Thanks to her acclaimed volume of poetry and prose published in France in 1555, Louise Labé (1522-66) remains one of the most important and influential women writers of the Continental Renaissance. Best known for her exquisite collection of love sonnets, Labé played off the Petrarchan male tradition with wit and irony, and her elegies respond with lyric skill to predecessors such as Sappho and Ovid. The first complete bilingual edition of this singular and broad-ranging female author, Complete Poetry and Prose also features the only translations of Labé's sonnets to follow the exacting rhyme patterns of the originals and the first rhymed translation of Labé's elegies in their entirety.
That the poet John Gower was a major literary figure in England at the close of the fourteenth century is no longer in question. Scholarly attention paid to him and to his work over the past twenty- five years has redeemed him from an undeserved obscurity imposed by the preceding two hundred. The facts of his life and career are now documented, and recent critical assessment has placed his achievement most accurately alongside Chaucer's, Langland's, and the Gawain- poet's.
Unique among his contemporaries, all of whom undoubtedly read and used French in some measure, Gower alone has left us a significant body of verse and prose in Anglo-Norman; chiefly, the twelve-stanza poem Mirour de l-Omme, the Cinkante Balades, and the Traitié pour les amantz marietz. We are offered in this concordance of his Anglo- Norman work a unique opportunity to view a poetic language as it was written and read in England until Gower's death in 1408 and beyond.
By illuminating Jonathan Swift’s fascination with language, Marilyn Francus shows how the linguistic questions posed by his work are at the forefront of twentieth-century literary criticism: What constitutes meaning in language? How do people respond to language? Who has (or should have) authority over language? Is linguistic value synonymous with literary value?
Francus starts with a detailed analysis of Swift’s linguistic education, which straddled a radical transition in linguistic thought, and its effect on his prose. This compelling beginning includes sometimes surprising historical information about the teaching and learning of linguistics and language theory in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Swift’s academic studies reflected the traditional universalist view that seeks an Adamic language to reverse the fragmentation of Babel and achieve epistemological unity. But Swift’s tutor also exposed him to the contemporary linguistics of the scientific societies and of John Locke, who argued that the assignment of linguistic meaning is arbitrary and subjective, capturing an individual’s understanding at a particular instant. These competing theories, Francus maintains, help explain the Irish writer’s conflicting inclinations toward both linguistic order and freewheeling creativity.
To develop a complete vision of Swiftian linguistics, Francus focuses on A Tale of a Tub as the archetypal linguistic text in the Swift canon, but she also includes evidence from his other famous works, including Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, Journal to Stella, and The Bickerstaff Papers, as well as from his lesser known religious and political tracts and his correspondence. In addition, Francus draws on the relevant work of contemporary linguists (such as Wilkins, Watts, Dyche, and Stackhouse), philosophers (Hobbes and Locke), and authors (including Temple, Sprat, Dryden, Pope, Addison, and Defoe).
Francus concludes that Swift occupies a pivotal place in literary history: his conscious emphasis on textuality and extended linguistic play anticipates not only the future of satiric prose but the modern novel as well.
This first full-scale treatment of the early prose of Dylan Thomas demonstrates the unity of his total work. Pratt argues that the inward journey of the poetic imagination which is implicit in poetry is often explicit in prose. Her study of Thomas’ early prose alongside his early poetry helps to elucidate all of his writing.
Pratt includes three appendices: a chronology, a summary of the critics’ attitudes toward the problem of influence, and a bibliographical sketch of materials in the Parris surrealist magazine transition, which are paralleled in Thomas’ prose.
Sometimes called the Czech Bukowski, and more widely known by the epithet “Magor” (which translates roughly to “fool” or “madman”), Ivan Jirous was one of the most significant figures in the Czechoslovak cultural underground of the 1960s through the '80s. Although trained as an art historian and famed for his poetry, Jirous was convinced that it was actually rock and roll music that held the greatest potential to enact change under the repressive regime of communist Czechoslovakia. He designated himself as the artistic director of the dissident rock band The Plastic People of the Universe, legendary for psychedelic music that was heavily influenced by nonconformist Western acts like Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground. Alongside other figures from the musical underground, Jirous was arrested in 1976—the second of five prison sentences he would serve for his dissent—which helped bring about the landmark civil rights initiative known as Charter 77. In the wake of 1989’s Velvet Revolution, Váсlav Havel—the first president of the Czech Republic—was to say that Jirous and his unwavering commitment to liberation played “no small part” in casting off the yoke of Soviet oppression.
