Seven years after the death of Anton Chekhov, his sister, Maria, wrote to a friend, "You asked for someone who could write a biography of my deceased brother. If you recall, I recommended Iv. Al. Bunin . . . . No one writes better than he; he knew and understood my deceased brother very well; he can go about the endeavor objectively. . . . I repeat, I would very much like this biography to correspond to reality and that it be written by I.A. Bunin."
In About Chekhov Ivan Bunin sought to free the writer from limiting political, social, and aesthetic assessments of his life and work, and to present both in a more genuine, insightful, and personal way. Editor and translator Thomas Gaiton Marullo subtitles About Chekhov "The Unfinished Symphony," because although Bunin did not complete the work before his death in 1953, he nonetheless fashioned his memoir as a moving orchestral work on the writers' existence and art. . . . "Even in its unfinished state, About Chekhov stands not only as a stirring testament of one writer's respect and affection for another, but also as a living memorial to two highly creative artists." Bunin draws on his intimate knowledge of Chekhov to depict the writer at work, in love, and in relation with such writers as Tolstoy and Gorky. Through anecdotes and observations, spirited exchanges and reflections, this memoir draws a unique portrait that plumbs the depths and complexities of two of Russia's greatest writers.
ACROSS SPOON RIVER
Edgar Masters University of Illinois Press, 1991 Library of Congress PS3525.A83Z463 1991 | Dewey Decimal 811.52
This intimate and provocative autobiography, first published in 1936,
reveals the innermost thoughts of a great American poet. Edgar Lee Masters
was a transitional figure in American literature with one foot planted
in the nineteenth century and the other firmly placed on the path of what
we now think of as the modern period.
Masters expounds on his own development as a poet and as a human being;
he shares his views on American culture, politics, and the literary criticism
of the times. Masters's friends and acquaintances discussed here include
some of the most prominent writers and politicians of his age. And he
reflects on his life events that shaped, haunted, and inspired his writings
of the classic Spoon River Anthology.
She invites us along on a raucous tour of soul-sucking jobs, marriage, and a teaching career, with accompanying disquisitions on blasphemous reading preferences, ’60s pop culture, writing workshops, and other amusing detours and distractions on the way to publication. She also shares her keen insights into the role of a Southern writer in American literary culture, the experience of writing as a mother, and the process of novel-writing as compared to a lengthy family car trip.
Featuring guest appearances by other writers such as Fred Chappell, Max Steele, and Annie Dillard plus cameos by the likes of Patty Hearst, Richard Nixon, and Bon Jovi, Adventures in Pen Land celebrates writing as a form of play that Gingher has never outgrown. The lighthearted illustrations by novelist Daniel Wallace (author of Big Fish) serve to reinforce this refreshing message as they depict one writer and her imagination growing up together.
Adventures in Pen Land conveys a writer’s sheer doggedness, with a few bones of advice tossed in along the way. Candid and irreverent, but always humane, this memoir is must reading for fans of Southern literature, students of creative writing, and anyone who can’t resist the treat of reading about a writer’s resilience and dedication to her craft.
Political failures and globalization have eroded Ireland’s sovereignty—a decline portended in Irish literature. Surveying the bleak themes in thirty works by modern writers, Declan Kiberd finds audacious experimentation that embodies the defiance and resourcefulness of Ireland’s founding spirit—and a strange kind of hope for a more open nation.
Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) was one of the greatest Russian poets of this century. But during her life she was subjected to scathing critical attacks, denounced as "half-nun, half-whore," and then expelled from the Writers' Union. She also endured severe personal losses. Akhmatova's friend Lydia Chukovskaya (1907-96) kept intimate diaries of her conversations with the great poet. First published in the U.S.S.R. in 1987, The Akhmatova Journals offers a rare look into the day-to-day life of Akhmatova.
Edward J. Hughes Reaktion Books, 2015 Library of Congress PQ2605.A3734Z664 2015 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Winner of the Franco-British Society Literary Prize 2015
Few figures of twentieth-century French culture carry such an air of romance and intrigue as Albert Camus. Though his life was cut short by a fatal car accident in 1960, when he was just forty-six years old, he packed those years with an incredible amount of experience and accomplishment. This new entry in the Critical Lives series offers a fresh look at Camus’ life and work, from his best-selling novels like The Stranger to his complicated political engagement in a postwar world of intensifying ideological conflict. Edward Hughes offers a particularly nuanced exploration of Camus’ relationship to his native Algeria—a connection whose strength would be tested in the 1950s as France’s conflict with the anticolonial movement there became increasingly violent and untenable.
Ultimately, the picture Hughes offers is of a man whose commitment to ideas and truth reigned supreme, whether in his fiction, journalism, or political activity, a commitment that has led the man who disclaimed leadership—“I do not guide anyone,” he once pleaded—to nonetheless be seen as a powerful figure and ethical force.
A Communist Party member in the 1930s, Camus became an independent political critic in the 1950s: an outspoken opponent of all forms of totalitarianism, he defended the libertarian principles of Western democracy. Along the way he involved himself in far-reaching intellectual quarrels such as that over his own L’Homme révolté (The Rebel) with Jean-Paul Sartre, which this book examines in fascinating detail. Albert Camus offers illuminating insights into the relationship between intellectuals and politics; a serious contribution to the history of social, political, and ethical ideas.
Jad Smith University of Illinois Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3552.E796Z85 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Alfred Bester's classic short stories and the canonical novel The Stars My Destination made him a science fiction legend. Fans and scholars praise him as a genre-bending pioneer and cyberpunk forefather. Writers like Neil Gaiman and William Gibson celebrate his prophetic vision and stylistic innovations. Jad Smith traces the career of the unlikeliest of SF icons. Winner of the first Hugo Award for The Demolished Man , Bester also worked in comics, radio, and TV, and his intermittent SF writing led some critics to brand him a dabbler. In the 1960s, however, New Wave writers championed his work, and his reputation grew. Smith follows Bester's journey from consummate outsider to an artist venerated for foundational works that influenced the New Wave and cyberpunk revolutions. He also explores the little-known roots of a wayward journey fueled by curiosity, disappointment with the SF mainstream, and an artist's determination to go his own way.
Alfred Jarry’s (1873–1907) creation of the monster-tyrant Ubu in his play Ubu Roi was a watershed in theater history and brought him instant notoriety following its Paris premiere in 1896. In this concise, critical biography, Jill Fell explores this and the many achievements that this multi-talented and influential writer and playwright crammed into his short life.
Drawing on numerous anecdotes and the early publications of the Collège de ’Pataphysique, Fell traces Jarry’s growth and influence, as he rapidly established his literary reputation as a prose writer, journalist, art critic, and playwright. Along the way, Fell explores his interaction with a wide cast of avant-garde characters, including Gauguin, Rachilde, Wilde, Beardsley, and Apollinaire. The quarrels that punctuated Jarry’s life—and the extravagance and the drinking that drained his meager wealth—form the background to this portrait of an obsessive writer, committed to his craft and undeterred by his worsening domestic circumstances.
Inthis entertaining biography, Jarry’s spirit and his inventions clearly emerge as an inspiration to the great figures of experimental twentieth-century theatre, art, and literature. Alfred Jarry will inform and delight readers who wish to learn more about this fascinating, unconventional figure.
A study of realism and folk literature and of the sources and techniques of storytelling
Alias Simon Suggs is a study in the life and writings of Johnson J. Hooper of Alabama, and is a masterful contribution to American biography and to American literature.
Extensively documented with illuminating footnotes and revealing references, its style is direct and captivating and will appeal to those who enjoy entertaining biography will relish the privilege of reading it.
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, Lewis Carroll created fantastic worlds that continue to delight and trouble readers of all ages today. Few consider, however, that Carroll conceived his Alice books during the 1860s, a moment of intense intellectual upheaval, as new scientific, linguistic, educational, and mathematical ideas flourished around him and far beyond. Alice in Space reveals the contexts within which the Alice books first lived, bringing back the zest to jokes lost over time and poignancy to hidden references.
Gillian Beer explores Carroll’s work through the speculative gaze of Alice, for whom no authority is unquestioned and everything can speak. Parody and Punch, evolutionary debates, philosophical dialogues, educational works for children, math and logic, manners and rituals, dream theory and childhood studies—all fueled the fireworks. While much has been written about Carroll’s biography and his influence on children’s literature, Beer convincingly shows him at play in the spaces of Victorian cultural and intellectual life, drawing on then-current controversies, reading prodigiously across many fields, and writing on multiple levels to please both children and adults in different ways.
With a welcome combination of learning and lightness, Beer reminds us that Carroll’s books are essentially about curiosity, its risks and pleasures. Along the way, Alice in Space shares Alice’s exceptional ability to spark curiosity in us, too.
Today, almost two decades after her death, Margaret Laurence remains one of Canada's best-known and most beloved writers. Twice winner of the Governor General's Award for fiction, she was, as the late William French wrote, "more profoundly admired than any other Canadian novelist of her generation."
Lyall Powers is both a respected scholar of literature and a lifelong friend of Laurence's, having met her when they were students together at Winnipeg's United College in the 1940s. Alien Heart is the first full-length biography of Margaret that combines personal knowledge and insights about Laurence with a study of her work, which often paralleled the events and concerns in her own life.
Drawing on letters, personal correspondence, journals, and interviews, Lyall Powers discusses the struggles and triumphs Laurence experienced in her efforts to understand herself in the roles of writer, wife, mother, and public figure. He portrays a deeply compassionate and courageous woman, who yet felt troubled by conflicting demands. While Laurence's work is not directly autobiographical, Powers illustrates how her writing expressed many of the same dilemmas, and how the resolution her characters achieved in the novels and stories had an impact on Laurence's own life.
Powers provides an in-depth analysis of all Laurence's work, including the early African essays, fiction, and translations, and her books for children, as well as the beloved Manawaka fiction. The study clearly shows the progression and expression of Laurence as a writer of great humanity and conscience.
Allen Tate - American Writers 39 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Ambrose Bierce - American Writers 37 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
American Humorists - American Writers 42 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The American Short Story - American Writers 14 was first published in 1961. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Roy Morris Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS1334.M67 2015 | Dewey Decimal 818.409
Unintimidated by Old World sophistication or travel to undeveloped parts of the globe, Mark Twain spent a surprising amount of time outside the continental United States. Roy Morris, Jr. focuses on the dozen years he lived overseas and the books he wrote encouraging middle-class Americans to follow him around the world, at the dawn of mass tourism.
After a century of critical neglect, poet and writer Amy Levy is gaining recognition as a literary figure of stature.
This definitive biography accompanied by her letters, along with the recent publication of her selected writings, provides a critical appreciation of Levy’s importance in her own time and in ours.
As an educated Jewish woman with homoerotic desires, Levy felt the strain of combating the structures of British society in the 1880s, the decade in which she built her career and moved in London’s literary and bohemian circles. Unwilling to cut herself off from her Jewish background, she had the additional burden of attempting to bridge the gap between communities.
In Amy Levy: Her Life and Letters Linda Hunt Beckman examines Levy’s writings and other cultural documents for insight into her emotional and intellectual life. This groundbreaking study introduces us to a woman well deserving of a place in literary and cultural history.
While competing with Langston Hughes for the title of “Poet Laureate of Harlem,” Countée Cullen (1903–46) crafted poems that became touchstones for American readers, both black and white. Inspired by classic themes and working within traditional forms, Cullen shaped his poetry to address universal questions like love, death, longing, and loss while also dealing with the issues of race and idealism that permeated the national conversation. Drawing on the poet’s unpublished correspondence with contemporaries and friends like Hughes, Claude McKay, Carl Van Vechten, Dorothy West, Charles S. Johnson and Alain Locke, and presenting a unique interpretation of his poetic gifts, And Bid Him Sing is the first full-length critical biography of this famous American writer.
Despite his untimely death at the age of forty-two, Cullen left behind an extensive body of work. In addition to five books of poetry, he authored two much-loved children’s books and translated Euripides’ Medea, the first translation by an African American of a Greek tragedy. In these pages, Charles Molesworth explores the many ways that race, religion, and Cullen’s sexuality informed the work of one of the unquestioned stars of the Harlem Renaissance.
An authoritative work of biography that brings to life one of the chief voices of his generation, And Bid Him Sing returns to us one of America’s finest lyric poets in all of his complexity and musicality.
And No Birds Sing
Pauline Leader Gallaudet University Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3523.E124Z46 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Originally published in 1931, this memoir offers an unflinching look at the life of a deaf woman struggling with poverty and isolation in the bohemian enclave of Greenwich Village. In harrowing yet lyrical prose, Pauline Leader recounts her experience growing up as the daughter of Jewish immigrants in a small New England mill town. Born in 1908, Leader was exposed to frequent verbal and physical abuse. She became deaf at the age of 12, following a long illness. As a teenager, she ran away to New York City, where she found work in factories and sweatshops, and spent time in a home for “wayward girls.” As she sought community among the artists and eccentrics of the Village, Leader’s strong will and fierce independence were often thwarted by hardship and self-doubt. But through it all she found solace in her writing.
This edition is accompanied by a new introduction and afterword that provide a scholarly framework for understanding Leader and her times. She persevered and became a published poet and novelist, often drawing on the experiences offered up here. Compelling and evocative, And No Birds Sing deftly reveals a complex, intelligent spirit toiling in a brutal world.
