BOOKS

Why War Books Are Popular

Sir Herbert Read was a British art historian, poet, and critic. His book of poetry, Naked Warriors (1919), reflected his own experiences in World War I. In the following viewpoint, written as a review of a half-dozen war books, he discusses why, ten years after the end of the war, people had so much interest in war literature.

Erich Maria Remarque: What All Quiet on the Western Front Means

When Remarque’s English publisher sent an advance copy of the novel to Sir Ian Hamilton, a British general, Hamilton wrote a letter to the publisher thanking him and telling him how true he felt the book was and how deeply it had touched him. The publisher forwarded the letter to Remarque, who responded with the letter below.

Il Dr. Jekyll e Mr. Hyde – Saggio introduttivo di Vieri Razzini

Nati dalla fantasia degli scrittori e fatti vivere nelle pagine di un libro, certi personaggi della letteratura hanno un destino singolare: col passar del tempo assurgono all’altezza di caratteri universali e, tralasciata del tutto la loro matrice artistica, cominciano a vivere una vita propria e imbarazzantemente perenne, fino ad entrare nel linguaggio di tutti i giorni.

The Handmaid’s Tale: A Feminist ‘1984’

A gripping suspense tale, The Handmaid’s Tale is an alle­gory of what results from a politics based on misogyny, racism, and anti-Semitism. What makes the novel so terri­fying is that Gilead both is and is not the world we know.

Nicolai Fechin - The Slaughterhouse, 1919

UPTON SINCLAIR: THE JUNGLE – ESSAY BY RONALD GOTTESMAN

As Ronald Gottesman points out in this discerning introduction, Upton Sinclair was a passionate believer in the redemption of mankind through social reform. His expose of the interlocking corruption in American corporate and political life was a major literary event when it was published in 1906, and caused an almost immediate reform in pure-food legislation.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Review by Paul Gray [Time]

Canadian Author Margaret Atwood’s sixth novel will re­mind most readers of Nineteen Eighty-Four. That can hardly be helped. Any new fictional account of how things might go horribly wrong risks comparisons either with George Orwell’s classic or with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Vladimir Nabokov

VLADIMIR NABOKOV: THE MAN WHO SCANDALIZED THE WORLD

One of the more diverting aspects of Lolita, the most controversial best seller of the century, has been the considerable speculative curiosity about the private life and personality of Vladimir Nabokov, the virtually unknown university professor who now, at the age of sixty-one, finds himself world famous as the author of this nettlesome novel.

John Collier: Youth from Vienna

A couple, whose careers (tennis player and actress) depend on youth, are forced to deal with a gift of a single dose of rejuvenating medicine that cannot be divided or shared. This story was the basis for The Fountain of Youth, a 1956 TV pilot for a proposed anthology series, produced by Desilu and written, directed, and hosted by Orson Welles.

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell: Symptoms of George Orwell’s 1984

Having soothed themselves with these comfortable falsehoods, people proceeded on their way to make Orwell’s prognostications come true. Bit by bit, and step by step, the world has been marching toward the realization of Orwell’s nightmares; but because the march has been gradual, people have not realized how far it has taken them on this fatal road.

Martin Eden: The Love of Death – by Robert Hass

Robert Hass, in his introduction to the Bantam edition of “Martin Eden”, points out that Jack London simply reflects the culture of his time, a culture that was dominated by imperialism, social Darwinism, and a style of aggressive masculinity.