EVEN CLEVELAND BOOK CLUB

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READING LIST · CONTACT · Meets on the second Monday of the month at Community Bookstore, 143 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

“Enter a deliciously described world of sharply painted, dramatically costumed heroes and heroines posing, with many a spectacular gesture and eloquent aria, in magnificent landscapes maintained by invisible hands as a kind of huge stage set. This operatic Europe, like opera itself, would call us into largeness. One character is ”hurt and disappointed because the world wasn’t a much greater place than it is,” and another says of himself at a moment of crisis, ”Too small I have been, too small for the ways of God.” Though Isak Dinesen’s leisurely and ornate anecdotes, which she furnishes with just enough historical touches to make the stage firm, have something in them of the visionary and the artificial, they are not escapist. From the sweeping flood of the first story to the casual and savage murder of the last, they face pain and loss with the brisk familiarity of one who has amply known both, and force us to face them, too. Far from hollow and devoid of a moral, the tales insistently strive to inculcate a moral stance; in this her fiction especially suggests that of Hemingway, who thought well enough of her to inter-rupt his Nobel Prize acceptance speech with a regret that she had not received it. Both authors urge upon us a certain style of courage, courage whose stoic acceptances are plumed with what the old Cardinal, in the first Gothic Tale, calls ”divine swank.””

John Updike, “Seven Gothic Tales: The Divine Swank of Isak Dinesen,” NYT 2/23/1986.

“The person who has set his teeth into a kind of fruit new to him, is usually as eager as he is unable to tell you how it tastes.”

Dorothy Canfield, introducing Seven Gothic Tales to Book-Of-The-Month Club members in 1934.
apoetreflects: Isak Dinesen

apoetreflectsIsak Dinesen

vintageanchorbooks: Dinesen with at a sculpture of herself by Emile Norman, 1961.

vintageanchorbooks: Dinesen with at a sculpture of herself by Emile Norman, 1961.

Design for a stained glass window by Louis Comfort Tiffany, late 19th—early 20th century.
Virginia Woolf by Gisele Freund.

Virginia Woolf by Gisele Freund.

(Source: elie-rey)

barcarole:

Stella, Vanessa and Virginia Woolf (who was 14 at the time)

barcarole:

Stella, Vanessa and Virginia Woolf (who was 14 at the time)

First edition of The Years, in the original dustjacket. London: The Hogarth Press, 1937.  Octavo, original green cloth, original dustjacket. Found here.

First edition of The Years, in the original dustjacket. London: The Hogarth Press, 1937.  Octavo, original green cloth, original dustjacket. Found here.