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ULTIMATE LIBRARY – danse macabre, ex libris, grimm & co, fairy tales, art of reading, tales of mystery & imagination, sherlock holmes theatre, erotic poetry, ideal women

· Norah Lange: People in the Room. A novel · Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds · Lawrence Schwartzwald: The Art of Reading · Conan Doyle for the defense. The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox · Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka Tiny: Criminal of Poverty. Growing Up Homeless in America · Rachel Feder: Harvester of Hearts. Motherhood under the Sign of Frankenstein · Tori Telfer: Lady Killers. Deadly Women Throughout History · Stephen King: The Outsider. A Novel · Edgar Allan Poe: The Cask of Amontillado · Martin Puchner: The Written World. The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization · Festival de la BnF 2018 Paris: La Bibliothèque parlante · Alberto Manguel: Packing My Library. An Elegy and Ten Digressions

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Norah Lange: People in the Room. A novel

A young woman in Buenos Aires spies three women in the house across the street from her family’s home. Intrigued, she begins to watch them. She imagines them as accomplices to an unknown crime, as troubled spinsters contemplating suicide, or as players in an affair with dark and mysterious consequences.

Lange’s imaginative excesses and almost hallucinatory images make this uncanny exploration of desire, domestic space, voyeurism and female isolation a twentieth century masterpiece. Too long viewed as Borges’s muse, Lange is today recognized in the Spanish-speaking world as a great writer and is here translated into English for the first time, to be read alongside Virginia Woolf, Clarice Lispector and Marguerite Duras.

Born in 1905 to Norwegian parents in Buenos Aires, Norah Lange was a key figure in the Argentinean avant-garde of the early to mid-twentieth century. Though she began her career writing poetry in the ultraísta mode of urban modernism, her first major success came in 1937 with her memoir Notes from Childhood, followed by the companion memoir Before They Die, and the novels People in the Room and The Two Portraits.

She contributed to the magazines Proa and Martín Fierro, and was a friend to figures such as Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, and Federico García Lorca. From her teenage years, when her family home became the site of many literary gatherings, Norah was a mainstay of the Buenos Aires literary scene, and was famous for the flamboyant speeches she gave at parties in celebration of her fellow writers. She traveled widely alone and with her husband, the poet Oliverio Girondo, always returning to Buenos Aires, where she wrote in the house they shared, and where they continued to host legendary literary gatherings. She died in 1972.

Charlotte Whittle has translated works by Silvia Goldman, Jorge Comensal, and Rafael Toriz, among others. Her translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications including Mantis, The Literary Review, The Los Angeles Times, Guernica, Electric Literature, BOMB, and the Northwest Review of Books. Originally from England and Utah, she has lived in Mexico, Peru, and Chile, and is now based in New York. She is an editor at Cardboard House Press, a bilingual publisher of Spanish and Latin American poetry.

“Deathly scenes from a wax museum come to life, in a closed, feminine world.”  – César Aira

People in the Room
Author: Norah Lange
Translator: Charlotte Whittle
Introduced by César Aira
Language: English
Original language: Spanish
Publisher: And Other Stories
Format: paperback
Publication date: 9 August 2018
ISBN: 9781911508229
Availability: World
Number of pages: 176
Price: €11.09

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Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years.

Begun as a ghost story by an intellectually and socially precocious eighteen-year-old author during a cold and rainy summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, the dramatic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature can be read as the ultimate parable of scientific hubris. Victor, “the modern Prometheus,” tried to do what he perhaps should have left to Nature: create life.

Although the novel is most often discussed in literary-historical terms―as a seminal example of romanticism or as a groundbreaking early work of science fiction―Mary Shelley was keenly aware of contemporary scientific developments and incorporated them into her story. In our era of synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and climate engineering, this edition of Frankenstein will resonate forcefully for readers with a background or interest in science and engineering, and anyone intrigued by the fundamental questions of creativity and responsibility.

This edition of Frankenstein pairs the original 1818 version of the manuscript―meticulously line-edited and amended by Charles E. Robinson, one of the world’s preeminent authorities on the text―with annotations and essays by leading scholars exploring the social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity raised by this remarkable story.

The result is a unique and accessible edition of one of the most thought-provoking and influential novels ever written.

Essays by Elizabeth Bear, Cory Doctorow, Heather E. Douglas, Josephine Johnston, Kate MacCord, Jane Maienschein, Anne K. Mellor, Alfred Nordmann

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds
by Mary Shelley (Author), David H. Guston (Editor), Ed Finn (Editor), Jason Scott Robert (Editor), & Charles E. Robinson (Introduction)
Paperback
320 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press;
Annotated edition
2017
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0262533286
ISBN-13: 978-0262533287

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Lawrence Schwartzwald: The Art of Reading

The Art of Reading presents the first retrospective of Lawrence Schwartzwald’s candid images of readers, made between 2001 and 2017.

Partly inspired by André Kertész’s On Reading of 1971, Schwartzwald’s subjects are mostly average New Yorkers—sunbathers, a bus driver, shoeshine men, subway passengers, denizens of bookshops and cafes—but also artists, most notably Amy Winehouse at Manhattan’s now-closed all-night diner Florent.

In 2001 Schwartzwald’s affectionate photo of a New York bookseller reading at his makeshift sidewalk stand on Columbus Avenue (and inadvertently exposing his generous buttock cleavage) caused a minor sensation: first published in the New York Post, it inspired a reporter for the New York Observer to interview the “portly peddler” in a humorous column titled “Wisecracking on Columbus Avenue” of 2001.

Since then Schwartzwald has sought out his readers of books on paper—mostly solitary and often incongruous, desperate or vulnerable—who fly in the face of the closure of traditional bookshops and the surge in e-books, dedicating themselves to what Schwartzwald sees as a vanishing art: the art of reading.

Lawrence Schwartzwald: Born in New York in 1953, Lawrence Schwartzwald studied literature at New York University. He worked as a freelance photographer for the New York Post for nearly two decades and in 1997 New York Magazine dubbed him the Post’s “king of the streets.” Books and literature have shaped several of his photo series including “Reading New York” and “Famous Poets,” both self-published in 2017. Schwartzwald lives and works in Manhattan.

Lawrence Schwartzwald
The Art of Reading
published by Steidl
Hardback / Clothbound
22 x 23 cm
English
ISBN 978-3-95829-508-7
1. Edition 06/2018
€ 28.00

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Conan Doyle for the defense. The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer by Margalit Fox

For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the most famous detective in the world, there is no recent book that tells this remarkable story—in which Conan Doyle becomes a real-life detective on an actual murder case.

In Conan Doyle for the Defense, Margalit Fox takes us step by step inside Conan Doyle’s investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time—a story of ethnic, religious, and anti-immigrant bias.

In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home. The police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater—an immigrant Jewish cardsharp—who, despite his obvious innocence, was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor in a brutal Scottish prison.

Conan Doyle, already world famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. Using the methods of his most famous character, he scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and eyewitness statements, meticulously noting myriad holes, inconsistencies, and outright fabrications by police and prosecutors. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater’s freedom.

Margalit Fox, a celebrated longtime writer for The New York Times, has “a nose for interesting facts, the ability to construct a taut narrative arc, and a Dickens-level gift for concisely conveying personality” (Kathryn Schulz, New York). In Conan Doyle for the Defense, she immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in the history of forensics, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method.

A senior writer at The New York Times, Margalit Fox is considered one of the foremost explanatory writers and literary stylists in American journalism. As a member of the newspaper’s celebrated obituary news department, she has written front-page send-offs of some of the leading cultural figures of our age. (Conan Doyle for the Defense is in many ways a fond belated obituary for the long-overlooked Oscar Slater, an immigrant everyman treated inexcusably by history.) Fox’s previous book, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, the writer and critic George Robinson.

Conan Doyle for the Defense
The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
By Margalit Fox
Illustrated
Hardcover
Published by Random House
Random House
$27.00
Jun 26, 2018
352 Pages
ISBN 9780399589454

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Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka Tiny: Criminal of Poverty. Growing Up Homeless in America

A daughter’s struggle to keep her family alive, through poverty, homelessness and incarceration

Eleven-year-old Lisa becomes her mother’s primary support when they face the prospect of homelessness. As Dee, a single mother, struggles with the demons of her own childhood of neglect and abuse, Lisa has to quickly assume the roles of an adult in an attempt to keep some stability in their lives.

Dee and Tiny” ultimately become underground celebrities in San Francisco, squatting in storefronts and performing the “art of homelessness.” Their story, filled with black humor and incisive analysis, illuminates the roots of poverty, the criminalization of poor families and their struggle for survival.

Criminal of Poverty lays bare the devastating effects of inheriting a life of poverty, as well the real redemption and power in finding your voice.” – Michelle Tea, author of Rose of No Man’s Land and Valencia

“Tiny’s indomitable spirit comes to life in her amazing story of poverty and homelessness, reaching into and teaching our hearts and minds. With her flawless descriptions of the pain of living in the margins of the richest country in the world, she opens up an important window onto a reality looked upon by many but truly seen by few, augmenting our capacity for empathy and action in an area so in need of social change. Bravo Tiny, for your gift to us all! Punto!!!” – Piri Thomas, author of Down These Mean Streets

Lisa Gray-Garcia  (www.tinygraygarcia.com)
is a journalist, poet and community activist. She is the founder of POOR magazine and the PoorNewsNetwork (PNN), a monthly radio broadcast and an online news service focused on issues of poverty and racism.
(www.poormagazine.org/)

Criminal of Poverty
Growing Up Homeless in America
Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka Tiny
Publisher City Lights Foundation Books
Paperback, 2007
278 pages
ISBN-10 1931404070
ISBN-13 9781931404075
List Price $19.95

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Rachel Feder: Harvester of Hearts. Motherhood under the Sign of Frankenstein

In the period between 1815 and 1820, Mary Shelley wrote her most famous novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, as well as its companion piece, Mathilda, a tragic incest narrative that was confiscated by her father, William Godwin, and left unpublished until 1959. She also gave birth to four—and lost three—children.

In this hybrid text, Rachel Feder interprets Frankenstein and Mathilda within a series of provocative frameworks including Shelley’s experiences of motherhood and maternal loss, twentieth-century feminists’ interests in and attachments to Mary Shelley, and the critic’s own experiences of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood.

Harvester of Hearts explores how Mary Shelley’s exchanges with her children—in utero, in birth, in life, and in death—infuse her literary creations. Drawing on the archives of feminist scholarship, Feder theorizes “elective affinities,” a term she borrows from Goethe to interrogate how the personal attachments of literary critics shape our sense of literary history.

Feder blurs the distinctions between intellectual, bodily, literary, and personal history, reanimating the classical feminist discourse on Frankenstein by stepping into the frame.

The result—at once an experimental book of literary criticism, a performative foray into feminist praxis, and a deeply personal lyric essay—not only locates Mary Shelley’s monsters within the folds of maternal identity but also illuminates the connections between the literary and the quotidian.

Rachel Feder is an assistant professor of English and literary arts at the University of Denver. Her scholarly and creative work has appeared in a range of publications including ELH, Studies in Romanticism, and a poetry chapbook from dancing girl press.

Rachel Feder (Author)
Harvester of Hearts
Motherhood under the Sign of Frankenstein
Cloth Text – $99.95
ISBN 978-0-8101-3753-0
Paper Text – $34.95
ISBN 978-0-8101-3752-3
August 2018
Women’s Studies
Literary Criticism
152 pages
Northwestern University Press

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Tori Telfer: Lady Killers. Deadly Women Throughout History

Author Tori Telfer’s “Lady Killers,” a thrilling and entertaining compendium, investigates female serial killers and their crimes through the ages.

