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.
Cities, Sagebrush, and Solitude explores the transformation of the largest desert in North America, the Great Basin, into America’s last urban frontier. In recent decades Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City, and Boise have become the anchors for sprawling metropolitan regions. This population explosion has been fueled by the maturing of Las Vegas as the nation’s entertainment capital, the rise of Reno as a magnet for multitudes of California expatriates, the development of Salt Lake City’s urban corridor along the Wasatch Range, and the growth of Boise’s celebrated high-tech economy and hip urban culture.
The blooming of cities in a fragile desert region poses a host of environmental challenges. The policies required to manage their impact, however, often collide with an entrenched political culture that has long resisted cooperative or governmental effort. The alchemical mixture of three ingredients—cities, aridity, and a libertarian political outlook—makes the Great Basin a compelling place to study. This book addresses a pressing question: Are large cities ultimately sustainable in such a fragile environment?
Samuel Johnson’s life was situated within a rich social and intellectual community of friendships—and antagonisms. Community and Solitude is a collection of ten essays that explore relationships between Johnson and several of his main contemporaries—including James Boswell, Edmund Burke, Frances Burney, Robert Chambers, Oliver Goldsmith, Bennet Langton, Arthur Murphy, Richard Savage, Anna Seward, and Thomas Warton—and analyzes some of the literary productions emanating from the pressures within those relationships. In their detailed and careful examination of particular works situated within complex social and personal contexts, the essays in this volume offer a “thick” and illuminating description of Johnson’s world that also engages with larger cultural and aesthetic issues, such as intertextuality, literary celebrity, narrative, the nature of criticism, race, slavery, and sensibility.
Contributors: Christopher Catanese, James Caudle, Marilyn Francus, Christine Jackson-Holzberg, Claudia Thomas Kairoff, Elizabeth Lambert, Anthony W. Lee, James E. May, John Radner, and Lance Wilcox.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
The Dark Sister
Rebecca Goldstein University of Wisconsin Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3557.O398D37 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
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.
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.
A Life of Solitude is a biography of Polish playwright Stanislawa Przybyszewska (1901-35). One of the finest plays about the French Revolution, The Danton Case, was written by this unknown Polish woman living in obscurity in the free city of Danzig. The illegitimate daughter of writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski, she became a writer against long odds and at the cost of her health, her sanity, and eventually her life. A Life of Solitude shows how she chose her vocation, examine her ideas about writing, and reveal her struggle with material existence. Tragically, she came to substitute creativity for life and clung to her sense of calling with a stubbornness that dulled the instinct for self-preservation and led to her death from morphine and malnutrition at age thirty-four.
In this final volume of Robert Denoon Cumming's four-volume history of the phenomenological movement, Cumming examines the bearing of Heidegger's philosophy on his original commitment to Nazism and on his later inability to face up to the implication of that allegiance. Cumming continues his focus, as in previous volumes, on Heidegger's connection with other philosophers. Here, Cumming looks first at Heidegger's relation to Karl Jaspers, an old friend on whom Heidegger turned his back when Hitler consolidated power, and who discredited Heidegger in the denazification that followed World War II. The issues at stake are not merely personal, Cumming argues, but regard the philosophical relevance of the personal.
After the war Heidegger disavowed Sartre, a move related to Heidegger's renunciation of his association with the phenomenological movement at large, and one that illustrates the dynamics of the history Cumming himself has completed. Serving as convincing punctuation for this remarkable series, this book demonstrates the importance of the history of philosophy in coming to grips with the proclaimed end of philosophy.
Peruvian poet Luis Hernández is legendary in his native country. Haunted by addiction and spending periodic reclusion in rehabilitation centers, Hernández was exceptionally gifted in his youth, publishing three books of poetry by the time he was twenty-four. He did not publish another book before his untimely death at thirty-six, but he was not silent—he filled notebooks with poems, musical notations, quotes, translations, musings, newspaper clippings, and drawings.
Derived from these notebooks, The School of Solitude is the first book of Hernández’s poetry in English. The haunting voice of Hernández evokes an irrevocably distant past, with the poems contemplating happiness and joy, love and fulfillment, yet always with a sense of sadness, solitude, and dream. Including rare images from Hernández’s notebooks, as well as several poems never before published in any language, The School of Solitude will be read not only for its powerful poetry and imagery, but also as a means to learn more about this enigmatic Latin American poet and the mystery of his life and work.
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.
SPOT IN THE DARK
BETH GYLYS The Ohio State University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3607.Y58S68 2004 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Spot in the Dark is a collection of poetry exploring the nuances of human relationships. From new love to extramarital affairs to dating to solitude, the book’s four sections read as a journey by a series of narrators who wrestle through the beginning and middle stages of love, the complications of an affair, and the challenges of single life, and finally come to focus on the external world: the beauty and starkness of a winter landscape, the ebullience of spring, the breathtaking loveliness of a sunset. The book’s arc moves from examining the human wish and will to connect to another to presenting the self as part of a larger, richer, and more complicated set of external relationships. Written predominantly in free verse, these sometimes meditative, sometimes cynical, sometimes playful poems sift through the difficulties and pleasures of living in the world.
Best known for his two-year sojourn at Walden Pond in Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau is often considered a recluse who emerged from solitude only occasionally to take a stand on the issues of his day. In Thoreau’s Democratic Withdrawal, Shannon L. Mariotti explores Thoreau’s nature writings to offer a new way of understanding the unique politics of the so-called hermit of Walden Pond. Drawing imaginatively from the twentieth-century German social theorist Theodor W. Adorno, she shows how withdrawal from the public sphere can paradoxically be a valuable part of democratic politics.
Separated by time, space, and context, Thoreau and Adorno share a common belief that critical inquiry is essential to democracy but threatened by modern society. While walking, huckleberrying, and picking wild apples, Thoreau tries to recover the capacities for independent perception and thought that are blunted by “Main Street,” conventional society, and the rapidly industrializing world that surrounded him. Adorno’s thoughts on particularity and the microscopic gaze he employs to work against the alienated experience of modernity help us better understand the value of Thoreau’s excursions into nature. Reading Thoreau with Adorno, we see how periodic withdrawals from public spaces are not necessarily apolitical or apathetic but can revitalize our capacity for the critical thought that truly defines democracy.
In graceful, readable prose, Mariotti reintroduces us to a celebrated American thinker, offers new insights on Adorno, and highlights the striking common ground they share. Their provocative and challenging ideas, she shows, still hold lessons on how we can be responsible citizens in a society that often discourages original, critical analysis of public issues.