End of the World is the first major collection in English of the works of this legendary Czech “madman.” Although nicknamed for his aggressive and rebellious behavior, Jirous’s writing reveal a refined, sophisticated, and even tender sensibility. Translated in part by Paul Wilson, an original member of the Plastic People, the book gathers his poems and letters from prison, as well as his book-length prose work, The True Story of the Plastic People, alongside critical essays on Jirous’s life and work. End of the World is an ideal introduction to the raucous writer who playwright Tom Stoppard referred to as one of the most interesting personalities in modern Czech history.
Winner of the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Book Award for Scholarly Fiction
This anthology gathers fiction, poetry, memoirs, oral histories, and journalistic pieces by some of the best writers to chronicle the Italian American experience in the Garden State. These works focus on ethnic identity and the distinctive culture of New Jersey, which has long been home to a large and vital Italian American community.
Filled with passion, humor, and grace, these writings depict a variety of experiences, including poignant but failed attempts at conformity and the alienation often felt by ethnic Americans. The authors also speak of the strength gained through the preservation of their communities and the realization that it is often the appreciation of their heritage that helps them to succeed. Although presented from the vantage point of only one ethnic group, this book addresses in microcosm the complexities of American identity, depicting situations and conveying emotions that will resonate with people of all immigrant ancestries.
Among the many writers featured are Gay Talese, Bill Ervolino, Tom Perrotta, Louise DeSalvo, Carole Mazo, Diane di Prima, and Maria Laurino. Each of the contributors provides a fresh perspective on the diversity, complexity, and richness of the Italian American experience.
Publication of this book is made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Italian and Italian American Heritage Studies, State of New Jersey.
A musician, musicologist, and self-defined “poet of research,” Amelia Rosselli (1930–96) was one of the most important poets to emerge from Europe in the aftermath of World War II. Following a childhood and adolescence spent in exile from Fascist Italy between France, England, and the United States, Rosselli was driven to express the hopes and devastations of the postwar epoch through her demanding and defamiliarizing lines. Rosselli’s trilingual body of work synthesizes a hybrid literary heritage stretching from Dante and the troubadours through Ezra Pound and John Berryman, in which playful inventions across Italian, English, and French coexist with unadorned social critique. In a period dominated by the confessional mode, Rosselli aspired to compose stanzas characterized by a new objectivity and collective orientation, “where the I is the public, where the I is things, where the I is the things that happen.” Having chosen Italy as an “ideal fatherland,” Rosselli wrote searching and often discomposing verse that redefined the domain of Italian poetics and, in the process, irrevocably changed the Italian language.
This collection, the first to bring together a generous selection of her poems and prose in English and in translation, is enhanced by an extensive critical introduction and notes by translator Jennifer Scappettone. Equipping readers with the context for better apprehending Rosselli’s experimental approach to language, Locomotrix seeks to introduce English-language readers to the extraordinary career of this crucial, if still eclipsed, voice of the twentieth century.
Lydia Huntley was born in 1791 in Norwich, CT, the only child of a poor Revolutionary war veteran. But her father’s employer, a wealthy widow, gave young Lydia the run of her library and later sent her for visits to Hartford, CT. After teaching at her own school for several years in Norwich, Lydia returned to Hartford to head a class of 15 girls from the best families. Among her students was Alice Cogswell, a deaf girl soon to be famous as a student of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc.
Lydia’s inspiration came from a deep commitment to the education of girls and also for African American, Indian, and deaf children. She left teaching to marry Charles Sigourney, then turned to writing to support her family, publishing 56 books, 2,000 magazine articles, and popular poetry. Lydia Sigourney never abandoned her passion for deaf education, remaining a supporter of Gallaudet’s school for the deaf until her death. Yet, her contributions to deaf education and her writing have been forgotten until now.
