The Book of Prefaces

ISBN 13: 9781582343242

The Book of Prefaces

4.2 avg rating
( 81 ratings by Goodreads )
)  
9781582343242: The Book of Prefaces
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

This book is a unique history of how literature spread and developed through three British nations and most North American states. This anthology gathers the work of great writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Lewis Carroll, John Milton, Edgar Allan Poe, and many more. The Book of Prefaces offers an unusual and unprecedented look at literature, a treat for any reader.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

The preface usually contains one of four pleasures, says anthologist Alasdair Gray. There is the biographical snippet, full of gossipy details that "make us feel at home in earlier times." There is the author's attempt to forestall criticism (in first editions) or to answer it (in later ones). There is the report on the state of civilization, both favorable (see Walt Whitman) and unfavorable (see Karl Marx). And there is the attack on other writers or translators, sometimes bridging centuries and containing spears thrown at the long dead. All four pleasures are well represented in this 640-page treasury of English and American intros, which runs from an A.D. 675 translation of Genesis to the 1920 poems of Wilfred Owen. Why stop there? "The flow is stopped at 1920," admits Gray in his own disarmingly self-effacing preface, "by costs of using work still in copyright."

This is anything but anthology-on-the-cheap, however. Gray (Lanark and A History Maker) poured 16 years of research into The Book of Prefaces, and adds considerable value with his own running commentary, which straggles down the margins in brash red ink. Gray on the God of Genesis: "This God, with revenge in mind, first makes earth ugly as hell." Among God's anthologized fellows are Mark Twain, who defends his use of Southern dialect in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Lewis Carroll, who anticipates his critics' charges of writing nonsense in The Hunting of the Snark and proceeds to prove their case; and Charles Darwin, who recalls how the seeds of The Origin of Species were sown aboard the HMS Beagle. Gray mixes scholarly research with playful eccentricities: When was the last time you saw a book's typesetter, typist, and publisher memorialized in pen-and-ink drawings? And "with this in their lavatory," writes the cheeky author, "everyone else can read nothing but newspaper supplements and still seem educated." He may be right. --Claire Dederer

From the Publisher:

Alasdair Gray has spent over thirteen years on this project although he has written a number of books in the meantime, among them the Whitbread and Guardian prize-winning novel Poor Things and the story collection, Ten Tales Tall and True.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781582340371: the Book of Prefaces

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1582340374 ISBN 13:  9781582340371
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, 2000
Hardcover

9780747544432: The book of prefaces: A short history of literate thought in words by great writers of four nations from the 7th to the 20th Century

Blooms..., 2000
Hardcover

9780747559122: The Book of Prefaces

Blooms..., 2002
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Alasdair Gray (Editor)
Published by Bloomsbury USA (2003)
ISBN 10: 1582343241 ISBN 13: 9781582343242
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)

Book Description Bloomsbury USA, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX1582343241

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 41.57
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Alasdair Gray
ISBN 10: 1582343241 ISBN 13: 9781582343242
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
GoldBooks
(Denver, CO, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: new. Seller Inventory # think1582343241

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 44.19
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Published by Bloomsbury USA (2003)
ISBN 10: 1582343241 ISBN 13: 9781582343242
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Save With Sam
(North Miami, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Bloomsbury USA, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1582343241

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 50.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

ISBN 10: 1582343241 ISBN 13: 9781582343242
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
ABC
(Saint Louis, MO, U.S.A.)

Book Description Paperback. Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # A29265

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 57.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

ISBN 10: 1582343241 ISBN 13: 9781582343242
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BennettBooksLtd
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-1582343241

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 67.65
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds