ARCANUM 17

Another never-before-translated volume by the famous surrealist, from the translator who, along with Bill Zavatsky, recently won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month-Club translation award for Breton's Earthlight. Taking its title from the Star card in the Tarot deck, this heavily annotated 1944 work is extremely dense, difficult to read and to categorize—it combines poetry, memoir, philosophy, a journal, social commentary (criticizing France and the rest of Europe from the safe harbor of America and Canada), a cautionary tale, mysticism (verging on automatic writing), and a political treatise. As in his better-known novel Nadja, Breton turns woman into myth, endowing her with dreamlike, superhuman qualities. Written for (and inspired by) his third wife, Elisa, these ramblings are haunted on a large scale by the shadow of WW II and on a small scale by personal loss. (One bond between Breton and Elisa, if we are to believe surrealist authority Anna Balakian's introduction, was that both had lost a child: he to divorce, she to drowning.) The theme of Arcanum 17, not stated directly until its final page, is the Utopian quest for ``light,'' which ``can only be known by way of three paths: poetry, liberty, and love.'' Breton appended three ``Apertures'' to the text in 1947 in an attempt to make it more accessible. He begins with an apology for his ``polemical fervor'' in the earlier work, but these three pieces are even more polemical, if only because they are more straightforward. He expounds upon elements that his readers found difficult three years before: war, surrealist love, and a friend's account of a chance (most likely preordained) meeting. Truly an unusual work, elegantly translated. Whether readers will be any more receptive to it now than they were 50 years ago remains to be seen.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 1994

ISBN: 1-55713-170-8

Page Count: 148

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

more