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181. Americans in Paris: A Literary
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182. Death of a Salesman: Text and
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183. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory
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184. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in
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185. The New Princeton Encyclopedia
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186. Slave Country: American Expansion
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187. The Formation of Islam : Religion
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188. Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient
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189. Russian Women Writers (Women Writers
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190. Picture Theory : Essays on Verbal
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191. Out of the Margins: The Rise of
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192. Western Literature in a World
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193. George Orwell: An Age Like This
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194. What Is a Woman?: And Other Essays
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195. The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy:
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196. The Cambridge History of American
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197. On the Road
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198. The Best American Essays of the
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199. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's the
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200. The Way of the Storyteller

181. Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology
by Adam Gopnik
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Asin: 1931082561
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Library of America
Sales Rank: 3086
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

From the earliest years of the American republic, Paris has provoked an extraordinary American literary response. An almost inevitable destination for writers and thinkers, Paris has been many things to many Americans: a tradition-bound bastion of the old world of Europe; a hotbed of revolutionary ideologies in politics and art; and a space in which to cultivate an openness to life and love thought impossible at home. Including stories, letters, memoirs, and journalism, Americans in Paris distills three centuries of vigorous, glittering, and powerfully emotional writing about the place that Henry James called "the most brilliant city in the world."

American writers came to Paris as statesmen, soldiers, students, tourists, and sometimes they stayed as expatriates. This anthology ranges from the crucial early impressions of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin to the latter-day reflections of writers as varied as James Baldwin, Isadora Duncan, and Jack Kerouac. Along the way we encounter the energetic travelers of the nineteenth century—Emerson, Mark Twain, Henry James—and the pilgrims of the twentieth: Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E. E. Cummings, Cole Porter, Henry Miller. Come along as Thomas Paine takes a direct and dangerous part in the French Revolution; Harriet Beecher Stowe tours the Louvre; Theodore Dreiser samples the sensual enticements of Parisian night life; Edith Wharton movingly describes Paris in the early days of World War I; John Dos Passos charts the gathering political storms of the 1930s; Paul Zweig recalls the intertwined pleasures of language and sex; and A. J. Liebling savors the memory of his culinary education in delicious detail.

Americans in Paris is a diverse and constantly engaging mosaic, full of revealing cultural gulfs and misunderstandings, personal and literary experimentation, and profound moments of self-discovery. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A highly articulate literary composite portrait
Compiled and edited by New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik, America In Paris: A Literary Anthology is a seminal celebration of statesmen, soldiers, student tourist, and sometimes even expatriates' experiences in the grand, romantic, and one-of-kind city of Paris. Excerpts from journals, letters, and stories spanning centuries from pre-colonial days down to the modern times offer a grand cohesive whole of Paris through American eyes, painting a captivating picture that shifts with subtle nuances and the march of years. An enchanting and highly articulate literary composite portrait, featuring writings from Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, P. T. Barnum, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and many more. ... Read more


182. Death of a Salesman: Text and Criticism (Viking Critical Library)
by Arthur Miller, Gerald Weales, Gerald Clifford Weales
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Asin: 0140247734
Catlog: Book (1996-01-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 262081
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Real vs. Virtual American Dream
DRAMA

Real vs. Virtual American Dream

By Kevin Biederer


Arthur Miller's 1949 drama basically revolves around the American dream of a father who makes many mental errors that lead to his downfall.
The inner life of the father, Willy, is presented by the use of monologs in his head. He is a washed up salesman that does not realize it, and tries to rub off his overwhelming cockiness on his two sons.
Biff, one of his sons, transforms from a cocky, young football player into a doubtful, young man. Biff understands the reality of life through the falseness of the American dream, which ultimately, destroys his father who is living a virtual American dream. If Biff had listened to his father his whole life, he would still just be a cocky, young football player. Instead Biff realizes what a, 'ridiculous lie [his] life has been!' (104). He

Death of a Salesman
By Arthur Miller
139 pages

realizes he does not want to follow in his father's footsteps and become a washed up salesman. Biff just wants to live a normal life where Willy is not pressuring him about everything. Willy is one of those fathers who think their child is the greatest at everything no matter what. That is good in some cases, but not when Willy sets unrealistic goals for his child.
This drama portrays how many parents treat their children. Most parents try to push their children, but some go over the line, as seen in this drama. But what Willy has truly failed in is his family life and his married life. That is the corruption of the true American dream.
This drama deserves five stars because it always keeps you on your feet just waiting to see what will happen next. Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times says, 'this is one of the finest dramas in the whole range of the American theater.'
The theme of this drama is seen in the mental approaches Willy has in his life. You have to think about what you say to certain individuals and spot errors. Could Willy Loman's downfall have been avoided or not?
This drama has a tragic but far-fetched ending that puts a twist on the entire novel. Willy does something drastic, which he thinks is best for his children. We will leave that for you to decide if this decision was the best one he could have made.

4-0 out of 5 stars Review on Death of a Salesman by Kristina S.
You could call the play a critic on capitalist system but it is also simply the story about a man with a fatal error that leads to his downfall. Arthur Miller presents a complex and difficult character: Willy Loman. Willys mind and inner life are presented dramatically by the use of flashbacks and inner monologs.It is an interesting trip through psychology for the audience,to find out why Willy escapes into the past. Miller perfectly creates the illusion of the past and makes the audience experience a fusion of past an present by verbal and non-verbal theatrical technique.The audience can reach a deeper rational and emotional understanding of Willys situation during the play. The requiem interrupts this identification to make the audience have an objective view on Willys fate. Miller makes the audience realize the psychological development to make them critisize and think actively about it: Could Willy Lomans downfall have been avoided or not? By analysing Willys character his fatal error gets clear.Willy makes his own bad situation worse,e.g.by refusing his friends offer of a job. There for the play gives an advice to the audience:Think objectively about your behaviour and spot errors,like you spot Willys fatal error.

4-0 out of 5 stars The best version I've seen
When you get down to it, really, the only reasons for buying one version of a play are 1) price, 2) readability (i.e., the font, size of print, etc.), and 3) accompanying analysis/essays. As for myself, the third reason is the most important. This version is the best I've seen for accompanying analysis. It has a number of essays and an interview by Arthur Miller himself and reviews of the play by others. The works written by Miler were of the most interest to me, but there is plenty here. Admittedly, if price is most important to you, there are cheaper versions out there, but you won't get what this version offers. To me, though, this version is worth the money.

And do I need to mention this is a damn good play? But, as I said, you'll get the same play regardless of which version you pick up (at least, I would hope...).

5-0 out of 5 stars If you're going to buy a copy
of "Death of a Salesman", this is the one to get. In addition to the play itself and some introductory remarks, this version includes a good variety of reviews, criticism, and essays concerning "Death of a Salesman". Of particular interest (in my view, anyway) is the essay "Tragedy and the Common Man" written by Arthur Miller himself (there are other writings by Arthur Miller and part of the transcripts of an interview with Arthur Miller, too). It's true that this version is a little more expensive than others (clocking in at about $13), but, if you like to read what others (and even the playwright himself) have had to say about a particular work, I strongly suggest that you buy this version in favor of a cheaper version with less criticism. ... Read more


183. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism
by Henry Louis Gates
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Asin: 019506075X
Catlog: Book (1989-12-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 304609
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s original, groundbreaking study explores the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature, elaborating a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself.Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, and particularly the Yoruba trickster figure of Esu-Elegbara and the Signifying Monkey whose myths help articulate the black tradition's theory of its literature, Gates uncovers a unique system of interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World.His critical approach relies heavily on the Signifying Monkey--perhaps the most popular figure in African-American folklore--and signification and Signifyin(g).

Exploring signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the "Talking Book," a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this critical framework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other.

The second volume in an enterprising trilogy on African-American literature, The Signifying Monkey--which expands the arguments of Figures in Black--makes an important contribution to literary theory, African-American literature, folklore, and literary history. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars An Important Work on the African Roots of American Folklore
Professor Gates' tome on the Signifying Monkey is a thoughtful and fascinating exposition on some of the West African sources of American folklore that are seldom appreciated as a result of the forced expatriations involved in the slave trade. Unfortunately, the book is just slightly dry unless accompanied by a first rate recitation of the Signifying Monkey legend as it is retold in the milieu of the Twentieth Century African American "Toast." I am delighted to report that this can now be experienced by newcomers through the wonderful performance of Rudy Ray Moore, which is available on the CD Greatest Hits. When Dr. Gates' reader is able to reread his Signifying Monkey in light of Mr. Ray Moore's, a whole new world of perception and enjoyment will follow. The synergy of these two works is splendid and neither one is quite so valuable without the other.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rocks!
Gates is a clear thinker and a subtle stylist in the great tradition of other New Yorker writers like EB White and John McPhee. For a book of Lit crit, this has some neat tricks up its sleeve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking
I purchased Gates' "Signifying Monkey" and found myself nodding at almost every paragraph. I was nodding in appreciation of the clarity, nodding in recognition of meaning that I had lost that freshman year but eventually found upon reading "The Signifying Monkey", and nodding because literary theory was being applied to African-American literature. Mimesis and Gates finally came together. The chapter on the trope of the "talking book" is my favorite. Bakhtin (did I spell that correctly?) himself a literary theorist became even more palatable as a result of my reading this text. I'm glad that I own this book. I'm constantly referring to it. It's turned into a "pleasure-reading" book for me. It can for you as well. Thanks Professor Gates ... Read more


184. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism
by Hayden White
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Asin: 0801827418
Catlog: Book (1985-03-01)
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Sales Rank: 159069
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Copernican revolution indeed
This collection of essays, all of which originally appeared in the late 1960s and 70s, is essential reading for every would-be historian or even amateur history buff. White unpacks interpretation and meaning in history, arguing that literary or psychic tropes govern the discourse of history just as clearly as they are manifest in the other arts and sciences; and that history that lacks self-consciousness of the constitutive forces of its own discourse can rightly be criticized as inherently meaningless, if not merely a propaganda tool for the justification of the status quo.

Historians are artists, White argues: they represent their understanding of history in their writings, they do not reproduce the history itself; their creations should be understood as we understand modern art, and not encumbered with outdated assumptions about 'realism' as the validating quality by which they can be judged. White notes in "The Burden of History," the first essay, that we do not judge the works of an artist or a scientist by asking ourselves if we perceive the world in exactly the same way, but rather we look to see that their representations do not include any deliberate falsifications. We don't compare the works of John Constable and Paul Cezanne to see which of them painted landscapes 'better' -- instead we appreciate the particular vision of truth each artist demonstrated in his work. So with historians, whose true calling, White believes, is to free humanity from deterministic history by pointing out that the present is the result of human choices, and encouraging people to consider the power their choices might have in shaping the future.

Although it helps to have some familiarity with nineteenth century historiography, the works of Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud and Weber in order to understand White's arguments, this background reading isn't strictly necessary, and White's exposition of the arguments he uses as illustrations is educational for people who haven't had this kind of exposure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic text
White's text is a classic in its field, considering the ways history has always been, above all, literature. This collection includes an early essay on Foucault and poststructuralism. Any serious historian must read this text. ... Read more


185. The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
list price: $45.00
our price: $36.90
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Asin: 0691021236
Catlog: Book (1993-04-19)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 45607
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

From abecedarius to zeugma, by way of cywydd, estribillo,Nibelungenstrophe, Tachtigers, and other poetic terms that sound like poetry, TheNew Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics is a gold mine for readers andwriters of poetry alike. First published in 1965, this tome has evolved to reflectdevelopments in critical thinking and an expanding knowledge of non-Western poetry(without, heaven forfend, being trendy: "a reference work," the editorsexplain, "must always distance itself from its time while it works to embrace thattime"). For this third edition, the editors write, nearly every entry has been changedsignificantly, and 162 entries have been added. The preface claims coverage of everypoetic tradition in the world, and one doesn't doubt it. There's enough material here tokeep one browsing well past Yeats's "SecondComing." If that's not enough to quench your poetic thirst, fret not: a detailedbibliography concludes each entry. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Less than perfect
This book is comprehensive and probably essential for the study of poetry. But there are several serious problems. First, there is only a completely useless Table of Contents and no index. Yes, it is an encyclopedia and the entries are in alphabetical order but the subjects are very broad (Symbol, Twentieth-Century Poetics) making it necessary to scan several pages in several different subject areas without knowing if you have missed the poem or poet you are looking for. How will you know to look for comments on The Illiad under the heading of Simile or that the subject heading Intuition contains a discussion of the Neo-Platonists? Scanning pages for a specific piece of information is difficult because the print is tiny. The Preface and Acknowledgments are in big print and then they switch to very small print for the remainder of the book. You will need lots of time and a magnifying glass to take full advantage of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars It really is
one of the three books that any student or writer of poetry needs to own, besides a good dictionary. (The other two are Pound's "ABCs of Reading" and Shapiro's "Primer.") Answers questions & points you in the right direction for more. Once you open it, you'll wonder how you got by without it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensively Impressive
Want to know what a 'priamel' is? Look it up here, "he New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics." Not only will you see 'priamel' defined, but a short history of the use of the concept, examples of priamelic poetry, and a other resources to learn more.

How about Hungarian poetry, what makes a hymn (as opposed to a carol), a discussion on line usage and techniques? It is all here. Exemplum? Septenarius? Metalepsis? What's an iambe? It isn't an iamb, and from their respective entries, you'll see why.

Every student of poetry, whether in college, teaching or writing, needs this book. All the major terms and styles are covered here, but also every country producing poetry.

This is useful to the poet who wants to learn more about what has been done through the years, and how and why a particular style was used. The book is certainly for the intelligent reader, but won't be bogged down with overblown, hard to understand explanations. This an encyclopedia, not a dissertation.

Professors and students can use this book as a reference point as they research poetry. Ever read a literary critique and not have a clue what term Dr. Iam Smart just referred to? I sure have. This book helps me know what I am reading.

The entries are well-structured, and give plenty to get started, and then point you where you can learn more.

I fully recommed "The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics" by Alex Preminger.

Anthony Trendl

5-0 out of 5 stars An Indispensable Reference for Poets and Poetasters
This stunningly comprehensive volume truly merits the title "encyclopedia". Nearly 1,400 pages, two columns to a page, with small print (the size of the print being one of the few shortcomings of the book). Over 700 entries, each including a brief bibliography. Detailed discussions of 106 national poetries. Entries on all varieties of poetic schools and movements, including Dada, Surrealism, Beat Poets, and . . . Fyrtiotalisterna (a group of Swedish modernist poets). Definitions of every imaginable poetic term, from anacoluthon to chiasmus to vers libre. Entries written by recognized authorities, from A. B. Lord writing on "Oral Poetry" to M. H. Abrams discussing "Theories of Poetry" to Elaine Showalter on "Feminist Poetics". "The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics" is simply the best single volume on poetry and poetics available, an indispensable reference for anyone seriously interested in poetry, as well as anyone interested in literature, literary history and prosody.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ulimate reference work for poetics
I love huge, exhaustive books like this. I hate not being able to find the answer to a question in under five minutes, and my library has dozens of books like this that make such searches easy (the internet is another fast tool, but very few websites have more than the most basic knowledge.) If you want to learn how to write poetry and learn prosody by hands-on examples, go read John Hollander's little masterpiece, "Rhyme's Reason." If you want fast biographical and literary references, go check out "Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia." But if you want the absolute last word on poetic forms and meters, with absolutely thorough histories of each subject, use this book. It's saved my critic's keister more than once in the classroom. As one of my professors said, a scholar is not somebody who knows all the answers: a scholar is somebody who knows how to find all the answers. This book is an indispensable reference tool for anybody seriously interested in poetry. ... Read more


186. Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South
by Adam Rothman
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Asin: 0674016742
Catlog: Book (2005-04-25)
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Sales Rank: 57955
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Book Description

Slave Country tells the tragic story of the expansion of slavery in the new United States. In the wake of the American Revolution, slavery gradually disappeared from the northern states and the importation of captive Africans was prohibited. Yet, at the same time, the country's slave population grew, new plantation crops appeared, and several new slave states joined the Union. Adam Rothman explores how slavery flourished in a new nation dedicated to the principle of equality among free men, and reveals the enormous consequences of U.S. expansion into the region that became the Deep South.

Rothman maps the combination of transatlantic capitalism and American nationalism that provoked a massive forced migration of slaves into Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. He tells the fascinating story of collaboration and conflict among the diverse European, African, and indigenous peoples who inhabited the Deep South during the Jeffersonian era, and who turned the region into the most dynamic slave system of the Atlantic world. Paying close attention to dramatic episodes of resistance, rebellion, and war, Rothman exposes the terrible violence that haunted the Jeffersonian vision of republican expansion across the American continent.

Slave Country combines political, economic, military, and social history in an elegant narrative that illuminates the perilous relation between freedom and slavery in the early United States. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in an honest look at America's troubled past.

... Read more

187. The Formation of Islam : Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800 (Themes in Islamic History)
by Jonathan P. Berkey
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Asin: 0521588138
Catlog: Book (2002-12-11)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 59596
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Book Description

Jonathan Berkey surveys the religious history of the peoples of the Near East from approximately 600 to 1800 c.e.After examining the religious scene in the Near East in late antiquity, he investigates Islam's first century, the "classical" period from the accession of the Abbasids to the rise of the Buyid amirs. He then traces the emergence of new forms of Islam in the middle period, deftly showing how Islam emerged slowly as part of a prolonged process. ... Read more


188. Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek
by M. G. Balme, Gilbert Lawall, Maurice G. Balme
list price: $24.95
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Asin: 0195149564
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 27446
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Combining the best features of traditional and modern methods, Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek, 2/e, provides a unique course of instruction that allows students to read connected Greek narrative right from the beginning and guides them to the point where they can begin reading complete classical texts. Carefully designed to hold students' interest, the course begins in Book I with a fictional narrative about an Attic farmer's family placed in a precise historical context (432-431 B.C.). This narrative, interwoven with tales from mythology and the Persian Wars, gradually gives way in Book II to adapted passages from Thucydides, Plato, and Herodotus and ultimately to excerpts of the original Greek of Bacchylides, Thucydides, and Aristophanes' Acharnians. Essays on relevant aspects of ancient Greek culture and history are also provided.New to the Second Edition:* Short passages from Classical and New Testament Greek in virtually every chapter * The opening lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey toward the end of Book II * New vocabulary and more complete explanations of grammar, including material on accents * Many new exercises and additional opportunities for students to practice completing charts of verb forms and paradigms of nouns and adjectives * Updated Teacher's Handbooks for Books I and II containing translations of all stories, readings, and exercises; detailed suggestions for classroom presentation; abundant English derivatives; and additional linguistic information * Offered for the first time, Student Workbooks for Books I and II that include self-correcting exercises, cumulative vocabulary lists, periodic grammatical reviews, and additional readings ... Read more

Reviews (48)

2-0 out of 5 stars Beginners Beware...!
Learning any language is difficult but learning Greek can really strain the patience of anyone.

Athenaze is a fairly good introduction to Attic GREEK structure and forms ONLY; but, if you are looking for English examples juxtaposed with Greek, don't look towards this book. This book does a poor job in relating Greek to other languages even though it is part of the Indo-European language family and even found in the English language. It almost treats Greek like some language completely unknown us when it's not true. With this Book 1, it really helps if you have a strong understanding of the use of the English language [i.e. the syntax and grammar] especially if you are teaching yourself but also in an academic setting.

But, if your English grammar is sufficient or you have had experience in other lanuages, Athenaze is a good bet in teaching or learning Greek. It begins with the Introduction which describes speaking, writing, reading and pronunciation of Greek.

Each chapter has a part A & B, which includes:
---a Vocabulary list (divided into verbs, nounds, adj, adv, etc)
---an adapted Greek story created by the authors to test and reinforce current vocabulary and grammar with glossed words not found in the back of the book or forthcoming words
---Word Study or Word Building which attempts to show you the relationship of English derivates from Greek. They give you an English work and you have to find the Greek stems--it may or may not help you...
---a Grammar Section (the Very Important Part though lacks explanation of the examples and why/how they work; the translating in the homework doesn't follow the examples in the Grammer section, so it can get confusing)
---Exercises involving translations from GreekEnglish and vice versa (Athenaze does make it easy to translate all the forms and it is fairly straightforward)
---Each chapter will either have a compressed short history of different aspects of Greek Society from farming to warfare or adaptations of the Bible in Greek.

If you are like me, you need lots of examples, both in English and Greek. It helps make the connections stronger and quicker. Since Athenaze lacks this, you may feel a bit lost and it can be easy to confuse things. For Book 1, I would suggest getting a grammar book for Greek students, such as Introduction to Attic Greek by Donald. J. Mastronarde, an EXCELLENT description of the Greek Langue and its relation to other languages like English, Latin and French.

Mind you, this book does not give any hints or aids in learning Greek; all you learn are the forms and all the different constructions of verbs, nouns, and adjectives in Book 1. The book expects you to already know how to use & to know what it means by 'verbal agreement' or what a 'reflexive pronoun' is and lacks examples or explanations.

The back of the book includes a comprehensive synopsis of all the forms you'll need on hand all the time. There is an index of Language and Grammar to help you find what page something was on, a very good English to Greek and Greek to Latin Dictionary and finally, a General Index of everything else from featured classical authors to mythical names. There are no ways to practice using Greek in writing and site translations on your own, so if you do any of the homework or the readings, you're on your own.

Again, not the best book for those just learning Greek with a poor English grammar background, like I was, haven't had expereince in other lanaguages or teaching yourself. The Greek language is incredible and well worth the work it will take for anyone but aware that there are other books that are better than Athenaze and...

Good luck!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for learning vocabulary and syntax, weak on grammar
I bought this book to help me learn Greek through self-study. I have worked through the first half so far. The focus of this book is to teach you to read classical (Attic) Greek. The book takes the inductive, learn-by-example approach to language learning. Grammar is also introduced along the way.

I have learned a lot of vocabulary and syntax from this book. The main story you will be reading has been made up by the authors. I do agree with previous reviewers that this story is rather weak. As a narrative is not the greatest. But the story is set against the backdrop of Athens during one of it's most interesting times, and this made the historical setting come alive for me. The authors effectively use the story as a way to introduce aspects of Greek culture and history. Where else can you experience, in beginning Greek, what it was like to attend the festival of Dionysus in Athens, for example? There are also wonderful secondary reading passages from the classical period, based on Homer, Heroditus, etc. It was great fun to read stories about Odysseus and Theseus in Greek (albeit dumbed-down).

Athenaze throws a lot of vocabulary at you, which is good, but I needed to re-read the lessons several times before I felt like everything was completely sinking in. While working through the readings, I often could not find a word in the vocabulary that is provided for that chapter, and I had to search the Greek-English lexicon at the back of the book. Sometimes I never found the word and had to consult other lexicons.

The main weakness of this book is grammar. It may be hard to learn all the grammar you need from this book alone. I had previously learned some grammar from other books, so I found the grammar explanations in Athenaze sufficient during the first half of the book. Thankfully, only the present tense is used in the first half, to keep things manageable. It's hard enough to absorb all the new vocabulary, without having to juggle a lot of verb forms too. But when the aorist was finally introduced I found the explanation poor. If I had not learned about the aorist from other books, I would have been completely lost. And why they start with the second aorist is a mystery to me; the first aorist seems a simpler place to start. I notice that a second edition of this book will be published soon, so maybe that will do a better job.

I have studied other books with a similar approach: the Reading Greek books by JACT and Beginning Greek: A Functional Approach by Stephen W. Paine. This learn-by-reading approach appeals to me. The best way to learn vocabulary and syntax is in the context of a narrative. It helps you remember and understand. And working through a grader reader is much more interesting than grammar drills, which is the traditional way. However, if you do not master the grammar along with the reading, eventually you will hit a wall where it becomes very difficult to proceed. Alas, there is no shortcut to learning Greek, or any other language. Sooner or later, you will need to dedicate yourself to serious study of grammar. As it is, I'm stopping the Athenaze series half way through this first book. I have recently bought the grammar text Introduction to Attic Greek by Donald J. Mastronarde, along with the separate Answer Key. The time has come for me to get serious about grammar. I'll come back to Athenaze when I've got a better grammatical foundation.

I think this book would be good for classroom use, as long as your teacher doesn't skimp on grammar. Ideally, you would have a semester or two of basic grammar before this book, and then use this book to review grammar and focus on learning vocabulary and syntax. This book could be used for an absolute beginning class, but the pace would have to be slow, and ideally the teacher would supplement the text with extra grammar exercises.

For self-study, this book may be steep climbing for beginners. I do recommend this book to all you autodidacts out there, but you may want to study some basic grammar first. There are no answers or self-correcting exercises in the book, although apparently the Teachers' Edition does have this. I also see that there is a Workbook that will be published soon, so maybe that will be useful too.

5-0 out of 5 stars State of the Art for Ancient Greek
I have used this book for several years with great enjoyment and success in a high school independent study I teach. The book is presented in a clean, clear, student-friendly format, and may even play a role in restoring Greek to its rightful place in the modern curriculum. The book is based on the very sound notion that students can begin to approach original Greek texts more easily if they begin their study of the language with lessons that feature passages of continuous, connected Greek sentences. This concept, for Greek studies at any rate, is quite radical.

Other introductory Greek textbooks (old and new) that have dominated the field for the last century -- the only exception being the Cambridge "Reading Greek" course -- have formats that are strikingly different from Athenaze. Those hornbooks are long on detailed grammatical lessons, but woefully short on the presentation of reading passages of ancient Greek.

In a manner similar to the Cambridge Latin Course and The Oxford Latin Course, this text presents a series of chapters where the same characters -- Dicaiopolis (loosely based on a character in the Acharnians of Aristophanes), his wife, his father, his two children, and his slave -- do familiar Greek things like farming, eating, sleeping, complaining, telling stories, attending festivals, etc. The ongoing plot line maintains student interest. Repetition of important words helps to develop a working vocabulary. New grammatical concepts and vocabulary are woven seamlessly into each new chapter.

Few textbooks meet all needs; however, this one is a gem. I could not conceive of using another at the high school level and am sure it is equally effective as a university level text.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best beginning Greek book I have found
I bought this book to help me learn Greek through self-study. I have worked through the first half so far. The focus of this book is to teach you to read classical (Attic) Greek. The book takes the inductive, learn-by-example approach to language learning. Grammar is also introduced along the way.

This second edition a significant improvement on the first edition. There are many more grammar exercises, and many explanations have been improved.

I have learned a lot of vocabulary and syntax from this book. The main reading passages follow a made-up story, set against the backdrop of Athens during one of it's most interesting times. This story, even though a little annoying at times, made the historical setting come alive for me. The authors effectively use the story as a way to introduce aspects of Greek culture and history. Where else can you experience, in beginning Greek, what it was like to attend the festival of Dionysus in Athens, for example? There are also wonderful secondary reading passages from the classical period, based on Greek myths, Homer, Heroditus, etc. It was great fun to read stories about Odysseus and Theseus in Greek (albeit dumbed-down).

Athenaze throws a lot of vocabulary at you, which is good, but I needed to re-read the lessons several times before I felt like everything was sinking in. While working through the readings, I often could not find a word in the vocabulary, probably because it was introduced somewhere in an earlier lesson. Sometimes I never found the word, even in the back of the book, and I had to consult other lexicons.

In my opinion, the best way to learn vocabulary and syntax is through readings such as the ones this book contains. It helps you remember vocabulary and understand syntax better, when you read it in context of a story. And working through a graded reader like this is much more interesting than grammar drills, which is the traditional way. However, it may be hard to learn all the grammar you will need from this book alone. If you do not take the time to master the grammar along with the readings, eventually you will hit a wall where it becomes very difficult to proceed. For extra practice, I recommend you also get the workbook (ISBN 0195149548, 2nd edition). There is a teacher's edition too (ISMB 0195168089), but Amazon does not appear to sell it. When you finish this Book I, there is also a Book II (ISBN 0195149572, 2nd edition) to continue your study.

New to this addition, there are also very short readings from classical and New Testament authors. I have skipped over these, because they just add more vocabulary, and I already feel like the main text is enough to absorb. I will go back and read these later.

I think this book would be good for classroom use, as long as the teacher doesn't skimp on grammar. Ideally, you would already have learned some basic grammar before Athenaze, and then you would use this book to review grammar and focus on learning vocabulary and syntax. This book could be used for an absolute beginning class, but the pace would have to be slow, I think.

For self-study, this book may be a somewhat steep climbing for beginners. But it is the best and most rewarding book I have found for learning Greek on my own. I highly recommend it. Just plan to re-read the chapters many times. Greek is a difficult language and there are no shortcuts. It will take hard work. However, Athenaze makes the experience about as painless and enjoyable as it could be.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly educational and enjoyable
This book made learning Ancient Greek attainable! It includes a smattering of various exercises to strengthen one's understanding of the language (including English to Greek sentences, stories in Greek, vocabulary exercises, sentences in Greek that illustrate new grammar concepts and more!). It also made the stories in Greek progressively more complicated, but not enough to confuse students. New grammar is introduced gradually and the vocab presented is used frequently in "everyday" conversation. Also included with this book are phrases from ancient authors and even Bible verses (for those students interested in Coinae Greek).
After one semester of using this book, I am able to sit down and understand some of the Bible and other ancient authors! This book is definitely the best way to gain a solid foundation in Ancient Greek! ... Read more


189. Russian Women Writers (Women Writers of the World)
list price: $315.00
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Asin: 0815317972
Catlog: Book (1998-12-01)
Publisher: Garland Publishing
Sales Rank: 840617
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Book Description

A unique contribution to women's studies and Russian literature, this collection of critical/biographical articles and translated excerpts focuses on the literary, cultural, and political contexts of the writings of 71 Russian women authors from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In its exploration of culture and tradition, this two-volume set is the most ambitious representation of women's writing in Russian in this format, including diverse genres of writing and introducing authors previously neglected in scholarly studies. Most of the translations appear in English for the first time; some are published here for the first time in any language.
This comprehensive work explores a number of issues of concern to the study of women's literature. What role does women's writing have in the canon of Russian literature, and how did it evolve? What has been its relationship to literature by male contemporaries? Why did many of these authors experience declines in popularity? Why have others enjoyed recognition among the greatest writers in the Russian tradition, despite the enigma of their lives? Is there a continuing tradition in the prose of Russian women writers? In offering answers to these and other questions, this encyclopedic project supplies fresh new material for future research and analysis.
... Read more


190. Picture Theory : Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation
by W. J. T. Mitchell
list price: $22.50
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Asin: 0226532321
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 178100
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What precisely, W. J. T. Mitchell asks, are pictures (and theories of pictures) doing now, in the late twentieth century, when the power of the visual is said to be greater than ever before, and the "pictorial turn" supplants the "linguistic turn" in the study of culture? This book by one of America's leading theorists of visual representation offers a rich account of the interplay between the visible and the readable across culture, from literature to visual art to the mass media.

