Thursday, April 1, 2010

SELECTED NEW ARRIVALS: April 1st


Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky
Hardcover, $27.00
"From the time his first, futurist poems were published in 1912 until his suicide at the age of thirty-six, Vladimir Mayakovsky made theatrical appearances in his written work and perfected an iconoclastic voice James Schuyler called “the intimate yell.” As the poet laureate of the Russian Revolution, Mayakovsky led a generation that staked everything on the notion that an artist could fuse a public and a private self. But by the time of Stalin’s terror, the contradictions of the revolution caught up with him, and he ended in despair.
A major influence on American poets of the twentieth century, Mayakovsky’s work remains fascinating and urgent. Very few English translations have come close to capturing his lyric intensity, and a comprehensive volume of his writings has not been published in the past thirty years. In Night Wraps the Sky, the acclaimed filmmaker Michael Almereyda (Hamlet, William Eggleston in the Real World) presents Mayakovsky’s key poems—translated by a new generation of Russian-American poets—alongside memoirs, artistic appreciations, and eyewitness accounts, written and pictorial, to create a full-length portrait of the man and the mythic era he came to embody." -Farrar, Straus & Giroux






Kurt Schwitters, Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales
Hardcover, $22.95

"Kurt Schwitters revolutionized the art world in the 1920s with his Dadaist Merz collages, theater performances, and poetry. But at the same time he was also writing extraordinary fairy tales that were turning the genre upside down and inside out. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales is the first collection of these subversive, little-known stories in any language and the first time all but a few of them have appeared in English. Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes, one of the world's leading authorities on fairy tales, this book gathers thirty-two stories written between 1925 and Schwitters's death in 1948--including a complete English-language recreation of The Scarecrow, a children's book illustrated with avant-garde typography that Schwitters created with Kate Steinitz and De Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales also includes brilliant new illustrations that evoke the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
Schwitters wrote these darkly humorous, satirical, and surreal tales at a time when traditional German fairy tales were being co-opted by the Nazis. Filled with sharp critiques of German life during the Weimar and early Nazi eras, Schwitters's tales are rich with absurdist events and insist that not everyone--and perhaps not anyone--lives happily ever after. In "Lucky Hans," the starving protagonist tries to catch a rabbit only to have it shed its fur like a coat and run off naked into the forest. In other tales, a sarcastic gypsy stands in for a fairy godmother and an army recruit is arrested for growing to monstrous size." -Princeton University Press

"Kurt Schwitters's fairy tales can be safely read to children, without boring the parents. While children will be delightfully dreaming themselves in wondrous worlds, the parents can contemplate existential questions and take shortcuts to understanding the absurdity of war, the vacuity of power, and the vanity of wealth. Schwitters, the most childlike Dadaist, was a fierce defender of innocence and an equally fierce critic of society. His tales are well drawn paths in a magically lit moral landscape."--Andrei Codrescu, author of The Posthuman Dada Guide




Benjamin Peret, A Menagerie in Revolt: Selected Writings
Paperback, $15.00

"This collection is based on the pioneering anthology of Peret's writings that first appeared in August 1970 in the SDS journal Radical America, introduced by Franklin Rosemont. This new, expanded and illustrated edition includes a selection of Peret's incomparable poetry and stories, a wide range of critical essays of the practice of poetry, the struggle against capitalism, slave revolts in Brazil, Pre-Columbian art, and appreciations of the great surrealist artists Wifredo Lam, Jundirch Styrsky, and Toyen. An afterword by Don LaCoss discusses the ecological dimension of Peret's work. Peret's writings testify with burning clarity to his relentless devotion to the cause of breaking the social, cultural, and psychological fetters which reduce the imagination to misery and degradation. An essential collection by an essential member of the first Surrealist group." -Charles H Kerr






Georges Perec, Life: A User's Manual
Paperback, $22.95

Life is an unclassified masterpiece, a sprawling compendium as encyclopedic as Dante's Commedia and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and, in its break with tradition, as inspiring as Joyce's Ulysses. Structured around a single moment in time — 8:00 p.m. on June 23, 1975 — Perec's spellbinding puzzle begins in an apartment block in the XVIIth arrondissement of Paris where, chapter by chapter, room by room, like an onion being peeled, and extraordinary rich cast of characters is revealed in a series of tales that are bizarre, unlikely, moving, funny, or (sometimes) quite ordinary. From the confessions of a racing cyclist to the plans of an avenging murderer, from a young ethnographer obsessed with a Sumatran tribe to the death of a trapeze artist, from the fears of an ex-croupier to the dreams of a sex-change pop star to an eccentric English millionaire who has devised the ultimate pastime, Life is a manual of human irony, portraying the mixed marriages of fortunes, passions and despairs, betrayals and bereavements of hundreds of lives in Paris and around the world.
But the novel in more than an extraordinary range of fictions; it is a closely observed account of life and experience. The apartment block's one hundred rooms are arranged in a magic square, and the book as a whole is peppered with a staggering range of literary puzzles and allusions, acrostics, problems of chess and logic, crosswords, and mathematical formulae. All are there for the reader to solve in the best tradition of the detective novel." -David R Godine, Publisher






Felix Feneon, Novels in Three Lines
Paperback, $14.00

"Novels in Three Lines collects more than a thousand items that appeared anonymously in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906—true stories of murder, mayhem, and everyday life presented with a ruthless economy that provokes laughter even as it shocks. This extraordinary trove, undiscovered until the 1940s and here translated for the first time into English, is the work of the mysterious Félix Fénéon. Dandy, anarchist, and critic of genius, the discoverer of Georges Seurat and the first French publisher of James Joyce, Fénéon carefully maintained his own anonymity, toiling for years as an obscure clerk in the French War Department. Novels in Three Lines is his secret chef-d'oeuvre, a work of strange and singular art that brings back the long-ago year of 1906 with the haunting immediacy of a photograph while looking forward to such disparate works as Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project and the Death and Disaster series of Andy Warhol." -NYRB
"Fénéon's three-line news items, considered as a single work, represent a crucial if hitherto overlooked milestone in the history of modernism.... They are the poems and novels he never otherwise wrote, or at least did not publish or preserve. They demonstrate in miniature his epigrammatic flair, his exquisite timing, his pinpoint precision of language, his exceedingly dry humor, his calculated effrontery, his tenderness and cruelty, his contained outrage. His politics, his aesthetics, his curiosity and sympathy are all on view, albeit applied with tweezers and delineated with a single-hair brush. And they depict the France of 1906 in its full breadth, on a canvas of reduced scale but proportionate vastness. They might be considered Fénéon's Human Comedy." —From the Introduction by Luc Sante






These books, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

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Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

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