Elective Affinities

Elective Affinities

As we await the true launch of our journal, I’ll be posting now and then. Today, wanted to name a few of the foundational books for yours truly . . . . books that helped launch me into beautiful worlds and new directions. To name just three:

The Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry, edited and introduced by Paul Auster. This book had a profound impact on my own writing and the way I view poetry. Ezra Pound once said that T.S. Eliot modernized himself. This book went a long way in helping me do the same.

Another book of great importance for me was Martin Seymour-Smith’s The New Guide to Modern World Literature. A huge, remarkable book, filled with analysis of hundreds of the world’s best authors, well-known and completely forgotten. There really is no book like it for breadth of information and its ability to send readers off into a myriad of new reading adventures.

Last, but not least of this short list of three: William Barrett’s Irrational Man. The best intro to Existentialism around. Very accessible, thought-provoking and stimulating. Barrett gets to the point quickly, in his review of the ideas of many of the key figures in that non-school, but concentrates primarily on four: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre.

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