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Reprint, Winter 1989

ISSUE:  Winter 1989

Of all the books written about the American experiment, none has proved more enduring and few have spoken more eloquently than Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Originally published in two volumes, this classic study of the American system seems as relevant today as it did when it first appeared in the mid-19th-century. Now, a new one-volume edition of this classic study is available in the Harper & Row Perennial Library series, with a translation of the French nobleman’s work by George Lawrence, and editing by J. P. Mayer, a distinguished Tocqueville scholar [$14.95]. Perennial Library has also republished Sydney Blumenthal’s The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: From Conservative Ideology to Political Power, about which Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. commented, “We have long needed an anatomy of Reaganism as an intellectual movement, and at last Sidney Blumenthal has filled the gap in this incisive, illuminating and enlivening work” [$9.95]. A third Perennial Library reprint, also involving American politics, is David Caute’s The Year of the Barricades: A journey Through 1968, an account of the individuals and incidents that marked one of this nation’s most tumultuous years [$10.95], Two other recent additions to the Perennial Library series are John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, a commemorative edition of the president’s famous book, with a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy [$4.95]; and The U.S. Army War College Guide to the Battle of Antietam, edited by Jay Luvaas and Harold W. Nelson, an informative account of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles [$8.95]. Pantheon has a paper edition of Watching Television, edited by Todd Gitlin, and containing essays on such aspects of TV as the news, the soaps, the ads, and MTV [$9.95]. Virginia has republished in paper Edward Abrahams’ The Lyrical Left: Randolph Bourne, Alfred Stieglitz, and the Origins of Cultural Radicalism in America, an analysis of two individuals who had a profound influence on the Bohemian movement in this country at the turn of the century [$8.95]. Algonquin Books is offering a paperback edition of Katie Letcher Lyle’s Scalded to Death by the Steam, an account of stories about railroad disasters and the ballads that were written about them, including the famous “Wreck of the Old 97” [$9.95]. Harvard has reprinted Derek Bok’s Higher Learning [$15.00 cloth, $8.95 paper]. A recent entry in Nebraska’s Bison Book series is Bayard Taylor’s Eldorado or Adventures in the Path of Empire, a Forty-niner’s account of his adventures in California during the historic year of 1849, with an introduction by Robert Glass Cleland [$27.95 cloth, $9.95 paper].


Shortly after Gerald E. Myers’ William James: His Life and Thought was originally published by Yale in 1986, Stephen P. Stich, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, commented, “There are few figures in the history of American thought as important as William James, or as intriguing. . . . Gerald E. Myers’s monumental examination of James’s life and thought is a major contribution . . . and destined to become the definitive treatment for decades.” Yale is offering a paper edition of this study of an intellectual giant that some consider America’s greatest philosopher [$19.95]. Another American intellectual giant is Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Columbia has reissued Joel Porte’s highly acclaimed study of the eminent New Englander, Representative Man [$45.00 cloth, $15.50 paper]. George Templeton Strong was very much a man about New York in the 19th-century as a lawyer, trustee of Columbia University, vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church, and a close follower of local, state, and national politics. He also began a diary in 1835, when he was 15, and continued it until his death 40 years later. Strong’s diary was originally published in four volumes in 1952. A one-volume abridgment of this diary by Thomas J. Pressly was recently published by Washington [$35.00 cloth, $17.50 paper]. Basil Blackwell has republished Eric W. Ives’ account of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, the first comprehensive biography to be published of Henry VIII’s second queen in over a century [$12.95]. Pantheon Books has reprinted Annie Cohen-Solal’s Sartre: A Life, a definitive biography of the foremost postwar French intellectual and existentialist [$12.95]. Stanley Olson’s John Singer Sargent, which Library Journal described as “an absorbing, detailed, comprehensive biography of this intriguing enigma of a man” and noted American portrait painter, is now available in a paper edition from St. Martin’s [$10.95]. Recent additions to Harper & Row’s Perennial Library series include Stephen B. Oates’s William Faulkner, The Man and the Artist: A Biography [$9.95]; playwright Arthur Miller’s Time Bends: A Life [$10.95]; and Theodore C. Sorensen’s Kennedy, a full-length profile of the assassinated president by his special counsel [$10.95]. Perennial Library has also reprinted five personal journals by Annie Dillard, including her Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [$7.95], as well as Teaching a Stone to Talk [$8.95], Tickets for a Prayer Wheel [$7.95], Holy the Firm [$6.95], and An American Childhood [$7.95].


