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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 February, 2002

A Week in Literary History

February 21st, 2002

English poet W.H. (Wystan Hugh) Auden (The Age of Anxiety, 1947) is born in York, 1907.

auden.jpgWystan Hugh Auden, b. February 21, 1907, d. 1973

Auden will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, just as his compatriot and sometime collaborator Benjamin Britten will be remembered as one of its greatest composers. The two are alike in combining rigorous form with evocative and highly literate content. Auden, despite (or because of?) his wartime defection to America, became the poet of his age, its conscience and scribe.

Suggested Reading Poetry Poems, 1930. The Orators, 1932. The Dance of Death, 1933. Poems, 1934. Look, Stranger, 1936. Spain, 1937. Another Time, 1940. The Double Man, 1941. For the Time Being, 1944. Collected Poetry, 1945. The Age of Anxiety, 1947. Some Poems, 1947. Nones, 1951. The Shield of Achilles, 1955. Homage to Clio, 1960. About the House, 1965. Collected Shorter Poems, 1927-1957, 1966. City Without Walls, 1969. Epistle to a Godson, 1972. Thank You, Fog, 1974. Collected Poems, 1976. Essays The Dyer’s Hand, 1962. Forewords and Afterwords, 1973.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 19th, 2002

American short story writer and longtime expatriate Kay Boyle (The White Horses of Vienna and Other Stories, 1936) is born in 1903 in St. Paul, Minn.

Kay Boyle, b. February 19, 1902, d. 1992

boyle.jpgAlthough not at her best when writing novels, Kay Boyle was one of the finest short story writers of the twentieth century. And as a political activist not afraid to take a policeman’s club to the head even in her seventies, she was a lifelong example of the principled artist. At the end of her life she reigned as one of the last survivors of the glory days of the Twenties in Paris, where she knew Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Ford and Stein and Picasso and all the rest of them.

Suggested Reading Stories Short Stories, 1929. Wedding Day and Other Stories, 1930. Thirty Stories, 1946. The Smoking Mountain: Stories of Germany During the Occupation, 1951. Fifty Stories, 1980. Other Three Short Novels, 1958. Being Geniuses Together, 1920-1930, 1968. The Long Walk at San Francisco State and Other Essays, 1970. Words that Somehow Must Be Said: Selected Essays of Kay Boyle, 1927-1984, 1985.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 19th, 2002

mccullers2.pngAmerican novelist Carson McCullers (The Member of the Wedding, 1946) is born in Columbus, Ga., 1917.

Carson McCullers, b. February 19, 1917, d. 1967

Despite a life ruined by personal loss and disease, Carson McCullers managed to write three very good novels (Heart, Member, Ballad), memorable for their lyricism and emotional power. A remarkable literary prodigy, she was a candle that burned very bright and very fast.

Suggested Reading Novels The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, 1940. Reflections in a Golden Eye, 1940. The Member of the Wedding, 1946. The Ballad of the Sad Café, 1951. Clock without Hands, 1961. Play The Square Root of Wonderful, 1957. Children’s verse Sweet as a Pickle, Clean as a Pig, 1964.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 18th, 2002

American novelist Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose, 1971) is born in 1909 in Lake Mills, Iowa.

Wallace Stegner, b. February 18, 1909, d. 1993

stegner3Stegner became as well known in his lifetime for his teaching and mentoring of such writers as Edward Abbey, Thomas McGuane, Robert Stone, Larry McMurtry, and Ken Kesey as for his own novels, which is unfair. After all, he won both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, and his works are uniformly moving, insightful, elegant, and wise.

Suggested Reading Novels Fire and Ice, 1941. A Shooting Star, 1961. Alal the Little Live Things, 1967. Angle of Repose, 1971. The Spectator Bird, 1976. Crossing to Safety, 1987. Short stories Collected Short Stories of Wallace Stegner, 1990. Autobiography Wolf Willow, 1962.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 18th, 2002

Cretan poet and novelist Nikos Kazantzakis (The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, 1938) is born in 1883 in Iraklion, Crete.

Nikos Kazantzakis, b. February 18, 1883, d. 1957

Kazantzakis went from being Greece’s leading dramatist to becoming its most beloved novelist with Zorba the Greek in 1952. His travel books repay rereading, but his monumental epic poem The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel remains his crowning glory.

Suggested Reading Novels Zorba the Greek, 1952. The Last Temptation, 1960. Saint Francis, 1962. Poetry The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel, 1938. Travel Spain, 1963. Travels in China & Japan, 1963. Journeying: Travels in Italy, Egypt, Sinai, Jerusalem and Cyprus, 1975.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

February 16th, 2002

American novelist Richard Ford (Independence Day, 1995) is born in Jackson, Miss., 1944.

