Posts Tagged ‘richard t kelly’

This from today’s Bookseller, the author Benedicte Page:

Faber has a new typographic look and some new July titles for its print-on-demand and e-book imprint Faber Finds.
Two “seminal” music books of the 1980s, Dave Rimmer’s Like Punk Never Happened and Fred Vermorel’s Starlust, will launch this week, alongside the late poet Ian Hamilton’s appreciation of Paul Gascoigne, Gazza Agonistes. Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Strangers in a Bag and Trevor Wilson’s The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914-1935 are also among the newly revived titles.
Faber Finds now includes over 900 books, with John Carey’s John Donne, J R Leavis’ The Great Tradition and Simon Heffer’s Like the Roman among its bestsellers.
Imprint editor Richard T Kelly promised to continue to develop a list that he called “a reliable source of great reading matter; but also a list that can innovate and surprise.”
The Faber Finds blog, encouraging readers to suggest new titles for the imprint, is being relaunched at http://www.faberfindsblog.co.uk. The imprint will launch locally in the Australian market in September, through Faber’s partnership with Allen & Unwin.
Faber Finds launched in 2008 and republishes books and authors who have fallen out of print.


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Finds has a brand new skin for its July titles, forthcoming this week and offering a refreshed range of subject matter along with a handsome redesign of the imprint’s covers (and dedicated copy for each title.) Fictional treasures amid the July selections include Stranger With a Bag, short stories by Sylvia Townsend Warner, hailed by Sarah Waters as ‘one of the most talented and well-respected British authors of the twentieth century’; Emma Tennant’s feminist gothic tales Faustine and Two Women of London; and the incredibly rare early Patrick Hamilton novel Twopence Coloured. Among the non-fiction offerings are Trevor Wilson’s timely The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914-1935; Correlli Barnett’s The Audit of War, anatomising Britain’s decline as a world power; and Tom Wintringham’s searing Spanish Civil War memoir English Captain (on the 75th anniversary of the generals’ coup.) Pop culture also makes its presence felt on the Finds list through two seminal works of the mid-1980s: Dave Rimmer’s Like Punk Never Happened: Culture Club and the New Pop, and Fred Vermorel’s brilliantly lubricious Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans. And the literary dimensions of football are represented by Gazza Agonistes, a terribly funny and deeply felt appreciation of Paul Gascoigne by the late poet and Spurs fan Ian Hamilton. The list is completed by memoirs from two of the great neglected geniuses of twentieth century English letters: Maiden Voyage by Denton Welch and Apostate by Forrest Reid. In the week ahead please do look out for more on this page for each of these brilliant titles.

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Art for a Mary Shelley t-shirt available from the ThinkGeek webstore

It is a fine time for Finds to be returning Miranda Seymour’s greatly praised Mary Shelley to print. On first publication in 2001 the book was hailed by the FT’s reviewer as “the most dazzling biography of a female writer to have come my way for an entire decade.” And 2011 has already proved to be a year of passionately renewed interest in The Woman Who Wrote Frankenstein – her life, her legend and enigma retain all their powers to enthrall. Danny Boyle’s new staging of Shelley’s most famous novel has been a huge success for the National Theatre (your correspondent wrote on the subject for the Guardian back in February) and the fascination of readers with the ‘tangled lives’ of the circle of Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley has been evinced yet again by the great reception afforded to Daisy Hay’s Young Romantics.
Merely to know that Mary Shelley completed Frankenstein when not quite 19 is to be aware this was no ordinary young woman. But Mary’s exceptionality began with her parentage: her father was the radical novelist/thinker William Godwin, her mother the intrepid proto-feminist Mary Wollstonecraft who died of septicaemia 12 days after giving birth to her – a grievous inheritance for any child.
Wollstonecraft’s life is rather better known than her writing – partly because the widower Godwin wrote an impassioned memoir of her, including details of her unmarried motherhood and various love affairs which aroused a deal of public disapproval. Mary certainly read her father’s memoir, and her mother’s books, including the famous Vindication of the Rights of Woman. How far had the apple fallen from the tree? Well, in describing Wollstonecraft as ‘feminist’ one intends to say above all that she was a model of self-reliance and that her passionate concern was with how the potential of her sex could be freed by education. And young Mary did indeed get the benefit of a good, advanced education, though her father was in other ways an unhelpfully remote figure. Still, it may be that no small part of the appeal to Mary of Godwin’s protégé Percy Bysshe Shelley was the aura Shelley exuded of a readiness to live out the ideals of Mary’s parents.
Of course, the romance of Mary and Shelley proved to be no giddy jaunt, much less a seamless union of minds. Clearly Percy Bysshe offered her good editorial advice in the writing of Frankenstein, the fame of which would enable her to eclipse his literary star for a while. But the fact remains that of Mary’s five pregnancies with Shelley only one child survived into adulthood. She suffered profound depressions, and grew to build up resilient defences against the outside world. In the end she would outlive all the luminaries of the ‘Pisa circle’: a lone mother, Shelley’s flame-keeper, author of many volumes though none to rival her hideous progeny Frankenstein. In Mary Shelley we may say there was a sort of ungovernable daring but also, over time and perforce, a driving need for social ‘respectability’. And these dual forces are twinned to a degree in her work.

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Here’s yet another tribute to the master of the uncanny and unnatural from… well, me, I confess. Over at the site devoted to my recently published novel The Possessions of Doctor Forrest – a site partly consecrated to the itemising of the many and various supernatural artworks by which I was influenced in the making of said novel – I thought it important to add Aickman’s name to the roll-call. The influence was unknown to me at the time of writing, in this instance, as I explain; but then Aickman himself would surely have had an easy explanation for the manner in which my cold hand was steered by some ordinary ghost…

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Bel Mooney: a confirmed Tessimond Fan

The novelist, children’s author and journalist Bel Mooney is also the Daily Mail‘s correspondent with the special task of handling a postbag full of readers’ personal problems. (The term ‘agony aunt’ has always struck me as a little too hard-bitten Old Fleet Street…) Last Saturday Mooney addressed herself to a missive from a 55-year-old divorced father of two who is worried that he has found contentment but not quite love with “a divorced lady (aged 47)… also with two children of similar ages.” And the advice Mooney found for this gentleman issued from a source very dear to us at Faber Finds… But I’ll let BM tell you the rest:

I studied your letter, which put me in mind of a favourite poem of mine called ‘Not Love, Perhaps’ by a long-neglected poet called A.S.J. Tessimond. Then — believe it or not — in the same postbag I found that a lady called Sylvia, writing with her own problem, had copied out for me that very poem!
Amazed, I decided that it must have a message for you — so please Google it now. (Though out of print for years, this wonderful poet is reprinted now by Faber Finds).
The poem compares the romantic idea of love ‘that many waters cannot quench’ with the mutual companionship and support, which helps a couple ‘walk more firmly through dark narrow places’.
Tessimond celebrates the idea of love as an ‘alliance’ — though, of course, his title ironically questions the very word ‘love’. Oh, let’s join in the chorus of ‘You got a friend’ with Carole King! Let us be grateful to have found an inn to give us shelter, when the road is dark and empty and the wind blows cold. Let’s cherish companionship and learn not to listen to the siren call of this thing called ‘true love’, which can wreak such destruction.

Evidently the manner in which disparate readers feel themselves moved and consoled by this piece of Tessimond’s is a proof of the enduring merit of his work; and one more reason for Faber Finds to be proud of having restored his great posthumous selection Not Love, Perhaps to print, available to order here. Thanks go to Bel Mooney for bringing Tessimond to this broader attention, and also for the generous mention of Finds.

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Memorial to journalist Jessie White on the facade of her former home in Lendinara, Italy

The excellent Bookslut site recently ran a fine review-essay by Jenny McPhee examining two new books from female American journalists who have reported from Afghanistan: Kim Barker’s The Taliban Shuffle and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. McPhee astutely opens her piece with reference to a title of great pertinence to this subject-area and one we are proud to offer in Faber Finds:

Anne Sebba’s Battling for News: Women Reporters from the Risorgimento to Tiananmen Square (1994) is a compendium of vignettes profiling dozens of female journalists over the past 150 years. An excellent addition to herstory, Sebba’s book covers all nature of journalist, notably the long tradition of the female war correspondent, beginning with Jessie White, who commenced her life-long career in 1860 embedded within the ranks of Garibaldi’s Red Shirts, and ending with BBC journalist Katie Adie’s coverage of the 1986 U.S. bombing of Tripoli and the 1989 student revolt in Tiananmen Square. In story after story of intrepid women risking all in pursuit of the news, Sebba describes the systematic prejudice they encountered and their heroic battles to overcome myriad barriers in order to do their job.
In 1898, novelist Arnold Bennett wrote in Journalism for Women: A Practical Guide: “Is there any sexual reason why a woman should be a less accomplished journalist than a man? I can find none…” Yet as Sebba shows in the years since Bennett’s statement, the issue of a woman’s suitability for the profession has been constantly debated: During a war, are women a distraction to the soldiers and therefore dangerous? Are women emotionally biased, less objective, more partisan? Are they oriented more towards people rather than facts and statistics?

BTW the Independent‘s formidable political correspondent John Rentoul administers a justly celebrated slack/cheap-journalism-watch series entitled ‘Questions To Which The Answer Is No’, and I would say that familiar and chauvinist little troika that rounds off the Bookslut quotation could probably be admitted in toto...

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Portrait of Tolstoy by Ivan N. Kramskoy

God bless BBC TV programmes about writers! I say this with some measure of regret for the passing of ITV’s South Bank Show, which in my youth was an absolutely indispensable medium for getting major living writers out in front of such a captive audience as was available late on Sunday nights. The BBC used to have a wealth of outlets and strands under which good writers and their books could be featured and celebrated – that wealth has, of course, receded alongside the very notion of ‘the captive audience’… But in this light we must give thanks for the 2-part BBC Imagine devoted to Tolstoy which aired over consecutive Sundays just past. Dovegreyreader, whose excellent ‘Team Tolstoy’ group-read of War and Peace continues here, has written approvingly of the BBC documentaries here, and she also serves up a nicely wry take on their presenter, Alan Yentob, who does indeed seem always to land on his feet when it comes to a nice gig.
Dovegreyreader also points out – as was pointed out to me by my predecessor in this parish, John Seaton – that it is the Faber Finds edition of Tolstoy’s Diaries Volume 1 1847-1894 (prepared by R.F. Christian) from which Yentob reads in the first programme. You can see for yourself if you summon it up on BBC IPlayer and fast-forward to just before the 26:00 minute-mark
Jay Parini, author of The Last Station which conveyed Tolstoy to movie audiences a couple of years ago, pays the following tribute to Tolstoy’s diaries and letters: “R. F. Christian ranks among the great Tolstoy scholars of the past century, and his translations of Tolstoy’s diaries and letters are peerless. I would go nowhere else for the very best versions of Tolstoy.”
And, happily, interested readers now need look no further than Finds! You will find details and ordering info on both volumes of both the Letters and Diaries by following links from here.

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