From the book:
I insisted to myself that I could still hear. I heard in my mind the sounds of streams as I passed them. I knew the sound the river made, that river that I had known always, the river by the marble house. In my mind the river washed with a low intimate sound. I had no need to hear as the people heard. True intimacy needs no ears. I knew the sound of birds; I heard them as they hopped about. I knew the sound of words also. It was words that I most intensely heard. I had not always the river and the birds—they appeared far away at times. I did not always want river and birds, but I always wanted words, and I always had them. I would have been terribly lonely without them. With them always in my mind, I could not be truly lonely. I played with them; I set them to music; I achieved endless variations with them. They were never weary, as other things could sometimes be weary.
Anna Akhmatova and Her Circle
Konstantin Polivanov University of Arkansas Press, 2016 Library of Congress PG3476.A324Z53813 1994 | Dewey Decimal 891.7142
This powerful collection of fifteen memoirs by and about one of the greatest poets of our time weaves an unforgettable drama of friendship, grace, and courage, through long years of heartbreak and hunger.
Anne Tyler as Novelist
Dale Salwak University of Iowa Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3570.Y45Z54 1994 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Over the past thirty years, Anne Tyler has earned a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Pulitzer Prize, and the admiration of an ever-expanding number of devoted readers. The seventeen essays that compose Anne Tyler as Novelist concentrate upon the distinctive features of Tyler's writing: her steady concern with the American family, the quietly comic touch that underlies her unobtrusive but perfectly controlled style, her prodigious gift for bringing to life a variety of eccentric characters, their fears and concerns, their longing for meaning and understanding. Consistently, Anne Tyler's work focuses on ordinary families with extraordinary troubles—therein part of the secret of her broad appeal.
Written from a variety of critical approaches and representing some of the best among today's critics, the essays in this book discuss Tyler's early years and influences, her development and beliefs, attainments, and literary reputation, stretching from her first published novel, If Morning Ever Comes, to her twelfth, Saint Maybe. From Elizabeth Evans' interviews with Tyler's mother and former teachers to John Updike's lucid assessments, Anne Tyler as Novelist is a major contribution to the growing dialogue on this most important writer. All but two essays were written especially for this volume.
This book will obviously hold great appeal for the many people who have already encountered the pleasures of Tyler's novels. Less obviously, it is also for the people who have heard of her but have not read her works; those people should be inspired to turn with particular insight to the novels of Anne Tyler. In a 1983 review of Barbara Pym's novel No Fond Return of Love, Anne Tyler said of Pym that she was “the rarest of treasures.” Certainly we may say the same of Tyler herself—and for reasons given in this fine collection of essays that pays tribute to one of America's most accomplished writers.
The only collection of all known letters of Christopher Smart provides the best psychological explanation to date of that complex and elusive eighteenth-century poet.
The significant characteristics that distinguish Smart’s prose letters from his poetry, Betty Rizzo and Robert Mahony note, are that his letters were requests for assistance while his verses were bequests, gifts in which he set great store. Indeed, it was Smart’s lifelong conviction that he was a poet of major importance.
As Smart biographer Karina Williamson notes, "The splendidly informative and vivaciously written accounts of the circumstances surrounding each letter, or group of letters, add up to what is in effect a miniature biography."
"An engrossing biography about the marital breakdown of a major literary figure, of particular interest for what it reveals about O'Neill's creative process, activities, and bohemian lifestyle at the time of his early successes and some of his most interesting experimental work. In addition, King's discussion of Boulton's efforts as a writer of pulp fiction in the early part of the 20th century reveals an interesting side of popular fiction writing at that time, and gives insight into the lifestyle of the liberated woman."
---Stephen Wilmer, Trinity College, Dublin
Biographers of American playwright Eugene O'Neill have been quick to label his marriage to actress Carlotta Monterey as the defining relationship of his illustrious career. But in doing so, they overlook the woman whom Monterey replaced---Agnes Boulton, O'Neill's wife of over a decade and mother to two of his children. O'Neill and Boulton were wed in 1918---a time when she was a successful pulp novelist and he was still a little-known writer of one-act plays. During the decade of their marriage, he gained fame as a Broadway dramatist who rejected commercial compromise, while she mapped that contentious territory known as the literary marriage. His writing reflected her, and hers reflected him, as they tried to realize progressive ideas about what a marriage should be. But after O'Neill left the marriage, he and new love Carlotta Monterey worked diligently to put Boulton out of sight and mind---and most O'Neill biographers have been quick to follow suit.
William Davies King has brought Agnes Boulton to light again, providing new perspectives on America's foremost dramatist, the dynamics of a literary marriage, and the story of a woman struggling to define herself in the early twentieth century. King shows how the configuration of O'Neill and Boulton's marriage helps unlock many of O'Neill's plays. Drawing on more than sixty of Boulton's published and unpublished writings, including her 1958 memoir, Part of a Long Story, and an extensive correspondence, King rescues Boulton from literary oblivion while offering the most radical revisionary reading of the work of Eugene O'Neill in a generation.
William Davies King is Professor of Theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of several books, most recently Collections of Nothing, chosen by Amazon.com as one of the Best Books of 2008.
Illustration: Eugene O'Neill, Shane O'Neill, and Agnes Boulton ca. 1923. Eugene O'Neill Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Anton Chekhov's life was short, intense, and dominated by battles, both with his dependents and with the tuberculosis that killed him at age forty-four. The traditional image of Chekhov is that of the restrained artist torn between medicine and literature. But Donald Rayfield's biography reveals the life long hidden behind the noble facade. Here is a man capable of both great generosity toward needy peasants and harsh callousness toward lovers and family, a man who craved with equal passion the company of others and the solitude necessary to create his art. Based on information from Chekhov archives throughout Russia, Rayfield's work has been hailed as a groundbreaking examination of the life of a literary master.A new biography of the great author and playwright.
First published in 1973, this collection of Chekhov's correspondence is widely regarded as the best introduction to this great Russian writer. Weighted heavily toward the correspondence dealing with literary and intellectual matters, this extremely informative collection provides fascinating insight into Chekhov's development as a writer. Michael Henry Heim's excellent translation and Simon Karlinsky's masterly headnotes make this volume an essential text for anyone interested in Chekhov.
Archibald MacLeish - American Writers 99 was first published in 1971. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
“Ed McElroy, clear of eye, sound of mind, and eighty-three years of age . . . guides his black Cadillac down Halsted Street.” So begins longtime Chicago journalist Neil Steinberg’s nuanced homage to Ed McElroy: an old-school, behind-the-scenes backscratcher who has driven the rich, powerful, and well-connected around the city, doing favors and calling them in, for decades. Helping a young Steinberg understand the city, McElroy and his take on how a Mayor’s son gets to be Mayor and how a wily up-and-comer marries the daughter of a powerful alderman and later becomes governor would enthrall even the most seasoned Chicagoan. In this drive around town and through time, Steinberg ultimately serves up audacious and funny anecdotes about how it helps to stay connected, to know a guy, and to help people out when you can.
Artaud the Mômo is Antonin Artaud’s most extraordinary poetic work from the brief final phase of his life, from his return to Paris in 1946 after nine years of incarceration in French psychiatric institutions to his death in 1948. This work is an unprecedented anatomical excavation carried through in vocal language, envisioning new gestural futures for the human body in its splintered fragments. With black humor, Artaud also illuminates his own status as the scorned, Marseille-born child-fool, the “mômo” (a self-naming that fascinated Jacques Derrida in his writings on this work). Artaud moves between extreme irreligious obscenity and delicate evocations of his immediate corporeal perception and his sense of solitude. The book’s five-part sequence ends with Artaud’s caustic denunciation of psychiatric institutions and of the very concept of madness itself.
This edition is translated by Clayton Eshleman, the acclaimed foremost translator of Artaud’s work. This will be the first edition since the original 1947 publication to present the work in the spatial format Artaud intended. It also incorporates eight original drawings by Artaud—showing reconfigured bodies as weapons of resistance and assault—which he selected for that edition, after having initially attempted to persuade Pablo Picasso to collaborate with him. Additional critical material draws on Artaud’s previously unknown manuscript letters written between 1946 and 1948 to the book’s publisher, Pierre Bordas, which give unique insights into the work from its origins to its publication.
Arthur C. Clarke
Gary Westfahl University of Illinois Press, 2018 Library of Congress PR6005.L36Z95 2018 | Dewey Decimal 823.914
Already renowned for his science fiction and scientific nonfiction, Arthur C. Clarke became the world's most famous science fiction writer after the success of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He then produced novels like Rendezvous with Rama and The Fountains of Paradise that many regard as his finest works. Gary Westfahl closely examines Clarke's remarkable career, ranging from his forgotten juvenilia to the passages he completed for a final novel, The Last Theorem. As Westfahl explains, Clarke's science fiction offered original perspectives on subjects like new inventions, space travel, humanity's destiny, alien encounters, the undersea world, and religion. While not inclined to mysticism, Clarke necessarily employed mystical language to describe the fantastic achievements of advanced aliens and future humans. Westfahl also contradicts the common perception that Clarke's characters were bland and underdeveloped, arguing that these reticent, solitary individuals, who avoid conventional relationships, represent his most significant prediction of the future, as they embody the increasingly common lifestyle of people in the twenty-first century.
Born in Budapest in 1905, Arthur Koestler was a pivotal European writer and intellectual who inspired, provoked, and intrigued in equal measure. Koestler wrote enduring works of reportage and memoir, but he is most famous for his political novel Darkness at Noon, which received widespread international acclaim. In Arthur Koestler, Edward Saunders offers a fresh and clear-eyed account of the life and work of an enigmatic, challenging writer who continues to polarize opinion today.
Saunders sketches Koestler as a leading documentarian of some of the key moments in twentieth-century European history, showing the remarkable ways that he was able to stage himself as a witness to them. Saunders explores Koestler’s struggle with his Jewish identity, outlines his ideas on the theory of science and the ways he tried to imagine the future of science and humankind, and directly engages with the controversial claims of sexual violence that have emerged in the years following Koestler’s suicide. Differentiating the life Koestler led from the story he wanted to tell about it and various ways the public has influenced his reputation after his death, this book offers a balanced portrait of a vibrant figure in twentieth-century arts and letters.
Arthur Miller - American Writers 40 was first published in 1964. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Before he turned twenty-one, Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91) had upended the house of French poetry and left it in shambles. In this critical biography, Seth Whidden argues that what makes Rimbaud’s poetry important is part of what makes his life so compelling: rebellion, audacity, creativity, and exploration.
Almost all of Rimbaud’s poems were written between the ages of fifteen and twenty. Against the backdrop of the crumbling Second Empire and the tumultuous Paris Commune, he took centuries-old traditions of French versification and picked them apart with an unmatched knowledge of how they fitted together. Combining sensuality with the pastoral, parody, political satire, fable, eroticism, and mystery, his poems range from traditional verse forms to prose-poetry to the first two free-verse poems written in French. By situating Rimbaud’s later writing in Africa as part of a continuum that spanned his entire life, Whidden offers a corrective to the traditional split between Rimbaud’s life as a poet and his life afterwards. A remarkable portrait of the original damned poet, Arthur Rimbaud reinvents a figure who continues to captivate readers, artists, and writers across the world.
At Home with André and Simone Weil
Sylvie Weil, translated from the French by Benjamin Ivry Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PQ2683.E3463Z4613 2010 | Dewey Decimal 843.914
“It is quite incorrect to believe that the dead are gone forever and never return to speak to the living. They return to speak to the living all the time; indeed, it is their main activity.” Thus writes Sylvie Weil in this illuminating memoir, in which contemporary readers can hear the voices of her famed philosopher aunt Simone and mathematician father André.
Born into a freethinking Jewish family in France in 1909, Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosophers, influencing Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czeslaw Milosz, and Susan Sontag. She fought for workers’ rights and, later, the Spanish Republican cause. Before her death at age thirty-four, Simone Weil turned increasingly to mysticism and religion, especially Roman Catholicism, exploring themes of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor. She never converted, however, and Sylvie Weil writes from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing Simone’s Jewish heritage.
Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil paints the most vivid, private portrait of her aunt in print. The book illuminates Simone’s relationship with others, especially with her brother, André. Loving and unsparing, affectionate and incisive, At Home with André and Simone Weil is an insightful memoir about a family of intellectual luminaries.
Autobiography of a Yaqui Poet
Refugio Savala; Edited by Kathleen M. Sands University of Arizona Press, 1980 Library of Congress F1221.Y3S28 | Dewey Decimal 970.00497
This is the major literary achievement of a sensitive, gifted man. The author is a Yaqui Indian, a railroad gandy dancer who sees beauty in iron spikes and rail clamps as well as in twilight-purple mountains and glossy-leafed cottonwood trees. In the seventy years following his flight from the Yaqui-Mexican wars in Sonora, Savala became a talented poet and loving recorder of his people's cultural heritage. A large sampling of his original works appears in the interpretations section of this book. Together with the beautifully written autobiography, they offer a unique view of Arizona Yaqui culture and history, railroading in the American West, and the personal and artistic growth of a Native American man of letters.