$15 Four Plays by Aristophanes: The Birds / The Clouds / The Frogs / Lysistrata Translated by William Arrowsmith, Richmond Lattimore, and Douglass Parker
The acknowledged master of Greek comedy, Aristophanes brilliantly combines serious political satire with bawdiness, pyrotechnical bombast with delicate lyrics. This volumes features his four most celebrated masterpieces: THE CLOUDS, THE BIRDS, LYSISTRATA, and THE FROGS. Three of the leading translators of the 20th century–William Arrowsmith, Richmond Lattimore, and Douglas Parker–have created versions of the comedies that are at once contemporary, historically accurate, and funny. Also included are introductions to each play that describe the historical and literary background of the work.
$16 Losing Moses on the Freeway by Chris Hedges
Why should all Americans –not just Christians and Jews — care about the Ten Commandments? Chris Hedges, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and Harvard Divinity School graduate, believes that the commandments keep us from committing evil. They hold our communities together. Hedges believes that the commandments hold out to us the possibility of love — and love means living for others. The commandments are guideposts that bring us back to the right path, he writes. They call us to sacrifice. Compellingly, he urges us to abandon the culture of self; to live “not by exalting our life but by being willing to lose it.”
$17 The Adolescent, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
The narrator and protagonist of Dostoevsky’s novel The Adolescent (first published in English as A Raw Youth) is Arkady Dolgoruky, a naive 19-year-old boy bursting with ambition and opinions. The illegitimate son of a dissipated landowner, he is torn between his desire to expose his father’s wrongdoing and the desire to win his love. He travels to St. Petersburg to confront the father he barely knows, inspired by an inchoate dream of communion and armed with a mysterious document that he believes gives him power over others. This new English version by the most acclaimed of Dostoevsky’s translators is a masterpiece of pathos and high comedy.
$18 Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. With an introduction by John Bishop
Follows a man’s thoughts and dreams during a single night. It is also a book that participates in the re-reading of Irish history that was part of the revival of the early 20th century. The motive idea of the novel, inspired by the 18th-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, is that history is cyclic; to demonstrate this the book begins with the end of a sentence left unfinished on the last page.
$45 Complete Works by William Shakespeare. The RSC Shakespeare. Edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen
Skillfully assembled by Shakespeare’s fellow actors in 1623, the First Folio was the original Complete Works. It is arguably the most important literary work in the English language. But starting with Nicholas Rowe in 1709 and continuing to the present day, Shakespeare editors have mixed Folio and Quarto texts, gradually corrupting the original Complete Works with errors and conflated textual variations. Now Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, two of today’s most accomplished Shakespearean scholars, have edited the First Folio as a complete book, resulting in a definitive Complete Works for the twenty-first century.