Down Below

Down Below Author Leonora Carrington
ISBN-10 9781681370613
Year 2017-04-18
Pages 112
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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A stunning work of memoir and an unforgettable depiction of the brilliance and madness by one of Surrealism's most compelling figures In 1937 Leonora Carrington—later to become one of the twentieth century’s great painters of the weird, the alarming, and the wild—was a nineteen-year-old art student in London, beautiful and unapologetically rebellious. At a dinner party, she met the artist Max Ernst. The two fell in love and soon departed to live and paint together in a farmhouse in Provence. In 1940, the invading German army arrested Ernst and sent him to a concentration camp. Carrington suffered a psychotic break. She wept for hours. Her stomach became “the mirror of the earth”—of all worlds in a hostile universe—and she tried to purify the evil by compulsively vomiting. As the Germans neared the south of France, a friend persuaded Carrington to flee to Spain. Facing the approach “of robots, of thoughtless, fleshless beings,” she packed a suitcase that bore on a brass plate the word Revelation. This was only the beginning of a journey into madness that was to end with Carrington confined in a mental institution, overwhelmed not only by her own terrible imaginings but by her doctor’s sadistic course of treatment. In Down Below she describes her ordeal—in which the agonizing and the marvelous were equally combined—with a startling, almost impersonal precision and without a trace of self-pity. Like Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, Down Below brings the hallucinatory logic of madness home.

The Milk of Dreams

The Milk of Dreams Author Leonora Carrington
ISBN-10 9781681370958
Year 2017-05-16
Pages 56
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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In English for the first time, a wild and darkly funny book that combines Surrealist painter Leonora Carringon's fantastical writing and illustrations for children The maverick surrealist Leonora Carrington was an extraordinary painter and storyteller who loved to make up stories and draw pictures for her children. She lived much of her life in Mexico, and her sons remember sitting in a big room whose walls were covered with images of wondrous creatures, towering mountains, and ferocious vegetation while she told fabulous and funny tales. That room was later whitewashed, but some of its wonders were preserved in the little notebook that Carrington called The Milk of Dreams. John, who has wings for ears, Humbert the Beautiful, an insufferable kid who befriends a crocodile and grows more insufferable yet, and the awesome Janzamajoria are all to be encountered in The Milk of Dreams, a book that is as unlikely, outrageous, and dreamy as dreams themselves.

Poets in a Landscape

Poets in a Landscape Author Gilbert Highet
ISBN-10 1590173384
Year 2010
Pages 276
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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Gilbert Highet was a legendary teacher at Columbia University, admired both for his scholarship and his charisma as a lecturer. Poets in a Landscape is his delightful exploration of Latin literature and the Italian landscape. As Highet writes in his introduction, “I have endeavored to recall some of the greatest Roman poets by describing the places were they lived, recreating their characters and evoking the essence of their work.” The poets are Catullus, Vergil, Propertius, Horace, Tibullus, Ovid, and Juvenal. Highet brings them life, setting them in their historical context and locating them in the physical world, while also offering crisp modern translations of the poets’ finest work. The result is an entirely sui generis amalgam of travel writing, biography, criticism, and pure poetry—altogether an unexcelled introduction to the world of the classics.

Family Lexicon

Family Lexicon Author Natalia Ginzburg
ISBN-10 9781590178393
Year 2017-04-25
Pages 224
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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A masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking—when he isn’t provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways of their own to medicine, marriage, literature, politics. It is all very ordinary, except that the background to the story is Mussolini’s Italy in its steady downward descent to race law and world war. The Levis are, among other things, unshakeable anti-fascists. That will complicate their lives. Family Lexicon is about a family and language—and about storytelling not only as a form of survival but also as an instrument of deception and domination. The book takes the shape of a novel, yet everything is true. “Every time that I have found myself inventing something in accordance with my old habits as a novelist, I have felt impelled at once to destroy [it],” Ginzburg tells us at the start. “The places, events, and people are all real.”

Making It

Making It Author Norman Podhoretz
ISBN-10 9781681370811
Year 2017-04-11
Pages 280
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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A controversial memoir about American intellectual life and academia and the relationship between politics, money, and education. Norman Podhoretz, the son of Jewish immigrants, grew up in the tough Brownsville section of Brooklyn, attended Columbia University on a scholarship, and later received degrees from the Jewish Theological Seminary and Cambridge University. Making It is his blistering account of fighting his way out of Brooklyn and into, then out of, the Ivory Tower, of his military service, and finally of his induction into the ranks of what he calls “the Family,” the small group of left-wing and largely Jewish critics and writers whose opinions came to dominate and increasingly politicize the American literary scene in the fifties and sixties. It is a Balzacian story of raw talent and relentless and ruthless ambition. It is also a closely observed and in many ways still-pertinent analysis of the tense and more than a little duplicitous relationship that exists in America between intellect and imagination, money, social status, and power. The Family responded to the book with outrage, and Podhoretz soon turned no less angrily on them, becoming the fierce neoconservative he remains to this day. Fifty years after its first publication, this controversial and legendary book remains a riveting autobiography, a book that can be painfully revealing about the complex convictions and needs of a complicated man as well as a fascinating and essential document of mid-century American cultural life.

Like Death

Like Death Author Guy De Maupassant
ISBN-10 9781681370330
Year 2017-02-21
Pages 240
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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A devastating novel about the treachery of love by Maupassant, now in a new translation by National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning poet and translator Richard Howard Olivier Bertin is at the height of his career as a painter. After making his name as a young man with his Cleopatra, he has gone on to establish himself as “the chosen painter of Parisiennes, the most adroit and ingenious artist to reveal their grace, their figures, and their souls.” And though his hair may be white, he remains a handsome, vigorous, and engaging bachelor, a prized guest at every table and salon. Olivier’s lover is Anne, the Countess de Guilleroy, the wife of a busy politician. Their relationship is long-standing, close, almost conjugal. The countess’s daughter is Annette, and she is the spitting image of her mother in her lovely youth. Having finished her schooling, Annette is returning to Paris. Her parents have put together an excellent match. Everything is as it should be—until the painter and countess are each seized by an agonizing suspicion, like death. . . . In its devastating depiction of the treacherous nature of love, Like Death is more than the equal of Swann’s Way. Richard Howard’s new translation brings out all the penetration and poetry of this masterpiece of nineteenth-century fiction.

Primitive Man as Philosopher

Primitive Man as Philosopher Author Paul Radin
ISBN-10 0486424952
Year 2002-11
Pages 512
Language en
Publisher Courier Corporation
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Classic of anthropology explores belief systems of Winnebago, Oglala Sioux, Maori, Banda, Batak, Tahitian and Hawaiian, Zuni, and Ewe. Fascinating topics include purpose of life, marriage, freedom of thought, death, nature of reality, and other concepts. The author allows his subjects to speak for themselves by quoting extensively from interviews.

The Farm in the Green Mountains

The Farm in the Green Mountains Author Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer
ISBN-10 9781681370750
Year 2017-05-02
Pages 256
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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The Farm in the Green Mountains is a story of a refugee family finding its true home—thousands of miles from its homeland. Alice and Carl Zuckmayer lived at the center of Weimarera Berlin. She was a former actor turned medical student, he was a playwright, and their circle of friends included Stefan Zweig, Alma Mahler, and Bertolt Brecht. But then the Nazis took over and Carl’s most recent success, a play satirizing German militarism, impressed them in all the wrong ways. The couple and their two daughters were forced to flee, first to Austria, then to Switzerland, and finally to the United States. Los Angeles didn’t suit them, neither did New York, but a chance stroll in the Vermont woods led them to Backwoods Farm and the eighteenth-century farmhouse where they would spend the next five years. In Europe, the Zuckmayers were accustomed to servants; in Vermont, they found themselves building chicken coops, refereeing fights between fractious ducks, and caring for temperamental water pipes “like babies.” But in spite of the endless work and the brutal, depressing winters, Alice found that in America she had at last discovered her “native land.” This generous, surprising, and witty memoir, a best seller in postwar Germany, has all the charm of an unlikely romantic comedy.

Thus Were Their Faces

Thus Were Their Faces Author Silvina Ocampo
ISBN-10 9781590177990
Year 2015-01-27
Pages 384
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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An NYRB Classics Original Thus Were Their Faces offers a comprehensive selection of the short fiction of Silvina Ocampo, undoubtedly one of the twentieth century’s great masters of the story and the novella. Here are tales of doubles and impostors, angels and demons, a marble statue of a winged horse that speaks, a beautiful seer who writes the autobiography of her own death, a lapdog who records the dreams of an old woman, a suicidal romance, and much else that is incredible, mad, sublime, and delicious. Italo Calvino has written that no other writer “better captures the magic inside everyday rituals, the forbidden or hidden face that our mirrors don’t show us.” Jorge Luis Borges flatly declared, “Silvina Ocampo is one of our best writers. Her stories have no equal in our literature.” Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, these haunting stories are among the world’s most individual and finest.

Notes of a Crocodile

Notes of a Crocodile Author Qiu Miaojin
ISBN-10 9781681370774
Year 2017-05-02
Pages 256
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award. An NYRB Classics Original Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan’s most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure. Afflicted by her fatalistic attraction to Shui Ling, an older woman, Lazi turns for support to a circle of friends that includes a rich kid turned criminal and his troubled, self-destructive gay lover, as well as a bored, mischievous overachiever and her alluring slacker artist girlfriend. Illustrating a process of liberation from the strictures of gender through radical self-inquiry, Notes of a Crocodile is a poignant masterpiece of social defiance by a singular voice in contemporary Chinese literature.

Arabia Felix

Arabia Felix Author Thorkild Hansen
ISBN-10 1681370727
Year 2017-06-13
Pages 392
Language en
Publisher NYRB Classics
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An NYRB Classics Original Arabia Felix is the spellbinding true story of a scientific expedition gone disastrously astray. On a winter morning in 1761 six men leave Copenhagen by sea--a botanist, a philologist, an astronomer, a doctor, an artist, and their manservant--an ill-assorted band of men who dislike and distrust one another from the start. These are the members of the first Danish expedition to Arabia Felix, as Yemen was then known, the first organized foray into a corner of the world unknown to Europeans, an enterprise that had the support of the Danish Crown and was keenly followed throughout Europe. The expedition made its way to Turkey and Egypt, by which time its members were already actively seeking to undercut and even kill one another, before disappearing into the harsh desert that was their destination. Nearly seven years later a single survivor returned to Denmark to find himself a forgotten man and all the specimens that had been sent back ruined by neglect. Based on diaries, notebooks, and sketches that lay unread in Danish archives until the twentieth century, Arabia Felix is both a comedy of intellectual rivalry and very bad manners and an utterly absorbing tale of high adventure.

Zama

Zama Author Antonio Di Benedetto
ISBN-10 9781590177358
Year 2016-08-23
Pages 224
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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An NYRB Classics Original First published in 1956, Zama is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentine and Spanish-language literature. Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the eighteenth century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires, where everything about his hopeless existence will, he is confident, be miraculously transformed and made good. Don Diego’s slow, nightmarish slide into the abyss is not just a tale of one man’s perdition but an exploration of existential, and very American, loneliness. Zama, with its stark dreamlike prose and spare imagery, is at once dense and unforeseen, terse and fateful, marked throughout by a haunting movement between sentences, paragraphs, and sections, so that every word seems to emerge from an ocean of things left unsaid. The philosophical depths of this great book spring directly from its dazzling prose.

Speedboat

Speedboat Author Renata Adler
ISBN-10 9781590176337
Year 2013-03-19
Pages 192
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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Winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Reading it was a pleasure of a new, unexpected kind. Above all, there was its voice, ambivalent, curious, wry, the voice of Jen Fain, a journalist negotiating the fraught landscape of contemporary urban America. Party guests, taxi drivers, brownstone dwellers, professors, journalists, presidents, and debutantes fill these dispatches from the world as Jen finds it. A touchstone over the years for writers as different as David Foster Wallace and Elizabeth Hardwick, Speedboat returns to enthrall a new generation of readers.

Midnight in the Century

Midnight in the Century Author Victor Serge
ISBN-10 9781590177969
Year 2014-12-16
Pages 240
Language en
Publisher New York Review of Books
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In 1933, Victor Serge was arrested by Stalin’s police, interrogated, and held in solitary confinement for more than eighty days. Released, he spent two years in exile in remote Orenburg. These experiences were the inspiration for Midnight in the Century, Serge’s searching novel about revolutionaries living in the shadow of Stalin’s betrayal of the revolution. Among the exiles gathered in the town of Chenor, or Black-Waters, are the granite-faced Old Bolshevik Ryzhik, stoic yet gentle Varvara, and Rodion, a young, self-educated worker who is trying to make sense of the world and history. They struggle in the unlikely company of Russian Orthodox Old Believers who are also suffering for their faith. Against unbelievable odds, the young Rodion will escape captivity and find a new life in the wild. Surviving the dark winter night of the soul, he rediscovers the only real, and most radical, form of resistance: hope.

Ernesto

Ernesto Author Umberto Saba
ISBN-10 9781786690104
Year 2017-08-10
Pages 320
Language en
Publisher Head of Zeus Ltd
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Ernesto is sixteen years old and ready for life to begin. His curiosity leads him into an affair with an older man – the first step on his journey to adulthood. Full of tenderness, humour and warmth, Ernesto is a beautifully rendered coming-of-age story. Written in 1953, but not published until 1975, this is the great Italian poet's most personal and confessional novel, presented here for the first time in unexpurgated form.