The Work of Jorge Luis Borges Comes to Life

One particular display from the London 2012 Festival that caught our attention here at the Literature and Languages Library is aMAZEme, an awe-inspiring installation dreamed up by Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo. Click here to see some great images of the piece. The architectural sculpture is made out of a whopping 250,000 books and is inspired by the fiction of the Argentinian writer and librarian Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). Borges’ work regularly deploys library and labyrinthine motifs. In fact, one of his most popular collections translated for English is titled Labyrinths (1962, tr. Donald A. Yates and James E. Irby). Reportedly, Saboya and Pupo designed their massive book labyrinth to the design of Borges’ fingerprint.

UIUC Libraries have over 250 books authored by Borges, including Ficciones (1944), his most popular book.

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Happy Birthday, Alexandre Dumas!

On this date inAlexandre Dumas 1802, the French writer Alexandre Dumas was born. He is most famous for writing the adventures Les Trois Mousquetaires (aka The Three Musketeers, 1844), Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (aka The Count of Monte Cristo; 1844-1845), and Le Vicomte de Bragelonne ou Dix ans plus tard (aka The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, 1847-1850; it is notable for featuring L’Homme au Masque de Fer aka The Man in the Iron Mask). Since his death in 1870, his works have taken on a life of their own. The Three Musketeers has been adapted or re-imagined many times since its initial publication, including several Tom & Jerry cartoons, a set of films in the 1970s directed by Richard Lester, and even a candy bar. The Man in the Iron Mask was adapted into a popular movie in 1998 starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

So if you are in the mood for some swashbucklin’, we have several of his works in their original French here in the Literature and Languages Library. The UIUC Library has over one thousand items attributed to Dumas. His works can also be found (untranslated) online at Project Gutenberg.

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Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" As He Realized It?

It was recently announced that The Folio Society, a London-based company that specializes in making fine print books, is producing an edition of William Faulkner’s first masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury (first published in 1929), in multi-colored text. During his lifetime, Faulkner expressed the desire to present his complex and polychronous novel with text in numerous colors to allow readers to navigate through the various time shifts that occur within its fragmented narratives more easily, especially in the dense first chapter, “April Seventh, 1928.” Now, according to Noel Polk, one of the re-configured text’s editors, “publishing has finally grown up to The Sound and the Fury.” Polk, along with co-editor Stephen M. Ross, establish fourteen different timelines in the novel based on their research and color-code the text accordingly.

The Folio Society has limited the edition to 1,480 copies, and it comes with a color-coded bookmark for easy reader reference. Because Faulkner never produced a color-coded version of the manuscript, Polk and Ross’s bold experiment is likely to draw criticism from some quarters. Nevertheless, the end-product fuses the book arts with literary criticism and one of literature’s great What Ifs.

The edition, which is slated for release in August, is being released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of William Faulkner’s death. Faulkner, one of America’s most celebrated authors (and winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949), continues to generate mountains of literary criticism each year. The Literature and Languages library has all of his novels as well as numerous books of criticism about Faulkner’s work. They can be found in the approximate call number range PS3511.A86 or by looking here.

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The Life of Andrew Sarris

Three weeks ago, cinephiles everywhere lost one of their greatest voices when Andrew Sarris died at the age of 83. He was one of the earliest and most prominent American film critics. He is most known for popularizing the idea known as “auteur theory” in the mid-1950s, which claims that the film director is the ostensible “author” of a film, providing its guiding vision. Furthermore, the greatest films bear the imprint of the strongest auteurs. Sarris, as a result, became one of the first film critics in America to champion directors such as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Samuel Fuller. The auteur idea became a popular one, and film critics to this day will describe young, up-and-coming directors with a distinct style as one. However, several notable critics disagreed with Sarris on this point, most notably Pauline Kael, with whom he had a famous feud during the 1960s and 1970s. At the height of his career, Sarris was a reviewer for the Village Voice, and he continued publishing until 2009. He also wrote several books about cinema, and later in his life, he became a film professor at Columbia University.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has several books by and about Andrew Sarris, including the highly influential The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968 (1968), which established an early canon of American movies and directors. We have five books about auteur theory in our collection at the Literature and Languages Library if you are interested in exploring this subject further.

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The Legacy of Nora Ephron

Noted journalist, novelist, humorist, screenwriter, and director Nora Ephron passed away last week at the age of 71. She began her career as a successful journalist in the 1960s and was a part of the burgeoning New Journalism movement, adding a much-needed feminist voice to the field. After establishing herself as one of New York’s hottest writers in the 1970s, she turned her attention to screenwriting and film directing in the 1980s. She is most known for writing the screenplays for Silkwood (1983) and When Harry Met Sally (1989) as well as writing and directing two of the biggest romantic dramas of the 1990s, Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998), all of which are part of the Undergraduate Library’s film collection. In recent years, in addition to publishing books and making movies, she became a blogger for The Huffington Post.