All of Lydia Sigourney’s of Lydia Sigourney’s work on the nascent Deaf community is presented in this new volume. Her writing intertwines her mastery of the sentimentalism form popular in her day with her sharp insights on the best ways to educate deaf children. In the process, Mrs. Sigourney of Hartford reestablishes her rightful place in history.
The extraordinary Muna Lee was a brilliant writer, lyric poet, translator, diplomat, feminist and rights activist, and, above all, a Pan-Americanist. During the twentieth century, she helped shape the literary and social landscapes of the Americas. This is the first biography of her remarkable life and a collection of her diverse writings, which embody her vision of Pan America, an old concept that remains new and meaningful today.
A comprehensive English-language edition of verse by the Austrian poet
An undeniable aura surrounds the name of Georg Trakl, a poet of intense inner vision and originality whose work stands alongside that of Yeats, Valéry, and T. S. Eliot. Besides Rilke, his more famous admirers include Karl Kraus and Martin Heidegger. The distinctive tone of Trakl's work-especially admired by his patron Ludwig Wittgenstein-is autumnal and melancholy. Trakl was writing at a time of spiritual and social disintegration on the eve of the First World War, when personal values and perceptions tended to be subsumed in a more generalized anguish and exaltation. Neo-romantic, early modernist, his rich, vitally sensuous poetry can be seen to mark the transition from impressionism to expressionism, but at the same time transcends such categories. Trakl's poetry has previously only been available in English in short selections or in anthologies. This bilingual edition, the most comprehensive to date, gives readers the chance to get to know Trakl's work more fully than ever before.
Thomas Bernhard Seagull Books, 2018 Library of Congress PT2662.E7P713 2010
“His manner of speaking, like that of all the subordinated, excluded, was awkward, like a body full of wounds, into which at any time anyone can strew salt, yet so insistent, that it is painful to listen to him,” from The Carpenter
The Austrian playwright, novelist, and poet Thomas Bernhard (1931–89) is acknowledged as among the major writers of our time. The seven stories in this collection capture Bernhard’s distinct darkly comic voice and vision—often compared to Kafka and Musil—commenting on a corrupted world.
First published in German in 1967, these stories were written at the same time as Bernhard’s early novels Frost, Gargoyles, and The Lime Works, and they display the same obsessions, restlessness, and disarming mastery of language. Martin Chalmer’s outstanding translation, which renders the work in English for the first time, captures the essential personality of the work. The narrators of these stories lack the strength to do anything but listen and then write, the reader in turn becoming a captive listener, deciphering the traps laid by memory—and the mere words, the neverending words with which we try to pin it down. Words that are always close to driving the narrator crazy, but yet, as Bernhard writes “not completely crazy.”
“Bernhard's glorious talent for bleak existential monologues is second only to Beckett's, and seems to have sprung up fully mature in his mesmerizing debut.”—From Publishers Weekly, on Frost
“The feeling grows that Thomas Bernhard is the most original, concentrated novelist writing in German. His connections . . . with the great constellation of Kafka, Musil, and Broch become ever clearer.” —George Steiner, Times Literary Supplement, on Gargoyles
Both before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, everyday life and the domestic sphere served as an ideological battleground, simultaneously threatening Stalinist control and challenging traditional Russian gender norms that had been shaken by the Second World War. The Prose of Life examines how six female authors employed images of daily life to depict women’s experience in Russian culture from the 1960s to the present. Byt, a term connoting both the everyday and its many petty problems, is an enduring yet neglected theme in Russian literature: its very ordinariness causes many critics to ignore it. Benjamin Sutcliffe’s study is the first sustained examination of how and why everyday life as a literary and philosophical category catalyzed the development of post-Stalinist Russian women’s prose, particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A focus on the representation of everyday life in women’s prose reveals that a first generation of female writers (Natal’ia Baranskaia, Irina Grekova) both legitimated and limited their successors (Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Tat’iana Tolstaia, Liudmila Ulitskaia, and Svetlana Vasilenko) in their choice of literary topics. The Prose of Life traces the development, and intriguing ruptures, of recent Russian women’s prose, becoming a must-read for readers interested in Russian literature and gender studies.
