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New York Times Saturday Review of Books and Art

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The New York Times Saturday Review of Books and Art

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The Power of Glamour

Author: Virginia Postrel
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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An exploration of glamour, a potent cultural force that influences where people choose to live, which careers to pursue, where to invest, and how to vote, offers empowerment to be smarter about engaging with the world.


Candace Wheeler

Author: Amelia Peck
Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Ouida and Victorian Popular Culture

Author: Dr Jane Jordan
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
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'Ouida,' the pseudonym of Louise Ramé (1839-1908), was one of the most productive, widely-circulated and adapted of Victorian popular novelists, with a readership that ranged from Vernon Lee, Oscar Wilde and Ruskin to the nameless newspaper readers and subscribers to lending libraries. Examining the range and variety of Ouida’s literary output, which includes journalism as well as fiction, reveals her to be both a literary seismometer, sensitive to the enormous shifts in taste and publication practices of the second half of the nineteenth century, and a fierce protector of her independent vision. This collection offers a radically new view of Ouida, helping us thereby to rethink our perceptions of popular women writers in general, theatrical adaptation of their fiction, and their engagements with imperialism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism. The volume's usefulness to scholars is enhanced by new bibliographies of Ouida's fiction and journalism as well as of British stage adaptations of her work.


The Call of the Wild

Author: Jack London
Publisher: Broadview Press
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A best-seller from its first publication in 1903, The Call of the Wild tells the story of Buck, a big mongrel dog who is shipped from his comfortable life in California to Alaska, where he must adapt to the harsh life of a sled dog during the Klondike Gold Rush. The narrative recounts Buck’s brutal obedience training, his struggle to meet the demands of human masters, and his rise to the position of lead sled dog as a result of his superior physical and mental qualities. Finally, Buck is free to respond to the “call” of the wilderness. Over a hundred years after its publication, Jack London’s “dog story” retains the enduring appeal of a classic. This Broadview Edition includes a critical introduction that explores London’s life and legacy and the complex scientific and psychological ideas drawn upon by London in writing the story. The appendices include material on the Klondike, Darwin’s writings on dogs, other contemporary writings on instinct and atavism, and maps of the regions in which the story takes place.


Soldiers of Fortune

Author: Richard Harding Davis
Publisher: Broadview Press
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A romance of America’s nascent imperial power, Richard Harding Davis’s Soldiers of Fortune recounts the adventures of Robert Clay, a mining engineer and sometime mercenary, and Hope Langham, the daughter of a wealthy American industrialist, as they become caught up in a coup in Olancho, a fictional Latin American republic. When the coup, organized by corrupt politicians and generals, threatens the American-owned Valencia Mining Company, Clay organizes his workers and the handful of Americans visiting the mine into a counter-coup force. Written on the eve of the Spanish-American War, Soldiers of Fortune casts the young American as the dashing, hypermasculine hero of the new military and economic. A huge best-seller, the novel did its part to push the nation into war against Spain, and stands as one of the most important texts in the literature of American imperialism. The appendices, which bring together primary materials by writers and politicians such as Rebecca Harding Davis, Theodore Roosevelt, Jose Martí, Mark Twain, Herbert Spencer, and others, address such issues as social Darwinism, masculinity, and ideas of Anglo-American superiority.


Jack London An American Life

Author: Earle Labor
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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A revelatory look at the life of the great American author—and how it shaped his most beloved works Jack London was born a working class, fatherless Californian in 1876. In his youth, he was a boundlessly energetic adventurer on the bustling West Coast—an oyster pirate, a hobo, a sailor, and a prospector by turns. He spent his brief life rapidly accumulating the experiences that would inform his acclaimed bestselling books The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea-Wolf. The bare outlines of his story suggest a classic rags-to-riches tale, but London the man was plagued by contradictions. He chronicled nature at its most savage, but wept helplessly at the deaths of his favorite animals. At his peak the highest paid writer in the United States, he was nevertheless forced to work under constant pressure for money. An irrepressibly optimistic crusader for social justice and a lover of humanity, he was also subject to spells of bitter invective, especially as his health declined. Branded by shortsighted critics as little more than a hack who produced a couple of memorable dog stories, he left behind a voluminous literary legacy, much of it ripe for rediscovery. In Jack London: An American Life, the noted Jack London scholar Earle Labor explores the brilliant and complicated novelist lost behind the myth—at once a hard-living globe-trotter and a man alive with ideas, whose passion for seeking new worlds to explore never waned until the day he died. Returning London to his proper place in the American pantheon, Labor resurrects a major American novelist in his full fire and glory.


Hudson River School Visions

Author: Sanford Robinson Gifford
Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Sanford Gifford (1823-1880), a leading Hudson River School landscape painter and a founder of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, was so esteemed by the New York art world that, at his untimely death, the Museum mounted a show of his work - the first monographic exhibition accorded any artist - and published a Memorial Catalogue that, for nearly a century, remained the principal source on his oeuvre. Gifford's art, which was inspired by the work of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, and by that of J. M. W. Turner, and enriched by his travels in Europe (from 1855 to 1857, and from 1868 to 1869), came to be called "air painting," for he made the ambient light of each scene - color saturated and atmospherically potent - the key to its expression. His approach to painting and his unique style gave rise to a highly distinctive body of work, of enchanting and mesmerizing effect. While Gifford himself compiled a "List of Chief Pictures" late in his career, a significant part of his extant oeuvre consists of small-scale studies, preparatory works in oil, and original drawings, most of which are in annotated sketchbooks and document the progression from on-site record to idealized vision achieved in his major pictures.


Cultural Excursions

Author: Neil Harris
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
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Neil Harris's scholarship of the past twenty-five years has helped to open up the study of American cultural history. This long-awaited collection gathers some of his rich and varied writings. Harris takes us from John Philip Sousa to Superman, with stops along the way to explore art museums and world fairs, shopping malls and hotel lobbies, urban design and utopian novels, among other artifacts of American cultures. The essays fall into three general sections: the first treats the history of cultural institutions, highlighting the role of museums; the second section focuses on some literary, artistic, and entrepreneurial responses to the new mass culture; and the final group of essays explores the social history of art and architecture. Throughout Harris's diverse writings certain themes recur—the redefining of boundaries between high art and popular culture, the relationship between public taste and technological change, and the very notion of what constitutes a shared social experience. Harris's pioneering work has broadened the field of cultural history and encouraged whole new areas of inquiry. Cultural Excursions will be useful for those in American and culture studies, as well as for the general reader trying to make sense of the culture in which we live.