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Reprint, Autumn 1986

ISSUE:  Autumn 1986

In the 20th century, motion pictures— the movies—became as much a part of American life as the automobile and apple pie and Hollywood, a symbol for glitz and glitter (that all too often was not gold). One of the classic accounts of the rise of the silver—and then silent—screen appeared in 1926 in a limited two-volume edition (each copy of which was signed by Thomas Edison) and later in a popular edition. Written by Terry Ramsaye (1885—1954), a journalist turned producer, the work was entitled A Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture Through 1925, and it has long been acclaimed as the first authentic film history. Touchstone Books has published a new edition of Ramsaye’s chronicle, which H.L. Mencken felt possessed “a picaresque quality in . . .narrative that keeps it from ever becoming dull” [$15.95]. Hollywood is also the subject of another recent Touchstone Book, this being The Movie Business Book. Edited by Jason E. Squire, it contains accounts of wheeling, dealing, making, selling, and exhibiting movies by 41 practitioners of the trade, including Mel Brooks, William Goldman, and Sydney Pollack [$9.95]. A third Touchstone offering is John Van Der Zee’s Bound Over: Indentured Servitude and American Conscience, an account of the indentured laborers who constituted half of all the colonists who came to America from 1609 until well after the Revolution and one the San Francisco Chronicle said “should be read by professional historians and laypersons alike” [$8.95]. Exploration and colonization are the subjects of two recent additions to Nebraska’s Bison Books series, the additions being respectively Walter Prescott Webb’s The Great Frontier (this great historian’s final work), with an introduction by Arnold J. Toynbee [$9.95], and Alexander Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810—1813 [$7.95]. As part of its Galaxy Book paperback series, Oxford has published Joel Williamson’s A Rage for Order, this being an abridgment of Williamson’s The Crucible of Race [$9.95], a history of Southern race relations considered in a league with W.J. Cash’s Mind of the South and C. Vann Woodward’s The Strange Career of Jim Crow. Vintage Books has reprinted Bill D. Ross’s Iwo Jima: Legacy of Valor, a battle history longtime military reporter Drew Middleton considered “the best book on a campaign . . .since Alan Moorhead’s work on El Alamein” [$9.95]. Another recent Vintage Book is Theodore Draper’s American Communism and Soviet Russia, a history of the formative period of the American Communist Party with a new introduction and afterword [$12.95], Cornell has published a paper edition of Joseph D. Novak’s A Theory of Education, offering “a comprehensive and coherent theory of education intended to be used in improving school instruction” [$10.95].


Richard Morris Hunt was considered the dean of American architects in the Gilded Age. His works include such famous buildings as The Breakers and Marble House in Newport, Biltmore House in North Carolina, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the base for the Statue of Liberty. A definitive biography of this architect is Paul Baker’s Richard Morris Hunt, which a New York Times reviewer described as a story “told with sympathy but without illusions.” MIT Press has a new paper edition of the Hunt biography [$17.50]. A new Harvest/HJB book is Volume 4 of The Early Diary of Anais Nin covering the years 1927—1941 with a preface by Joaquin Nin-Culmell [$12.95]. Touchstone Books is offering a reprint of Hannah Pakula’s The Last Romantic, a life of the legendary Marie, Queen of Roumania, one of the most famous beauties of her time and an extraordinary woman on any count. The Christian Science Monitor lauded this biography as “fascinating, readable, and evocative of a disappeared world” [$12.95]. Another Touchstone reprint is Bergman on Bergman, interviews with Ingmar Bergman, the famous Swedish movie director, translated by Paul Britten Austin [$9.95]. A new addition to Harper and Row’s Perennial Library is Janet Morgan’s Agatha Christie, a biography of the “queen of crime” and the world’s best selling novelist [$7.95]. Perennial Library has also reprinted Geoffrey C. Ward’s Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt, an account of FDR’s youth which ends with his marriage to Eleanor [$9.95]. A recent Oxford paperback is Simon Nowell-Smith’s The Legend of the Master: Henry James As Others Saw Him, a compilation of impressions of the famous American writer and artist by his contemporaries [$7.95]. Collier Books is out with a paper edition of Matthias Schmidt’s Albert Speer: The End of a Myth in which this West German historian contends that Speer had a clandestine plan to assassinate Hitler and then to succeed him [$7.95]. Ungar has republished Barbara C. Ewell’s Kate Chopin, a biography of the American author of The Awakening (1899), a novel once denounced as immoral that has now become a major text of contemporary feminism [$16.95 cloth].


Pushkin on Literature edited by Tatiana Wolff is the only English edition of all Pushkin’s critical writing, both on his own work and on the wide range of European literature which he read and studied. Stanford has published a revised edition of this work, which first appeared in 1971, with a new introductory essay by John Bayley [$39.50 cloth]. The Oxford Authors, with Frank Carmode as general editor, is a new series of authoritative editions of the major English writers for the student and general reader. The latest addition to this paperback series is Samuel Taylor Coleridge, edited by H. J. Jackson and including much of Coleridge’s poetry, the complete Biographica Literaria and substantial extracts from other prose works [$10.95]. Two other Oxford reprints are C. T. Onion’s A Shakespeare Glossary, enlarged and revised throughout by Robert D. Eagleson [$24.95 cloth, $10.95 paper], and Thomas Gray and William Collins: Poetical Works, edited by Roger Lonsdale [$13.50 paper]. Chicago has printed a second paper edition of Jacques Barzun’s On Writing, Editing and Publishing: Essays Explicative and Hortatory, a collection of eleven articles written over a period of almost 40 years and including advice for dealing with writer’s block, coping with the pitfalls of translating, and providing two essays on the foibles of publishing practices as they affect the writer [$20.00 cloth, $5.95 paper]. A New Directions paper book is Kenneth Rexroth’s Classics Revisited, a collection of essays ranging from Homer to Stendhal, from Macbeth to Izaak Walton [$10.95]. Methune has come out with a paper edition of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Selected Poems, translated by Albert Ernest Flemming [$9.95].


A contemporary of Shakespeare who actually died on the same day as the Bard himself, Miguel de Cervantes is widely considered as the author of the first modern novel, Don Quixote. Cervantes’ timeless masterpiece is now available in what is described as the finest English translation ever written—that by English novelist Tobias Smollet. This translation, which has not been in print for more than 100 years, is again available in paper, with an introduction by Carlos Fuentes, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux [$10.95], Henry Holt has reprinted Natalia Ginzburg’s All Our Yesterdays as a Seaver book, a novel set against the background of Italy from 1939 to 1944 [$8.95].


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