Summer Travels | Classic Returns

It’s fitting that the summer edition of “Classic Returns” should feature so much travel. This time we have Victorian adventurers and adventuresses; an American actress’s last act in Liverpool; a guide for Frankophiles (as in Lloyd Wright); and time travel in both directions, including Pre-Raphaelite artist and author William Morris’s dreams of the future, and Mena Calthorpe’s portrait of post–World War II textile workers in Australia. Further flights of fancy and fantasy include a fable by humorist James Thurber, an excursion into the mind of Virginia Woolf, and a peek at the Sri Lankan gardens of the brothers Bawa. Many of these reissues are compact and perfect for slipping into your weekend getaway bag.

Calthorpe, Mena. The Dyehouse. Text Classics. Jul. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9781925355758. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9781925410112. F
Australia-based Text Publishing, dedicated to promoting “quality literature” from Australia and New Zealand deserving new readership, celebrates its 100th Classic reissue with this title.  Published in Australia in 1961 and released here for the first time with this edition, Calthorpe’s first novel (followed by The Defectors and The Plain of Ala) is distinctive for its capturing of the emotional and psychological costs of labor on an ensemble cast of factory workers in the mid-1950s. Calthorpe (1905–96) was once employed in a textile factory and for some years was a member of the Communist Party in Australia. Introduced by author Fiona McFarlane (The Night Guest).

Crocker, Aimée. And I’d Do It Again. Head of Zeus. Jul. 2017. 208p. ISBN 9781784979850. $24.95. AUTOBIOG
The fabulously wealthy, much-married, adventuring railroad heiress and bohemian socialite Crocker (1864–1941) writes of her hair-raising travels around the world in this reprint of a 1936 release. From the Polynesian Islands to the Far East, Crocker pursued and found thrills. She describes her experiences of séances in Honolulu, headhunters in Borneo, spiritual enlightenment in India, drinking games with Oscar Wilde, abduction by a Dayak prince, and dalliances with an international mélange of men. With a foreword by English comedian and actress Helen Lederer (Absolutely Fabulous).

 

Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. Wright Sites: A Guide to Frank Lloyd Wright Public Places. 4th ed. Princeton Architectural. May 2017. 160p. ed. by Joel Hoglund. photos. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616895778. pap. $22.95. ARCH/TRAV
Happy 150th birthday, Frank Lloyd Wright, born June 8, 1867. Among the many sesquicentennial salutes to the famous and prolific architect is the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s update of its guide to all Wright-designed buildings open to the public in the United States and Japan. A 1991 LJ review of the first edition lamented the lack of maps or driving instructions yet called it “useful, but very specialized; for the insatiable Wright audience.” This new edition has been revised and expanded to include 20 new sites, updated descriptions and access information, and, for the first time, color photographs. Also included are itineraries for Wright road trips and a list of archives.

Morris, William. News from Nowhere. Victoria & Albert Museum: Thames & Hudson. May 2017. 306p. illus. ISBN 9780500519394. $45. sf
This lovely facsimile edition of Pre-Raphaelite artist, designer, social reformer, and writer Morris’s 1892 time-travel novel showcases the story’s blend of utopian socialism and sf, first published in serial form in 1890 in the author’s ideological newspaper, The Commonweal. Narrator William Guest awakens the day after attending a Socialist League meeting to find himself in the 21st century—not the terror-filled, polluted, politically divisive 21st century of today, but a postrevolutionary pastoral paradise, with wooded areas and gardens, open-air markets, and people clad in 14th-century costumes. Divorce, money, and prison have all been abolished as well, and what was once known as “England” is now called “Nowhere.” An introduction by the former Bishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, discusses how Morris’s “wonderful fiction” challenges “that corrosive poverty of sense and spirit, and its outworking in political anxiety, apathy, and stagnation.”

Thurber, James. The Wonderful O. Penguin Classics. Jun. 2017. 96p. illus. by Marc Simont. ISBN 9780143130420. pap. $17. LIT
Ever since Black’s mother got wedged in a porthole and had to be pushed out, he’s had a grudge against the letter “O.” In Thurber’s fanciful parable, our protagonist sails to the Isle of Ooroo, looking for treasure. When that search comes up zero, he moves to purge Ooroo of “O.” Not so fast! The islanders decide to shake off his tyranny and reclaim their O-ness. They find the treasure in the process. This reissue of  Thurber’s 1957 tale has deckled edges, French flaps, and multi-award-winning illustrator Simont’s amusing drawings in full color. Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, provides the introduction.

Woolf, Virginia. Essays on the Self. Notting Hill: NYRB. May 2017. 184p. notes. ISBN  9781907903922. $18.95. LIT
Notting Hill, an independent UK publisher devoted to the art of the essay, joins with New York Review Books to publish this collection of essays by novelist, critic, and publisher Woolf (1882–1941). The selected pieces were written between 1919 and 1940, thus the publisher notes, “Woolf changed, many times over, her opinions changed, her circumstances too; she was not a fixed entity, reiterating a rigid and immaculate position each time she picked up her pen.” The essays cover many subjects, including women’s rights, social issues, the agony of war, and literary excursions. A charmingly bound and printed volume.

Classic Returns Cinema

Turner, Peter. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool: A True Love Story. Picador. May 2017. 176p. ISBN 9781250136855. pap. $16. Film/Memoir
This account of a love affair between British actor Turner and actress Gloria Grahame, which took place near the end of Grahame’s tumultuous life, is slated to be a major motion picture starring Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walter, and Vanessa Redgrave. The “true love” story began in the late 1970s, when the film noir star was in her 50s and twentysomething Turner was just starting out in his career. When their relationship sputtered to an end, Turner thought he’d never see her again. But years after the breakup, Grahame, who had cancer, collapsed in Lancaster, England, and reached out to Turner for help. She stubbornly refused any medical attention, so Turner brought her to stay with his eccentric family to recuperate. A thoughtful and candid “Since Then” afterword by the author sketches in more details and burnishes Grahame’s reputation.

Short Takes

Goodman, Jonathan. The Killing of Julia Wallace. Kent State Univ. Apr. 2017. 328p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781606353110. pap. $19.95  CRIME
This title by noted true crime historian Goodman, originally released in 1969, delves into the 1931 murder of a British woman, the wrongful conviction of her husband, and official cover-ups and malfeasance.

Lee, Sky. Disappearing Moon Café. NeWest Pr. May 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781926455815. $20.95. F
This reprint of Lee’s 1990 debut novel about a Canadian Chinese family (LJ 9/15/91) boasts new design, an author Q&A, and an afterword.

Shakespeare, William. Richard III. Pelican Shakespeare: Penguin. Jun. 2017. 158p. ed. by Peter Holland. notes. ISBN 9780143130253. pap. $9. LIT
The final Lancaster/York play features a juicy and perhaps timely villain who will stop at nothing to gain power. Includes The introduction and notes by Shakespeare scholar Holland were written in 2000.

Tucholsky, Kurt. Germany? Germany! Satirical Writings: The Kurt Tucholsky Reader. 2d ed. Berlinica. Jun. 2017. 208p. tr. from German by Harry Zohn. Illus. ISBN 9781935902386. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781935902393. LIT
This second edition of the collected works of one of Weimar Germany’s most celebrated literary figures, deftly translated by Zohn, features a new foreword by former New York Times reporter Ralph Blumenthal and a new afterword by Steve Zohn, son of the late Harry.

London Library Shelf finds

Celebrating the 175th birthday of the London Library, Pushkin Press presents the “Found on the Shelves” series, an amusing array of historic ephemera brought back into print in small chapbooks. These selections feature mostly Victorian-era treats.

Agogós (Charles William Day) & Lewis Carroll. Hints on Etiquette / A Shield Against the Vulgar. London Library: Pushkin Pr. (Found on the Shelves, No. 10). Jun. 2017. 96p. ISBN 9781782273219. pap. $9.95. ETIQUETTE
Agogós provides a guide for the bewildered through proper comportment in the mid-19th century; Carroll answers with a satirical take on behavior.

Donnelly, Ned. The Noble English Art of Self-Defence. London Library: Pushkin Pr. (Found on the Shelves, No. 9). Jul. 2017. 96p. ISBN 9781782273196. pap. $9.95. SPORTS
Irish-born pugilist Donnelly, who trained playwright George Bernard Shaw and others, demonstrates how gentlemen should box.

Greg, Thomas Tylston. Through a Glass Lightly: Confession of a Reluctant Water Drinker. London Library: Pushkin Pr. (Found on the Shelves, No. 7). Aug. 2017. 96p. ISBN 9781782273158. pap. $9.95. ESSAYS/Food
A tippler’s guide through the maze of claret, Madeira, wine, glassware, butlers, and, finally, water, when the author is diagnosed with gout.

Lady Colin Campbell. A Woman’s Walks. London Library: Pushkin Pr. (Found on the Shelves, No. 11). Jun. 2017. 96p. ISBN 9781782273233. pap. $9.95. TRAV
Victorian traveler Campbell treks through Italy, France, Switzerland, Austro-Hungary, England, and her own inner landscape.

Nadar, Felix. The Right To Fly. London Library: Pushkin Pr. (Found on the Shelves, No. 8). Aug. 2017. 92p. ISBN 9781782273172. pap. $9.95. ESSAYS
Photographer and adventurer Nadar defends the right of humans to fly (in hot-air balloons). With a foreword by George Sand.

Other Classic Returns

Robson, David. Bawa: The Sri Lanka Gardens. Thames & Hudson. Jun. 2017. 176p. illus. photos by Dominic Sansoni. bibliog. ISBN 9780500292921. pap. $29.95. GARDENING
This paperback reprint of the original hardcover published nearly a decade earlier celebrates the work of brothers Bevis and Geoffrey Bawa, specifically their distinct homes and gardens, Brief and Lunuganga. Architect Geoffrey’s Lunuganga is most notable. Indeed, prior to this book, Robson coauthored Geoffrey Bawa: The Complete Works with the designer. Brief, the remains of a rubber estate and residence of Bevis, hints at the English style of walled gardens and moon gates. The smaller of the two gardens, it incorporates many intimate views of its surroundings. The house appointments are rooted in local flora and fauna. Tiles and urns designed by Barbara Sansoni and David Friend, respectively, resonate with Sri Lankan motifs. Lunuganga is larger with broader aspects, epitomizing Geoffrey’s combination of regional structures with lush native plantings. Both invite an experience of natural harmony underscored by a homoerotic aesthetic. Brief introductions to Sri Lankan gardens and landscapes, particularly the rubber estates, and Bawa family history, emphasize the importance of place and past in the two lives and gardens. VERDICT The paperback edition retains Sansoni’s beautiful photographs; an important addition for readers interested in this distinctive style and culture.—Jeanette McVeigh, Univ. of the Sciences, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

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Liz French About Liz French

Library Journal Senior Editor Liz French edits nonfiction and women's fiction reviews at LJ and also compiles the "What We're Reading" and "Classic Returns" columns for LJ online. She's inordinately interested in what you're reading as well. Email: efrench@mediasourceinc.com, Twitter: @lizefrench

Comments

  1. Douglas Lord says:

    Love Thurber. And if I am ever lucky enough to publish a book I want it to be published by Head of Zeus and be called ‘Sprang’

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