When Admiral Richard E. Byrd set out on his second Antarctic expedition in 1934, he was already an international hero for having piloted the first flights over the North and South Poles. His plan for this latest adventure was to spend six months alone near the bottom of the world, gathering weather data and indulging his desire “to taste peace and quiet long enough to know how good they really are.” But early on things went terribly wrong. Isolated in the pervasive polar night with no hope of release until spring, Byrd began suffering inexplicable symptoms of mental and physical illness. By the time he discovered that carbon monoxide from a defective stovepipe was poisoning him, Byrd was already engaged in a monumental struggle to save his life and preserve his sanity.
When Alone was first published in 1938, it became an enormous bestseller. This edition keeps alive Byrd’s unforgettable narrative for new generations of readers.
La crisis, a period of political and economic turmoil in Mexico that began in the late 1960s, spawned a new era in Mexican cinema. Known as el Nuevo Cine (the New Cinema), these films presented alienated characters caught in a painful transition period in which old family, gender, and social roles have ceased to function without being replaced by viable new ones. These are the films explored by Charles Ramírez Berg in Cinema of Solitude, the first book-length critical study of Mexican cinema in English.
Berg discusses the major films and filmmakers of el Nuevo Cine in depth. He analyzes dozens of commercial movies, from popular comedies and adventures to award-winning films. Introductory chapters address the issue of mexicanidad (Mexican national identity) and outline Mexican history, the history of film as popular culture and as a leading national industry, and the ideological dynamics of Mexican cinema.
In thematically arranged chapters, Berg investigates the images of women, men, and social structures portrayed in New Cinema films. He finds that women characters have begun to reject traditional stereotypes for more positive images, while male characters have grown ambiguous and undefined as machismo is abandoned. Other chapters trace the continuing marginalization of Indians in Mexican culture, the changes in male dominance within the family, and the disruptive social and economic effects caused by migration.
For everyone interested in Mexican culture as reflected in its major cinematic productions, as well as students of film theory and national cinemas, this book will be important reading.
If you like the fiction of Henry James, the psychology of his brother William, and have a taste for Gothic mysteries you will enjoy The Dark Sister. The novel is a curious mixture of the Victorian repressiveness about sex, intricate stories within stories, and Jewish humor.
With a new afterword
Originally published to glowing reviews and literary prizes in France in 1985, this revealing diary not only recounts the moving and tragic relationship of its author, Geneviève Bréton, with the rising young nineteenth-century artist Henri Regnault, it also serves as a valuable historical document concerning the social, cultural, and political life of the French Second Empire.
The young Geneviève Bréton began her journal in 1867 as a consolation for the death of her eldest brother, Antoine. She met Regnault soon after on a trip to Rome. Throughout the next four years of their relationship, Bréton eloquently describes the personal, cultural, and political turbulence that affected her life. Writing against the backdrop of France’s fateful conflict with Prussia and the hardships and dangers of the siege of Paris and the Commune, Bréton, with innate candor and lyricism, creates a text that beautifully illuminates French art, literature, family life, society, and politics of the time. Her poignant account of her love for and engagement to Regnault reveals special insight into the life and mind of an extraordinary, though little known, literary talent. At Regnault’s death in 1871 during the Franco–Prussian War, the expression of her anguish is as much testimony to the political and cultural disorder of the time as it is to her own personal tragedy.
Following Bréton’s own instructions that she left before her death in 1918, this English version of the diary reincorporates material that was deleted from the French edition. Graced by rare photographs of the Bréton family as well as Regnault’s paintings, the book contains a touching foreword by the author’s granddaughter, Daphné Doublet-Vaudoyer. In its first English translation, it is a book for lovers of French life and culture, as well as students of French history; literature, and art.
The Necessary Earth is a study of the degree to which the long American experience with an open frontier has entered into an inherently American literature to distinguish it from that of other lands. Since literature is, in the author’s words, “a compound of time, place, and the individual projection of personal experience and reflection into objective forms,” the American compulsion to communicate their experience and their difference was a virtual guarantee that a native literature would arrive.
The text falls into three major portions. The first considers the “age of wonder,” the impact of New World upon Old World comers to effect profound changes, and to set the new American on the parallel paths of idealism and pragmatism. The second part examines the effort of native-born writers to appropriate this experience for new metaphors and new literary theme. Without this effort, the frontier might have remained no more than a dwindling legend, and the transference to the theme of self-reliance might never have appeared. In the third portion the author turns to the twentieth century, examining here the degree to which the national theme of reliance on experience over tradition has persisted in the work of major authors.
Ranging thus from Jamestown and Plymouth to Wallace Stevens, the book stresses, throughout, the pull of untamed nature on the human spirit, and the echoes of that experience in what is most intrinsic in American literature. Without denying frontier lawlessness or native chauvinism, Clough directs our attention primarily to the problems of the creation of a new language and a new metaphor to meet the new experience, and the persistence of a truly American note into a maturing of both manner and matter.
Urza discusses the genesis of the National Basque Monument to the Basque Sheepherder that is located in Reno, Nevada. He also describes the competition held to determine the monument's design and the debates arising from the modern sculpture created by renowned Basque artist Nestor Basterrextea. Urza examines the arguments of those who favored the selection of a figurative, traditional symbol and those who preferred a modern, forward-looking symbol. He utilizes this discussion to explore the evolution of Basque ethnicity and its relationship to society.
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