Master and Man
In this short story, a land owner named Vasili Andreevich Brekhunov takes along one of his peasants, Nikita, for a short journey to the house of the owner of a forest. He is impatient and wishes to get to the town more quickly 'for business' (purchasing the forest before other contenders can get there). They find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, but the master in his avarice wishes to press on. They eventually get lost off the road and they try to camp. The master's peasant soon finds himself about to die from hypothermia. After leaving his peasant to die, and returning to the same place he had fled from, the master attains a spiritual/moral revelation, and Tolstoy once again repeats one of his famous themes: that the only true happiness in life is found by living for others. The master then lies on top of the peasant to keep him warm through the cold night. Vasili is too exposed to the cold though and dies. Nikita's life is saved, but he loses three of his toes to frostbite.
The Ancient World in the Cinema
This entertaining and useful book provides a comprehensive survey of films about the ancient world, from The Last Days of Pompeii to Gladiator. Jon Solomon catalogues, describes, and evaluates films set in ancient Greece and Rome, films about Greek and Roman history and mythology, films of the Old and New Testaments, films set in ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Persia, films of ancient tragedies, comic films set in the ancient world, and more. The book has been updated to include feature films and made-for-television movies produced in the past two decades. More than two hundred photographs illustrate both the films themselves and the ancient sources from which their imagery derives.
A young writer has his heart and ambition set on his aunt's large apartment. With this seemingly simple conceit, the characters of The Planetarium are set in orbit and a galaxy of argument, resentment, and bitterness erupts. Telling the story from various points of view, Sarraute focuses below the surface, on the emotional lives of the characters in a way that surpasses what Virginia Woolf did years before. The spite the young man feels toward his mother-in-law for offering him and his wife cheap chairs for their apartment; the terror inspired during a confrontation with his aunt; and the need to impress his Gertrude Stein-like literary icon are only some of the many internal conflicts that push the narrative forward, as the characters circle each other. Always deeply engaging, The Planetarium reveals the deep disparity between the way we see ourselves and the way others see us.
I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere explores how a life can be changed irrevocably in just one fateful moment. A pregnant mother's plans for the future unravel at the hospital; a travelling salesman learns the consequences of an almost-missed exit on the motorway in the newspaper the next morning; while a perfect date is spoilt by a single act of thoughtlessness. In those crucial moments Gavalda demonstrates her almost magical skill in conveying love, lust, longing, and loneliness. Someone I Loved is a hauntingly intimate look at the intolerably painful, yet sometimes valuable consequences that adultery can have on a marriage and the individuals involved. A simple tale, yet long in substance, Someone I Loved ends like most great love affairs, forever leaving you wanting just one more moment.
The Persian Letters
Based on the 1758 edition, this translation strives for fidelity and retains Montesquieu's paragraphing. George R. Healy's Introduction discusses The Persian Letters as a kind of overture to the Enlightenment, a work of remarkable diversity designed more to explore a problem of great urgency for eighteenth century thought than to resolve it: that of discovering universals, or at least the pragmatic constants, amid the diversity of human culture and society, and of confronting the proposition that there are no values in human relationships except those imposed by force or agreed upon in self-interested conventions.
Letter to Menoeceus
Letter to Menoeceus - Epicurus - Translated by Robert Drew Hicks - Epicurus; 341-270 BC, was an ancient Greek philosopher as well as the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters of Epicurus's 300 written works remain. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators. For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia-peace and freedom from fear-and aponia-the absence of pain-and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space. Epicurus is a key figure in the development of science and scientific methodology because of his insistence that nothing should be believed, except that which was tested through direct observation and logical deduction. He was a key figure in the Axial Age, the period from 800 BC to 200 BC, during which, according to Karl Jaspers, similar thinking appeared in China, India, Iran, the Near East, and Ancient Greece. His statement of the Ethic of Reciprocity as the foundation of ethics is the earliest in Ancient Greece, and he differs from the formulation of utilitarianism by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill by emphasizing the minimization of harm to oneself and others as the way to maximize happiness.
Inventing the Flat Earth
Traces the history of the view that the earth was flat to the nineteenth-century, thereby supporting the author's theory that this belief was not widespread before Columbus's discovery of America.
The Dictator and the Hammock
Manuel Pereira da Ponte Martins, beloved dictator of the state of Teresina in Brazil, develops agoraphobia the day a fortune-teller predicts he will die being torn limb from limb by an angry mob. His life becomes unbearable and he decides to hire a double to stand in while he set off to enjoy himself in the fleshpots of Europe. A few years later, the barber-turned-dictator also grows tired of running the country and employs the same trick as his predecessor to leave for Hollywood. On the boat there, he introduces himself as Charlie Chaplin. But everyone is convinced that he is none other than Rudolph Valentino disguised as Chaplin. When he arrives in New York, both the real actors are waiting for him... Back in Teresina, the doubles follow one another, fooling the people with ease. Then Pereira comes back. He is astonished to discover that his stand-in doesn't look anything like him and reacts in a way that can only precipitate his meeting with Fate. The Dictator and The Hammock is wildly original and extremely funny.