A candid portrait of one of England's most celebrated authors
In 1897, at age nineteen, American Brian Ború Dunne was an aspiring journalist, who chanced to meet the Englishman George Gissing at the height of his career as a novelist. He was somewhat awed, but not unduly intimidated, by the renowned writer, and his vigorous personality drew Gissing into many frank and unguarded conversations. Stored away until after Dunne's death, his fully wrought memoirs of these conversations and the description of their meetings are the essence of this finely edited volume.
During their months together in Rome, sometimes in the company of Conan Doyle and H. G. Wells, Dunne was amazed and amused by Gissing's social life among writers and the titled classes, but he also enjoyed their exploration of the city, of cheap cafes and fine restaurants, of music halls and rooming houses and Papal Masses.
With Gissing in Italy is indeed the only portrait we have of the quotidian life, both trivial and important, happy and sad, of George Gissing at this point in his career, observed with the eye of a journalist, by a young man with no other concern than an accurate and lively painting of his own life with an eminent English writer living abroad, freed from the misery of his domestic life.
Paul F. Mattheisen is associate professor of English, SUNY, Binghamton. More info →
Arthur C. Young is professor emeritus of English at Russell Sage College. More info →
Pierre Coustillas is professor of English, University of Lille, France. More info →
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Based on an enormous body of short fiction, Elegant Nightmares is a study of the ghost story in England from Sheridan Le Fanu to more recent figures such as Algernon Blackwood and L.P. Hartley. Although Elegant Nightmares is a serious exploration of ghost and horror stories as prototypes of modern absurdist fiction, it is written in an entertaining, often witty style.
There is a tendency to regard African literature as a homogenous product. Certainly it is true that African writers have created a vibrant, modern literature. Nevertheless, they come from specific societies and reflect vastly differing worlds. Wanasema attempts to show some of the many faces of African literature. Dramatists, poets and novelists speak in these pages. They write in French, English, Portuguese, Arabic and indigenous languages. Some are Christian; others are Muslim.
First published in 1916 and one of South Africa's great political books, Native Life in South Africa was first and foremost a response to the Native's Land Act of 1913, and was written by one of the most gifted and influential writers and journalists of his generation. Sol T. Plaatje provides an account of the origins of this crucially important piece of legislation and a devastating description of its immediate effects.