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Bequeathing an enduring tenet for the creative enterprise, African Short Stories vol 2 boldly seeks to upturn the status quo by the art of narration. Whether they are stories of the whistle blower estranged and yet sounding the warning for heaven and earth to hear, or a ragtag army fleeing in the wake of a monstrous reptilian onslaught upon her peace, there pervades a sense of ultimate victory in this collection. We can feel the gentle kick of a baby in the womb of a maiden in desperation, or we can muse at the two adolescent genii on the trail of their dreams from the sunset of mutual deceit into the daylight of true becoming. Victory is laid out in that awesome kindness of a total stranger which affirms the divinity latent in even our most harrowing existence. With thirty five stories in two parts these literary experiments compel attention to the courageous hearts and minds that brighten the African universe of narration. Their vibrant notes coming from all corners of north, west, east and south fill us with encouragement and optimism for the contemporary short fiction in Africa.
The latest work from Harold Scheub, one of the world's leading scholars of African folktales, is the broadest collection yet assembled with tales from the entire continent of Africa, north to south. It brings together mythic, fantastic, and coming-of-age tales, some transcribed more than a hundred years ago, others dating to modern-day Africa. Scheub includes the work of storytellers from major African language groups, as well as many storytellers whose work is not often heard outside of Africa. This anthology offers a classroom-ready collection that should appeal to any scholar of African literature and culture. Realizing that these tales are part of a dying art, Scheub writes for the inner ear in everyone, bringing an oral tradition to life in written form.
An Anthology of Contemporary Voices
The Diary of a Decadent
Lost in a shipwreck in 1895, rewritten before the author's suicide in 1896, and not published until 1925, José Asunción Silva's After-Dinner Conversation (De sobremesa) is one of Latin America's finest fin de siècle novels and the first one to be translated into English. Perhaps the single best work for understanding turn-of-the-twentieth-century writing in South America, After-Dinner Conversation is also cited as the continent's first psychological novel and an outstanding example of modernista fiction and the Decadent sensibility. Semi-autobiographical and more important for style than plot, After-Dinner Conversation is the diary of a Decadent sensation-collector in exile in Paris who undertakes a quest to find his beloved Helen, a vision whom his fevered imagination sees as his salvation. Along the way, he struggles with irreconcilable urges and temptations that pull him in every direction while he endures an environment indifferent or hostile to spiritual and intellectual pursuits, as did the modernista writers themselves. Kelly Washbourne's excellent translation preserves Silva's lush prose and experimental style. In the introduction, one of the most wide-ranging in Silva criticism, Washbourne places the life and work of Silva in their literary and historical contexts, including an extended discussion of how After-Dinner Conversation fits within Spanish American modernismo and the Decadent movement. Washbourne's perceptive comments and notes also make the novel accessible to general readers, who will find the work surprisingly fresh more than a century after its composition.
Twentieth-Century Women Poets
They are nine women with much in common--all German speaking, all poets, all personal witnesses to the horror and devastation that was World War II. Yet, in this deeply moving collection, each provides a singularly personal glimpse into the effects of war on language, place, poetry, and womanhood.
After Every War is a book of translations of women poets living in Europe in the decades before and after World War II: Rose Ausländer, Elisabeth Langgässer, Nelly Sachs, Gertrud Kolmar, Else Lasker-Schüler, Ingeborg Bachmann, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Dagmar Nick, and Hilde Domin. Several of the writers are Jewish and, therefore, also witnesses and participants in one of the darkest occasions of human cruelty, the Holocaust. Their poems, as well as those of the other writers, provide a unique biography of the time--but with a difference. These poets see public events through the lens of deep private losses. They chart the small occasions, the bittersweet family ties, the fruit dish on a table, the lost soul arriving at a railway station; in other words, the sheer ordinariness through which cataclysm is experienced, and by which life is cruelly shattered. They reclaim these moments and draw the reader into them.
The poems are translated and introduced, with biographical notes on the authors, by renowned Irish poet Eavan Boland. Her interest in the topic is not abstract. As an Irish woman, she has observed the heartbreaking effects of violence on her own country. Her experience has drawn her closer to these nine poets, enabling her to render into English the beautiful, ruminative quality of their work and to present their poems for what they are: documentaries of resilience--of language, of music, and of the human spirit--in the hardest of times.
Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays
Writers of the modern essay can trace their chosen genre all the way back to Michel de Montaigne (1533–92). But save for the recent notable best seller How to Live: A Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell, Montaigne is largely ignored. After Montaigne—a collection of twenty-four new personal essays intended as tribute— aims to correct this collective lapse of memory and introduce modern readers and writers to their stylistic forebear.Though it’s been over four hundred years since he began writing his essays, Montaigne’s writing is still fresh, and his use of the form as a means of self-exploration in the world around him reads as innovative—even by modern standards. He is, simply put, the writer to whom all essayists are indebted. Each contributor has chosen one of Montaigne’s 107 essays and has written his/her own essay of the same title and on the same theme, using a quote from Montaigne’s essay as an epigraph. The overall effect is akin to a covers album, with each writer offering his or her own interpretation and stylistic verve to Montaigne’s themes in ways that both reinforce and challenge the French writer’s prose, ideas, and forms. Featuring a who’s who of contemporary essayists, After Montaigne offers a startling engagement with Montaigne and the essay form while also pointing the way to the genre’s potential new directions.Contributors: Marcia Aldrich, Chris Arthur, Robert Atwan, Barrie Jean Borich, Mary Cappello, Steven Church, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Danielle Cadena Deulen, Brian Doyle, Lina M. Ferreira C. V., Vivian Gornick, Robin Hemley, Wayne Koestenbaum, Shannon Lakanen, David Lazar, E. J. Levy, Phillip Lopate, Bret Lott, Patrick Madden, Desirae Matherly, Maggie Nelson, José Orduña, Elena Passarello, Lia Purpura, Kristen Radtke, Amy Lee Scott, Jerald Walker, Nicole Walker
Bafana Kuzwayo is a young man with a weight on his shoulders. After flunking his law studies at the University of Cape Town, he returns home to Soweto, where he must decide how to break the news to his family. But before he can confess, he is greeted as a hero by family and friends. His uncle calls him “Advo,” short for Advocate, and his mother wastes no time recruiting him to solve their legal problems. In a community that thrives on imagined realities, Bafana decides that it’s easiest to create a lie that allows him to put off the truth indefinitely. Soon he’s in business with Yomi, a Nigerian friend who promises to help him solve all his problems by purchasing a fake graduation document. One lie leads to another as Bafana navigates through a world that readers will find both funny and grim.
“Dense with narrative details of a transnational life, these poems are suffused with a peculiarly Indian synesthesia—’the air thick enough to bite, rinsing/ fingertips with color.’ Vandana Khanna, in her second prize-winning book, gives us a series of panoramic spectacles—children watching horror films in Delhi, Merle Oberon on her latest Bollywood film role, stolen lemons wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. Colors and crime collide with the likes of Garbo and Rekha in this tender and smart collection of poems.” —Kazim Ali, author of Sky Ward and Bright Felon Vandana Khanna is an instructor at the University of Southern California and the author of Train to Agra. She is the 2013 winner of the Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize.