Biography

A Child of the Century

A Child of the Century

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A Child of the Century, Ben Hecht’s autobiographical memoir, was first published in 1954 to great critical acclaim. Hecht offers philosophical meditations on the nature of God and the self as well as keen, firsthand portraits of big-city newsrooms, postwar Germany, 1920s New York intellectuals and artists, and golden-age Hollywood. He shares anecdotes from his days working with Hollywood legends such as the Marx brothers, authors Sherwood Anderson and Dorothy Parker, actress Fanny Brice, and producer David O. Selznick. With a new introduction by David Denby, this reissued volume will introduce Hecht and his work to a new generation of readers.

Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance

Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscripts That Illuminated the Renaissance

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The Renaissance in Florence conjures images of beautiful frescoes and elegant buildings--the dazzling handiwork of the city's skilled artists and architects. But equally important for the centuries to follow were geniuses of a different sort: Florence's manuscript hunters, scribes, scholars, and booksellers, who blew the dust off a thousand years of history and, through the discovery and diffusion of ancient knowledge, imagined a new and enlightened world.

At the heart of this activity, which bestselling author Ross King relates in his exhilarating new book, was a remarkable man: Vespasiano da Bisticci. Born in 1422, he became what a friend called "the king of the world's booksellers." At a time when all books were made by hand, over four decades Vespasiano produced and sold many hundreds of volumes from his bookshop, which also became a gathering spot for debate and discussion. Besides repositories of ancient wisdom by the likes of Plato, Aristotle, and Quintilian, his books were works of art in their own right, copied by talented scribes and illuminated by the finest miniaturists. His clients included a roll-call of popes, kings, and princes across Europe who wished to burnish their reputations by founding magnificent libraries.


Vespasiano reached the summit of his powers as Europe's most prolific merchant of knowledge when a new invention appeared: the printed book. By 1480, the king of the world's booksellers was swept away by this epic technological disruption, whereby cheaply produced books reached readers who never could have afforded one of Vespasiano's elegant manuscripts.



A thrilling chronicle of intellectual ferment set against the dramatic political and religious turmoil of the era, Ross King's brilliant The Bookseller of Florence is also an ode to books and bookmaking that charts the world-changing shift from script to print through the life of an extraordinary man long lost to history--one of the true titans of the Renaissance.

CONFESSIONS OF A BOOKSELLER

CONFESSIONS OF A BOOKSELLER

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IN PRAISE OF GOOD BOOKSTORES

IN PRAISE OF GOOD BOOKSTORES

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From a devoted reader and lifelong bookseller, an eloquent and charming reflection on the singular importance of bookstores

Do we need bookstores in the twenty-first century? If so, what makes a good one? In this beautifully written book, Jeff Deutsch--the director of Chicago's Seminary Co-op Bookstores, one of the finest bookstores in the world--pays loving tribute to one of our most important and endangered civic institutions. He considers how qualities like space, time, abundance, and community find expression in a good bookstore. Along the way, he also predicts--perhaps audaciously--a future in which the bookstore not only endures, but realizes its highest aspirations.

In exploring why good bookstores matter, Deutsch draws on his lifelong experience as a bookseller, but also his upbringing as an Orthodox Jew. This spiritual and cultural heritage instilled in him a reverence for reading, not as a means to a living, but as an essential part of a meaningful life. Central among Deutsch's arguments for the necessity of bookstores is the incalculable value of browsing--since, when we are deep in the act of looking at the shelves, we move through space as though we are inside the mind itself, immersed in self-reflection.

In the age of one-click shopping, this is no ordinary defense of bookstores, but rather an urgent account of why they are essential places of discovery, refuge, and fulfillment that enrich the communities that are lucky enough to have them.

In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing

In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing

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A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2022
Oprah DailyTIME MagazineBustleThe GuardianFinancial TimesA.V. ClubCosmopolitanMarie ClaireFortune


Four new and revelatory essays by the author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lost Daughter.


In 2020, Claire Luchette in O, The Oprah Magazine described the beloved Italian novelist Elena Ferrante as "an oracle among authors." Here, in these four crisp essays, Ferrante offers a rare look at the origins of her literary powers. She writes about her influences, her struggles, and her formation as both a reader and a writer; she describes the perils of "bad language" and suggests ways in which it has long excluded women's truth; she proposes a choral fusion of feminine talent as she brilliantly discourses on the work of Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Ingeborg Bachmann, and many others.


Here is a subtle yet candid book by "one of the great novelists of our time" about adventures in literature, both in and out of the margins.


"Everyone should read everything with Elena Ferrante's name on it."--The Boston Globe


Four new and revelatory essays by the author of My Brilliant Friend and The Lost Daughter.

In 2020, Claire Luchette in O, The Oprah Magazine described the beloved Italian novelist Elena Ferrante as “an oracle among authors.” Here, in these four crisp essays, Ferrante offers a rare look at the origins of her literary powers. She writes about her influences, her struggles, and her formation as both a reader and a writer; she describes the perils of “bad language” and suggests ways in which it has long excluded women’s truth; she proposes a choral fusion of feminine talent as she brilliantly discourses on the work of Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Ingeborg Bachmann, and many others.

Here is a subtle yet candid book by “one of the great novelists of our time” about adventures in literature, both in and out of the margins.

Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself

Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself

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Providing a vivid account of the eighteenth-century Western world through his own experiences, the Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano combines Eqiano's own words about issues such as slavery and independence with related documents.

In this truly astonishing eighteenth-century memoir, Olaudah Equiano recounts his remarkable life story, which begins when he is kidnapped in Africa as a boy and sold into slavery and culminates when he has achieved renown as a British antislavery advocate. The narrative “is a strikingly beautiful monument to the startling combination of skill, cunning, and plain good luck that allowed him to win his freedom, write his story, and gain international prominence,” writes Robert Reid-Pharr in his Introduction. “He alerts us to the very concerns that trouble modern intellectuals, black, white, and otherwise, on both sides of the Atlantic.”

INVENTION OF OSCAR WILDE

INVENTION OF OSCAR WILDE

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"One should either wear a work of art, or be a work of art," Oscar Wilde once declared. In The Invention of Oscar Wilde, Nicholas Frankel explores Wilde's self-creation as a "work of art" and a carefully constructed cultural icon. Frankel takes readers on a journey through Wilde's inventive, provocative life, from his Irish origins--and their public erasure--through his challenges to traditional concepts of masculinity and male sexuality, his marriage and his affairs with young men, including his great love Lord Alfred Douglas, to his criminal conviction and final years of exile in France. Along the way, Frankel takes a deep look at Wilde's writings, paradoxical wit, and intellectual convictions.
JAMES JOYCE (REVISED)

JAMES JOYCE (REVISED)

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Richard Ellmann has revised and expanded his definitive work on Joyce's life to include newly discovered primary material, including details of a failed love affair, a limerick about Samuel Beckett, a dream notebook, previously unknown letters, and much more.

Richard Ellmann has revised and expanded his definitive work on Joyce's life to include newly discovered primary material, including details of a failed love affair, a limerick about Samuel Beckett, a dream notebook, previously unknown letters, and much more.

Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

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This engaging volume was pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's most popular book during her lifetime. Difficult to categorize, it is both an arresting travel book and a moving exploration of her personal and political selves. Wollstonecraft set out for Scandinavia just two weeks after her first suicide attempt, on a mission from the lover whose affections she doubted, to recover his silver on a ship that had gone missing. With her baby daughter and a nursemaid, she traveled across the dramatic landscape and wrote sublime descriptions of the natural world, and the events and people she encountered. Fascinating appendices include Imlay's commission to recover his lost silver, Wollstonecraft's recently discovered letter to the Danish Prime Minister asking for assistance, the private letters she wrote to Imlay during her travels in Scandinavia, a chapter from Godwin's memoir of Wollstonecraft, and a selection of contemporary reviews.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

In these two closely linked works - a travel book and a biography of its author - we witness a moving encounter between two of the most daring and original minds of the late eighteenth century: "A Short Residence in Sweden" is the record of Wollstonecraft's last journey in search of happiness, into the remote and beautiful backwoods of Scandinavia. The quest for a lost treasure ship, the pain of a wrecked love affair, memories of the French Revolution, and the longing for some Golden Age, all shape this vivid narrative, which Richard Holmes argues is one of the neglected masterpieces of early English Romanticism."Memoirs" is Godwin's own account of Wollstonecraft's life, written with passionate intensity a few weeks after her tragic death. Casting aside literary convention, Godwin creates an intimate portrait of his wife, startling in its candour and psychological truth. Received with outrage by friends and critics alike, and virtually suppressed for a century, it can now be recognized as one of the landmarks in the development of modern biography.

Maps on the Ceiling

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