Warsaw: The Cabaret Years is the first full portrait in English of Warsaw's cultural life between the world wars. The Golden Era of Warsaw, from 1919 to 1939, witnessed one of the richest cultural and artistic scenes of Europe. Poland's capital abounded with poets, novelists, filmmakers, artists, and architects. Literary magazines, opera, symphonic music, and theater flourished along with audacious cabarets - the Sphinx, Black Cat, Mirage, and the legendary Qui Pro Quo - that rivaled those of Berlin. Foreign journalists called Warsaw "the Paris of Eastern Europe". Among the luminaries living and working in Warsaw at the time were writers Czeslaw Milosz and Isaac Bashevis Singer, pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski (once the prime minister), actress Ida Kaminska, and cabaret star Hanka Ordonowna. Artur Rubinstein performed with the Warsaw Symphony, and George Bernard Shaw premiered some of his plays in Warsaw. Warsaw: The Cabaret Years paints a vivid picture of a city overflowing with champagne, extravagance, and raucous cabarets, a city that boasted over sixty cinemas but still had unpaved roads. This historical narrative explores a society moving ineluctably toward the disaster of World War II, yet leaving a trail of brilliant achievements.
Chaucer called it "spiritual manslaughter"; Barthes and Benjamin deemed it dangerous linguistic nihilism. But gossip-long derided and dismissed by writers and intellectuals-is far from frivolous. In Idle Talk, Deadly Talk, Ana Rodríguez Navas reveals gossip to be an urgent, utilitarian, and deeply political practice-a means of staging the narrative tensions, and waging the narrative battles, that mark Caribbean politics and culture. From the calypso singer's superficially innocent rhymes to the vicious slanders published in Trujillo-era gossip columns, words have been weapons, elevating one person or group at the expense of another. Revising the overly gendered existing critical frame, Rodríguez Navas argues that gossip is a fundamentally adversarial practice. Just as whispers and hearsay corrosively define and surveil identities, they also empower writers to skirt sanitized, monolithic historical accounts by weaving alternative versions of their nations' histories from this self-governing discursive material. Reading recent fiction from the Hispanic, Anglophone, and Francophone Caribbean and their diasporas, alongside poetry, song lyrics, journalism, memoirs, and political essays, Idle Talk, Deadly Talk maps gossip's place in the Caribbean and reveals its rich possibilities as both literary theme and narrative device. As a means for mediating contested narratives, both public and private, gossip emerges as a vital resource for scholars and writers grappling with the region's troubled history.
The Reception of Charles Dickens in Europe offers a full historical survey of Dickens's reception in all the major European countries and many of the smaller ones, filling a major gap in Dickens scholarship, which has by and large neglected Dickens's fortunes in Europe, and his impact on major European authors and movements. Essays by leading international critics and translators give full attention to cultural changes and fashions, such as the decline of Dickens's fortunes at the end of the nineteenth century in the period of Naturalism and Aestheticism, and the subsequent upswing in the period of Modernism, in part as a consequence of the rise of film in the era of Chaplin and Eisenstein. It will also offer accounts of Dickens's reception in periods of political upheaval and revolution such as during the communist era in Eastern Europe or under fascism in Germany and Italy in particular.