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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for January, 2002

A Week in Literary History

January 14th, 2002

American novelist John Dos Passos (the trilogy U.S.A., 1930-36) is born in Chicago, 1896.

dospassosphoto2*John Dos Passos, b. January 14, 1896, d. 1970

Dos Passos is remembered for his innovative set of three novels, incorporating newspaper clippings, autobiography, biography, and fictional realism in a fashion that influenced, among others, Norman Mailer, Don DeLillo, E.L. Doctorow, Günter Grass, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Also lively and informative are his travel books, his early novels, and his essays, letters, and diaries.

Suggested Reading Novels Three Soldiers, 1920. Manhattan Transfer, 1925. The U.S.A. trilogy The 42nd Parallel, 1930. Nineteen Nineteen, 1932. The Big Money, 1936. The District of Columbia trilogy Adventures of a Young Man, 1939. Number One, 1943. The Grand Design, 1949. Travel books & other writings A Pushcart to the Curb, 1922. Rosinante to the Road Again, 1922. Orient Express, 1927.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 12th, 2002

American novelist Jack London (Call of the Wild, 1903) is born John Griffith Chaney in San Francisco in 1876.

Jack London, b. January 12, 1876, d. 1916

london*At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jack London was for a decade or two America’s best-selling and successful author. His tales of the Klondike, some of them featuring dogs as main characters, stand up today as well written, deeply imagined, and often politically committed. He was a prolific author, adding a constant stream of stories and magazine articles to his almost-annual novels, and he was also the prototype of the writer-adventurer who would capture the imagination of the next generation, among them Hemingway.

Suggested Reading Novels The Son of the Wolf, 1900. Call of the Wild, 1903. The Sea Wolf, 1904. White Fang, 1906. The Road, 1907. The Iron Heel, 1907. Martin Eden, 1909. John Barleycorn, 1913. Memoir The Cruise of the Snark, 1911.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

January 8th, 2002

English novelist and mystery writer Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone, 1868) is born in London in 1824.

Wilkie Collins, b. January 8, 1824, d. 1889

In his lifetime Collins, like his friend Charles Dickens, was a very busy writer, accounting for 27 novels, more than 50 short stories, two dozen plays, and more than a hundred non-fiction pieces. Today he is remembered for just two books, but they are gems, pioneers of the modern mystery novel.

Suggested Reading Novels The Woman in White, 1860. The Moonstone, 1868.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 7th, 2002

English naturalist, zookeeper, and writer Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals, 1957) is born in 1925 in Jamshedpur, India.

Gerald Durrell, b. January 7, 1925, d. 1995

In countless books Durrell embraced the natural world of animals with humor and endless fascination. My Family and Other Animals is quite simply a classic, and a welcome antidote to worshippers of his brother Lawrence. But all the books are great fun and full of information. Who knows how he found time to write them all and still maintain a career as a leading naturalist and zoo-keeper?

Suggested Reading Books The Bafut Beagles, 1954. The New Noah, 1955. My Family and Other Animals, 1956. A Zoo in My Luggage, 1960. Birds, Beasts and Relatives, 1969. Beasts in My Belfry, 1973. Durrell in Russia, 1986. Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories, 1991.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 7th, 2002

In 1957, American novelist and non-fiction writer Nicholson Baker (The Mezzanine, 1988) is born in Rochester, N.Y.

Nicholson Baker, b. January 7, 1957

baker.pngAs a quirky novelist, Baker can be fascinating in his depiction of the mundane and quotidian, especially when he stays away from the subject of his own daughter. As a non-fiction writer, he edges into the profound. Human Smoke, about Allied passivity concerning the Nazi extermination camps, has been both criticized and hailed for its portrait of Hitler’s terror. And Double Fold was among the first studies to illuminate (and lament) the end of the print era.

Suggested Reading Fiction The Mezzanine, 1988. Room Temperature, 1990. The Anthologist, 2009. Non-fiction U and I: A True Story, 1991. The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber, 1996. Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, 2001. Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, 2008.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 7th, 2002

English naturalist, zookeeper, and writer Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals, 1957) is born in 1925 in Jamshedpur, India.