When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender?

The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.”

Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence.

Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Erzsébet Báthory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction.

Lady Killers
Deadly Women Throughout History
by Tori Telfer
2017
ISBN: 9780062433732
ISBN 10: 0062433733
Imprint: Harper Perennial
Pages: 352
List Price: 15.99 USD
TRUE CRIME – Murder- Serial Killers -History – Women
Illustrations by Dame Darcy

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Stephen King: The Outsider. A Novel

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bill Hodges Trilogy, Revival, and Doctor Sleep. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

The Outsider
A Novel
By Stephen King (Author)
Language: English
Genre Horror, Crime fiction
Published: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Scribner
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 576
ISBN-10: 1501180983
ISBN 978-1501180989
Price $18.90

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Edgar Allan Poe: The Cask of Amontillado

Edgar Allan Poe
The Cask of Amontillado

The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my in to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my to smile now was at the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point this Fortunato although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity, to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack, but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially; I was skilful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.
I said to him “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day. But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

“How?” said he. “Amontillado, A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!”
“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”
“Amontillado!”
“I have my doubts.”
“Amontillado!”
“And I must satisfy them.”
“Amontillado!”
“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchresi. If any one has a critical turn it is he. He will tell me ”
“Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”
“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.
“Come, let us go.”
“Whither?”
“To your vaults.”
“My friend, no; I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchresi”
“I have no engagement; come.”
“My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.”
“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchresi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”
Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm; and putting on a mask of black silk and drawing a roquelaire closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.
I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together upon the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.
The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.

“The pipe,” he said.
“It is farther on,” said I; “but observe the white web-work which gleams from these cavern walls.”
He turned towards me, and looked into my eves with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication.
“Nitre?” he asked, at length.
“Nitre,” I replied. “How long have you had that cough?”
“Ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh!”
My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.
“It is nothing,” he said, at last.
“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchresi ”
“Enough,” he said; “the cough’s a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”
“True true,” I replied; “and, indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.
Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.
“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine.
He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.
“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”
“And I to your long life.”
He again took my arm, and we proceeded.
“These vaults,” he said, “are extensive.”
“The Montresors,” I replied, “were a great and numerous family.”
“I forget your arms.”
“A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are imbedded in the heel.”
“And the motto?”
“Nemo me impune lacessit.”
“Good!” he said.

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through long walls of piled skeletons, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.
“The nitre!” I said; “see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river’s bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough ”
“It is nothing,” he said; “let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.” I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grave. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.  I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement a grotesque one.
“You do not comprehend?” he said.
“Not I,” I replied.
“Then you are not of the brotherhood.”
“How?”
“You are not of the masons.”
“Yes, yes,” I said; “yes, yes.”
“You? Impossible! A mason?”
“A mason,” I replied.
“A sign,” he said, “a sign.”
“It is this,” I answered, producing from beneath the
folds of my roquelaire a trowel.
“You jest,” he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces.
“But let us proceed to the Amontillado.”
“Be it so,” I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth side the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior crypt or recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavoured to pry into the depth of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.

“Proceed,” I said; “herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchresi ”
“He is an ignoramus,” interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In niche, and finding an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.
“Pass your hand,” I said, “over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed, it is very damp. Once more let me implore you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power.”
“The Amontillado!” ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.
“True,” I replied; “the Amontillado.”

As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.
I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated, I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall; I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I re-echoed, I aided, I surpassed them in volume and in strength.

I did this, and the clamourer grew still. It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato.

The voice said–
“Ha! ha! ha! he! he! he! a very good joke, indeed an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo he! he! he! over our wine he! he! he!”
“The Amontillado!” I said.
“He! he! he! he! he! he! yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone.”
“Yes,” I said, “let us be gone.”
“For the love of God, Montresor!”
“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”
But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply.
I grew impatient. I called aloud
“Fortunato!”
No answer. I called again
“Fortunato!”