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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic
This book has to be considered as a classic in the field. Ironically, Mitchell's term 'pictorial turn' seems to be more widespread than knowledge of this book, with the unsettling consequence that many people talk about pictures *replacing* the word, and few about the intricate and complex relationship between the two.
The book is surprisingly well written, rarely has an academic book entertained me so much. For everybody who wants to know what *pictorial turn* means from the point of view of the person who coined this phrase, I can only recommend it warmest. ... Read more


191. Out of the Margins: The Rise of Chinese Vernacular Fiction
by Liangyan Ge, Lianngyan Ge
list price: $47.00
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Asin: 0824823702
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Sales Rank: 1090955
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192. Western Literature in a World Context, The Ancient World Through the Renaissance
by John F. Crawford, Paul Davis, David M. Johnson, Gary Harrison, Patricia Clark Smith
list price: $64.95
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Asin: 0312081243
Catlog: Book (1994-12-15)
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
Sales Rank: 226636
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193. George Orwell: An Age Like This 1920-1940 : The Collected Essays, Journalism & Letters (Collected Essays Journalism and Letters of George Orwell)
by George Orwell, Ian Angus, Sonia Orwell
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Asin: 1567921337
Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
Publisher: Nonpareil Books
Sales Rank: 141164
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the Mind of the 20th Century
I'm not going to review all four volumes of this collection separately; what I say below applies to them all.

There are lots of reasons to read Orwell's letter, essays and journalism:

1. He's a great writer. It's a pleasure to read him, just for entertainment value. There's a little piece of doggerel from Orwell's school days that he quotes several times that is now stuck in my head:

The rain it raineth every day
Upon the just and the unjust fella
But more upon the just because
The unjust has the just's umbrella

I don't know why that sticks with me, but it's a great illustration of Orwell's use of solid, colloquial and even humorous English.

Moreover, in addition to providing wonderful model prose he occasionally writes essays about writing and language (the use of "Basic English", oratorical versus conversational English, what drives a writer, the totalitarian perversion of word meanings, etc.), which are insightful and interesting.

2. If you're interested in the Second World War (or for that matter, the Spanish Civil War), Orwell's writings amount to a sort of diary, a primary document. Even his book reviews almost inevitably contain some reference to the political and historical scene.

3. Orwell loved socialism (yes, the man who write _1984_ was a democratic socialist), but he loved freedom more. His simultaneous battle for socialism and against totalitarianism (i.e., the Soviet Union) is engaging, even -- or maybe particularly -- where he drops the ball.

...

I think Orwell's heart was in the right place -- he had seen close up (and written a good deal about) the suffering of the poor. Like many people who have their hearts in the right place, he jumped immediately to the idea that redistribution of private property and collective ownership of the means of production were the only way forward.

On the other hand, he was a writer and a man of ideas, a person who greatly prized personal freedom. His essays give an intriguing glimpse into the battle raging inside him between collectivism and individual liberty.

5-0 out of 5 stars The First of a Terrific 4-Volume Set
I read this set many years ago, and it's great. There were better novelists, but Orwell was the best 20th Century essayist, at least in English, that I know of. Together with "Down and Out in Paris and London," "Homage to Catalonia," and "The Road to Wigan Pier," these four large volumes comprise the best of Orwell's nonfiction. As an essayist, Orwell was consistently clearminded, idealistic, honest and to the point. He is a pleasure to read, and he is one of my intellectual heroes.

I don't have a copy in front of me as I write this, but I'm pretty sure this first volume contains Orwell's unforgettable essays on the inner life of colonialism, "Shooting an Elephant" and "A Hanging". I highly recommend this set to anyone who is the least bit interested in Orwell. ... Read more


194. What Is a Woman?: And Other Essays
by Toril Moi
list price: $35.42
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Asin: 0198186754
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 341070
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What is a woman? And what does it mean to be a feminist today? In her first full-scale engagement with feminist theory since her internationally renowned Sexual/Textual Politics (1985), Toril Moi challenges the dominant trends in contemporary feminist and cultural thought, arguing for a feminism of freedom inspired by Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Written in a clear and engaging style What is a Woman? brings together two brand new book-length theoretical interventions, Moi's work on Freud and Bourdieu, and her studies of desire and knowledge in literature.

In the controversial title-essay, Toril Moi radically rethinks current debates about sex, gender, and the body - challenging the commonly held belief that the sex/gender distinction is fundamental to all feminist theory. Moi rejects every attempt to define masculinity and femininity, including efforts to define femininity as that which 'cannot be defined.

In the second new book-length essay, 'I am a Woman', Toril Moi reworks the relationship between the personal and the philosophical, pursuing ways to write theory that do not neglect the claims of the personal. Setting up an encounter between contemporary theory and Simone de Beauvoir, Moi radically rethinks the need, and difficulty, of finding one's own philosophical voice by placing it in new theoretical contexts.

A sustained refusal to lay down theoretical or political requirements for femininity, and a powerful argument for a feminism of freedom, What is a Woman? is a deeply original contribution to feminist theory. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophical Essential
Toril Moi's "What is a Woman? And Other Essays" is essential reading for further development of a feminist consciousness, compelling and clearly delivered.Complex feminist theory is presented in logical, comprehensible full detail; the philosophical esoterica of feminist thought is coupled with its practical relevance.A definitive thinker at her very best. ... Read more


195. The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy: One Book to Rule Them All (Popular Culture and Philosophy Series)
by Gregory Bassham, Eric Bronson
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.57
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Asin: 0812695453
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
Sales Rank: 21588
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Can power be wielded for good, or must it always corrupt? Does technology destroy the truly human? Is beer essential to the good life? The Lord of the Rings raises many such searching questions, and this book attempts some answers. Divided into five sections concerned with power and the Ring, the quest for happiness, good and evil in Middle-earth, time and mortality, and the relevance of fairy tales, The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy mines Tolkien’s fantasy worlds for wisdom in areas including the menace of technology, addiction and fetishism, the vitality of tradition, the environmental implications of Tolkien's thought, Middle-earth's relationship to Buddhism and Taoism, and more. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

2-0 out of 5 stars I waited this long for this?
the most disappointing so far in the 'popular culture and philosophy' series, these essays have little to do with either LotR or Philosophy in the traditional sense, instead attempting to cover everything from environmentalism to narrative structure. As a general format, the authors state their intentions to mold Tolkien's world to their own pet ideas and quote profusely while saying little that convinces. One of the essays even admits that the Buddist parallels it's spent the last few pages proposing are clearly "superficial" - why waste the print, then? Another oddity here is a collection of quotes by various noted philosophers that have nothing to do with either the themes in LotR, or, in many cases, the topics the essays address. Extremely discouraging.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lord of the Rings Philosophy: A great book for SERIOUS fans
This book is definately a great book for people who have read the books and want a bit more. I recommend this book ONLY to people who have read the books. I got a friend of mine to start reading a bit of a certain chapter and she was completely bewildered. If you know enough to understand what they're talking about then this book is wonderfully enlightening. After reading the chapter about the elves, I felt a kinship with Galadriel that I had not felt before. This book is a great read that gives The Lord of the Rings much more meaning.

