reveals these queens as flesh-and-blood women—equipped with character, intelligence, and conviction—who are worthy historical figures in their own right.
When they were young, Juana’s and Katherine’s futures appeared promising. They had secured politically advantageous marriages, but their dreams of love and power quickly dissolved, and the unions for which they’d spent their whole lives preparing were fraught with duplicity and betrayal. Juana, the elder sister, unexpectedly became Spain’s sovereign, but her authority was continually usurped, first by her husband and later by her son. Katherine, a young widow after the death of Prince Arthur of Wales, soon remarried his doting brother Henry and later became a key figure in a drama that altered England’s religious landscape.
Ousted from the positions of power and influence they had been groomed for and separated from their children, Katherine and Juana each turned to their rich and abiding faith and deep personal belief in their family’s dynastic legacy to cope with their enduring hardships. Sister Queens is a gripping tale of love, duty, and sacrifice—a remarkable reflection on the conflict between ambition and loyalty during an age when the greatest sin, it seems, was to have been born a woman.
From the Hardcover edition.
At seven volumes, three thousand pages, and more than four hundred characters, as well as a towering reputation as a literary classic, Proust’s novel can seem daunting. But though begun a century ago, in 1909, it is in fact as engaging and relevant to our times as ever. Patrick Alexander is passionate about Proust’s genius and appeal—he calls the work “outrageously bawdy and extremely funny”—and in his guide he makes it more accessible to the general reader through detailed plot summaries, historical and cultural background, a guide to the fifty most important characters, maps, family trees, illustrations, and a brief biography of Proust. Essential for readers and book groups currently reading Proust and who want help keeping track of the huge cast and intricate plot, this Reader’s Guide is also a wonderful introduction for students and new readers and a memory-refresher for long-time fans.
am walking alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts
are sometimes preoccupied elsewhere, the rest of the time I
bring them back to the walk, to the orchard, to the sweetness
of this solitude, and to me.”
In the year 1570, at the age of thirty-seven, Michel de Montaigne gave up his job as a magistrate and retired to his château to brood on his own private grief—the deaths of his best friend, his father, his brother, and his firstborn child. On the ceiling of his library he inscribed a phrase from the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius: “There is no new pleasure to be gained by living longer.”
But finding his mind agitated rather than settled by this idleness, Montaigne began to write, giving birth to the Essays—short prose explorations of an amazingly wide range of subjects. And gradually, over the course of his writing, Montaigne rejected his stoical pessimism and turned from a philosophy of death to a philosophy of life. He erased Lucretius’s melancholy fatalism and began to embrace the exuberant vitality of living, finding an antidote to death in the most unlikely places—the touch of a hand, the smell of his doublet, the playfulness of his cat, and the flavor of his wine.
Saul Frampton offers a celebration of perhaps the most enjoyable and yet profound of all Renaissance writers, whose essays went on to have a huge impact on figures as diverse as Shakespeare, Emerson, and Orson Welles, and whose thoughts, even today, offer a guide and unprecedented insight into the simple matter of being alive.
From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.
Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.
The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.
Astonishing in its candor, The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince what he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government and is the ultimate book on power politics.
In the foreword to this edition of W.K. Marriott's classic translation, author Michael Ennis delves into the motivations and machinations behind Machiavelli's work. As a bonus, this e-book includes five chapters from Ennis's novel, The Malice of Fortune, a heart-pounding, mind-bending mystery that pits Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci against a ruthless serial killer, set in the seething heart of Borgia politics.
Farce has always been relegated to the lowest rung of the ladder of dramatic genres. Distinctions between farce and more literary comic forms remain clouded, even in the light of contemporary efforts to rehabilitate this type of comedy. Is farce really nothing more than slapstick-the "putting out of candles, kicking down of tables, falling over joynt-stools," as Thomas Shadwell characterized it in the seventeenth century? Or was his contemporary, Nahum Tate correct when he declared triumphantly that "there are no rules to be prescribed for that sort of wit, no patterns to copy; and 'tis altogether the creature of imagination"? Davis shows farce to be an essential component in both the comedic and tragic traditions. "Farce" sets out to explore the territory of what makes farce distinct as a comic genre. Its lowly origins date back to the classic Graeco-Roman theatre; but when formal drama was reborn by the process of elaboration of ritual within the mediaeval Church, the French term "farce" became synonymous with a recognizable style of comic performance. Taking a wide range of farces from the briefest and most basic of fair-ground mountebank performances to fully-fledged five-act structures from the late nineteenth century, the book reveals the patterns of comic plot and counter-plot that are common to all. The result is a novel classification of farce-plots, which serves to clarify the differences between farce and more literary comic forms and to show how quickly farce can shade into other styles of humor. The key is a careful balance between a revolt against order and propriety, and a kind of "Realpolitik" which ultimately restores the social conventions under attack. A complex array of devices in such things as framing, plot, characterization, timing and acting style maintain the delicate balance. Contemporary examples from the London stage bring the discussion up-to-date and reveal farce as a complex and potent comic form, with its own history, rules and traditions. "Farce" sheds light on the genre, its history, and usage in terms of dramatic critics. Davis examines the recurring themes in farcical comedies including rebellion, revenge, and coincidence. This classic work, updated with a new introduction and 50% new material, has been a staple of literary and humor studies libraries for years. It is part of the Transaction Series in Humor edited by Arthur Asa Berger. Jessica Milner Davis co-ordinates the Australasian Humour Scholars Network from the University of New South Wales in Sydney as a Visiting Fellow in its Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Since her first book she has published a wide variety of papers on comedy and humor, edited two specialist volumes of "The Australian Journal of Comedy" (in 1997 and 2001) and serves on the boards of two international humor research journals and book-series.