No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick; it was the dampness of the catacombs that made it so. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.
In pace requiescat!

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849)
The Cask of Amontillado
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Martin Puchner: The Written World. The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

The story of how literature shaped world history, in sixteen acts—from Alexander the Great and the Iliad to Don Quixote and Harry Potter

In this groundbreaking book, Martin Puchner leads us on a remarkable journey through time and around the globe to reveal the powerful role stories and literature have played in creating the world we have today.

Puchner introduces us to numerous visionaries as he explores sixteen foundational texts selected from more than four thousand years of world literature and reveals how writing has inspired the rise and fall of empires and nations, the spark of philosophical and political ideas, and the birth of religious beliefs. Indeed, literature has touched the lives of generations and changed the course of history.

At the heart of this book are works, some long-lost and rediscovered, that have shaped civilization: the first written masterpiece, the Epic of Gilgamesh; Ezra’s Hebrew Bible, created as scripture; the teachings of Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, and Jesus; and the first great novel in world literature, The Tale of Genji, written by a Japanese woman known as Murasaki. Visiting Baghdad, Puchner tells of Scheherazade and the stories of One Thousand and One Nights, and in the Americas we watch the astonishing survival of the Maya epic Popol Vuh. Cervantes, who invented the modern novel, battles pirates both real (when he is taken prisoner) and literary (when a fake sequel to Don Quixote is published).

We learn of Benjamin Franklin’s pioneering work as a media entrepreneur, watch Goethe discover world literature in Sicily, and follow the rise in influence of The Communist Manifesto. We visit Troy, Pergamum, and China, and we speak with Nobel laureates Derek Walcott in the Caribbean and Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul, as well as the wordsmiths of the oral epic Sunjata in West Africa.

Throughout The Written World, Puchner’s delightful narrative also chronicles the inventions—writing technologies, the printing press, the book itself—that have shaped religion, politics, commerce, people, and history. In a book that Elaine Scarry has praised as “unique and spellbinding,” Puchner shows how literature turned our planet into a written world.

Title: The Written World
Subtitle: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization
Author: Martin Puchner
Publisher: Random House
Format Hardcover, $32.00
ISBN-10 0812998936
ISBN-13 9780812998931
Publication Date: 24 October 2017
Nb of pages 448 p.

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Festival de la BnF 2018 Paris: La Bibliothèque parlante

Festival de la BnF 2018 Paris

Les textes de La Bibliothèque parlante dans les collections de la BnF (samedi 26 et dimanche 27 mai 2018 – François-Mitterrand –  BnF Paris)

# Website La Bibliothèque parlante

 

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Alberto Manguel: Packing My Library. An Elegy and Ten Digressions

A wonderfully digressive little volume about our complex relationship with our books and being an incurable bibliophile. The perfect antidote to Walter Benjamin’s classic essay, Unpacking My Library.

A best-selling author and world-renowned bibliophile meditates on his vast personal library and champions the vital role of all libraries.

In June 2015 Alberto Manguel prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France’s Loire Valley and reestablish himself in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000‑volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading. In this poignant and personal reevaluation of his life as a reader, the author illuminates the highly personal art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries.

Manguel’s musings range widely, from delightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of book lovers to deeper analyses of historic and catastrophic book events, including the burning of ancient Alexandria’s library and contemporary library lootings at the hands of ISIS. With insight and passion, the author underscores the universal centrality of books and their unique importance to a democratic, civilized, and engaged society.

Alberto Manguel is a writer, translator, editor, and critic, but would rather define himself as a reader and a lover of books. Born in Buenos Aires, he has since resided in Israel, Argentina, Europe, the South Pacific, and Canada. He is now the director of the National Library of Argentina.

Title: Packing My Library
Subtitle: An Elegy and Ten Digressions
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Yale University Press
Title First Published: 20 March 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10 0300219334
ISBN-13 9780300219333
Nb of pages 160 p.
Hardcover – $23.00

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