In Smile, Alan A. Siegel chronicles the evolution of Olympic Park from a den of hedonism and intoxication in the 1880s into Essex County's most popular family entertainment site in the 1950s and 1960s. Under the fifty-year reign of Newark brewer Henry A. Guenther, millions of men, women, and children passed under the signs Smile and Learn to Play into what the legendary beer baron called a little bit of Coney Island, the circus, an old-fashioned beer garden, and Monte Carlo rolled into one. With its myriad games, attractions, performances, and restaurants, it was impossible to walk away from the park unsatisfied and not wishing for a return. Though the doors to Olympic Park have been closed for thirty years, it will forever reside in the memories of many as a towering monument on the cultural landscape of New Jersey in a simpler, more innocent, and less affluent time.
Like sex, Eileen Gillooly argues, humor has long been viewed as a repressed feature of nineteenth-century femininity. However, in the works of writers such as Jane Austen, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, and Henry James, Gillooly finds an understated, wryly amusing perspective that differs subtly but significantly in rhetoric, affect, and politics from traditional forms of comic expression.
Gillooly shows how such humor became, for mostly female writers at the time, an unobtrusive and prudent means of expressing discontent with a culture that was ideologically committed to restricting female agency and identity. If the aggression and emotional distance of irony and satire mark them as "masculine," then for Gillooly, the passivity, indirection, and sympathy of the humor she discusses render it "feminine." She goes on to disclose how the humorous tactics employed by writers from Burney to Wharton persist in the work of Barbara Pym, Anita Brookner, and Penelope Fitzgerald.
The book won the Barbara Perkins and George Perkins Award given by the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.
In Smile of the Midsummer Night, best-selling author Lars Gustafsson and Agneta Blomqvist present a very personal guide to their Swedish homeland. Setting off from the far South, their journey takes them up to Norrland, from the farms of Scania to Laponian, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But it is the idyllic fjord in Bohulän, located in the Västmanland region, as well as Mälar Lake and Stockholm that they call home. Throughout, Gustafsson and Blomqvist are full of entertaining suggestions for excursions, including journeys through forests and moors where you can take in the odd elk or wolf along the way and visits to August Strindberg’s and Kurt Tucholsky’s graves.
The first work of contemporary travel writing about Sweden by Swedish writers to have been translated into English, Smile of the Midsummer Night is a loving and poetic ode to this beautiful nation and a must-have for anyone interested in Scandinavia.