Richard Ford, b. February 16, 1944

Ford published two novels in his thirties, but the books didn’t sell and took to sports writing. In 1982, when Sports Illustrated did not hire him, he returned to novels with the autobiographical The Sportswriter, which did sell. Thereafter he cemented his reputation with four additional novels and four story collections.

Suggested Reading Novels The Sportswriter, 1986. Wildlife, 1990. Independence Day, 1995. Canada, 2012. Short stories Rock Springs, 1987. Women with Men: Three Stories, 1997. A Multitude of Sins, 2002.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 14th, 2002

Irish-American author and editor Frank Harris (My Life and Loves, 1923-27), is born in County Galway, 1856. Oscar Wilde will later say, “Frank Harris is invited to all the great houses in England — once.”

Frank Harris, b. February 14, 1856, d. 1931

harrisphoto.jpgThe Irish bad boy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is so called because of his famous five-volume autobiography My Life and Loves, which struck contemporary readers as indecently frank and outspoken on sexual matters. But there’s a lot more to Harris (and to his big book) than tales of conquests. As an influential editor and writer, he knew all the significant literary figures of his time, and his portraits make fascinating reading. His books on Wilde and Shaw were for a long time the only ones available on their subjects, and, in general, his enthusiasm for the literary life is irresistible.

Suggested Reading Memoir My Life and Loves, 1922-27. Biography Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions, 1916. Bernard Shaw: Frank Harris on Bernard Shaw: An Unauthorised Biography based on First-Hand Information, with a Postscript by Mr. Shaw, 1931. Other Shakespeare and His Loves, 1910. The Women of Shakespeare, 1911. England or Germany, 1915. Contemporary Portraits, 1915. My Reminiscences as a Cowboy, 1930.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 11th, 2002

In 1915, English travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor (A Time of Gifts, 1977) is born in London.

fermor.jpgPatrick Leigh Fermor, b. February 11, 1915, d. 2011

Fermor has assumed the well-earned mantle of the greatest living travel writer. His books are unique in ranging widely over the culture and distinguishing characteristics of wherever he goes, and his erudite yet lambent style make him a writer to savor for the language alone.

Suggested Reading The Traveller’s Tree, 1950. The Violins of Saint-Jacques, 1953. A Time to Keep Silence, 1957. Mani – Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, 1958. Roumeli, 1966. A Time of Gifts, 1977. Between the Woods and the Water, 1986. Three Letters from the Andes, 1991. Words of Mercury, 2003.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 7th, 2002

American novelist (Harry) Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, 1922) is born in Sauk Centre, Minn., 1885. In 1930, he will win the Nobel Prize for literature.

Sinclair Lewis, b. February 7, 1885, d. 1951

lewissinclairportrait.jpgWhen Lewis won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1930, most of his best work was behind him. This is not an uncommon situation with the Nobel, but Lewis was only forty-five years old at the time. He went on writing but didn’t add substantially to the searing portrait he had painted in his early novels of a nation (the USA) in the grip of corporate greed, personal jealousies, and widespread hypocrisy. By the end, say with Cass Timberlane in 1945, he had become a more conservative novelist, content to allude to society’s faults without savaging them. But the novels from the Twenties still offer a wake-up call whenever America slides periodically, as it has now slid, into a trough of mindless consumerism.

Suggested Reading Main Street, 1920. Babbitt, 1922. Arrowsmith, 1925. Mantrap, 1925. Elmer Gantry, 1927. Dodsworth, 1929. Ann Vickers, 1933. Selected Short Stories, 1935. It Can’t Happen Here, 1935. Cass Timberlane, 1945. I’m A Stranger to Myself and Other Stories, 1962.

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

A Week in Literary History

February 5th, 2002

James Murray, who will become the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, is born in Denholm, Roxburghshire, Scotland.

James Murray, b. February 5, 1837, d. 1915

Murray will always be remembered as the editor of the greatest dictionary of all time, the Oxford English Dictionary, envisioned in 1878 as a replacement for Samuel Johnson’s. Capable in a score of languages, Murray oversaw a “book” that was planned to consist of 7,000 pages in four volumes. When it was published, it ran to twelve volumes containing definitions of 414,825 words, with almost two million quotations used to illustrate their meanings.

Suggested Reading Books Oxford English Dictionary, 1928.

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

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