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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 August, 2002

A Week in Literary History

August 31st, 2002

American editor William Shawn (The New Yorker, 1952-1987) is born in 1907 in Chicago.

William Shawn, b. August 31, 1907, d. 1992

shawn.pngShawn is rightly credited for turning The New Yorker into a serious publication. Building on Harold Ross’s gift for attracting excellent writers, Shawn made the once-amusing and cheeky magazine into the most influential of its day by featuring the best fiction and non-fiction writers weekly in its pages.

Suggested Reading Biography & Memoir Here at The New Yorker, by Brendan Gill, 1975. Remembering Mr. Shawn’s New Yorker, by Ved Mehta, 1998.

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

A Week in Literary History

August 31st, 2002

Armenian-American writer William Saroyan (The Time of Your Life, 1939) is born in 1908 in Fresno, Calif.

William Saroyan, b. August 31, 1908, d. 1981

saroyanin1934Saroyan began his career writing stories for Armenian-American journals and quickly became a prolific producer of novels, stories, and plays. He produced his best work in his thirties and forties but continued to be prolific until he was in his seventies.

Suggested Reading Novels The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, 1935. My Name is Aram, 1940. The Human Comedy, 1943. Plays The Time of Your Life, 1939. My Heart’s in the Highlands, 1939.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

August 28th, 2002

In 1749, German playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust, 1808-32) is born in Frankfurt-am-Main.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, b. August 28, 1749, d. 1832

The supreme genius of German literature wrote in all the literary genres and was also a biologist, physicist, and graphic artist whose collected works run to more than 140 volumes. He is to German literature what Shakespeare is to English, and his stories, poems, and plays have inspired hundreds of additional works of art, in many languages.

Suggested Reading Poems Heidenröslein, 1771. Prometheus, 1773. Der Erlkönig, 1782. Roman Elegies, 1791. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 1797. Prose The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774. Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, 1796. Elective Affinities, 1809. Theory of Colours, 1810. Italian Journey, 1817. Drama Iphigenia in Tauris, 1787. Egmont, 1788. Torquato Tasso, 1790. Faust, 1808-1832.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

August 28th, 2002

In 1913, Canadian playwright and novelist Robertson Davies (Fifth Business, 1970) is born William Robertson Davies in Thamesville, Ontario.

Robertson Davies, b. August 28, 1913, d. 1995

robertsondavies.jpgA Canadian treasure, Robertson Davies was a prolific playwright (he wrote eleven), critic (fifteen books, including an invaluable biography of fellow Canadian Stephen Leacock), and novelist (three trilogies plus one left incomplete at his death), as well as a professor and journalist. He received every honor Canada could bestow. Start with the Deptford Trilogy (the first book, Fifth Business, is a masterpiece) and discover an erudite, funny, and humane writer.

Suggested Reading Novels The Salterton Trilogy Tempest-Tost, 1951. Leaven of Malice, 1954. A Mixture of Frailties, 1958. The Deptford Trilogy Fifth Business, 1970. The Manticore, 1972. World of Wonders, 1975. The Cornish Trilogy The Rebel Angels, 1981. What’s Bred in the Bone, 1985. The Lyre of Orpheus, 1988.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

August 27th, 2002

In 1959, English novelist Jeanette Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, 1985) is born in Manchester.

Jeanette Winterson, b. August 27, 1959

Winterson won the prestigious Whitbread Prize for her first novel and then won another prize for adapating it for television. Since then she has written a great many books, among them novels, short stories, and essays, for which she was given an OBE in 2006 for “services to literature.”

Suggested Reading Novels Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, 1985. The Passion, 1987. Sexing the Cherry, 1989. Written on the Body, 1992. Gut Symmetries, 1997. The PowerBook, 2000. Lighthousekeeping, 2004. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? 2011.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

August 27th, 2002

American novelist Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie, 1900) is born in Terre Haute, Ind. in 1871.

