Tag Archives: Literary Arts

Literature: “Shakespeare And Company” Digitizes Reading Library Of Joyce, Hemingway & De Beauvoir

Shakespeare and Company lending library cards

Shakespeare And CompanyGertrude SteinJames JoyceErnest HemingwayAimé CésaireSimone de BeauvoirJacques LacanWalter Benjamin.

What do these writers have in common? They were all members of the Shakespeare and Company lending library.

In 1919, an American woman named Sylvia Beach opened Shakespeare and Company, an English-language bookshop and lending library in Paris. Almost immediately, it became the home away from home for a community of expatriate writers and artists now known as the Lost Generation. In 1922, she published James Joyce’s Ulysses under the Shakespeare and Company imprint, a feat that made her—and her bookshop and lending library—famous around the world. In the 1930s, she increasingly catered to French intellectuals, supplying English-language publications from the recently rediscovered Moby Dick to the latest issues of The New Yorker. In 1941, she preemptively closed Shakespeare and Company after refusing to sell her last copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to a Nazi officer.

The Shakespeare and Company Project uses sources from the Beach Papers at Princeton University to reveal what the lending library members read and where they lived. The Project is a work-in-progress, but you can begin to explore now. Search and browse the lending library members and books. Read about joining the lending library. Download a preliminary export of Project data. In the coming months, check back for new features and essays.

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Literary Arts: New Website Archives Work Of British Illustrator And Designer Peter Campbell (1937-2011)

The website is about the work of the designer, writer and illustrator Peter Campbell (1937‑2011). The intention is to present an archive of Peter’s illustration, design and editorial work, as well as occasional selections from his writing.

British Illustrator Peter Campbell - London Review of Books

When asked what he did for a living, Peter would usually say he was a designer, or, a typographer. Designing for print – books, exhibition catalogues, magazines, posters – Peter Campbell - Self-Portraittook up the most substantial part of his time, at the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s and thereafter as a freelance. He was also an illustrator, a journalist, an author of children’s books, an editor and a publisher. The great range of his professional work, and his encompassing interest in the work of others, made him a collaborator sought out by writers, publishers and artists.

Diana Souhami, who worked with Peter often, wrote in the Guardian after his death: “He had the ability to conceptualise what each publishing project needed and to get it right. He was hugely and diversely productive, but seldom hit a wrong note.”

Discussing his journalism in her appreciation in the London ReviewMary‑Kay Wilmers wrote: “There are people whom getting a grip doesn’t suit, who don’t want to be confined. One can honour the world in depth or across a wide range and there were few aspects of the world that Peter didn’t wish to honour.”

He probably would have been delighted by – and certainly modestly sceptical of – Alan Bennett’s appraisal, in the posthumous publication of a catalogue of his pictures in Artwork, that he was “an heir to Ardizzone, Bawden and Ravilious.”

Peter Campbell was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1937. In 1960 he emigrated to London where he lived for the rest of his life. He died in 2011.

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Literary Podcasts: “WHY THE DECAMERON IS GREAT QUARANTINE READING”

The latest episode of the Octavian Report – Rostrum coronavirus crisis podcast features Wayne Rebhorn. The latest episode of our coronavirus crisis podcast features Wayne Rebhorn of the University of Texas at Austin. Wayne is the author of an acclaimed translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, perhaps the paradigmatic work of pandemic literature. 

The Decameron is set among a group of witty, earthy social isolators who have fled the plague ravaging Florence. We spoke with Wayne about Boccaccio and his most famous work, the conditions that helped birth it, and what we can learn from them in our current situation.

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Octavian Report Rostrum Podcasts

Literary Tribute: Rachel Carson “Dreams Of The Sea” (The New Yorker)

The New Yorker Radio Hour logoBefore she published “Silent Spring,” one of the most influential books of the last century, Rachel Carson was a young aspiring poet and then a graduate student in marine biology. Although she couldn’t swim and disliked boats, Carson fell in love with the ocean. Her early books—including “The Sea Around Us,” “The Edge of the Sea” and “Under the Sea Wind”—were like no other nature writing of their time, 

The Edge of the Sea Rachel CarsonJill Lepore says: Carson made you feel you were right there with her, gazing into the depths of a tide pool or lying in a cave lined with sea sponges. Lepore notes that Carson was wondering about a warming trend in the ocean as early as the 1940s, and was planning to explore it after the publication of “Silent Spring.” If she had not died early, of cancer, could Carson have brought climate change to national attention well before it was too late?

Excerpts from Carson’s work were read by Charlayne Woodard, and used with permission of Carson’s estate.

Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security. Her next book, The Edge of the Sea, and the reissued version of her first book, Under the Sea Wind, were also bestsellers. This sea trilogy explores the whole of ocean life from the shores to the depths.

Late in the 1950s, Carson turned her attention to conservation, especially some problems that she believed were caused by synthetic pesticides. The result was the book Silent Spring (1962), which brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides. It also inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.

Bio from Wikipedia

New Literary Podcasts: Author James Shapiro On “Shakespeare And Plagues”

Octavian Report Rostrum PodcastsOctavian Report “Rostrum” spoke with him about a major theme in Shakespeare’s work and life: disease. Specifically, pandemic plagues, which ravaged London repeatedly throughout Shakespeare’s career, shuttering the theaters, and which appear (obliquely and otherwise) in some of his greatest plays.

The latest episode of the Rostrum’s coronavirus series features James Shapiro, the Larry Miller professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, and a leading expert on Shakespeare. Shapiro has published widely on this subject, most recently Shakespeare in a Divided America. He is also an advisor to the Royal Shakespeare Company and to the Public Theater.

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James S. Shapiro (born 1955) is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University who specialises in Shakespeare and the Early Modern period. Shapiro has served on the faculty at Columbia University since 1985, teaching Shakespeare and other topics, and he has published widely on Shakespeare and Elizabethan culture.

 

Travel & Quarantines: Author Frances Mayes Writes Of Poet John Keats In Naples, Italy In 1820 (NYT)

From the New York Times (March 26, 2020):

I have seen Naples from his vantage of a ship anchored offshore — one of the most sublime locations in the world, that sweep of coast stacked with apricot, carmine, azure and rose villas; the blue, blue U of the harbor; the emphatic Vesuvius anchoring the view. 

Frances Mayes
Frances Mayes

In October of 1820, typhus raged in Naples. With his artist friend, Joseph Severn, the British poet John Keats rocked in the city’s harbor for 10 days, not nearly the quaranta giorni — 40 days — that give us our word quarantine.

Before this journey, Keats always felt intense melancholy. In “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles for the First Time,” he wrote “… mortality / Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep.” (And in the smooth pentameter of “Ode to a Nightingale”: “I have been half in love with easeful death.”) Not a holiday, this voyage out of England was a desperate trip to the sunny climate of Italy. His cough had grown steadily worse. Since the morning he’d seen a splotch of blood on his pillow, he knew he had little chance of surviving the consumption that had invaded his lungs. His last-ditch: Go to Rome. Meanwhile, exile at sea.

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Reading: New York Public Library Celebrates 125 Years With “125 Books List”

New York Public Library logoThe New York Public Library is marking its 125th birthday this year—in part with this list of their favorite books written for adults from the past 125 years, which they hope will “inspire a lifelong love of reading.” 

New York Public Library Celebrates 125 Years with 125 Favorite Books List

New York Public Library Celebrates 125 Years with 125 Favorite Books List

See the full list here