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Of trailblazing Polish novelist Eliza Orzeszkowa's many works of social realism, Marta is among the best known, but until now it has not been available in English. Easily a peer of The Awakening and A Doll’s House, the novel was well ahead of English literature of its time in attacking the ways the labor market failed women.
Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004) often seemed austere and forbidding to Americans, but those who got to know him found him warm, witty, and endlessly enriching. An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czesław Miłosz presents a collection of remembrances from his colleagues, his students, and his fellow writers and poets in America and Poland. Miłosz’s oeuvre is complex, rooted in twentieth-century eastern European history.
At the height of the Nazi extermination campaign in the Warsaw Ghetto, a young Jewish woman, Irena, seeks the protection of her former lover, a young architect, Jan Malecki. By taking her in, he puts his own life and the safety of his family at risk.
Switzerland: A Village History is an account of an Alpine village that illuminates the broader history of Switzerland and its rural, local underpinnings. It begins with the colonization of the Alps by Romanized Celtic peoples who came from the plain to clear the wilderness, establish a tiny monastic house, and create a dairy economy that became famous for its cheeses.
Between Sea and Sahara gives us Algeria in the third decade of colonization. Written in the 1850s by the gifted painter and extraordinary writer Eugene Fromentin, the many-faceted work is travelogue, fiction, stylized memoir, and essay on art. Fromentin paints a compelling word picture of Algeria and its people, questioning France’s—and his own—role there.
The Battle of Kosovo cycle of heroic ballads is generally considered the finest work of Serbian folk poetry. Commemorating the Serbian Empire’s defeat at the hands of the Turks in the late fourteenth century, these poems and fragments have been known for centuries in Eastern Europe.
Ohio University Press published a first volume of Alain Bosquet’s work, Selected Poems, in 1973. Since then, the avant-garde and metaphysical poetry of Bosquet has become widely available to an international audience. Such eminent poets as Paul Celan, Vasko Popa, Octavio Paz, and Ismail Kadare have translated his work into German, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Albanian.
Born into a Victorian Danish family, Karen Christentze Dinesen married her second cousin, a high-spirited and philandering baron, and moved to Kenya where she ran a coffee plantation, painted, and wrote. She later returned to Denmark, lived through the German occupation during World War II, and became a pivotal figure in Heretica, a major literary movement that flourished in Denmark after the war. By the time of her death, Dinesen was an international figure.
Yves Bonnefoy is probably the most prominent figure in the generation of French poets who came into public view following World War II. Dedicated to poetry more as a means of spiritual illumination than as a technique for creating artistic monuments, he uses what he conceives to be the brokenness and poverty of language to enable us to glimpse a wholeness lacking in our contemporary world.
Does the artist have a responsibility to mirror the conflicts and problems of society in his or her work? Perhaps more than most, the Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, has been faced with this question. Living in Belfast since 1957, Heaney decided to leave Northern Ireland altogether in 1972, his residency there spanning fifteen years of social upheaval and violence.
Blending historical fact and classical myth, the author of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ transports the reader 3,000 years into the past, to a pivotal point in history: the final days before the ancient kingdom of Minoan Crete is to be conquered and supplanted by the emerging city-state of Athens. Translated by Theodora Vasils and Themi Vasils.
Among the epic romances of post–Barbarian Europe, such as Roland and El Cid, Digenis Akritas has been the least known in the West—outside Greece. It is the story of a half–breed prince who guarded the eastern border of the Roman Empire of Byzantium on the Euphrates in the tenth century.
In Decadent Style, John Reed defines “decadent art” broadly enough to encompass literature, music, and the visual arts and precisely enough to examine individual works in detail. Reed focuses on the essential characteristics of this style and distinguishes it from non–esthetic categories of “decadent artists” and “decadent themes.” Like the natural sciences and psychology, the arts in the late nineteenth century reflect an interest in the process of atomization.
Cora Sandel, born Sara Fabricus in 1880, did not publish her first novel until 1926. Alberta and Jacob, first novel of the trilogy, is the story of an adolescent girl’s rebellion against the self–conscious gentility of her family in the far north of Norway during the last years of the nineteenth century. Imaginative and intelligent, Alberta Selmer longs for the knowledge and self fulfillment that her provincial surroundings cannot give her.