1-0 out of 5 stars A waste like Mordor
Horrible book. This series only superficially mentions philosophy. It is a waste of money. For a better study of the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien's Sanctifying Myth by Bradley Birzir is much better, though still not teriffic, as there is no great study on Tolkien in print yet.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blah
I'll admit that I haven't finished this book, but it's also worth noting that I don't intend to. The essays I've read so far were not very interesting (or, for that matter, very well-written), and I have little hope for the remaining ones. What I had hoped for was a book that would use Tolkien's Trilogy to illustrate philosophical themes. What I got was more like a bunch of writers reviewing the boks in question, and occasionally commenting on some "(not-so) deep meaning". It just got too boring after a while.

I tried to stick with it. I really did. But sometimes the only way to preserve your sanity is to quit.

2-0 out of 5 stars Freshman term papers
If I were a junior college lit instructor who gave the assignment, "Write a paper on the philosophical implications of The Lord of the Rings", and received these papers, I'd give most of them solid B's. They're diligently researched, competently written, and show that the authors have grasped the nature of the problems they discuss. But the authors aren't college freshmen, they're professors themselves. They shouldn't look like children next to the scholars in "Tolkien the Medievalist", "Tolkien's Legendarium", or "J.R.R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances", but they do. One expects them to do better than this, and to integrate their two subjects with subtlety instead of undergraduate bland awkwardness. One author who'd not get a B is Scott A. Davison, who completely messes up his summary of Tom Shippey's subtle but clear perspective on the nature of evil in Tolkien, as expressed in his "The Road to Middle-earth" and "J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century", thus unfairly making Shippey out to be an idiot. ... Read more


196. The Cambridge History of American Literature: Volume 5, Poetry and Criticism, 1900-1950 (The Cambridge History of American Literature)
list price: $95.00
our price: $86.45
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Asin: 0521301092
Catlog: Book (2003-01-16)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 467079
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Book Description

This is the most complete account to date of American poetry and literary criticism in the Modernist period. Andrew Dubois and Frank Lentricchia examine the work of Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Wallace Stevens. Irene Ramalho Santos broadens the scope of the poetic scene through attention to a wide diversity of writers--with special emphasis on Gertrude Stein, Marianne Moore, and Langston Hughes. William Cain traces the rise of an internationalist academic aesthetics and the process by which the study of a distinctive national literature was instituted. ... Read more


197. On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
list price: $24.95
our price: $17.46
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Asin: 0670874787
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 33959
Average Customer Review: 4.02 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion.Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions.MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author.Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. ... Read more

Reviews (476)

5-0 out of 5 stars I used to hate America....
Well...perhaps I didn't HATE America. It's the land of the free, home of the brave, and of course, MY home. However, before I read this book, I had very little interest in travelling around my own country. I thought that we were a horribly plastic and boring culture. However, this book (though over half-a-century old) reminded me that America is made up of PEOPLE. All people have stories to tell, and Jack Kerouac makes that very clear and vibrant. I just wanted to jump in my car and race across the country after reading this book. I suddenly realized that were sights to see, things to do, a wonderful world out there that I was missing out on. Kerouac writes with an amazing amount of energy and speed, bringing the reader into the craziness that is "On the Road". What is even more wonderful is that Kerouac based this book on his own experiences. That means that in some sense this all has happened, and yes, in some sense, could happen again. I know of plenty of cross-country trips that Kerouac has inspired within my own little circle of friends and acquaintances. See what he does with your life!

4-0 out of 5 stars Lust For Life
On the Road tells the story of Sal Paradise and his trips across the country with his idol Dean Moriarty. The novel is based heavily on Kerouacs life and features several well known "beat" writers like Carlo Marx(Allen Ginsberg) and Old Bull Lee(William Burroughs.)

This novel was highly enjoyable for one reason, the infectious passion the author has for life's experience. Kerouac writes some beautiful and romantic passages idolizing partying with his buddy Dean all over the country. Apparently Kerouac wrote this in a burst of inspiration,(he even taped his typewriter pages together) and it shows with his genuinely emotional writing.

But spontaneous Prose? Anyone who has ever struggled to write knows good writing is not spontaneous, it takes time and a lot of effort to shape your ideas into a cohesive and focused effort. Granted this is good writing but it could have been better. Sometimes this novel reads like a first draft. At times Kerouac seems to ramble on, and it's breathless and tiring to read. If Kerouac would have taken the time to sit down and edit this potentially wonderful book and cut some of the extrenious information then this could have been much much better.

Still I liked this novel. Four stars for an almost classic. It really shows a lust for life, can you dig?

5-0 out of 5 stars An Exciting, Breathless, Attempt to "Seize the Day!"
Jack Kerouac wrote this novel about several escapades he took across the country in the late 1940's. He used characters from his real life, such as Allen Ginsburg the poet and author; and Neal Cassidy, Kerouac's idol, and changed their names to use in the story.

In "On The Road", Sal Paradise(Kerouac), a young writer from New York City, ventures to cities around the country, staying with old friends, making new friends, and doing everything he can to stay alive and move on. His mentor and friend, Dean Moriarty(Neal Cassidy), often travels with Sal, always talking, laughing, and being his insane self. Now let's stop and take a brief look at the fascinating life of Dean Moriarty: Throughout the story, Dean plays several different women, has 3 wives and 4 children, half of whom he can't account for ever meeting. He was born in Salt Lake City, and grew up going to reform schools and jail. Dean was an infamous hustler in Texas and Denver who was always stealing cars and money, but never for more then $10 or just when he needed a quick ride. He was insane, always laughing and having a great time, and always getting the most he could out of life. Sal and Dean experienced some great high's and low's of travelling together, seeing such cities as Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Mexico City. Throughout the book you get to know the fascinating personalities of Sal, Dean, and several other characters.

Just as important as the story and the characters is the STYLE in which the book is written; it's this style, which gives the book its vibrant, breathless, spontaneous intensity. And, yes, this is where the book really earns its legendary status, because few other books are able to convey the exhilaration and excitement and fun of a mad attempt to "seize the day." On The Road is truly a life-affirming, free-wheeling experience. Along with On The Road, I'd also like to recommend The Losers' Club by Richard Perez, a strange little beat-influenced romance and, weirdly, the second best book I read so far this year.

5-0 out of 5 stars Road trip
On the Road captures Americana in a stronger and more vivid fashion than John Steinbeck did The Grapes of Wrath. On the Road covers the same route (and more) but doesn't water down the regional flavors with allegory. Instead American from New York to California and all parts in between is shown for its good, bad, rich, poor, and various ethnicities with humor and honesty.

Through Sal's numerous transcontental road trips, Kerouac describes the regional beauty, kirks, culture and geography of every city and state the protagonist passes through. Of the cities I've either lived in or visited that are visited in this book I enjoyed the most--especially his numerous pilgrimages to San Francisco. His first entry into San Francisco is classic: "Over the Oakland Bay Bridge I slept soundly for the first time since Denver; so that I was rudely jolted in the bus station at Market and Fourth... and there she was, Frisco - long, bleak streets with trolle wires all shrouded in fog and whiteness... . Weird bums (Mission and Third) asked me for dimes in the dawn..." This opening paragraph to San Francisco is still apt, if not, perfect.

While the book is an icon of the Beat generation and Sal, the narrator, desires to be among that set, he's abmismal at it. Throughout the book he worships his friend Dean who is the wildly cool womanizing, debauched, drug addicted man Sal wants to be but Sal just can't manage to follow in Dean's footsteps. Whereas Dean will drive over 100 mph, steal cars and delight in getting drunk, Sal will either drive the speed limit or hide in the back when Dean is driving, try to return Dean's joy ridden cars, or want to sleep off the booze he's drunk when around Dean. It's Sal's valient attempts to be like Dean while being unable to follow through that add a delicious irony to the novel.