If you have yet to be introduced to the work of Nora Ephron or simply want to re-visit it, the Literature and Languages Library has three of her books. A variety of items related to Ephron (as well as those about or inspired by her) are held in the University of Illinois’ libraries, including the scripts for You’ve Got Mail and her 1996 film Michael (which are held in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library).

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Professor Karen Fresco, Head of the French Department, named Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques

Congratulations to Associate Professor Karen Fresco, Head of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s French Department, for being recognized Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. This prestigious title is awarded to members of the international community for outstanding contributions to French pedagogy, scholarship, and culture, as well as to the French language. L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques was instituted by founded by Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte on March 19, 1808. For more information on the award, click here.

Dr. Fresco, who also serves as an Associate Professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies and Medieval Studies Department, has been affiliated with the University of Illinois for over twenty years. She has edited or co-edited five essay collections, including, most recently, Collections in Context: The Organization of Knowledge and Community in Europe (2012, Ohio State University Press) with Anne D. Hedeman. The book is part of the Literature and Languages Library collection. Fresco has also produced several critical editions and is currently working on one for Christine de Pizan’s Les Enseignements moraux (ca. 1398-1401). She has also published half a dozen scholarly articles.

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Open Access Film E-Books

We recently came across a list of open access film e-books at the website Film Studies for Free – books on this list deal with a wide range of topics, time periods, and national cinemas. Included are several classic titles (such as Siegfried Kracauer’s From Caligari To Hitler: a Psychological History of the German Film and Gene Youngblood’s Expanded Cinema) as well as more recent titles.

Film Studies for Free, the blog where this list is hosted, also points to fascinating free resources around the web for learning more about a diverse range of topics in cinema studies – including open-access journals and articles, podcasts, video lectures and essays, and much more. The site is maintained by Catherine Grant of the University of Sussex.

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Joyce Carol Oates at 74

photo from writer Joyce Carol Oates turns 74 today. From her first book – the collection of stories By the North Gate – to her most recent novels, stories, memoir and other pieces of writing, Oates has maintained a daunting literary output that is yet accessible and diverse.

Oates’s body of work includes short story collections (among the most comprehensive are The Wheel of Love, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, and High Lonesome), collections of poetry, drama, and criticism, works for children and young adults, and even a number of works authored under pseudonyms (mysteries written as “Lauren Kelly” and “Rosamond Smith,” and stories written in the persona of the fictitious Portuguese writer Fernandes). Perhaps her most celebrated works, though, are her novels, which range from lengthy portraits of American life such as them, What I Lived For, We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls, to harrowing and brutal novellas including Black Water, Zombie, and Beasts. Her most recent work is the novel Mudwoman; forthcoming (among other books) is another novel, Carthage.

Frequent themes of Oates’s work include violence and the development of young lives: many of her works could be described as bildungsromans. Oates also writes frequently about the tensions of academic life (in novels such as Unholy Loves, Marya, and the recent Mudwoman), and she has even written several novels in a Gothic tradition, such as Bellefleur.

Oates has discussed her interest in “the phantasmagoria of personality,” and often disclaims autobiographical context in her fictional work (one exception that she’s pointed out is the appearance of her family and herself as a child in the novel Wonderland). However, Oates has written several works of a more personal nature, particularly the recent memoir A Widow’s Story, which discusses her life in the wake of the death of her husband Raymond Smith, with whom she founded the Ontario Review.

Greg Johnson’s biography Invisible Writer is a candid portrait of Oates’s life and work up to 1998. The Library has many of Oates’s works and criticism discussing Oates’s writing.

Here are more links discussing Oates’s life and work:

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Bloomsday Celebration at Mike 'N' Molly's

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library will be sponsoring a Bloomsday celebration at Mike ‘N’ Molly’s this Saturday, June 16th.

The events at Mike ‘N’ Molly’s, from 5 to 8 p.m., will include Irish music, readings of Joyce and of original work by local poets, and more. Mike ‘N’ Molly’s is located at 105 N. Market Street in downtown Champaign.

Bloomsday is the annual literary celebration of James Joyce’s life and work – taking its name from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses, whose travels in Dublin on June 16th, 1904, form the substance of the novel. Check out our library’s Ulysses-related holdings for more information on Bloomsday and the novel in general.

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Computers and Composition Digital Press

Utah State University Press has undertaken an exciting open-access publishing initiative: the imprint Computers and Composition Digital Press. Founded in 2007, CCDP is “interested in digital projects that cannot be printed on paper, but that have the same intellectual heft as a book,” and has published five open-access, peer-reviewed titles up to this point.

UIUC Professor Emeritus Gail Hawisher is one of CCDP’s co-founders and serves as one of its editors, and was one of the co-authors of the recent Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times. Other titles in the series are:

CCDP’s homepage includes more information on this publishing initiative, including editorial content discussing the press’s background, directions for submitting proposals for new projects, and further resources on creating accessible digital content.

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