Around January 1 I had intended to post this list of books I was particularly awed by, but it seemed a bit much to tack on to my two previous retrospective posts for the bygone year (2015 in favorite pre-1900 books, and 2015 in favorite post-1900 Books).
Now, of course, I figure, what the hell, am I going to let this draft languish? What’s a blog for anyways?
* * *
True Histories (c. 160 A.D.) – Lucian (trans. Keith Sidwell, 2004)
Lucian’s tale is one of the first surviving instances of that rare genre known as the Menippean satire.
The Discourse of Lorenzo Valla on the Forgery of the Alleged Donation of Constantine (1443) – Lorenzo Valla (trans. Christopher B. Coleman, 1922)
A Looking Glasse for the Court: A dispraise of the life of the Courtier, and a commendacion of the life of the husbandman (1539) – Antonio de Guevara (trans. Sir Francis Bryant, 1548, 1575)
The blackface Gothic letterface & the facsimile reproduction drove me a little crazy.
Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578) – John Lyly (abridged)
I first read this text years ago in university when I was researching Love’s Labour’s Lost, in which Shakespeare parodies the excesses of Lyly’s Euphuism. But I returned to it this year for reasons to be disclosed at a later time.
Life Is a Dream (1635) – Pedro Calderón de la Barca (trans. Gwynne Edwards, 1991)
The Sun King: Louis XIV at Versailles (1966) – Nancy Mitford
Fifteen years before this book appeared, Nancy Mitford had translated the French classic La Princesse de Clèves (1678). What court gossip!
‘Letter to Sor Filatea de la Cruz’ (c. 1690) – Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (trans. Edith Grossman, 2014)
What Maisie Knew (1897) – Henry James
Apalache (1976), Both (1982), The Middle Passage: A Triptych of Commodities (1976) – Paul Metcalf
Metcalf’s historically-inflected textual collages defy classification. Only one more of Metcalf’s major works remains before I’ll have read everything he published (or nearly so): I-57.