In the end Sal and Dean and the rest of the gang part ways, having grown apart as they've matured over the course of the two years this book covers. The book ends on a somewhat sad note, looking back across the days of those crazy contiental trips with nostalgia and longing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Beat Novel
This highly readable novel epitomizes what it was to be a Beat back in the '50s and '60s. In this story, we see how the Beat Generation lived, or what lifestyle they idealized--a life of travelling from place to place, searching out new experiences, meeting girls in bars or hipsters on street corners; a carefree, pleasure-seeing life founded on Jazz and getting high. We see this in the story of two friends, Sal and Dean, and their vagabond adventures as they wander across the United States seeking new thrills, new sensations, meeting new people, seeing new places, and just generally enjoying the freedom of youth!

David Rehak
author of "A Young Girl's Crimes" ... Read more


198. The Best American Essays of the Century
by Robert Atwan
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618155872
Catlog: Book (2001-10-10)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Sales Rank: 26855
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This singular collection is nothing less than a political, spiritual, and intensely personal record of America"s tumultuous modern age, as experienced by our foremost critics, commentators, activists, and artists. Joyce Carol Oates has collected a group of works that are both intimate and important, essays that move from personal experience to larger significance without severing the connection between speaker and audience.
From Ernest Hemingway covering bullfights in Pamplona to Martin Luther King, Jr."s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," these essays fit, in the words of Joyce Carol Oates, "into a kind of mobile mosaic suggest[ing] where we"ve come from, and who we are, and where we are going."
Among those whose work is included are Mark Twain, John Muir,
T. S. Eliot, Richard Wright, Vladimir Nabokov, James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, Susan Sontag, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Joan Didion, Cynthia Ozick, Saul Bellow, Stephen Jay Gould, Edward Hoagland, and Annie Dillard.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not the best of the century
Some good essays here, but a number of boring ones as well, if they had 100 years of essays to choose from, I'm suprised this was the best they could come up with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Authority and beauty
I don't think I'm alone in viewing essays as members of a somewhat lower caste than novels and non-fiction books. Maybe it's because I associate the essay with newspapers, and people like George Will who pretend to know more than their readers. I think the editors of this essay collection understood that popular conception, and tried very hard to fight it. In line with that fight, one of the organizing themes of this book seems to be ``Essays About Individual Experiences." True, many of the essays take individual experiences and move into a more general realm, but they're always grounded in the author's experiences. Contrast this with George Will - Trinity College undergrad, Princeton grad school in political science - writing essays about poverty and policy. There's more legitimacy - in my mind, anyway - in Richard Wright writing an essay about ``The Ethics of Living Jim Crow."

Many of the essays in this book, like Wright's, are on the subject of race in America. We have Zora Neale Hurston's ``How It Feels To Be Colored Me" (``Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How *can* any deny themselves the pleasure of my company! It's beyond me."); Alice Walker's ``Looking For Zora," on her attempts to find Hurston's lonely, abandoned, unkempt gravestone in Florida; Maya Angelou's ``I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" (later part of a book of the same name); Martin Luther King's ``Letter From Birmingham Jail"; and so forth. As the editors suggest, race has been one of the longest-running struggles in the United States; it shouldn't surprise us that it has produced works of such power. The autobiographical format of these essays particularly fits with their subject matter. That format works a lot better than, say, a collection of statistics (however truthful those statistics might be).

_Best American Essays_ is far more than a book about race, however. It contains some hilarious essays, like S.J. Perelman's ``Insert Flap `A' and Throw Away" (on his attempts to put together toys for his kids); an essay on bullfighting (Hemingway's ``Pamplona in July"); essays about suicide (``The Crack-Up" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, William H. Gass's ``The Doomed In Their Sinking", Edward Hoagland's ``Heaven and Nature"); Stephen Jay Gould on why humans seem to need to divide a complex continuum into a discrete beginning and end (``The Creation Myths of Cooperstown"); and on and on. All of them are almost crystalline in their density of information. All of them left me, after 10 or 12 pages, reeling as though I'd just set down a novel.

I'm particularly fond of William Manchester's essay memorializing the battle of Okinawa (``Okinawa: The Bloodiest Battle Of All"). I normally enter essays about war with a large dose of skepticism and revulsion, and this one was no different. ``Great," I thought, ``Manchester was a vet, so this will be another essay about the glory of armed combat." It is nothing at all like that. To use a nice vogue term, it is a deconstruction of what war really is, and what war has become over the centuries. It turned from 15-minute battles around the time of Agincourt to 10-month-long subwars of attrition during World War I. But let's look at those minutes-long battles, says Manchester:

``The dead were bludgeoned or stabbed to death, and we
have a pretty good idea of how this was done. ... Kabar
fighting knives, with seven-inch blades honed to such
precision that you could shave with them, were issued to
Marines ... You drove the point of your blade into a
man's lower belly and ripped upward. In the process, you
yourself became soaked in the other man's gore. After that
charges at Camlann, Arthur must have been half drowned in
blood."

The essay reveals war's pointlessness and the revulsion that mankind must feel in its presence. Coming from someone who fought on Okinawa, it carries more weight than all the world's pundits could ever bestow. The entire volume holds this authority. Since its contributors are also some of the most talented authors that the U.S. has ever known, there's no reason not to buy this astonishing work.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect English Teacher Study
Since I am studying to be an English Teacher, I found the reading of the essays to be very useful in my studies. They helped me to gain a better understanding of an essay. I was able to picture where the reader was and to feel their pain or joy in what they felt as they wrote the essay. I especially loved the essay from Langston Hughes and Mark Twain. I recommend this book to all, not only those who want to teach but also to those who want to enhance their reading and knowledge.

5-0 out of 5 stars one woman's eloquent collection
Many would regard the task of selecting "The Best American Essays of the Century" as a most daunting honor, to be approached with much nail biting and trepidation. Whatever you choose, dissenters will howl. Oates, no shirker when it comes to hard work and firm opinions, offers her choices with confidence. "My preference was always to essays that, springing from intense personal experience, are nonetheless significantly linked to larger issues."

Arranged chronologically, the essays lean heavily toward reflections on the human condition within American culture. The writing is, without exception, eloquent and insightful. Race is a pervasive theme and inspires the most powerful pieces. The best essay in the book is James Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son;" visceral and intimate, full of pain, bewilderment and searing honesty, whole of heart and intellect. Pieces by Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Martin Luther King, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Langston Hughes, no matter how familiar, still shiver the soul with the conjunction of powerful intellect, soul-searing experience and the intimacy of an articulate voice.

My second favorite essay could hardly be more different. John Muir's "Stickeen," has it all: adventure, peril, pathos, the passion for nature and exploration, and the curious relationship between man and dog; a rousing good story.

Other themes place the writer in his contemporary culture; F. Scott Fitzgerald wrestling with despair, Jane Addams contemplating the downtrodden old women who comfort themselves with myths, Katherine Anne Porter internalizing the atom bomb, Tom Wolfe escorting a settled man to his rebellious son's slum apartment, Randolph Bourne exploring how his crippling disabilities have shaped his life, Mary McCarthy confronting anti-Semitism in a railroad club car.

Some find a kernel of sharp insight in a childhood memory: James Agee recalling his undefined place in the tableau of a summer night, Eudora Welty on her early reading habits, E.B. White facing mortality while revisiting a boyhood camp with his son, Edmund Wilson taking stock of the old stone house in the bleak Adirondacks only to discover he has carried it with him all his life, Cynthia Ozick devouring books in her parents' depression-era drug store, Vladimir Nabokov probing the awakening of consciousness in his Russian boyhood.

