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STAFF PICKS | FROM THE SHELVES

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CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 4/4/2018

Overlooked Gems and Literary Oddities: New and Recent Releases from Wakefield Press

DistrictDistrict
HashishHashish
The Children's CrusadeThe Children's Crusade
Imaginary LivesImaginary Lives
Odd JobsOdd Jobs
Mademoiselle BambuMademoiselle Bambu
WishesWishes
The Construction of the Tower of BabelThe Construction of the Tower of Babel
Psychology of the Rich AuntPsychology of the Rich Aunt
A Terrace in RomeA Terrace in Rome

DistrictDistrict

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Tony Duvert. Introduction by S.C. Delaney. Translation by S.C. Delaney, Agnès Potier.

District describes, in ten vignettes, the sad, sordid and sinister aspects of a section of an unnamed French city, and the manners in which the ghostlike human entities that live and wither within it are molded, moved and absorbed by its spaces.

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 56 pgs.

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Catalog: FALL 2017 p. 84   

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HashishHashish

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Oscar A.H. Schmitz. Translation and introduction by W.C. Bamberger. Illustrations by Alfred Kubin. Afterword by James J. Conway.

First published in German in 1902, Hashish is a collection of decadent, interwoven tales of Satanism, eroticism, sadism, cannibalism, necrophilia and death.

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 184 pgs / 13 bw.

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The Children's CrusadeThe Children's Crusade

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Marcel Schwob. Foreword by Jorge Luis Borges. Translation by Kit Schluter.

“I’ve just read Marcel Schwob’s The Children’s Crusade twice over, with deep admiration and reverence. I am profoundly moved: what a work! And to think I’d never heard the name of Marcel Schwob. Who is he?”—Rainer Maria Rilke

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 56 pgs.

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Imaginary LivesImaginary Lives

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Marcel Schwob. Introduction and translation by Chris Clarke.

“The art of the biographer consists specifically in choice. He is not meant to worry about speaking truth; he must create human characteristics amidst the chaos.”—Marcel Schwob

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 192 pgs.

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Odd JobsOdd Jobs

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Tony Duvert. Introduction by S.C. Delaney. Translation by S.C. Delaney, Agnès Potier.

This series of 23 satirically scabrous short texts introduces the reader to an imaginary French suburb via the strange, grotesque small-town occupations that defined a once reliable, now presumably vanished way of life.

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Wakefield Press

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Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 64 pgs.

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Mademoiselle BambuMademoiselle Bambu

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Pierre Mac Orlan. Translation and introduction by Chris Clarke. Illustrations by Gus Bofa.

Mademoiselle Bambù is Pierre Mac Orlan’s take on the spy novel, written and expanded between 1932 and 1966.

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 6 x 9 in. / 240 pgs / 67 bw.

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WishesWishes

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Georges Perec. Introduction and translation by Mara Cologne Wythe-Hall.

“In the beginning was the pun,” Samuel Beckett once wrote. And so it was that Georges Perec brought the good word to his friends and acquaintances on a yearly basis, as an expression of his best wishes for the New Year. Wishes gathers together these ten pamphlets of homophonic wordplay that Perec sent out from 1970 until his death in 1982, printed at his own expense in limited quantities. This paean to the pun consists of a series of short prose pieces, each concluding with a list of the everyday bits of language lying at their root. English proverbs, Latin phrases, the names of musicians, filmmakers, novelists and book titles are all fodder for Perec’s homophonic translations: John Coltrane turns into an anecdote about a wanderer with a severe ring around the collar; Antonioni’s first movie transforms into a prophecy of a murderous holiday; the phrase “All’s well that ends well” becomes a pregnant cow named Alice hailed by a drunk Satan; and Maurice Ravel proves to be a warning against corpses with a predilection for root vegetables.

These texts and their marriage of sound to meaning present a challenge to any translation, and bring into stark relief the choices translators are often forced to make. This English edition sidesteps such choices, offering two alternate translations: a traditional one focused on the literal content of Perec’s texts, and another focused on their formal phonological play.

Georges Perec (1936–82) was a French novelist, essayist and filmmaker whose linguistic talents ranged from fiction to crossword puzzles to palindromes. Winner of the prix Renaudot in 1965 for his first novel, Things, and the prix Médicis in 1978 for his most acclaimed novel, Life A User’s Manual, Perec was also a member of Oulipo.



PUBLISHER
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The Construction of the Tower of BabelThe Construction of the Tower of Babel

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Juan Benet. Translation and introduction by Adrian Nathan West.

Juan Benet’s penultimate book, The Construction of the Tower of Babel brings together two essays that testify to the multiplicity of the author’s interests, both personal and professional.

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 88 pgs / 1 color / 4 bw.

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Psychology of the Rich AuntPsychology of the Rich Aunt

Being an Inquiry, in Twenty-Five Parts, into the Question of Immortality

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Erich Mühsam. Introduction and translation by Erik Butler.

With Psychology of the Rich Aunt, German author Erich Mühsam made his ironic bid for authorial immortality by announcing his discovery that immortality in fact exists—specifically in the person of the Rich Aunt. Through 25 case studies, arranged alphabetically (from Aunt Amalia to Aunt Zerlinde), Mühsam argues his case: the Rich Aunt is able to live forever provided she has a nephew waiting for her demise and for his inheritance. The corollary revealed in these tales, of course, is that a Rich Aunt’s eternal rest is directly tied to her nephew’s deprivation of said inheritance. The pathways to an immortal’s demise can thus be the result of anything from the vagrancies of sexual proclivities or the stock market to the unforeseen expenses of literary ambitions. The Rich Aunt emerges as the enduring fly in the ointment of Church, Family and State, the undoing of fate personified and the transformation of morality into mortality under the aegis of Capital.

Originally published in German in 1905, Psychology of the Rich Aunt is a caustically tongue-in-cheek portrayal of greed under capitalism in the bourgeois epoch.

Erich Mühsam (1878–1934) was a German-Jewish anarchist writer, poet, playwright, cabaret songwriter and a fierce satirist of the Nazi party. He played a key role in the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic, championed the rights of women and homosexuals, advocated for free love and vegetarianism, and opposed capitalism and war. He was brutally murdered in the Oranienburg concentration camp.



PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 96 pgs.

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A Terrace in RomeA Terrace in Rome

Published by Wakefield Press.
By Pascal Quignard. Translated by Douglas Penick, Charles Ré.

A Terrace in Rome describes the tormented life of Geoffroy Meaume, a 17th-century engraver of encrypted shadows and erotic prints. After a passionate affair in his youth concludes with his face being burned by acid thrown by his lover’s jealous fiancé, Meaume undertakes a lifetime of wandering, his psyche forever engraved by the memory of the woman who spurned him. With a face of boiled leather and a mind haunted by a nightmare of desire, he devotes himself to the black-and-white world of etchings and mezzotints, forsaking the paradise of color to engage in a science of shadows. This fragmented narrative of a man attacked by images is related in 47 short chapters which themselves act as engravings; a tale told by an antiquarian, full of fragmented vision and sexual hell. First published in French in 2000, A Terrace in Rome received the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie Française that same year, and went on to be translated into 19 languages. This is its first appearance in English.
Pascal Quignard (born 1948) has written over 60 books of fiction, essays, and his own particular genre of philosophical reflection that straddles the personal journal, historical narrative and poetic theory. His books in English include Albucius, All the World’s Mornings, The Sexual Night, Sex and Terror, On Wooden Tablets: Apronenia Avitia, and The Salon in Wurttemberg, as well as the multiple volumes of his ongoing book project The Last Kingdom, which, to date, includes The Roving Shadows, The Silent Crossing and Abysses.

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 4.5 x 7 in. / 128 pgs / 1 bw.

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Catalog: SPRING 2016 p. 73   

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