Download and read online Down Below in PDF and EPUB 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.
Download and read online Poets in a Landscape in PDF and EPUB 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.
Download and read online Family Lexicon in PDF and EPUB 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.”
Download and read online An African in Greenland in PDF and EPUB A native of Africa, the author recounts how a picture book about Greenland inspired him to embark on a life-changing journey that would last for ten years, leading him to the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritania, Paris, Copenhagen, and, ultimately, to Greenland. Translated from French. Photos.
Download and read online Thus Were Their Faces in PDF and EPUB Silvina Ocampo is undoubtedly one of the twentieth century’s great masters of the short story. Italo Calvino once said about her, “I don’t know another writer who better captures the magic inside everyday rituals, the forbidden or hidden face that our mirrors don’t show us.” Thus Were Their Faces collects a wide range of Ocampo’s best short fiction and novella-length stories from her whole writing life. Stories about creepy doubles, a marble statue of a winged horse that speaks to a girl, a house of sugar that is the site of an eerie possession, children who lock their perverse mothers in a room and burn it, a lapdog who records the dreams of an old woman. Jorge Luis Borges wrote that the cruelty of Ocampo’s stories was the result of her nobility of soul, a judgment as paradoxical as much of her own writing. For her whole life Ocampo avoided the public eye, though since her death in 1993 her reputation has only continued to grow, like a magical forest. Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, these haunting stories are among the world’s finest.
Download and read online Making It in PDF and EPUB 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.
Download and read online Love s Work in PDF and EPUB Love’s Work is at once a memoir and a book of philosophy. Written by the English philosopher Gillian Rose as she was dying of cancer, it is a book about both the fallibility and endurance of love, love that becomes real and endures through an ongoing reckoning with its own limitations. Rose looks back on her childhood, the complications of her parents’ divorce and her dyslexia, and her deep and divided feelings about what it means to be Jewish. She tells the stories of several friends also laboring under the sentence of death. From the sometimes conflicting vantage points of her own and her friends’ tales, she seeks to work out (seeks, because the work can never be complete—to be alive means to be incomplete) a distinctive outlook on life, one that will do justice to our yearning both for autonomy and for connection to others. With droll self knowledge (“I am highly qualified in unhappy love affairs,” Rose writes, “My earliest unhappy love affair was with Roy Rogers”) and with unsettling wisdom (“To live, to love, is to be failed”), Rose has written a beautiful, tender, tough, and intricately wrought survival kit packed with necessary but unanswerable questions.
Download and read online Zama in PDF and EPUB 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.
Download and read online Conundrum in PDF and EPUB As one of Britain's best and most loved travel writers, Jan Morris has led an extraordinary life. Perhaps her most remarkable work is this grippingly honest account of her ten-year transition from man to woman - its pains and joys, its frustrations and discoveries. On first publication in 1974, the book generated enormous interest and curiosity around the world, and was subsequently chosen by The Times as one of the '100 Key Books of Our Time'. Including a new introduction, this re-issue marks a return to that particular journey. 'Certainly the best first-hand account ever written by a traveller across the boundaries of sex.' Daily Mail
Download and read online The Milk of Dreams in PDF and EPUB 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.
Download and read online Like Death in PDF and EPUB 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.
Download and read online The Farm in the Green Mountains in PDF and EPUB The Farm in the Green Mountains is the story of a family finding home--halfway across the world from their homeland. Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer and her husband, the playwright Carl Zuckmayer, lived at the heart of intellectual life in Weimar Germany, counting among their circle Stefan Zweig, Alma Mahler, and Bertolt Brecht. After Carl's work fell afoul of the Nazis, however, the couple and their two daughters were forced to flee Europe. Los Angeles didn't suit them and neither did New York, but then a chance stroll in the Vermont woods led them to Backwoods Farm, the eighteenth-century house where they would live for the next five years. In Europe, the Zuckmayers were accustomed to servants; in Vermont, they found themselves joyfully building chicken coops and refereeing fights between unruly ducks. Despite the endless work a new farm required and brutal winters that triggered bouts of melancholy, Alice discovered that in America she had found her "native land." And her generous, surprising, and witty memoir, a bestseller in postwar Germany, has all the charm of a love story with a happy ending.
Download and read online The Waste Books in PDF and EPUB German scientist and man of letters Georg Christoph Lichtenberg was an 18th-century polymath: an experimental physicist, an astronomer, a mathematician, a practicing critic both of art and literature. He is most celebrated, however, for the casual notes and aphorisms that he collected in what he called his Waste Books. With unflagging intelligence and encyclopedic curiosity, Lichtenberg wittily deflates the pretensions of learning and society, examines a range of philosophical questions, and tracks his own thoughts down hidden pathways to disconcerting and sometimes hilarious conclusions. Lichtenberg's Waste Books have been greatly admired by writers as very different as Tolstoy, Einstein, and Andre Breton, while Nietzsche and Wittgenstein acknowledged them as a significant inspiration for their own radical work in philosophy. The record of a brilliant and subtle mind in action, The Waste Books are above all a powerful testament to the necessity, and pleasure, of unfettered thought.
Download and read online Slow Homecoming in PDF and EPUB Home—the need to get away from it; the need to find a way back to it; the need to make a new one—is the deep and abiding theme of Handke’s mature work, which is steeped in the poetry of places near and far, and is full of questions of love and family. Slow Homecoming is a musical work in three movements in which Handke, putting aside the nerve-wracked style of his early work for a new simplicity, meditates on exile, art, and the nature of the bonds between parent and child. The first part of the book, “The Long Way Around,” revisits America, as Valentin Sorger, a geologist who has been living and working in Alaska, travels cross-county to New York on his way back to Europe. Sorger has gone to the end of the world to get the message that he must go back where he came from. The second part, “The Lesson of Mont St.-Victoire,” describes another pilgrimage, to the mountain in Provence that Cézanne painted again and again, and shows Handke to be one of the outstanding nature writers of our time. Finally, “Child Story” is a tender, mesmerizing, scrupulously honest account of a new father—it could be Sorger, the author, or any man with a young child—and his struggle to raise and understand his daughter.
Download and read online Alfred and Guinevere in PDF and EPUB One of the finest American poets of the second half of the twentieth century, James Schuyler was at the same time a remarkable novelist. Alfred and Guinevere are two children who have been sent by their parents to spend the summer at their grandmother's house in the country. There they puzzle over their parents' absence and their relatives' habits, play games and pranks, make friends and fall out with them, spat and make up. Schuyler has a pitch-perfect ear for the children's voices, and the story, told entirely through snatches of dialogue and passages from Guinevere's diary, is a tour de force of comic and poetic invention. The reader discovers that beneath the book's apparently guileless surface lies a very sophisticated awareness of the complicated ways in which words work to define the often perilous boundaries between fantasy and reality, innocence and knowledge.