There are literary essays, but they are not the strongest: T.S. Eliot on tradition in literature, Robert Frost on sound and meaning, Susan Sontag defining "camp." And there are gaps. Joan Didion's "White Album" explores the confusion of the 60s, but there are no real political essays. The women's movement, save for a didactic Adrienne Rich piece, might never have happened, ditto for Watergate and even World War I. There are only two war pieces: harrowing Vietnam reportage from Michael Herr and William Manchester's thoughtful response to the Okinawa War Memorial. The immigrant experience is represented by Richard Rodriguez' reflection on the pain and promise of becoming Americanized and Maxine Hong Kingston's poignant story of a shunned Chinese aunt, a long-ago suicide. Science is almost completely absent, save Stephen Jay Gould on the creation myth and Lewis Thomas' famous, brief essay "The Lives of a Cell." There's no political satire and no history, except as autobiography is history. But there are two essays dealing with suicide (William H. Gass, Edward Hoagland).

This is one person's careful collection of a century's important voices. All of the writers are well known, all have published at least one collection of essays, all of the pieces have been collected at least once before. Although there are a few humorous pieces (Mark Twain, S.J. Perelman, James Thurber), this is a sober and reflective collection, each essay the product of long thought.

The book would be a rich and valuable reading experience at any time, but is especially comforting during these somber, grieving days. This is paradoxical, since the best pieces are those that lay bare the country's worst injustice - racial prejudice. I expected to have trouble reading these painful essays, not wanting to feel angry or ashamed about my country right now, but it wasn't so. The unparalleled eloquence, the intimacy of these articulate voices, stand in such stark contrast to the vicious ignorance they've endured, that they hearten the reader by proving the strength and durability of the human heart.

3-0 out of 5 stars Could Hardly Get Past The Title
But I did read many essays here and of course they are fine, for the most part. But with what arrogance did the publisher choose such a title. It puts too much pressure on the essayists here to have that Best and Century invading their words. ... Read more


199. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's the Rime of the Ancient Mariner(Modern Critical Interpretations)
by Harold Bloom
list price: $38.95
our price: $38.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0877547343
Catlog: Book (1996-06-01)
Publisher: Chelsea House Publications
Sales Rank: 575681
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the most famous of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's daemonic poems. An eerily compelling ballad with powerful metaphysical overtones, the Mariner's hypnotic tale continues to fascinate readers and critics.

The title, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, part of Chelsea House Publishers’ Modern Critical Interpretations series, presents the most important 20th-century criticism on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner through extracts of critical essays by well-known literary critics.This collection of criticism also features a short biography on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a chronology of the author’s life, and an introductory essay written by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gustave Dore's Engravings offer Mesmerizing Images
I read and memorized portions of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as a school boy. I thoroughly enjoyed my first reading and I still like it today. I only wish I had encountered these Dore illustrations years ago.

This oversized edition by Dover Publications reproduces all 42 Dore engravings in their original size. Gustave Dore's illustrations are absolutely mesmerizing. I enjoy slowly turning the pages and examining the phenomenal detail in these famous Dore engravings.

Every aspect of this edition is great. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is an imaginative, haunting, and captivating narrative poem that has no parallel in the English language. The engravings by Gustave Dore - the open and endless sea, the vast icy reaches of Antarctica, the calm tropical sea with monsters swirling about, and the dead seamen sprawled on the ship's deck all translate the evocative words of Coleridge into unforgettable images. And the introduction by Millicent Rose is excellent.

Buy a copy. You won't be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful woodcuts bring vivid imagery to this great poem
I have to disagree with the bad rap this poem often gets.Sure, Coleridge's 4-3-4-3 meter is simple and easily imitable, but that does not change the fact that he used the meter masterfully, that his verse is beautiful and his imagery splendid (even without the woodcuts).The story is fairly simple, though its effect is somewhat chilling.Yes, I've even heard the Mariner compared to Popeye with a dead bird around his neck.But all joking aside, this is a beautiful poem.

On the surface, this may just seem to be a simple poem by an English Romantic.But there is so much more.There is a lesson to be learned, one of respect for God's creatures and for all of creation.This is certainly a Romantic point of view, and Coleridge puts it forth very nicely in this poem.

This is a great beginning poem for novices of poetry, for beginners and for people who dislike poetry if it doesn't rhyme and have a definite rhythm.This is definitely Coleridge's best poem, one that everyone should be familiar with.This version with the woodcuts makes for a very attractive package--the illustrations add nicely to the poems overall effect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite!


This small volume is a treasure. In hardcover, the pages are silver, the dark blue typography is a beautiful old-style Roman, perhaps Garamond or Times, good-sized and leaded out for easy readability.And the illustrations are unsurpassed.

First, the illustrator:Gustave Dore was born in 1832, sixty years after the birth of Coleridge.He died in 1883.Coleridge preceded him in death by 49 years. Coleridge was born in 1772 and died in 1834.Dore was born in Strasbourg, and was a renowned illustrator who was doing lithographs at the age of thirteen.

The fact that Dore was a near contemporary of Coleridge is important because we can be assured that the characters' costumes in his illustrations reflect the actual dress of the time Coleridge was describing.The ships also are correctly drawn and beautifully detailed.

To say that his illustrations complement this classic epic poem is an understatement.

As to the poet, some wag said once of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, that "a half-great poet had a wholly great day."I have also heard that Coleridge is supposed to have written his epic in one sitting, in a great burst of inspiration.I can't vouch for that, but it is truly a masterpiece--of that there can be no doubt.

I recall trying to memorize it when I was in high school, about sixty years ago.I loved it then, and I still do now.

For the price, this book is an absolute steal.No library is complete without this poem, and of all the renditions I've seen of it, this is by far the most beautiful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful blend
One of the epic poems in English literature brought to life with beatiful depictions, by the hand of Gustave Dore. This poem doesn't need any pictures, but it seems a lot easier to memorize and visualize the scenes as written by Coleridge with the drawings of Dore. A must have in your library.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Bargain
This is an incredible book, a collaboration, really, featuring reproductions of the wood engravings that were created by Gustave Dore in 1875, inspired by this epic poem by Samuel Coleridge. (the editorialreviews are confusing, because they describe books by different artists)There are 42 magnificent illustrations, on 9 x 12 pages no less, for justsix bucks and change. You won't find a better bargain here. ... Read more


200. The Way of the Storyteller
by Ruth Sawyer
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140044361
Catlog: Book (1977-01-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 131254
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

As interest in the art of storytelling continues to grow, many books have appeared on the subject but none have matched the scope and charm of The Way of the Storyteller. First published in 1942, this classic work is unique in its blend of literary history, criticism, analysis, personal anecdote, and how-to instructions. Sawyer examines storytelling as a folk art and a still-living art, tracing its evolution from the earliest narrative impulses that developed as stories were written down. With simple suggestions, she instructs the reader in the art of storytelling and freeing the creative imagination by disciplining the mind. Sawyer's guide also includes an engaging selection of international stories sure to enchant both children and adults. The Way of the Storyteller also is an invaluable resource with a comprehensive reading and story list. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stupendous
I have read this book and it was in the summer of my discontent. And it lifted my weary spirit as a successful and busy African Storyteller, not knowing that this was called 'burn out!'.

Through the reading of The Way of the Storyteller, I realized I had to write the way of the African Storyteller, trying to motivate African and African American children to see how great it was that they were from Africa even though the world consistently tries to convince them that this is a shame and we as Africans are backward and disorganized.

I realized why God had called me to be a storyteller and the great healing art of telling.

I wonder if Ms. Sawyer is still living?

Carroll Durodola ... Read more


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