Tag Archives: Literature

New Periodical: “Liberties” A Journal Of Culture And Politics (Autumn 2020)

Each issue of Liberties, the Foundation’s decidedly analog quarterly publication, will feature a combination of essays from prominent writers and introduce new talent. Contributors already signed include leading voices from this country and abroad in the worlds of culture, business, entertainment, government, politics, and technology. Each edition of Liberties will also publish new poetry from both highly awarded and up-and-coming poets.   

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH PUBLISHER BILL REICHBLUM:

FROM “THE STACK” (MONOCLE 24 PODCAST)

To advance independent thinking and propel new ideas, well-known figures from the worlds of arts, business, government, higher education and philanthropy today announced the formation of the Liberties Journal Foundation. Based in Washington, D.C., the Foundation is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that seeks to inform today’s cultural and political leaders, deepen the understanding of citizens, and inspire the next generation to participate in the democratic process and public service. The Foundation’s first initiative is a new quarterly journal, Liberties – A Journal of Culture and Politics, slated for October 2020 debut.

Founding members of the Foundation include the well-known Washington attorney, philanthropist, and former diplomat, Alfred H. Moses; chairman and CEO of cross-border trade company Quberu, Peter Bass; and, respected arts, education, and business leader, Bill Reichblum. 

A book for the coat pocket, Liberties’ diverse voices celebrate one commonality: freedom of inquiry and thought.

Liberties’ editorial team reflects the mission of the Journal pairing acclaimed literary critic Leon Wieseltier as editor with Celeste Marcus, a new talent, as managing editor. Bill Reichblum is the publisher. The book will be available as a soft-cover edition, by subscription or single copy, in bookstores and online.

“The Foundation exists to meet the thirst in our country for ideas and serious thinking at a time when the daily news dominates the media and overwhelms our lives,” says Moses. “The Foundation will provide an outlet for world-renowned writers on culture and politics to reach a readership that is looking for stimulation and inspiration at a time when our lives are increasingly assailed by ephemeral trivia.” 

“We believe there is a genuine need to take time to listen, to actively absorb in-depth thinking of both those with accomplished experience and the inventive new generation at the beginning of their careers,” says Reichblum. “Their creativity, insights, and perceptions can individually and collectively inspire culture and impact politics.”

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New Books: ‘Billy Wilder On Assignment’ (Video)

Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna Billy Wilder

Edited by Noah Isenberg Introduction by Noah Isenberg Translated by Shelley Frisch

Acclaimed film director Billy Wilder’s early writings—brilliantly translated into English for the first time Before Billy Wilder became the screenwriter and director of iconic films like Sunset Boulevard and Some Like It Hot, he worked as a freelance reporter, first in Vienna and then in Weimar Berlin.

Billy Wilder on Assignment brings together more than fifty articles, translated into English for the first time, that Wilder (then known as “Billie”) published in magazines and newspapers between September 1925 and November 1930. From a humorous account of Wilder’s stint as a hired dancing companion in a posh Berlin hotel and his dispatches from the international film scene, to his astute profiles of writers, performers, and political figures, the collection offers fresh insights into the creative mind of one of Hollywood’s most revered writer-directors.

Wilder’s early writings—a heady mix of cultural essays, interviews, and reviews—contain the same sparkling wit and intelligence as his later Hollywood screenplays, while also casting light into the dark corners of Vienna and Berlin between the wars. Wilder covered everything: big-city sensations, jazz performances, film and theater openings, dance, photography, and all manner of mass entertainment. And he wrote about the most colorful figures of the day, including Charlie Chaplin, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Prince of Wales, actor Adolphe Menjou, director Erich von Stroheim, and the Tiller Girls dance troupe.

Film historian Noah Isenberg’s introduction and commentary place Wilder’s pieces—brilliantly translated by Shelley Frisch—in historical and biographical context, and rare photos capture Wilder and his circle during these formative years.

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Arts & Literature: A Close Reading Of Poet Robert Frost (LRB Podcast)

LRB PodcastsIn the latest episode in their series of Close Readings, Seamus Perry and Mark Ford look at the life and work of Robert Frost, the great American poet of fences and dark woods. 

(August 4, 2020)

They discuss Frost’s difficult early life as an occasional poultry farmer and teacher, his arrival in England in 1912 amid the flowering of Georgian poetry, and his emergence as the first 20th-century professional poet, whose version of the American wilderness myth, full of mischief and foreboding, took him to packed concert halls and a presidential inauguration.

Best New Fiction 2020: “The Decameron Project – The New York Times Magazine”

AS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC SWEPT THE WORLD, WE ASKED 29 AUTHORS TO WRITE NEW SHORT STORIES INSPIRED BY THE MOMENT. WE WERE INSPIRED BY GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO’S “THE DECAMERON,” WRITTEN AS THE PLAGUE RAVAGED FLORENCE IN THE 14TH CENTURY. Margaret Atwood - Impatient Griselda - NY Times - July 8 2020

 

Colm Toibin - Tales From The L.A. River - New York Times - July 10 2020

 

The New York Times Magazine - The Decameron Project - New Fiction - July 10 2020

Read “The Decameron Project” online

Best New Fiction Books: “Shadowplay” By Joseph O’Connor – “Ingenious”

Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor“Shadowplay” opens in Dublin in the winter of 1876, with O’Connor painting that ravishing city with a soft lyricism that Stoker himself might have envied: “Smacks heading down the estuary, trailing petticoats of nets, out towards the expanse of the sea.” Stoker, a government clerk who moonlights as a theater critic, is reeling from the visceral intensity of Irving’s performance in Dublin as Hamlet. “Eyes glowing red in the gaslight,” Irving terrifies the audience, “slinking towards the lip of the stage, left hand on hip, wiping his wet mouth with the back of his sleeve. Sneering, he regarded them. Then he spat.” (NY Times Review)

Henry Irving is Victorian London’s most celebrated actor and theater impresario. He has introduced groundbreaking ideas to the theater, bringing to the stage performances that are spectacular, shocking, and always entertaining. When Irving decides to open his own London theater with the goal of making it the greatest playhouse on earth, he hires a young Dublin clerk harboring literary ambitions by the name of Bram Stoker to manage it. As Irving’s theater grows in reputation and financial solvency, he lures to his company of mummers the century’s most beloved actress, the dazzlingly talented leading lady Ellen Terry, who nightly casts a spell not only on her audiences but also on Stoker and Irving both.