The Prose of the World
Maurice Merleau-Ponty Northwestern University Press, 1973 Library of Congress P106.M3813 1973 | Dewey Decimal 401
The work that Maurice Merleau-Ponty planned to call The Prose of the World, or Introduction to the Prose of the World, was unfinished at the time of his death. The book was to constitute the first section of a two-part work whose aim was to offer, as an extension of his Phenomenology of Perception, a theory of truth. This edition's editor, Claude Lefort, has interpreted and transcribed the surviving typescript, reproducing Merleau-Ponty's own notes and adding documentation and commentary.
Virginia Woolf once commented that the central image in Robinson Crusoe is an object—a large earthenware pot. Woolf and other critics pointed out that early modern prose is full of things but bare of setting and description. Explaining how the empty, unvisualized spaces of such writings were transformed into the elaborate landscapes and richly upholstered interiors of the Victorian novel, Cynthia Sundberg Wall argues that the shift involved not just literary representation but an evolution in cultural perception.
In The Prose of Things, Wall analyzes literary works in the contexts of natural science, consumer culture, and philosophical change to show how and why the perception and representation of space in the eighteenth-century novel and other prose narratives became so textually visible. Wall examines maps, scientific publications, country house guides, and auction catalogs to highlight the thickening descriptions of domestic interiors. Considering the prose works of John Bunyan, Samuel Pepys, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, David Hume, Ann Radcliffe, and Sir Walter Scott, The Prose of Things is the first full account of the historic shift in the art of describing.
An unprecedented gathering of more than 300 Native writers was held in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1992. The Returning the Gift Festival brought more Native writers together in one place than at any other time in history. "Returning the Gift," observes co-organizer Joseph Bruchac, "both demonstrated and validated our literature and our devotion to it, not just to the public, but to ourselves." In compiling this volume, Bruchac invited every writer who attended the festival to submit new, unpublished work; he then selected the best of the more than 200 submissions to create a collection that includes established writers like Duane Niatum, Simon Ortiz, Lance Henson, Elizabeth Woody, Linda Hogan, and Jeanette Armstrong, and also introduces such lesser-known or new voices as Tracy Bonneau, Jeanetta Calhoun, Kim Blaeser, and Chris Fleet.
The anthology includes works from every corner of the continent, representing a wide range of tribal affiliations, languages, and cultures. By taking their peoples' literature back to them in the form of stories and songs, these writers see themselves as returning the gift of storytelling, culture, and continuance to the source from which it came. In addition to contributions by 92 writers are two introductory chapters: Joseph Bruchac comments on the current state of Native literature and the significance of the festival, and Geary Hobson traces the evolution of the event itself.
In recent criticism, Samuel Beckett's prose has been increasingly described as a labor of refusal: not only of what traditionally has made possible narrative and the novel but also of the major conventional suppositions concerning the primacy of consciousness, subjectivity, and expression for the artistic act. Beginning from the premise that Beckett never betrays his belief in "the impossibility to express," Saying I No More explores the Beckettian refusal. Katz posits that the expression of voicelessness in Beckett is not silence, that the negativity and negation so evident in the great writer's work are not simply affirmed, but that the valorization of abnegation, emptiness, impotence, or the "no" can all too easily become itself an affirmation of power or an inverted imposition of force.
Chiara Matraini (1515–1604?) was a member of the great flowering of poetic imitators and innovators in the Italian literary heritage begun by Petrarch, cultivated later by the lyric poet Pietro Bembo, and supplanted by the epic poet Torquato Tasso. Though without formal training, Matraini excelled in a number of literary genres popular at the time—poetry, religious meditation, discourse, and dialogue. In her midlife, she published a collection of erotic love poetry, but later in life her work shifted toward a search for spiritual salvation. Near the end of her life, she published a new poetry retrospective.
Mostly available in only a handful of rare book collections, her writings are now adeptly translated here for an English-speaking audience and situated historically in an introduction by noted Matraini expert Giovanna Rabitti. Selected Poetry and Prose allows the poet to finally take her place as one of the seminal authors of the Renaissance, next to her contemporaries Vittoria Colonna and Laura Battiferra, also published in the Other Voice series.
Andrea Zanzotto is widely considered Italy’s most influential living poet. The first comprehensive collection in thirty years to translate this master European poet for an English-speaking audience, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto includes the very best poems from fourteen of his major books of verse and a selection of thirteen essays that helps illuminate themes in his poetry as well as elucidate key theoretical underpinnings of his thought. Assembled with the collaboration of Zanzotto himself and featuring a critical introduction, thorough annotations, and a generous selection of photographs and art, this volume brings an Italian master to vivid life for American readers.
“Now, in [this book], American readers can get a just sense of [Zanzotto’s] true range and extraordinary originality.”—Eric Ormsby, New York Sun
“What I love here is the sense of a voice directly speaking. Throughout these translations, indeed from early to late, the great achievement seems to be the way they achieve a sense of urgent address.”—Eamon Grennan, American Poet
One of the most important Italian poets of the last century, Vittorio Sereni (1913–83) wrote with a historical awareness unlike that of any of his contemporaries. A poet of both personal and political responsibility, his work sensitively explores life under fascism, military defeat and imprisonment, and the resurgence of extreme right-wing politics, as well as the roles played by love and friendship in the survival of humanity.
The first substantial translation of Sereni’s oeuvre published anywhere in the world, The Selected Poetry and Prose of Vittorio Sereni is a unique guide to this twentieth-century poet. A bilingual edition, reissued in paperback for the poet’s centenary, it collects Sereni’s poems, criticism, and short fiction with a full chronology, commentary, bibliography, and learned introduction by British poet and scholar Peter Robinson.
Explores Whitman’s intimate and lifelong concern with mortality and his troubled speculations about the afterlife.
Walt Whitman is unquestionably a great poet of the joys of living. But, as Harold Aspiz demonstrates in this study, concerns with death and dying define Whitman’s career as thinker, poet, and person. Through a close reading of Leaves of Grass, its constituent poems, particularly “Song of Myself,” and Whitman’s prose and letters, Aspiz charts how the poet’s exuberant celebration of life--the cascade of sounds, sights, and smells that erupt in his verse--is a consequence of his central concern: the ever-presence of death and the prospect of an afterlife.
So Long! devotes particular attention to Whitman’s language and rich artistry in the context of the poet’s social and intellectual milieus. We see Whitman (and his many personae) as a folk prophet announcing a gospel of democracy and immortality; pondering death in alternating moods of acceptance and terror; fantasizing his own dying and his postmortem selfhood; yearning for mates and lovers while conscious of mordant flesh; agonizing over the omnipresence of death in wartime; patiently awaiting death; and launching imaginary journeys toward immortality and godhood.
By exploring Whitman’s faith in death as a meaningful experience, we may understand better how the poet--whether personified as representative man, victim, hero, lover, or visionary--lived so completely on the edge of life.
Harold Aspiz is Professor of English Emeritus at California State University, Long Beach, and author of Walt Whitman and the Body Beautiful.
Since the publication of From the Abandoned Cities in 1983, Donald Revell has been among the more consistent influencers in American poetry and poetics. Yet, his work has achieved the status it has—his honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation and awards from the PEN Center USA and American Poetry Review—in a manner that has often tended to belie its abiding significance. This collection of essays, reviews, and interviews is designed to ignite a more wide-ranging critical appraisal of Revell’s writing, from his fourteen collections of poems to his acclaimed translations of French symbolist and modernist poets to his artfully constructed literary criticism. Contributors such as Marjorie Perloff, Stephanie Burt, Dan Beachy-Quick, and Bruce Bond examine key elements in and across Revell’s work, from his visionary postmodernism (“Our words can never say the mystery of our meanings, but there they are: spoken and meaning worlds to us”) to his poetics of radical attention (“And so a poem has nothing to do with picking and choosing, with the mot juste and reflection in tranquility. It is a plain record of one’s entire presence”), in order to enlarge our understanding of how and why that work has come to occupy the place that it has in contemporary American letters.