Nigel Cross’s The Common Writer: Life in Nineteenth-Century Grub Street was described thusly by Peter Ackroyd in The Sunday Times: “This fascinating study is concerned with Victorian writing rather than with Victorian literature—in other words, with the real culture and not those abstract categories which have been imposed upon it. . . . it is an indispensable guide to nineteenth-century literary culture.” Cambridge recently published a paper edition of Cross’s study of forgotten figures from the Victorian literary world [$15.95]. Yale has come out with a paper edition of Northrop Frye on Shakespeare, an introduction to the British Bard by one of the foremost literary critics of our time as seen through a study of 10 of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Hamlet, King Lear, and The Tempest [$7.95]. North Point Press has reissued two works by M. F. K. Fisher, who is described as America’s “epicure laureate.” The works are respectively How to Cook a Wolf, which confronts the problem of cooking within a tight budget [$11.95], and Consider the Oyster, a tribute to “that most delicate and enigmatic of foods” [$7.95]. Frederick Ungar’s Continuum Books series has come out with a new edition of Josephine Donovan’s New England Local Color Literature: A Women’s Tradition, a critical study of 19th-century New England women writers [$9.95]. Perennial Library has republished Annie Dillard’s Living by Fiction [$7.95]. Basil Blackwell has come out with a new edition of Jean Aitchison’s Words in the Mind: An Introduction to the Mental Lexicon, “a book about words, and the extraordinary human capacity to store and retrieve them” [$49.95 cloth, $15.95 paper]. Nebraska’s Bison Books series has added The American West in Fiction, a collection of 20 stories introduced and edited by Jon Tuska, with stories by such authors as Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Owen Wister, Willa Gather, and Zane Grey [$29.95 cloth, $10.95 paper].


The Penguin Book of Greek Verse, introduced and edited by Constantino A. Trypanis, is an anthology of the finest example of three thousand years of Greek poetry, and as Trypanis writes in his introduction, “poetry written in Greek constitutes the longest uninterrupted tradition in the Western world” [$9.95]. In its Classics reprint series, Penguin is offering Ben Jonson: The Complete Poems, edited by George Parfitt, a volume containing work by one of the foremost 17th-century British poets [$10.95]. A third Penguin reprint is The Penguin Book of English Christian Verse, edited by Peter Levi, an anthology of poems long and short pertaining to the Christian experience [$7.95]. Harvard is offering a paper edition of Robert von Hallberg’s American Poetry and Culture, 1945—1980, in which the author challenges the common perception of poets as standing apart from the mainstream of American culture and presents an assessment of the poetry that he contends has come directly out of the American experience since World War II [$9.95, also available in cloth $25.40]. Collier Books has a paper edition of From Princeton One Autumn Afternoon: Collected Poems of Theodore Weiss, a poet whose work James Dickey has called “visionary,” and whose career spans four decades [$16.95]. Collier Books has also reprinted William Drake’s The First Wave: Women Poets in America, 1915—1945, in which Drake recounts the careers of such poets as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Louise Bogan, and May Sarton, as well as the radical poet Lola Ridge, and the black poets Anne Spencer and Angelina Weld Grimke [$10.95].


Simon Schama’s The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of the Dutch Culture in the Golden Age re-creates Dutch 17th-century life from its ideas about sea monsters to its obsessions with hygiene, from its cuisine to its commerce and culture. Said Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe, “What makes his book so marvelous is the exhaustiveness, as well as the unpredictability and brio, with which he investigates the nooks and crannies of Dutch life.” California recently published a paper edition of Schama’s work [$15.95]. Basil Blackwell is out with a paper edition of J.V. Beckett’s The Aristocracy in England, 1660—1914, a study of the mobility of the aristocracy and the channels of admission to its ranks spanning three centuries of English history [$22.50]. New England has come out with an updated revised edition of A Documentary History of Communism, Volume I: Communism in Russia, edited, with an introduction, notes, and original translations by Robert V. Daniels, a work first published in 1960, revised in 1984, and now updated [$14. 95]. A recent addition to the Perennial Book series is Riane Eisler’s The Chalice & the Blade: Our History, Our Future, which the New Age Journal provocatively praised as “the greatest murder mystery and cover-up of all time” [$9. 95].


“One could ask for no better guide to the three cities than Donald Olsen. He is erudite, inquiring, entertaining, balanced, but not afraid to reveal his tastes and preferences.” So wrote Mark Girouard in The New York Review of Books of Donald J. Olsen’s The City as a Work of Art: London, Paris, Vienna, when it first appeared in 1986. Yale, the original publisher, has now come out with a paper edition of this work of art history [$19. 95]. Perennial Books has reprinted John Ardagh’s Germany and the Germans: An Anatomy of Society Today, a guide to the present-day nation which precipitated World War II [$10. 95]. Chicago is offering a paper edition of philosopher Stanley Cavell’s collection of essays Themes Out of School: Effects and Causes [$12. 95]. MIT has reprinted Joseph Rykwert’s The Idea of a Town: The Anthropology of Urban Form in Rome, Italy and the Ancient World [$15. 00]. Also available as an MIT paperback is Tadahiko Higuchi’s The Visual and Spatial Structure of Landscapes, a computer generated analysis of historic Japanese paintings [$9. 95]. Harvard has a new edition of Stephen Jay Gould’s Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time [$17.50 cloth, $8.95 paper]. Basil Blackwell has reprinted Oxonian Anthony Kinney’s The Ivory Tower: Essays in Philosophy and Public Policy [$14. 95].


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