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James Baldwin's Turkish Decade
Erotics of Exile
Magdalena J. Zaborowska
Duke University Press, 2008
Between 1961 and 1971 James Baldwin spent extended periods of time in Turkey, where he worked on some of his most important books. In this first in-depth exploration of Baldwin’s “Turkish decade,” Magdalena J. Zaborowska reveals the significant role that Turkish locales, cultures, and friends played in Baldwin’s life and thought. Turkey was a nurturing space for the author, who by 1961 had spent nearly ten years in France and Western Europe and failed to reestablish permanent residency in the United States. Zaborowska demonstrates how Baldwin’s Turkish sojourns enabled him to re-imagine himself as a black queer writer and to revise his views of American identity and U.S. race relations as the 1960s drew to a close.

Following Baldwin’s footsteps through Istanbul, Ankara, and Bodrum, Zaborowska presents many never published photographs, new information from Turkish archives, and original interviews with Turkish artists and intellectuals who knew Baldwin and collaborated with him on a play that he directed in 1969. She analyzes the effect of his experiences on his novel Another Country (1962) and on two volumes of his essays, The Fire Next Time (1963) and No Name in the Street (1972), and she explains how Baldwin’s time in Turkey informed his ambivalent relationship to New York, his responses to the American South, and his decision to settle in southern France. James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade expands the knowledge of Baldwin’s role as a transnational African American intellectual, casts new light on his later works, and suggests ways of reassessing his earlier writing in relation to ideas of exile and migration.


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Jane Austen
A Companion
Ross, Josephine
Rutgers University Press, 2003
The only best-selling authors in Jane Austen's league in the English language today are Shakespeare and Dickens. In the twenty-first century her boundless appeal continues to grow following the enormously successful television and film adaptations of Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility.

This illuminating, entertaining, up-to-date companion is the only general guide to Jane Austen, her work, and her world. Josephine Ross explores the literary scene during the time Austen's works first appeared: the books considered classics then, the "horrid novels" and romances, and the grasping publishers. She looks at the architecture and décor of Austen's era that made up "the profusion and elegance of modern taste." Regency houses for instance, Chippendale furniture, and "picturesque scenery." On a smaller scale she answers questions that may baffle modern readers. What, for example, was "hartshorn"? How did Lizzy Bennet "let down" her gown to hide her muddy petticoat? Ross shows us the fashions, and the subtle ways Jane Austen used clothes to express character. Courtship, marriage, adultery, class and "rank," mundane tasks of ordinary life, all appear, as does the wider political and military world.

This book will add depth to all readers' enjoyment of Jane Austen, whether confirmed addicts or newcomers wanting to learn about one of the world's most popular and enduring writers.

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Jane Austen
The Chawton Letters
Edited by Kathryn Sutherland
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
The life of Jane Austen has fascinated the millions of readers around the world who cherish her work. A new collection presents an intimate portrait of Austen in her own words, showing the many details of her life that found echoes in her fiction, especially her keen observations of the “little matters”—the routines of reading, dining and taking tea, paying visits to family and friends, and walking to the shops or to send the post.
            Brilliantly edited by Kathryn Sutherland, Jane Austen: The Chawton Letters uses Austen’s letters drawn from the collection held at Jane Austen’s House Museum at her former home in Chawton, Hampshire, to tell her life story. At age twenty-five, Austen left her first home, Steventon, Hampshire, for Bath. In 1809, she moved to Chawton, which was to be her home for the remainder of her short life. In her correspondence, we discover Austen’s relish for her regular visits to the shops and theaters of London, as well as the quieter routines of village life. We learn of her anxieties about the publication of Pride and Prejudice, her care in planning Mansfield Park, and her hilarious negotiations over the publication of Emma.  (To her sister, Cassandra, Austen calls her publisher John Murray, “a Rogue, of course, but a civil one.”) Throughout, the Chawton letters testify to Jane’s close ties with her family, especially her sister, and the most moving letter is written by Cassandra just days after Jane’s death. The collection also reproduces pages from the letters in Austen’s own distinctive hand.
            This collection makes a delightful modern-day keepsake from one of the world’s best-loved writers on the two-hundredth anniversary of her death.

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John Evelyn
A Life of Domesticity
John Dixon Hunt
Reaktion Books, 2018
The great English writer and gardener John Evelyn (1620–1706) kept a diary all his life. Today, this diary is considered an invaluable source of information on more than fifty years of social, cultural, religious, and political life in seventeenth-century England. Evelyn’s work is often overshadowed by the literary contributions of his contemporary and friend, Samuel Pepys. This new biography changes that.

John Dixon Hunt takes a fresh look at the life and work of one of England’s greatest diarists, focusing particularly on Evelyn’s “domesticity.” The book explores Evelyn’s life at home, and perhaps even more importantly, his domestication of foreign ideas and practices in England. During the English Civil Wars, Evelyn traveled extensively throughout Europe, taking in ideas on the management of estate design while abroad to apply them in England. Evelyn’s greatest accomplishment was the import of European garden art to the UK, a feat Hunt puts into context alongside a range of Evelyn’s social and ethical thinking. Illustrated with visual material from Evelyn’s time and from his own pen, the book is an ideal introduction to a hugely important figure in the shaping of early modern Britain.

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