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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 the 'Honorary Black Lambs' Category

Honorary Black Lambs

June 1st, 2016

June’s a jumble of juicy birthdays, but novelists are the overwhelming winners in the literary derby despite the appearance of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, William Butler Yeats on June 13, in 1865. Before he got old and yeatsphotoyoungCeltic mysticism got the best of him and his verse, Yeats wrote book after book of lyrical, transcendent poetry. The true goods.

Another poet, one of a different sort, adorns June, and that’s the late Allen Ginsberg, born on the 3rd in 1926. And a great master came on the scene, in Russia, on the 6th, in 1799, when Aleksandr Pushkin drooled his first. And although he’s better known for his grim novels, Thomas Hardy, born on the 2nd in 1840, was one of the great poets of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

There are also a few notable dramatists to mention. Pierre Corneille, writer of comedies and also El Cid, came into being on the 6th in 1606. Ben Jonson, author of Volpone, howled his first howl on June 11, 1572, and Luigi Pirandello began his search for an author on the 28th, in 1867. John Gay, creator of The Beggar’s Opera, was born in 1685. His tombstone reads “Life’s a jest/And all things show it./I thought so once,/But now I know it.”

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Black Lamb Review of Books, Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

May 1st, 2016

BY BLACK LAMB

April’s auspicious aspect is affirmed by the greatest of all literary birthday boys, William Shakespeare, who, legend has it, died on his fifty-second birthday on April 23, 1616. And one of the towering geniuses of the beckettdrawingtwentieth century, Samuel Beckett, was also born this month, allegedly on Good Friday the 13th, in Dublin in 1906.

On April Fool’s Day in 1868, the popularizer of seventeenth-century poet Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand, was born. His play based on the early poet has found its way past literature into folklore, as have (almost) the exploits of Flashman, the creation of George MacDonald Fraser, born on the 2nd in 1925. George Herbert, born on the 3rd in 1593, lived to be only forty, but he wrote a great deal of memorable verse and would be counted among poetry’s immortals if he had not confined himself entirely to devotional themes. William Wordsworth, born on the 7th in 1770, suffered no such limitation and is therefore often put in that august company.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Animal Issue, Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

January 1st, 2016

BY BLACK LAMB

Once again we bring you new inductees to our roster of Honorary Black Lambs, once upon a time enshrined in The Ultimate Literary Calendar. Here are short introductions, with selected bibliographies, for two of literature’s singular figures, both of whom painted vivid pictures of America.

Robinson Jeffers , b. January 10, 1887, d. 1962

jeffersMany of Jeffers’s poems were in narrative or epic form, but he is also known for his shorter verse and especially for his depiction of the central California coast. He opposed American participation in WWII but won kudos later for his environmentalism.

Selected Reading Poetry The Women at Point Sur, 1927. Cawdor and Other Poems, 1928. Dear Judas and Other Poems, 1929. Give Your Heart to the Hawks and other Poems, 1933. The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, 1938. Robinson Jeffers: Selected Poems, 1965. Rock and Hawk: A Selection of Shorter Poems by Robinson Jeffers, 1987. Stones of the Sur, 2001. Letters The Selected Letters of Robinson Jeffers, 1887-1962, 1968

londongreekgod2Jack London, b. January 12, 1876, d. 1916

London made his living by writing short fiction and novels as fast as he could. He thereby published a very great deal in a short life — he died at forty. His depictions of the wilds of Alaska and the Pacific are the prototypes of this sort of frontier fiction, but he also wrote novels with socio-economic themes.

Suggested Reading Novels The Call of the Wild, 1903. The Sea-Wolf, 1904. White Fang, 1906. The Iron Heel, 1908. Martin Eden, 1909. The Valley of the Moon, 1913. The Star Rover, 1915. Short story collections Son of the Wolf, 1900. Lost Face, 1910. South Sea Tales, 1911. Non-fiction The People of the Abyss, 1903. The War of the Classes, 1905. Memoirs The Road, 1907. The Cruise of the Snark, 1911. John Barleycorn, 1913.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: 13th Anniversary Issue, Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

May 1st, 2007

BY BLACK LAMB

Again we bring you a couple of short portraits, with recommended bibliographies, of personages soon to take their places in The Ultimate Literary Calendar for 2008: your handy pocket guides to two of literature’s most readable practitioners.

mowat-copy.jpgFarley Mowat, b. May 12, 1921

An amateur naturalist and prolific author, this gifted Canadian has delighted readers for more than half a century with memoirs of his childhood and war service and innumerable books about animals and indigenous peoples of the far North. Start with Never Cry Wolf and then make your way in leisurely and enjoyable fashion through his engaging oeuvre.

Books People of the Deer, 1952. Lost in the Barrens, 1956. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, 1957. Coppermine Journey: An Account of a Great Adventure, 1958. Grey Seas Under: The Perilous Rescue Missions of a North Atlantic Salvage Tug, 1959. Never Cry Wolf, 1963. This Rock Within the Sea: A Heritage Lost, 1968. The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float, 1969. Sibir: My Discovery of Siberia, 1970. A Whale for the Killing, 1972. Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey, 1987. Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey, 1987.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

April 1st, 2007

BY BLACK LAMB

Here, as always in this space, are new entries in what will become, later this year, The Ultimate Literary Calendar. We hope you find the following mini-guides with suggested bibliographies useful introductions to these two important figures from the world of books.

John Braine, b. April 13, 1922, d. 1987

braine.pngAlmost forgotten now, Braine became well-known in England during the Fifties when his first novel, Room at the Top, was made into an acclaimed movie starring Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret. But this novel and many of those Braine wrote later repay rereading for their taut story lines and penetrating psychological portraits.

Suggested Reading Novels Room at the Top, 1957. The Vodi, 1959. Life at the Top, 1962. The Jealous God, 1964. Waiting for Sheila, 1976. The Two of Us, 1984.

mortimerjohn.jpgJohn Mortimer, b. April 21, 1923

Mortimer is celebrated for his creation of Horace Rumpole, the imperturbable barrister, and his wife Hilda, always referred to as She Who Must Be Obeyed. But he is also the writer of many other novels and plays, many of them superb. Our favorites are the Rapstone Chronicles, a trilogy of novels listed below after Rumpole, the autobiography Clinging to the Wreckage, the remarkable play A Voyage Round My Father, and two enchanting books of interviews with famous people (from Grahame Greene and Georges Simenon to Mick Jagger and Raquel Welch), In Character and Character Parts.

Suggested Reading Novels & novellas Charade, 1947. The Rumpole Series (19 books), beginning with Rumpole of the Bailey, 1978, through Rumpole and the Reign of Terror, 2006. Paradise Postponed, 1985. Titmuss Regained, 1990. The Sound of Trumpets, 1998. Plays A Voyage Round My Father, 1971. Edwin and Other Plays, 1984. Non-fiction Clinging to the Wreckage, 1982. The Oxford Book of Villains, 1992. Murderers and Other Friends: Another Part of Life, 1994. The Summer of the Dormouse: A Year of Growing Old. Interviews In Character, 1983. Character Parts, 1986.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

March 1st, 2007

BY BLACK LAMB

As always in this space, we present new entries to the The Ultimate Literary Calendar, which will appear later this year. Here, then, is your handy thumbnail guide, with a selected bibliography, to another preeminent figure of literary history.

Ada Louise Huxtable, b. March 14, 1921

The architecture critic of The New York Times for twenty years, Huxtable is a rare, clear voice against the appropriation of the American cityscape by modern schools of architectural practice. Her Pulitzer Prize for “distinguished criticism” was the first such award, and she subsequently enjoyed a MacArthur “genius” grant. She has been simply the best we’ve ever had in her field, and her cautionary books repay careful rereading.

Books Will They Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard? 1970. Kicked a Building Lately? 1976. The Tall Building Artistically Considered: The Search for a Skyscraper Style, 1984. Architecture, Anyone? 1986. Goodbye History, Hello Hamburger, 1986. The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion, 1997. Frank Lloyd Wright, 2004.