Theodore Dreiser, b. August 27, 1871, d. 1945

dreiser.jpgFew major writers ever wrote worse than Dreiser, but as Mencken said, “one swiftly forgets his intolerable writing, his mirthless, sedulous, repellent manner, in the face of the Athenian tragedy he instils into his seduced and soul-sick servant girls, his barbaric pirates of finances, his conquered and hamstrung supermen, his wives who sit and wait.” The hugeness in Dreiser’s books — the unrelenting empathy, the implacable honesty — knock all the clumsiness into a corner, and we’re left with unique, unmediated greatness.

Suggested Reading Novels Sister Carrie, 1900. Jennie Gerhardt, 1911. The Financier, 1912. The Titan, 1914. The “Genius,” 1915. An American Tragedy, 1925.

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

A Week in Literary History

August 27th, 2002

English biographer Michael Holroyd (Lytton Strachey: A Critical Biography, 1967) is born in London in 1935.

Michael Holroyd, b. August 27, 1935

holroydbw.jpgThis English biographer was instrumental in the revival of interest in the Bloomsberries; his life of Lytton Strachey helped get the whole thing going. Then he went on to write an authoritative life of Augustus John and a compendious biography of Shaw. In his seventies, he continues to produce valuable work.

Suggested Reading Lytton Strachey: A Critical Biography, 1967-68. Augustus John: A Biography, 1974-75. Bernard Shaw, 1988-92. A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families, 2008.

Posted by: The Editors
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A Week in Literary History

August 26th, 2002

In 1895, English poet and novelist Robert Graves (I, Claudius, 1934) is born in London.

Robert Graves, b. July 26, 1895, d. 1985

graves1929.pngGraves was an unusual writer, in that he was prolific as a poet, novelist, critic, and translator of Classical Latin and Ancient Greek texts. His interpretations of Greek myths make fascinating reading, and his memoir Good-bye to All That is a moving testament to the horrors of war. A true Renaissance man.

Suggested Reading Poetry The Complete Poems, 1995-99. Fiction I, Claudius, 1934. Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina, 1934. Count Belisarius, 1938. King Jesus, 1946. Catacrok! Mostly Stories, Mostly Funny, 1956. Collected Short Stories, 1964. Memoir Good-bye to All That, 1929. Other On Engish Poetry, 1922. A Survey of Modernist Poetry, 1927. Lawrence and the Arabs, 1928. The White Goddess, 1948. The Nazarene Gospel Restored, 1953. The Greek Myths, 1955.

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

A Week in Literary History

August 25th, 2002

In 1948, English novelist Martin Amis (London Fields, 1989) is born in Oxford.

Martin Amis, b. August 25, 1949

For forty years, Amis has been considered one of England’s foremost novelists. He won a prize with his first novel in 1973 and then went on to write his famous London Trilogy between 1984 and 1993. All of his work is marked by an unparalleled vividness and easy fluidity.

Suggested Reading Novels The Rachel Papers, 1973. Night Train, 1997. Yellow Dog, 2003. House of Meetings, 2006. The Pregnant Widow, 2010. The London Trilogy Money, 1984. London Fields, 1989. The Information, 1995. Non-fiction The Moronic Inferno: And Other Visits to America, 1986. Visiting Mrs Nabokov: And Other Excursions, 1993. The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000, 2001.

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

A Week in Literary History

August 25th, 2002

Irish novelist Brian Moore (The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, 1956) is born in Belfast, 1921.

moorebrian.pngBrian Moore, b. August 25, 1921, d. 1999

The Irish Catholic novelist (the first name is pronounced Bree-an) published books under three different names but he used his own for his “literary” novels and his screenplays. The theme of a Catholic priest losing his faith occurs in several books, but most important is the heartfelt and yet dry-eyed emotion in his tales. A lyrical, lovely writer.

Suggested Reading Novels The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, 1955. The Feast of Lupercal, 1957. The Luck of Ginger Coffey, 1960. I Am Mary Dunne, 1968. The Temptation of Eileen Hughes, 1981.

Posted by: The Editors
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