“Günter Grass, who has died aged 87, was Germany’s best-known postwar novelist, a man of titanic energy and zest who, besides his fiction-writing, enjoyed the cut and thrust of political debate and relaxed by drawing, painting and making sculptures. Bursting on to the literary scene with his bestselling novel The Tin Drum in 1959, Grass spent his life reminding his compatriots of the darkest time in their history, the crimes of the Nazi period, as well as challenging them on the triumphalism of unification in 1990, which he described as the annexation of East Germany by West Germany in which many citizens became victims.
He was always controversial, and sometimes bitterly attacked by critics at home for discussing German victimhood as well as German guilt. Outside his country he was, inevitably, called Germany’s postwar conscience, a label he shared with the older writer Heinrich Böll. In 1999, much later than expected, he won the Nobel prize for literature. The Scandinavian judges praised his “creative irreverence” and “cheerful destructiveness”.”
The Merry Family, Jan Havicksz. Steen, 1668, oil on canvas, h 110.5cm × w 141cm. From the Rijksmuseum: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en
Need to find good quality images for your presentations or papers? Come to the Finding Images workshop to learn how use the library’s image databases, books, and public domain/open access image websites to find high quality images in all different subject areas including art, advertising, journalism, popular culture and more. Presentation tips, copyright, and tech tools will be also briefly be covered. 9/26/14 @ 2PM in Alkek 101. Register here.
This is the first ever scholarly, primary-source database focused on comic books and graphic novels. Works of artists both celebrated and overlooked, alongside interviews, criticism, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this artform. The aim ofthis collection is to provide a comprehensive view of alternative comics from the 1960s to today, particularly those from North America.
You can make playlists of different themes and save, share, or present them for classes.
Includes online access to The Comics Journal from 1976-2004, which we also have a print subscription to.
This database was funded by an Alkek Library One-Time Online Resource Grant. I am very excited to announce it to you all! Learn more about One-Time Online Resource Grants available for faculty and librarians to apply for.
Since publishing his first novel, Our House in the Last World, in 1983, Oscar Hijuelos has become an increasingly popular figure in contemporary American literature. Our House tells the story of the Santinio family coming to New York City from Cuba in the 1940s. Hijuelos didn’t have to look far to find the inspiration for his tale of Cuban immigrants; his parents emigrated from Cuba and settled in New York City, where Hijuelos was born in 1951.
At the center of Our House is Hector Santinio, who must attempt to come to terms with the inability of his mother and father to adjust easily to life in America. The struggle of this family to deal with the memories of Cuba (“the last world”) is at the center of this tragic story of love and loss. Cultural identity is another theme in this novel. Santinio family members must try to maintain their Cuban heritage while assimilating into American culture. Critics have applauded Hijuelos’s rich descriptions of life in Cuba and his ability to incorporate elements of magical realism (a Latin literary tradition) into the novel. Despite the initial positive critical attention given to Hijuelos for this novel, Our House in the Last World achieved only spotty commercial success.
Published in 1989, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love provided Hijuelos with both commercial and critical success. Most notably, the novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1990, the first time a Cuban-American was awarded the prize. The Mambo Kings continues the theme of the search for cultural identity that is present in Our House in the Last World. The reader is introduced to the Castillo brothers, Nestor and Cesar, who have emigrated to New York City. Framed by the narrative of Nestor’s son, Eugenio, we are told the story of Nestor and Cesar’s immigration from Havana and their search for the American dream in the 1950s. Driven by a desire to preserve some sense of their Cuban identity, the brothers form an orchestra known as the Mambo Kings. Through this orchestra Cesar and Nestor gain some fame, but the success isn’t enough to help them overcome their sense of longing for their native Cuba. Critics had plenty of good words for this novel; Hijuelos was praised, particularly, for his romantic descriptions of Cuban culture and for the sometimes lyrical language of the novel. The novel gained further attention when it was made into a motion picture (in both English and Spanish).
We take books and freedom of expression for granted while at the same time often denying their influence on real life (it’s just a story!).
But consider throughout history, conquerors from the Romans to religious fanatics of all kinds (the list is long) have burned libraries and banned languages, knowing this is the ultimate way to control people.
Freedom to think is the power to choose your own narratives, and perhaps different ones than some would prefer.
LibX is a Firefox extension that provides lets you search the Alkek Library Catalog or search the database WorldCat. WorldCat searches all the library catalogs in the world. It was created by the Virgina Tech University Libraries and Department of Computer Science and then adapted for Alkek Library by our own librarians.
Texas literary legend John Graves, perhaps best known for the book Goodbye To A River, has died. Goodbye to a River was recently chosen a few years ago for the Common Experience reading. The book recounts Graves’s journey down the Brazos river before it was damned.