Bram Stoker’s extraordinary experiences at the Lyceum Theatre, his early morning walks on the streets of a London terrorized by a serial killer, his long, tempestuous relationship with Irving, and the closeness he finds with Ellen Terry, inspire him to write DRACULA, the most iconic and best-selling supernatural tale ever published.

A magnificent portrait both of lamp-lit London and of lives and loves enacted on the stage, Shadowplay’s rich prose, incomparable storytelling, and vivid characters will linger in readers’ hearts and minds for many years.

Novelist, screenwriter, playwright and broadcaster, Joseph O’Connor was born in Dublin. He is the author of nine novels including Star of the Sea, Ghost Light (Dublin One City One Book novel 2011) and Shadowplay (June 2019). Among his awards are the Prix Zepter for European Novel of the Year, France’s Prix Millepages, Italy’s Premio Acerbi, an American Library Association Award and the Irish Pen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Literature. His work has been translated into forty languages. In 2014 he was appointed Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. Twice-Booker Prize-winner Peter Carey has written, ‘There are few living writers who can take us back in time so assuredly, through such gorgeous sentences. Joseph O’Connor is a wonder, and Shadowplay is a triumph.’

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New Art Books: “Vincent’s Books – Van Gogh And The Writers Who Inspired Him”

From Hyperallergic (June 13, 2020):

Vincent's Books Van Gogh and the Writers Who Inspired Him - Mariella Guzzoni - 2020In his paintings we see books on their own, or books in the company of people or other objects; small, lonely ziggurats of books, or a book beside a candle. That last juxtaposition is telling in the extreme. Vincent had a reverence for books. They were sacred ground. They have a kind of inner glow about them.

He reverenced books for their intellectual and emotional content.

He read Dickens, Carlyle, Flaubert, Balzac, Maupassant, and Zola in the original. Dickens and Carlyle were never very easy to read, then or now, but this Dutchman did so. He even read English poetry – John Keats, for example.

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About the Author

Mariella Guzzoni is an independent scholar and translator living in Bergamo. She has been collecting editions of the books that Vincent van Gogh read and loved for many years, and curated the exhibition ‘Van Gogh’s Passion for Books’ at the Sormani Library, Milan, in 2015.

Literary Profiles: The “Sparkling, Perfect” Prose Of P.G. Wodehouse (BBC)

From BBC Culture (June 2, 2020):

P.G._Wodehouse_-_My_Man_Jeeves_-_1st_American_edition_(1920_printing)_-_CropWith every sparkling joke, every well-meaning and innocent character, every farcical tussle with angry swans and pet Pekingese, every utopian description of a stroll around the grounds of a pal’s stately home or a flutter on the choir boys’ hundred yards handicap at a summer village fete, he wanted to whisk us far away from our worries.

If we’re talking about culture that makes people happy, we have to start with the works of PG Wodehouse. There are two reasons why. One reason is that making people happy was Wodehouse’s overriding ambition. The other reason is that he was better at it than any other writer in history.

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P. G. Wodehouse: A Brief History

P.G. WodehouseThe author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P. G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals including Punch and the Globe. He married in 1914.

As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one time had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction.

At the age of ninty-three, in the New Year’s Honours List of 1975, he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die on St Valentine’s Day some forty-five days later.

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Interviews: Author Peter Boxall On His Book “The Prosthetic Imagination”

In this interview, Peter Boxall answers questions about his new title, The Prosthetic Imagination: A History of the Novel as Artificial Life. If the novel has helped to give our world a human shape, it also contains forms of life that elude our existing human architectures: new amalgams of the living and the non-living that are the hidden province of the novel imagination.
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These latent conjunctions, Boxall argues, are preserved in the novel form, and offer us images of embodied being that can help us orient ourselves to our new prosthetic condition.
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Discover more about this title at: https://www.cambridge.org/academic/su…

Fiction: “Hercule Poirot” Created 100 Years Ago In 1920 By Agatha Christie

From Open Magazine (May 29, 2020):

Hercule Poirot
Hercule Poirot

And with The Mysterious Affair at Styles (published a 100 years ago, in 1920) Christie would introduce readers to Monsieur Hercule Poirot, an old Belgian detective who resembled Holmes superficially (‘eccentric detective, stooge assistant’, as the author would admit in her autobiography later) but whose psychological insights and near-mystical idiosyncrasies would make him arguably the most successful and beloved literary sleuth of all time.

IN 1916, THE 26-year-old Agatha Christie finished writing her first detective novel at Dartmoor, a quiet upland in Devon, UK, known for its beautiful granite hilltops. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had published The Hound of the Baskervilles, in 1902, which would become one of the most widely read Sherlock Holmes adventures—and the story was set in this same corner of the world, Dartmoor.

Books like Murder on the Orient Express (1934), The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)  and Death on the Nile (1937) remain some of the bestselling murder mysteries in the world today, over eight decades after their original publication (Christie’s net sales for all of her books combined are over two billion now).

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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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