June Theme: Summer Reading

Whether you’re traveling far and wide or relaxing in your favorite patio chair this summer, no one can deny that extra leisure time is wonderfully filled with books.

Here at Yale University Press, we’re boasting an exciting year of literary studies, including Bernard Avishai’s Promiscuous, a biography of Philip Roth’s notorious 1969 novel, Portnoy’s Complaint, from the outrage it sparked to its impact on Roth to its legacy some forty years, written through writings and conversations with Roth himself. Meanwhile, Tim Kendall explores the social, biographical, historical, and literary contexts of America’s twentieth-century poet in The Art of Robert Frost, bringing the relevance of his career and poetry into conversation with contemporary poets and movements. And uncovering the correspondence of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Edith Wharton from letters written to her governess Anna Bahlmann, Irene Goldman-Price has edited over a hundred of these when only three of Wharton’s were previously thought to have survived. My Dear Governess insightfully portrays the central role that Bahlmann held in shaping Wharton’s development as a writer and a person over forty-two years of their correspondence.

Two giants of European literature, Witold Gombrowicz and Norman Manea, find English-language homes in the Margellos World Republic of Letters, with several books from each brought back into print with new material or translated for the first time, including Gombrowicz’s Diary as a single volume and Manea’s acclaimed novel of émigrés in America, The Lair.

In her groundbreaking book, The Woman Reader, Belinda Jack explores the complete history of women’s access and experience with the written word. From Babylon to Australia, censorship to misogyny, and bluestockings to factory workers, Jack covers the world of reading from an untold perspective, with surprising details and conclusions about the distinctions of male and female readers, even as they exist in today’s world.

History buffs will enjoy Edward Berenson’s The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story, the latest from YUP’s Icons of America series, while the contrast of the 2012 games with the ancient come to life in Neil Faulkner’s Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics. And new biographies of August Strindberg, Joe DiMaggio, and Carl Van Vechten elucidate the variant life and times of iconic cultural figures; not to mention the grand literary-biographical tradition of Dr. Samuel Johnson continued in John Sutherland’s Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives.

Not all summer reads are about literature and history, as Edward McCord shows in The Value of Species by giving us ways to think about biodiversity and the place of nonhuman species within our humanity. And don’t forget to share your summer vegetable recipes with us after harvesting ideas from “A Rich Spot of Earth”: Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello.

Don’t start your summer block party without a bag of great reading material!

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