domenica, marzo 29, 2020

L'Ultima Moglie di J.D.Salinger by Enrico Deaglio

L'Ultima Moglie di J.D.Salinger
by Enrico Deaglio, published by Marsilio is simply spectacular.
I love, immensely love the writing-style of Deaglio and the reconstruction of J.D. Salinger's existence. I confess I haven't never read Il Giovane Holden , The Catcher. I am weird regarding authors: in general I tend to avoid writers if their name is not complete, but there are just initials. It's me, and yes, you can with tranquillity think that this one is another weird behavior of a reader. We have our habits, our internal guidelines, that is true.

I have the biography written by Salinger's daughter, found at the Emporium of the ladies of Books for Dogs and I promise to myself of reading it as soon as possible. 

Deaglio is a great estimator of Salinger, and thanks to this fact he is in grade of giving us a fresh prospect of the man, the writer and the myth. In every sense. There were shadows in the existence of Salinger, and his most important book sometimes not read properly was cause of big messes when met along its way people mentally sick.

The story of this book is a fictional one: there is an agent of the FBI searching for something and in particular for someone: a potential russian spy and a professor in love for Salinger. 
The love of John Taliabue for Saliger's production is so immense that at a certain point with some friends created a secret circle, like the Dead Poets Society in Robin Williams's movie: the Caufield Resurrected in this case.

Sometimes, when I meet certain authors I ask to myself: what kind of books did they read for being so good? The question pooped up in my mind reading this book as well because of Deaglio's wonderful writing-style and the exceptional, strong, fictional story created innested with the existence of the same Salinger.

Beautiful, you will read this short book quickly and you will rearead it with great pleasure for sure, and if, like me, you haven't still read what Salinger wrote, it can be a good idea to give a look if somewhere in our libraries located in the various rooms of the house there are books written by someone called J.D.Salinger.

Highly recommended.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, marzo 28, 2020

Nineteenth-Century Settler Emigration in British Literature and Art Victorian studies by Fariha Shaik

Nineteenth-Century Settler Emigration in British Literature and Art Victorian studies by Fariha Shaik 

is a new book by Edinburgh University Press.
This book spaces through various literary genres and vision of the emigrantion of population in other, diversified parts of the world. At first were letters. Sent and received from emigrants to their dear ones for let them know what they found once arrived in a new, and most important promising, but distant land. Wagons of letters for trying to stay in touch, for having the latest news, for telling to the siblings or parents, or friends left behind what was going on in the new corner of the world where the person decided to live and build an existence. 
Slowly and for various reasons these letters became part of periodicals and newsmagazineds and sometimes were collected togehter and published. Epistolary genre can be attracting and there was for the promoters of this initiative the intention of promoting emigration letting see to all the rest of population that people were fine and satisfied of what found.
Material was more than sufficient, because emigrations most of the time told to their loved ones their aspirations, expectations, dreams.
Another way of communicating were shipboard newspaper, "a popular form of entertainment on the long voyage to the Antipodes" writes the author.
Emigrant brothers William and Laurence Kennaway told in their dairy that "a newspaper called The Sea Pie has been started to releive the monotony of the voyage."
This reality was a collaborative experiment produced by emigrant during the journey. 
Atthe same time sisters Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill decided to do something completely different. There weren't letters of too many women taken in consideration. They wanted to make the difference, telling, reporting, what it meant to be a woman in a foreign country, growing children, adapting themselves to a new life-style, new laws and but also domestic problems like making bread. For doing this they used a lot of sketches.

The classics written by these two authors Susanna Moodie’s Roughing It in the Bush in1852 and Catharine Parr Traill’s The Backwoods of Canada, published in1836 is also a powerful tool for understand much better what it was going on and how these ladies read the new reality where they decided to live forever.
Emigration created also paintings referred at the phaenomenon, let's remember Richard Redgrave’s The Emigrant’s Last Sight of Home,1858, James Collinson’s Answering the Emigrant’s Letter, 1850,  Abraham Solomon’s Second Class – The Parting 1854. 
Literature more than any other medium created masterpieces related at this thematic, like Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton, Charles Dickens's David Copperfield and Martin Chuzzlewit; Catherine Heeln Spence produced Clara Morison. 

Beautiful book, highly recommended.

I thank Edinburth University Press for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

Little Magazine, World Form by Eric Bulson

Little Magazine, World Form by Eric Bulson
is a new book by Columbia University Press. It traces the story of local little magazine, that were in grade of changing for good the destiny of a lot of people. Writers like Ezra Pound, Fitzgerald, Joyce and more were protagonists without doubts of these magazines, where they started to share their tales, reaching visibility. It is true, that these magazines had a niche of readers, because locals. These magazines told the modernism, avant-guardes, they were innovative voices and protagonists of the times. These magazines were common in the entire world, not just in UK, USA, or Europe at the beginning of the XX century.
Each country called them differently, In italia there was the rivista, in other countries revista, periodico...What these magazines produced was critical exchanges, mainly, and a new international breath thanks to all voices and authors published or discovered around the world.
These little magazines in particular were there, reporting changes and dramas in the world: the advent of fascism and nazism, the world wars, the end of various important empires.
These little-magazines didn't have an immense budget and a comparison with that realities, could be, today, academic journals.

Eminent exponents of literature put in correlation are Goethe and Ezra Pound. They were both established appreciated writers and their opinion, expressed also in these little magazines to them meant that the world around them had to rotate with their same ideas, cultural vision of the existence. Unfortunately in most cases it was untrue. Most countries lived internal contradictions and in this way they influenced pretty heavily visions of men of letters.

What did little journals of extremely important was this: circulation of new ideas, cultural activity most of the time shared. A precious modality for staying all intellectually connected. These little magazines fought also against a potentiality censorship of their content. 

Some countries shared informations pretty sensitive; some others published when a dictator was in power; other ones permitted at the wester civilization of embracing Tagore who would have won, thanks also to these journals, the Nobel Prize for Literature. 

These little magazines represented a world form: not only; the creation of these little magazines was, for these writers nothing less, nothing more than the creation of a piece of art; they spent all their energy, sensibility and great ideas for the creation of a beautiful, first of all, piece of "literary art."

Il Convegno, a literary magazine located in Milan gave voices to James Joyce, Virgina Woolf, Franz Kafka, Rilke, Mann, Ezra Pound, Marcel Proust and Yeast and it is an interesting example of the first decades of the XX century. 
During the fascim, Il Convegno became a repressed reality, in an obscure environment not in grade of stimulate the beauty of culture; at the end Il Convegno attracted just local writers. The decline of Il Convegno was in this sense a symbol: what was happening in the entire italian territory: the dictatorship killed the cultural fertility known in the past decades.
A large analysis will involve in several chapters the italian fertile cultural movements as it was the Futurism with Marinetti and the visionarity of the same Marinetti.

Highly recommended.

I thank Columbia University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

lunedì, marzo 23, 2020

Pieter De Hooch A Woman Preparing Bread And Butter For A Boy by Wayne Franits

Pieter De Hooch A Woman  Preparing Bread And Butter  For A Boy by Wayne Franits
is one of the ebooks you can download for free these days in the website of the Getty Publications.

We stay always at home because of the Coronavirus, we go to the town for some shopping every week or ten days; there are several activites that can be done at home and one of these ones is  making some homemade bread, for passing the times, for remembering old times and maybe for re-starting a tradition pretty known by our grannies.

For this reason I downloaded this ebook; the perfect painting for this specific time.

In the scene there is a mother buttering bread for her young son, close to her; his behavior respectful and patient as you can see. The painting was realized by Pieter de Hooch probably between 1661-1663 and probably when in Delft.
The painting was discovered only in 1750.

What makes the difference with other painters is that Dutch ones in general present to the viewer richness and financial stability in their paintings. 

