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Act of Contrition focuses on the intimate relationship between Regina, a widow, and Michael, a young doctor whose wife left him for another man. Having found happiness in one another, they desire nothing more than to be together. Yet in the eyes of the Catholic Church, Michael is not free to divorce his wife and marry Regina. In an emotional climax Regina must decide if she loves Michael enough to give him up or if she'll force him to choose between her and God.
By modern standards, Giles's love scenes are tasteful, and the general atmosphere of ecumenism within today's Catholic Church renders moot many of the tensions in the novel. Yet in 1957 Giles's agent and publisher feared the work would cause "irreparable harm" to her reputation. As late as 1972 Giles was revising in the hopes of seeing the novel published. Finally her wish is fulfilled.
Janice Holt Giles (1905-1979), author of nineteen books, lived and wrote near Knifley, Kentucky, for thirty-four years. Her biography is Janice Holt Giles: A Writer's Life.
Selected Short Stories
“Solitary characters, afflicted by real or fictitious fears… a world plagued with absurdities… exceptional stories, told through an ironic perspective with humor and cruelty. Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.” Llana stories are a mixture of fantasy, dark humor, and gothic comedy. Her stories humorously represent a vision of the world through a palpable irony leading up to a subversive guffaw that, because of her scathing wit, may also be read as an anguished holler. This quality is at the heart of Llana’s stories teeming with specters of every type, dramatic or ridiculous, but always efficiently suggestive of circumstances underlying what we take for reality. Her short stories contain a rich and thoroughly entertaining representation of a particular social class in Cuba during the last forty years: the bourgeoisie who struggled to maintain their social status and participated only by default in the construction of the new socialist society. Portraits of family and twisted gender roles abound, within a mysterious and uncanny domestic sphere that is unmistakably set in Havana.
Late of the Tallapoosa Volunteers; Together with Taking the Census and Other Alabama Sketches
Originally published in 1845, Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs is a series of sketches written in part to parody some the campaign literature of the era. The character, Simon Suggs, with his motto, “it is good to be shifty in a new country,” fully incarnates a backwoods version of the national archetypes now know as the confidence man, the grafter, the professional flim-flam artist supremely skilled in the arts by which a man gets along in the world. This classic volume of good humor is set in the rough-and-tumble world of frontier life and politics.
The Adventures of David Simple (1744), Sarah Fielding's first and most celebrated novel, went through several editions, the second of which was heavily revised by her brother Henry. This edition includes Henry's "corrections" in an appendix. In recounting the guileless hero's search for a true friend, the novel depicts the derision with which almost everyone treats his sentimental attitudes to human nature. Acclaimed as an accurate portrait of mid-eighteenth-century London, The Adventures of David Simple sets forth some provocative feminist ideas. Also included is Fielding's much darker sequel, Volume the Last (1753).
First published in 1753, Ferdinand Count Fathom is an experimental work that explores the relations between history and fiction and introduces, for the first time in the English novel, episodes of Gothic melodrama. Too long neglected and never before available in a carefully prepared scholarly edition, Ferdinand Count Fathom may now be read, understood, and appreciated against the literary and historical background of the eighteenth-century world.
This is the definitive scholarly edition of Tobias Smollett’s first novel, widely regarded as one of his two masterpieces, the other being The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. Roderick Random was also, in its time, the chief rival to Henry Fielding’s comic novel Tom Jones.
Surging with verbal, sexual, and martial energy, The Adventures of Roderick Random opens a window on life, love, and war in the eighteenth century. The hero battles his way from poverty and neglect to make his mark as a doctor, writer, fighter, and lover. His adventures take us across the world, from England and France to the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. One of the first truly global novels, it casts light on nearly every aspect of its time—imperialism, gender relations, slavery, urban life, colonial warfare, commerce, politics, the professions, high society, and the Hogarthian underworld.
Complete with illustrations and comprehensive annotations, this is the first edition to include Smollett’s long-forgotten antiwar pamphlet, An Account of the Expedition against Carthagene in the West Indies, which was drawn from his own war experience and on which key sections of the novel are based. The editors also provide a detailed biographical and historical introduction, based on the most recent scholarship, mapping the novel’s enormous impact in its own time and its influence on the history of literature over the centuries since.
Both in its original French and its many translations, The Adventures of Telemachus was one of the most popular and revered works of the eighteenth century. There were more than ten English prose and poetry versions, including this masterful prose translation by Smollett. Known for his novels Roderick Random and The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, Smollett was also a gifted translator. The Adventures of Telemachus was his final translation and is one of the finest versions of the work. Long a disputed title in the Smollett canon, it is fully restored to his credit by Leslie A. Chilton.
“Beardsley’s book accomplishes to perfection what the writer intended. It illuminates an area of history from a certain perspective as was never done before. . . . The distinguishing feature of his book is a n excitement over everything I aesthetics that has to do with symbols, meanings, language, and modes of interpretation. And this excitement has brought to light facets of the history f the subject never noticed before, or at least, not so clearly.” —The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism