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Reprint, Summer 1980

ISSUE:  Summer 1980

When Henri Troyat’s Tolstoy was first published in America in 1967, the acclaim it received was like unto that which has long been lavished on War and Peace. For example, Webster Schott, in a Life magazine review, declared: “The book reads with the authority of history, the movement and grace of a classic novel. Tolstoy’s work is his monument. Troyat’s biography is his life lived again.” And Troyat’s biography of the great Russian novelist lives again in a paperback edition recently published by Harmony Books [$6.95]. The role of Associated Press reporter Lorena A. Hickok in the life of Eleanor Roosevelt has been the subject of some controversy in recent months, a controversy provoked by the publication of some of their correspondence unearthed among the Roosevelt archives at Hyde Park. The controversy itself, one involving charges of lesbianism, is no more likely to be resolved than that involving the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Nevertheless, readers wishing to gain some insight into how journalist Hickok viewed her relationship with Mrs. FDR can do so by purchasing a new Dodd, Mead hard-back edition of Eleanor Roosevelt: Reluctant First Lady, which was originally published shortly before Mrs. Roosevelt’s death in 1962 [$8.95]. The late Flannery O’Connor was as prolific in her correspondence as she was polished in her fiction; and a collection of her letters, selected and edited by Sally Fitzgerald and published in 1979, was hailed by Wall Street Journal critic Edmund Fuller as “one of the major books of the year.” That major work has now been reissued as a Vintage Book [$6.95]. By any standard, the James family of New York has to be one of America’s most extraordinary families: Henry, Sr. , one of the most controversial writers on politics and religion in the 19th century; one son, William, perhaps the nation’s best-known philosopher; another son, Henry, novelist par excellence; and daughter, Alice, compiler of a brilliant journal. In 1947, one of America’s most extraordinary critics, F. O. Matthiessen, produced “a group biography” of The James Family. A new edition of this biography has also been published by Vintage Books [$7.95]. Among frontier American historians, three rank as foremost: Frederick Jackson Turner, Herbert Eugene Bolton, and Walter Prescott Webb. Three excellent essays on Turner, Bolton, and Webb, written, respectively, by Wilbur R. Jacobs, John W. Caughey, and Joe B. Frantz, were delivered at a 1963 meeting of the Western History Association and published two years later by the University of Washington Press. Entitled Turner, Bolton, and Webb: Three Historians of the American Frontier, the book has now been reprinted in paper-back by Washington [$4.95]. Washington has also published a paperback edition of Jacob Korg’s George Gissing: A Critical Biography, a life of the Victorian writer who attempted to “turn misery into art” through his observations of the wretched living conditions in London’s notorious East End [$6.95]. Ohio University Press is offering a paperback edition of Bettina L. Knapp’s Antonin Artaud: Man of Vision, which the Saturday Review described as a “penetrating study” of the French actor-director-writer often called “father of the Theater of Cruelty” [$5.95].


In the past decade, the problems of New York City have mounted and multiplied to such an extent that they have become a national concern: insufficient revenues, declining population, increasingly a metropolis of extremes between the shrinking affluent and the swelling poor. How the Big Apple got into such rotton condition is the subject of Ken Auletta’s The Streets Were Paved With Gold, which Vintage Books has reprinted [$4.95]. The role of the news media in determining the course of American events reached a new height during “the nightmare years” of Watergate, and what the media determine to be news can clearly influence as well as inform. How such determinations are reached is the subject of Herbert J. Cans’ Deciding What’s News: A Study of CBS Evening News, NEC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time, and it, too, is a new Vintage book [$5.95]. Arthur G. Burgoyne, a Pittsburgh journalist, published Homestead, a dramatic account of the bloody Homestead strike of 1892, in 1893. A new edition of Burgoyne’s book, published under the title, The Homestead Strike of 1892, has been brought out by Pittsburgh [$12.95 cloth, $5.95 paper]. Two recent Cornell paperback reprints are, respectively, Ellen Carol DuBois’ Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women’s Movement in America, 1848—1869 [$4.95] and Merritt Roe Smith’s Harpers Ferry Armory and the New Technology: The Challenge of Change [$7.95]. John Janovy, Jr. ‘s Keith County Journal, observations of the natural wonders to be found amid Nebraska’s supposedly montonous sandhills, is available as a St. Martin’s paperback [$4.95].


Victorian novels and novelists continue to fascinate contemporary critics, and this fascination is reflected in two new editions of works about the Victorians. One is J. Hillis Miller’s The Form of Victorian Fiction, studies of Thackeray, Dickens, Trollope, Eliot, Meredith, and Hardy, reprinted in hardback by Case Western Reserve’s Arete Press [$12.50]. The other is Jeannette King’s Tragedy in the Victorian Novel, examining “theory and practice” in the novels of Eliot, Hardy, and Henry James, a recent Cambridge paperback [$9.95]. Cambridge is also offering a paperback edition of Stephen Prickett’s Coleridge and Wordsworth: The Poetry of Growth, whose “richness of aspect and argument” were cited by The Times Literary Supplement [$11.50]. Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company, about how a Paris bookstore became headquarters for the Lost Generation, has been reissued as a Bison Book by Nebraska [$4.95], Yale has published a new, enlarged, paperback edition of Richard B. Sewall’s The Vision of Tragedy, a much lauded critical study initially issued in 1959 [$495]. First published in 1967,Writing and Difference, a collection of French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s essays, has become a landmark of contemporary French thought. Chicago has a Phoenix Book edition, translated, with an introduction and additional notes, by Alan Bass [$5.95]. English 18th-century writers Henry Fielding, Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, and Samuel Richardson are discussed by Sheldon Sacks in Fiction and the Shape of Belief, also a Chicago Phoenix Book [$5.95]. Scribner’s is offering a hardback edition of F. E. Halliday’s Shakespeare and his World, first published in 1956 [$10.95]. A guide to novels by and about women in America, 1820—1870, is provided in Nina Baym’s Woman’s Fiction, a Cornell paperback [$4.95]. New York University has reprinted Walter Harding and Michael Meyer’s The New Thoreau Handbook as an addition to its Gotham Library series [$15.00 cloth, $6.95 paper]. Ecco Press has a paperback edition of Randall Jarrell’s Poetry and the Age [$6.95]. Recent Cambridge paperbacks include Ronald Gray’s Ibsen—A Dissenting View, a study of the last twelve plays [$8.50] and Ruth Finnegan’s Oral Poetry, an examination of “its nature, significance and social context” [$10.95].


With John Irving’s The World According to Garp a national best seller, Random House has decided to reprint three of his earlier novels in one hardback volume. Under the title, 3 By Irving, readers can find Setting Free the Bears, The Water-Method Man, and 158-Pound Marriage [$15.95]. Kathleen Morehouse’s Rain on the Just, has been reprinted by Southern Illinois [$12.95 cloth].


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