Author: Lavinia Greenlaw
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Release Date: 2017-03-07
Poet and novelist Lavinia Greenlaw's poetic reflections on William Morris's Icelandic Journal, one of the overlooked masterpieces of travel literature The great Victorian designer and decorative artist William Morris was fascinated by Iceland and wrote a book documenting his travels there. He gets caught up with questions of travel, noting his reaction to the idea of leaving or arriving, to hurry and delay, what it means to dread a place you’ve never been to or to encounter the actuality of a long-held vision. He is sensitive to the emotional landscape of his band of travelers and, above all, continuously analyzing and fixing this “most romantic of all deserts.” Lavinia Greenlaw follows in his footsteps, and interposes his prose with her own “questions of travel.” The result is a new and composite work that brilliantly explores our conflicted reasons for not staying at home.
William Morris's routes through south-west Iceland can still be followed, possibly, though not necessarily as for Morris's party, on horseback. Morris was plump, unfit and relatively untravelled, but his enthusiasm, grit and phenomenal eye for detail sustained him for six weeks in 1871 and a further two in 1873 through 'the most romantic of all deserts'. Morris kept very few diaries and the Icelandic Journals are the most complete. Written daily, in pencil, in small black-covered notebooks, they are unguarded, spontaneous and by turn discouraged and excited. He records wild flowers and wilder landscapes, spectacular sunsets, vast expanses of lava, magnificent waterfalls, dangerous tracks and more dangerous rivers to be forded on or beside his practised and indomitable ponies. Morris grew to love his ponies, bringing one back to England for his daughters. He loved too the Icelanders: priests, farmers, scholars and children. He observes their crops, including the constant presence of angelica in their gardens, though he never finds what it is for. Their kindness, generosity and hospitality despite common poverty moved him greatly; the Icelandic experience had a profound influence on his political thinking: 'the most grinding poverty is a trifling evil compared to the inequality of classes'. Morris had translated several Sagas by 1871 and was teaching himself Icelandic. His journey, with his co-translator, Eirikr Magnusson, was routed around many of the main Saga sites - a journey that is still taken by lovers of Iceland and William Morris.
The Importance of Music to Girls tells the story of the adventures that music leads us into - getting drunk, falling in love, cutting our hair, wanting to change the world - as well as the darker side of the adolescent years: loneliness, bullying, getting arrested. Lavinia Greenlaw remembers the music that inspired and accompanied her, and compelled her generation. From fancying Donny Osmond, to wanting to be Ian Curtis, this is a razor-sharp memoir, filtered through the medium of music.
Galileo's wife, a young woman dying of radium poisoning, the first dog in space, a strangely obsessed concert pianist, an early beneficiary of plastic surgery, and a Russian boy whose adventures are sadly limited by the immature powers of the child who has conjured him up are just some of the figures encompassed by Lavinia Greenlaw's imagination. The poet's level gaze as she contemplates the more bizarre aspects of science and of human behaviour lends further distinction to this, her first collection.
This highly amusing and unorthodox travel book resulted from a light-hearted summer journey by the young poets Auden and MacNeice in 1936. Their letters home, in verse and prose, are full of private jokes and irreverent comments about people, politics, literature and ideas. Letters from Iceland is one of the most entertaining books in modern literature; from Auden's 'Letter to Lord Byron' and MacNeice's 'Eclogue', to the mischief and fun of their joint 'Last Will and Testament', the book is impossible to resist - a 1930s classic.
A collection of provocative essays by the influential social commentator, Roger Scruton. Scruton explores the conflict between the Christian-inspired Enlightenment and Islam, and attempts to find a remedy for the void at the heart of our civilisation. Why do we capitulate before everyone more ignorant than ourselves? Why do we turn immediately on all those who wish to defend our rooted values against whatever invading force has appeared over the horizon? These hard-hitting essays from a profound intellect threaten the bedrock of conventional opinion --
Author: Jon Day
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Release Date: 2016-09-13
Genre: Sports & Recreation
Cyclogeography is about the bicycle in the cultural imagination and also a portrait of London as seen from the saddle. In the great tradition of the psychogeographers, Jon Day attempts to depart from the map and reclaim the streets of the city. Informed by several grinding years spent as a bicycle courier, he lifts the lid on the solitary life of the courier. Traveling the unmapped byways, shortcuts, and urban edgelands, couriers are the declining, invisible workforce of the city. The parcels they deliver keep things running. For those who survive the crushing toughness of the job, the bicycle can become what holds them together.
Author: Kenneth Gross
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Release Date: 2018-06-05
Genre: Literary Collections
Some of the greatest thinkers and writers of our age meditate on play and the mysteries of inanimate life. This unusual literary collection contains writings from Baudelaire, Kleist, Rilke, Freud, Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Bruno Schulz, Elizabeth Bishop, Dennis Silk, and Marina Warner. The essays and reflections explore the seriousness of play and the mysteries of inanimate life - 'the unknown, spaces, dust, lost objects, and small animals that fill any house' - which have provoked many writers to take the side of these dead or non-human things, resulting in some of the most profound passages in literature. The collection is introduced and edited by Kenneth Gross. On Dolls includes contributions from: Heinrich Von Kleist 'On the Marionette Theatre', Charles Baudelaire 'The Philosophy of Toys', Sigmund Freud 'The Uncanny', Rainer Maria Rilke 'On the Dolls of Lotte Pritzel', Frank Kafka 'The Cares of a Family Man', Bruno Schulz 'Tailor's Dummies', Walter Benjamin 'Old Toys: The Toy Exhibition at the Markisches Museum', Elizabeth Bishop, 'Cirque d'Hiver', Dennis Silk 'The Marionette Theatre', and Marina Warner 'On the Threshold: Sleeping Beauties'.
Author: A. S. Byatt
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Like Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, Isak Dinesen and Angela Carter, A. S. Byatt knows that fairy tales are for grownups. And in this ravishing collection she breathes new life into the form. Little Black Book of Stories offers shivers along with magical thrills. Leaves rustle underfoot in a dark wood: two middle-aged women, childhood friends reunited by chance, venture into a dark forest where once, many years before, they saw–or thought they saw–something unspeakable. Another woman, recently bereaved, finds herself slowly but surely turning into stone. A coolly rational ob-gyn has his world pushed off-axis by a waiflike art student with her own ideas about the uses of the body. Spellbinding, witty, lovely, terrifying, the Little Black Book of Stories is Byatt at the height of her craft. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Jamaal May
Publisher: Alice James Books
Release Date: 2016-04-18
Praise for Jamaal May: "Linguistically acrobatic [and] beautifully crafted. . . . [Jamaal May's] poems, exquisitely balanced by a sharp intelligence mixed with earnestness, makes his debut a marvel."—Publishers Weekly Following Jamaal May's award-winning debut collection, Hum (2013), these new poems explore parallel landscapes of the poet's interior and an insidious American condition. Using dark humor that helps illuminate the pains of maturity and loss of imagination, May uncovers language like a skilled architect—digging up bones of the past to expose what lies beneath the surface of the fragile human condition. From: "Ask Where I've Been": Ask about the tornado of fists. The blows landed. If you can watch it all—the spit and blood frozen against snow, you can probably tell I am the too-narrow road winding out of a crooked city built of laughter, abandon, feathers and drums. Ask only if you can watch streetlights bow, bridges arc, and power lines sag, and still believe what matters most is not where I bend but where I am growing. Jamaal May is a poet, editor, and filmmaker from Detroit, Michigan, where he taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His poetry won the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and appears in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, the Believer, NER, and the Kenyon Review. May has earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He founded the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press.
Author: John Wilson Foster
Release Date: 2014
The extraordinary story of abundance being hunted to extinction in a New World unused to ecological husbandry. An extinction which coincided with the outbreak of World War 1 - another example of mass destruction.
Author: William Welstead
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2017-10-04
This volume of essays explores the scope for a further extension of ecocriticism across the environmental humanities. Contributors, who include both established academics and early career researchers in the humanities, were given free rein to interpret the brief. The collection is unusual in that it considers collaboration between individuals both in the same discipline and across creative disciplines. Subjects include familiar environments close to home and those such as Iceland and Antarctica, where narratives of climate, geology and ecology provide a stark backdrop to creative output. A further innovation is the inclusion of essays on public art, natural heritage interpretation and the visualisation and aesthetic impact of wind farms. The book will be of interest to writers, artists, students and researchers in the environmental humanities and those with a general interest in the cultural response to the environment.