Gerald Durrell, b. January 7, 1925, d. 1995

In countless books Durrell embraced the natural world of animals with humor and endless fascination. My Family and Other Animals is quite simply a classic, and a welcome antidote to worshippers of his brother Lawrence. But all the books are great fun and full of information. Who knows how he found time to write them all and still maintain a career as a leading naturalist and zoo-keeper?

Suggested Reading Books The Bafut Beagles, 1954. The New Noah, 1955. My Family and Other Animals, 1956. A Zoo in My Luggage, 1960. Birds, Beasts and Relatives, 1969. Beasts in My Belfry, 1973. Durrell in Russia, 1986. Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories, 1991.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 6th, 2002

American polymath Benjamin Franklin is born in Boston, Mass. January 6, 1706.

franklinbust.jpgBenjamin Franklin, b. January 6, 1706, d. 1790

Franklin’s life was astonishing. As scientist, inventor, publisher, statesman, patriot, and writer, he bestrode the budding United States in a time of amazing men. His Autogiobrapy, rich in valuable advice and common sense, is in a select category among books, along with Montaigne and Pascal.

Suggested Reading Books Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1732. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 1791.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 6th, 2002

American novelist Wright Morris (The Field of Vision, 1956) is born in 1910 in Central City, Neb.

Wright Morris, b. January 6, 1910, d. 1998

morriswrightIn a career that spanned almost fifty years, Morris produced several dozen novels, many books of photography, and a collection of short stories. All of his work is remarkable for its sense of place and its wise, unhurried narrative command. He won the National Book Award and was a finalist three other times.

Suggested Reading Novels The Man Who Was There, 1945. The Huge Season, 1954. The Field of Vision, 1956. Love Among the Cannibals, 1957. Ceremony in Lone Tree, 1960. Fire Sermon, 1971. Photography The Inhabitants, 1946. The Home Place, 1948. God’s Country and My People, 1968. Memoirs A Life, 1973. Time Pieces: Photographs, Writing and Memory, 1989.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 6th, 2002

In 1931, American novelist E.L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow (Ragtime, 1975) is born in New York City.

E.L. Doctorow, b. January 6, 1931

After two early novels, a Western and a sci-fi satire, Doctorow caught the attention of readers and critics in 1971, at the age of forty, with The Book of Daniel, a searing novel based on the Rosenberg trials and executions. With Ragtime in 1975, he ingeniously mixed fiction with historical characters in a portrait of early-twentieth-century New York. He is a rarity among American writers: an author who lets his politics (leftish) inform his books. In vivid prose, he illuminates the modern history of his country with deeply imagined invention.

Suggested Reading Novels The Book of Daniel, 1971. Ragtime, 1975. Loon Lake, 1980. World’s Fair, 1985. Billy Bathgate, 1989. The Waterworks, 1994. City of God, 2000. The March, 2005. Short fiction Lives of the Poets: Six Stories and a Novella, 1984. Sweet Land Stories, 2004. Essays Jack London, Hemingway and the Constitution: Selected Essays, 1977-1992. Reporting the Universe, 2003.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

January 5th, 2002

In 1936, American novelist and essayist Florence King (Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, 1985) is born in Washington, D.C.

Florence King, b. January 5, 1936

king.jpgThis self-styled misanthrope has been an American treasure for almost half a century. In her National Review column and in a dozen books, King has skewered American idiocy wherever she’s found it, and she’s found it everywhere. Whether at book length or in short essays, she’s the funniest and most perspicacious social critic we have. Not to be missed!

Suggested Reading Books Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, 1975. WASP, Where Is Thy Sting?, 1977. He: An Irreverent Look at the American Male, 1978. Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, 1985. Essay Collections Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye, 1989. Lump It or Leave It, 1990. With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look at Misanthropy, 1992. The Florence King Reader, 1995. STET, Damnit!, 2002. Deja Reviews: Florence King All Over Again, 2006. Fiction Barbarian Princess (as Laura Buchanan), 1978. When Sisterhood Was in Flower, 1982.

Posted by: The Editors
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