Other March Birhdays & Events of Note 1st Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), American novelist William Dean Howells (1837-1920), English biographer Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), American novelist Ralph Ellison (1914-1994), and American poets Robert Lowell (1917-1977) and Howard Nemerov (1920-1991). 2nd Bohemian composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884), Yiddish writer Shalom Aleichem (1859-1916), German composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950), brilliant children’s book writer Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisl (1904-1991), and American novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe (b. 1931); D.H. Lawrence dies in 1930 at age forty-five of tuberculosis.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

March 1st, 2006

BY BLACK LAMB

As always in this space, we present new entries to the Black Lamb Literary Calendar, which will appear later this year. Here are your handy thumbnail guides, with selected bibliographies, to three preeminent figures of literary history.

stracheybybeerbohm1.jpgBloomsbury biographer Lytton Strachey, b. March 1, 1880, d. 1932

Whatever his limitations, Strachey revolutionized the writing of biography in English with his book Eminent Victorians, in which he replaced the standard Victorian two-volume compendium of minuscule facts with shorter accounts. If his portrayals of Cardinal Manning, Dr. Thomas Arnold, Florence Nightingale, and General George Gordon reveal as much about the biographer as about the biographee, this only adds to the fun. Strachey went long steps further in the direction of tabloid journalism (elegant tabloid journalism, though) in his subsequent books; biography was never the same again.

Biography Eminent Victorians, 1918. Queen Victoria, 1921. Elizabeth and Essex, 1928. Portraits in Miniature, 1931. Essays & Studies Landmarks in French Literature, 1912. Books and Characters, French and English, 1922. Characters and Commentaries, 1933.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Television Issue, Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

December 1st, 2004

BY BLACK LAMB

December is a fertile month for artistic birthdays, from which we’ve chosen four Honorary Black Lambs to add to our accumulating Black Lamb Literary Calendar. Here are four short assessments and selected bibliographies, your capsule guides to some of literature’s great figures.

conrad.jpgJoseph Conrad, b. December 3, 1857, d. 1924

Conrad, born Jozef Teodor Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski in Poland, has often been praised for his mastery of his second language, but in fact he wrote in a strange un-Engish. After a couple of notable books he published his so-called masterpiece, Lord Jim, in 1900, then needed the help of Ford Madox Hueffer (later Ford Madox Ford) on three subsequent novels. We confess to a weakness for The Nigger of the Narcissus, but then we’re soft on sea stories, which is probably why we tolerate Lord Jim so far as we do. Conrad’s is a bizarre and non-influential body of work.

Novels The Nigger of the Narcissus, 1897. Lord Jim, 1900. Nostromo, 1904. The Secret Agent, 1907. Short stories & tales Typhoon, 1902. Youth: A Narrative and Two Other Stories, 1902. The Complete Short Stories of Joseph Conrad, 1933.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Christmas Issue, Books and Authors, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

Honorary Black Lambs

June 1st, 2003

BY BLACK LAMB

DorebookssquashingJune’s a jumble of juicy birthdays, but novelists are the overwhelming winners in the literary derby despite the appearance of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, William Butler Yeats on June 13, in 1865. Before he got old and Celtic mysticism got the best of him and his verse, Yeats wrote book after book of lyrical, transcendent poetry. The true goods.

Another poet, one of a different sort, adorns June, and that’s the late Allen Ginsberg, born on the 3rd in 1926. And a great master came on the scene, in Russia, on the 6th, in 1799, when Aleksandr Pushkin drooled his first. And although he’s better known for his grim novels, Thomas Hardy, born on the 2nd in 1840, was one of the great poets of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Book Issue, Honorary Black Lambs | Link to this Entry

A Week in Literary History

November 3rd, 2002

French novelist, Resistance fighter, and statesman André Malraux (Man’s Fate, 1933) is born in 1901 in Paris.

André Malraux, b. November 3, 1901, d. 1976

malrauxMalraux became more than anything else in his lifetime an ornament to his country when, as an established novelist and art historian, he was chosen as France’s minister of culture. His novels won prizes, but his volumes on art deserve a wider readership. An inspiring man of letters.

Suggested Reading Novels The Conquerors, 1928. The Royal Way, 1930. Man’s Fate, 1933. Days of Wrath, 1935. The Walnut Trees of Altenburg, 1948. Books on Art The Psychology of Art, 1947-49. The Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture, 1952-54. The Voices of Silence, 1953. Autobiography Anti-Memoirs, 1968.

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

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