There are many questions behind this painting, in general behind all paintings, but this one in particular is still resonating to us: a gesture, the one of making bread and other foods for the entire family that was part of the daily routine of a Dutch family. The Getty bought this painting in 1984.
The painter, De Hooch studied with Nicolaes Berchem  specialized in painting landscapes.
De Hooch lived decades in Delft, where he worked also as a servant and painter.

De La Grange, the man he worked for, was an art collector. Pieter married on May 1654 
Jannetje van der Burch. De Hooch painted his earliest works in the 1650s.

His first paintings had as protagonists soldiers. Slowly slowly Pieter changed people, portraying tranquil domestic life of women, children, pets, together in an harmonic beautiful vision of peace, tranquillity and discovery of domestic life. There are not other artists in grade of portraying domestic life in all its beauty, as dutch painters do.

Houses are big, in general they are houses of people of culture; someone interested in travelling, or learning something. 
At the same time what characterize these paintings is the precious use of the light, the clarity of faces illuminated by light; sometimes we find darkness in a second person wearing black clothes and giving some obscurantism to the painting, although the principal character will always be in the light and will be the light of the painting as also the rest of the thematic scenography choosen by Pieter for the realization of these paintings. 

At a certain point, as many other artists, Pieter De Hooch decides of leaving Delft for Amsterdam where genre painting dominated his production. De Hooch entered in contact and was influenced by the master of genre painting Vermeer. It's during the decades of 1660s that the production of De Hooch was the most fertile ones. The latest years of his existence were characterized by mental illness and other social problems he experienced on his way. His production followed a natural decadence. 
Dutch painters were in grade of portraying an healthy, adorable domesticity in Netherlands during the Golden Age. A girl singing a musical instrument, a lady busy in a daily-base activity in her sunny house, a joyful visit, a view of a beautiful dutch house, are elements of these painters, who, vividly entered de facto in the existences, houses of most dutch people reporting the best of their existences.

Children were represented in their daily activities as well. There was the theory that parents highly influenced the education of their children; they were helpful in activities, they were involved in study. In various cases children are represented close to books and candles. Candles was the electricity of that time but at the same time these candles are symbols: lights illuminating the minds of their children through culture.

The painting taken in consideration,  A Woman Preparing Bread And Butter For  A Boy is substantially a virtuous action of a lady and a mother. 
The painting in itself is characterized largely by the presence of light. It is a sunny day, tiles of the house are absolutely stunning and diversified, giving richness to the various environment of the houses; there are many other various elements in the painting. We can see other buildings and some branches of a tree thanks to the fact that the door, has been left opened. There are in the entrance, in the left, some stairs. We can imagine that another kid, or the husband of this lady came in the house directed to the stairs and other environments. It's morning and a new day bring always some novelties and life is in motion.

This lady, differently is preparing bread and butter and she is assisted, or she requested the presence of this kid; I would want to add that maybe the son asked to see how she prepared bread and butter, as it happens often, won by his same curiosity.
He looks at what his mother is doing, disciplined. His mother is serious, attentive. She is a bit bored, while in the face of the son there is surprise and amazement, discovering this preparation.

Beautiful catalog. I highly suggest to all of you of downloading this book. It is completely free and as other very important institutions and publishing houses, Getty offers free ebooks for enjoying some moment of relaxation during this long lockdown.

Anna Maria Polidori 

domenica, marzo 22, 2020

The Smartphone Society Technology, Power, and Resistance in the Gilded Age by Nicole Aschoff

The Smartphone Society
Technology, Power, and Resistance in the Gilded Age by Nicole Aschoff is a powerful book published by Beacon Press. Not just interesting, but also captivating, the main theme is the new society created by smartphone ones in recent decades.

The comparison with another invention of the past? Cars and the power they had and have in our existence. Finding a work more distant from a community not in grade of offering too many opportunities is possible thanks to a car. Sure cars meant for Americans a revelation; people became to be less devoted to church, passing much more time on their cars. 
Smartphone is maybe also much more compulsive than a car. 
I read the piece written by Lucy Kellaway, a reporter of the Financial Times, cyted in the book. She lost her smartphone and she experienced at first a great frustration. I found the piece hylarious because at first, it is true, losing a smartphone means like to lose a portion of our self: thanks to it, we check e-mails messages,  we use whatsup, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook. It is true that when we are completely cleaned by this dependance it seems that exist a different freedom and the world the old one we had known before the advent of smartphones appear in all its beauty.

A smartphone is totalizing. It absorbs all our existence. Google Maps, social medias, FaceTime, it is one of our most absorbing and powerful objects in the hands.
Imagining an existence without smartphone is difficult where not impossible remarks the author.
Smartphones mean new way of working. I experienced personally this aspect: they impact, violently also regarding every possible democratic aspect of a country, influencing  policy and the future.

Our dependance starts from the morning till at the moment we go to bed. Most people love to bring their smartphones close to their beds and when they awake in the night they enjoy reading messages and texts received in the while. We bring it everywhere; on our tables while we are eating, in the bedroom, in our bathroom! The smartphone is incredibly close to an  extension of our body, not just our mind. 

Customs are different from country to country. Indians, an example, love to sending a lot of "Good Morning!" messages on Whatsup.

The power of a smartphone is well known: it gives the possibility of reaching anywhere in the world, someone at the speed of light. 
If a PC was the "Man Of The Year" of The Time in 1982, the smartphone changed with the time, profoundly our society. 

In this very sad pandemic moment, smartphone are crucials for reaching people, speaking with someone distant from us who differently we could not reach because of the impossibility of going anywhere, considering the heavy limitation we must follow for staying alive and healthy, checking for news and posting in social medias, so that more people can read them; using e-mails, personally becoming an ebook lover in this difficult phase for the Planet and much much more; continuing to use smartphone for work. 

Which is the psychological contact existing between a person and his/her smartphone? Without that we are all like lost; but also as Turkle adds "Less connected, less creative and fulfilled. We are diminished, in retreat.” 

Smartphones are not just important, but crucials in all that areas of the Planet, a large number where there is not a great, good internet connection. That little beasts can play a great and revealing role. In Nigeria, adds the author, doctors share medical informations with colleagues living in other part of the Globe. 

It's a world of knowledge, not just a tool that we are sometimes not in grade of using properly.

The 80% of the American population own a smartphone and smartphones at the moment, writes the author, "reflect the shape of society" and a window on the world.

The book treats also problematic connected at the use of smartphone from brown/black people. A smartphpne is also synonime of profound divisions existing in our social tissue, so gender, sexual preferences, ethnicity, religion. 
Smartphone for people of color are like a gun because they can prove, filming videos with their smartphone, what it is going on during interactions of people with police-men. It's an evidence for getting justice. 
Same is in Australia as you will read.

You will also read the condition of women and how they interact with platoforms like  Match Group, owner of Tinder,, OKCupid, PlentyOfFish.

Love is also pretty dirty and teenager's (girls, in particular) existence is pretty troubled. Parents accept sexual intercourses, but they strongly disagree the phaenomenon of the sexting, sending naked pictures to other people, friends or boyfriend.
In this case both parents and police men are scandalized by this behavior. 

The author takes then in consideration all that apps for working like Uber is for drivers for then making a comparison with the past and recent titans.

If American had known in the past men like Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, creators of railroads, steel mills, finance, pushing people off the farm to the cities, offering jobs, helping immigrants and much more the news companies making the difference are these groups:   Facebook, Gmail, Google Maps, Amazon, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Google Search, Google Play Store, Instagram, Apple App Store and behind these platforms there are these names, the new moguls of the XXI century: Mark Zuckerberg, Sergei Brin, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos. "Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, is worth $112 billion. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is worth $69 billion. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, more than $50 billion each" writes the author. 
These big companies spends a lot on lobbying. 

Amazon's chinese answer is Alibaba, created by Jack Ma. 

The author treats also the chapter of fake news and the importance of good, relevant pieces published by big realities, so that there are no problems. Circulation of a lot of fake news in social medias is big.

People tend to post everything on social medias: what they eat, what they visit, where they go. 
As remarks the author: Smartphones are a godsend for the dramaturgical aspects of life,.

René Descartes said once that the body was like a beast; senses as a “prison for the
reasoning soul.” 

We are heavily controlled and spied. Not a surprise, but our life is known, scrutinazed, discovered every second. They see every single aspect of our existence like also what we like, disklike, links we like, videos we watch, but also the tone of our skin, and your facial expressions, our location data. 

Google saves every e-mail we send and all the rest.... Bookmarks. search, download, every click and nothing, nothing is deleted. Android works similarly. Webcam, microphone, but also where you were while you searching for a query. Bed, kitchen. They know everything. 
We are controlled also regarding our favorite movies, tv programs, sites visited.
The other social medias are similar. 

Sure: if someone would spy us, we would be pretty upset; the net does it every second of our existence but we don't see it, and so we can't feel a sensation of rebellion. Maybe, just resignation. 

A chapter treats Trump and his compulsion for tweets and the 2016 political campign brought him at the White House ; Trump is compared with other Presidents who made the differenct like Roosevelt and Kennedy for the electorate. 

The importance of policy at the moment passes also through the smartphone but also important movement created for the most diversified purposes, like the #NeverAgain movement for a different regulation of guns control.

An informative book! I am sure you will love it.

Highly recommended.

I thank Beacon Press for the copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

sabato, marzo 21, 2020

American Gothic Culture An Edinburgh Companion Edited by Joel Faflak and Jason Haslam

American Gothic Culture An Edinburgh Companion Edited by Joel Faflak and Jason Haslam is a boo
k part of the Edinburgh Companions to the Gothic. When I chose this book I did it because once I met through the net various gothic new friends, who introduced me to the genre. And thanks to them I live better thematic like death and much more.

But...Is there Gothic in a new country as the USA is? The answer is yes, and a lot. Authors will examine in this book various aspects of the American Gothic and what it means in the New World, from art, to movies, from tv series to books.

Starting with...Disneyland seeing as maybe the most gothic place of all the USA. I would want to add, personally an explanation for the gothicity of a park, as Disneyland or another one can be. Disneyland, when a person enters in its park means a ral state of complete happiness a moment of break with the common life and real world. Collodi portrays it well also when Pinocchio and Lucignolo enters in thein the Paese dei Balocchi; all that joy, all that happiness, that games...It was all fake, and the return to the normality could prove it.
The fake world built for the joy of the people is the dreaming land everyone would want forever, because no responsibilities, no unhappy moments. Once out of the park there is the melancholy for a dream gone too soon, for the dream of another parallel world in grade to donate that happy moments that sometimes the existence is not in grade of giving; the return to the normality is much more grey and depressing, but real. That's why Disneyland is gothic. 
Disneyland represents the success, realization, as explained the authors, the richness of a nation, hiding all the dirty aspects that there are behind that society. 

What kind of reception the gothic presents to people? It is the most diversified because some people fall fascinated with gothic, while other ones run away, because this genre is a mixture: a mixture of terror, fascination, grief. Gothic remembers us how life can be terrible sometimes, it put our existences in discussion; Gothic teaches this: of not taking for granted anything: existence, future, present. Gothic means also haunted houses, terrorized victims, terrible acts. 

The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald is a gothic tale for the drama experienced by his character. Failure. 

American is not Disneyland. The appearance of innocence, of enchantment that the park can donates hides all the rest: a violent history with a heavy, heavy story of racism, misunderstanding, fight with Native Americans and blood, wagons of blood and terror during the centuries. 

Gothic is not just this but also the fight with the unknown or a subject, without winning. Let's see what happen with Melville and Mody Dick, the white whale; nothing to do, the white whale needed to be killed but no one will and thesame protagonists will succumb just because searching for a most powerful character in grade to make the difference in the existence of others. Someone unknown, hidden in the obscurity of the Oceans, in that profoundity where human souls and bodies cannot reach with tranquillity.
We musn't forget Henry James, Gothicity is also the behaviour kept by people, the obscurity of souls,  lies behind existences and what it means for the social or familiar tissue all of it. If you read one of James's book, you'll  notice it with great intensity.

Religion thanks to Puritan, tried to let see a world driven by goodness or vice-versa evil. Religion brought with it also sexual thematic.-

An exploration of this dimension can be found in The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James. 

Slavery, colonialism, are thematic not just gothic, but part of the social tissue of the America and with the time developed their "fruits."

Toni Morrison wrote Beloved, but expressed herself also in a meditation on whitness, Teresa Goddy on slavery. Many writers wrote about slavery. Poe composed Black Cat, Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, are clear representation of sufferance and the irrationality of the world.

The dialogue born thanks to these play caused various fronts. 

The identity of various character, as it happens with Gatsy and his personal story are not linear, but broken, and dramatically suffering. There is the mirage of a different existence but failure can't help to realize it. 

Of course gothic, in recent times have inundated every possible corner of the existence of people with books, movies, tv series, video games, visual arts, architecture and much more 

The book will take in consideration cannibalism associated with Native Americans, but at the same time slavery and its profound connection with gothic world seen as drama,  

D.H. Lawrence remarked a characteristic: the anger, fear and destructiveness of the American imagination. 

Variour authors fought for seeing recognize their rights: Leslie Fiedler, Toni Morrison, Teresa Goddu, and Eric Savoy. Gothic literature meant to them an answer against anxiety and an unfair condition. 

The South is the most Gothic part of the USA. Why? Because of the memory, often traumatic and violences associated with slavery. 

Television supported and amplified Gothic vision of the world with sunny tv series like The Addams Family, where surely weird characters are around, then the Munster and Bewitched. Zompies, Vampires main characters of past and recent decades. 

Serial killer meant also a lot in the imagination of people. Everything started with a case, the first one of the Harpe Brothers in the 1790s Tennessee. Recently a lot of productions involved horrible serial-killers. One of them was Hannibal.

Beautiful book, interesting, you can read it for sections.

For everyone.

Highly recommended.

I thank Edinburgh University Press for the copy of the book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

venerdì, marzo 20, 2020

The Healer's Touch by Amber Schamel

Aaliya, Overcome, Rise Above the meaning of her name is the protagonist of this new book The Healer's Touch by Amber Schamel. 
In this moment so terrible, so horrifying for the entire humanity, a lucid analysis of what it meant leprosy in the old times and in the specific in Galilea when Jesus was operating.
Tyrus is the husband of Aaliya. The story starts during the Passover, the feast celebrating Moses who led people out of Egypt.  Malon is their only son. He is 6 years old. During the meal the story of the tenth plague, when the Angel of Death passed over the land of Egypt killing the first born in the land. Israelites escaped this punishment thanks to what told them to do by Moses. Aaliya was deeply in love with her husband, although the husband considered her just a thing and a contract. Aaliya falls ill. Her face appears changed. Her arms are not anymore normals. Her husband tells her of not touching anything till at the arrival of the doctor for a best diagnosys. Diagnosys was leprosy a terrible illness without any kind of cure. Tytus, her husband, think that this one is the punishment for her unloyalty, but Aaliya refuses this kind of explanation. She is innocent. She acted according God's Law.
Abandoned by her husband, her final destination is the leper community distant from the city. Her new friend is a lady called Meira. Lonely and unclean the new status of Aaliya who will be forced to see what it means having leprosy or assisting other people in need like a poor child and his mother. Children devastated by illness were part of the colony. At first, Aaliya, new in the colony felt a terrible feeling seeing them in this state, assisting at numerous departures, and also, assisting at the decadence of her own body and the one closing to her. 
A rabbi brought to the colony the food they needed. 
Sufferances were many and hopes to see the light after the darkness quiet impossible. Aaliya tried also to see again her husband and son but it wasn't a good meeting at all. At the end a friend of her suggested her of seeing Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah so waited...

Beautiful, terrible, it is a quick reading this one although it will leave you with a sensation of hope and new beginnings.

I thank Amber Schemal for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori