America's Medicis [EPUB]
20 October 2014, 21:45
2010 | EPUB | 5.1MB
The first book to explore the immense cultural contributions of one of America's wealthiest and most influential families: the Rockefellers.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller sparked her family's passion for art, but it was her husband, John D. Rockefeller Jr., who once was hailed as the "greatest friend and patron of the arts since Florence's Lorenzo de Medici." Together and separately they, as well as their descendents, became a major force on the American art scene. The dozen Rockefeller-sponsored museums, including MoMA and the Cloisters, are among the world's finest. Their architectural projects—Rockefeller Center, the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, Lincoln Center—are equally stellar. The family also enriched existing institutions with entire collections of modern, Asian, "primitive," and folk art, in addition to ancient artifacts.
Based on a wealth of information culled from the family's extensive archives, America's Medicis traces the Rockefellers' artistic philanthropies from their beginnings to the present. As author Suzanne Loebl makes clear, the Rockefellers did more than simply provide money and artworks; they also devoted themselves to the causes they believed in—a commitment that helped define and direct America's artistic tastes. In spite of all these material gifts, the Rockefellers' most lasting contribution was to teach America that art does not belong to a rarefied elite, but can be enjoyed and understood by all. Erudite and engaging, America's Medicis is a remarkable account of the twentieth-century American art world and the extraordinary family at its center.
How to Talk Like a Local [EPUB]
15 October 2014, 06:57
2010 | EPUB | 0.6MB
- If you were a Londoner visiting Cornwall would you know how to recognise a grammersow?
- If you were from the West Country and took a trip up to Scotland, would you be bewildered if someone described you as crabbit?
- And what if you left your native Belfast for Liverpool, would you understand if someone called you a woollyback?
How to Talk Like a Local is an entertaining guide that gathers together and explains hundreds of words that you would never find in an ordinary dictionary. From dardledumdue, which means day-dreamer in East Anglia, through forkin robbins, the Yorkshire term for earwigs, to clemt, a Lancashire word that means hungry, it covers the enormously rich variety of regional words that pepper the English language.
Not only does it pick out unique and unusal local words, it also draws together the dozens of terms from all over the country that mean the same thing, such as knee-knabbed, crab-ankled and hurked-up for knock-kneed, and obzocky, butters and maftin for ugly. In addition, it digs down to uncover the origins of these words, tracing their routes in to the language. Many terms meaning left-handed, for example, are related to the Kerr family of Ferniehirst Castle in Scotland, who preferred left-handed warriors. And many seemingly new coinages have been around for centuries, such as chav, which derives from a Romany word meaning child, or scouse, which probably comes from lapskaus, a Norwegian word for a sailors' stew.
If you're intrigued by these colourful words and phrases, if you're interested in how English is really spoken, or if you want to discover how our language has evolved over the years, How to Talk Like a Local will prove irresistible - and enlightening - reading.
Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs [EPUB]
09 October 2014, 04:31
2013 | EPUB | 2.4MB
A career-spanning collection of critical essays and cultural journalism from one of the most acute, entertaining, and sometimes acerbic (but in a good way) critics of our time
From his early-seventies dispatches as a fledgling critic for The Village Voice on rock ’n’ roll, comedy, movies, and television to the literary criticism of the eighties and nineties that made him both feared and famous to his must-read reports on the cultural weather for Vanity Fair, James Wolcott has had a career as a freelance critic and a literary intellectual nearly unique in our time. This collection features the best of Wolcott in whatever guise—connoisseur, intrepid reporter, memoirist, and necessary naysayer—he has chosen to take on.
Included in this collection is “O.K. Corral Revisited,” a fresh take on the famed Norman Mailer–Gore Vidal dustup on The Dick Cavett Show that launched Wolcott from his Maryland college to New York City (via bus) to begin his brilliant career. His prescient review of Patti Smith’s legendary first gig at CBGB leads off a suite of eyewitness and insider accounts of the rise of punk rock, while another set of pieces considers the vast cultural influence of the enigmatic Johnny Carson and the scramble of his late-night successors to inherit the “swivel throne.” There are warm tributes to such diverse figures as Michael Mann, Sam Peckinpah, Lester Bangs, and Philip Larkin and masterly summings-up of the departed giants of American literature—John Updike, William Styron, John Cheever, and Mailer and Vidal. Included as well are some legendary takedowns that have entered into the literary lore of our time.
Critical Mass is a treasure trove of sparkling, spiky prose and a fascinating portrait of our lives and cultural times over the past decades. In an age where a great deal of back scratching and softball pitching pass for criticism, James Wolcott’s fearless essays and reviews offer a bracing taste of the real critical thing.