UCP News

Thousands of (Free) Broadways

January 12, 2011
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Thousands of (Free) Broadways

Have you heard about our free e-book of the month? We’ve already Danced with Anthony Powell, schooled our Bourgeois Virtues, and even evaluated the Best of Roger Ebert. January, christened by Janus, the god of the doorway, what a cruel and miserly Home Depot construction project you’ve turned out to be! Inches of snow, bolting us over into the new year on January 1, the Feast of the Circumcision (I could not make this up). Wulf-monath! Wolf month! I wait for your Burns Night (January 25th) and ponder a month sanctioned National Thank You. No, no: thank you. In the midst of this, seeking the companionship of a book, I look for verse or reckoning: The English critic William Empson’s insight into pastoral is that the need to invent untroubled perfection always springs from anxiety: from suppressed loathing or dread. The dream of ease may be a denial of the nightmare, and therefore by implication a shadowy acknowledgment of it. In a culture notionally built on speed, change, mobility, and expansion, the thought of a quiet, human-scale community has been comforting—a half-real, half-invented shelter, refusing to explode under the successive historical pressures of slavery, economic depression, European war, technological change, . . .

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Another year, in memoriam

December 22, 2010
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Another year, in memoriam

The holidays always have the potential to be a little overwhelming, and in the rush to welcome the latest trends and advances—quite notable this past year, from growing ebook audiences to newly digitized archives—occasionally we miss the opportunity to acknowledge the losses that have also defined our year. We’d like to take a moment to reflect on the very recent passing of two members of the University of Chicago Press community. Muzaffer Atac (1931-2010) was one of the founding scientists of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and longtime head of Fermi’s detector development group, all while working simultaneously as a physics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at Dallas. In a career that spanned 40 years of service with the Department of Energy, Professor Atac played an integral role in the history relayed by Lillian Hoddeson, Adrienne W. Kolb, and Catherine Westfall’s Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience. Fermilab uses the backdrop of the cold war and captures the real human dramas played out by Atac and his colleagues at the cutting edge of science in the twentieth century (you can have a peek at Atac’s powerful legacy via a website devoted to . . .

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A holiday endeavor from Chicago

December 21, 2010
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A holiday endeavor from Chicago

“The days of the digital watch are numbered.”—Tom Stoppard Maybe it’s watching David Ulin’s piece at the Los Angeles Times on the rise of the ebook traffic through the internet, or maybe it’s nostalgia for the numbered days of all sorts of products: Tom Stoppard’s digital watch; Nike’s limited edition, Marty McFly-inspired, self-lacing shoes; or the CD boxed-set of Mariah Carey’s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Collector’s Edition. In any case, it is (afterall, or we jest in the style of our esteemed distributed journals, Afterall) the season of giving. Is your Dance card full? Are you a cinephile in the vein of Jonathan Rosenbaum or do you side with Roger Ebert’s take on Groundhog Day? Do you wring your hands with anxiety about the sensibilities of Mr. and Mrs. Adams? Holidays have you feeling down? Probably not as down—or as pathos-driven—as Last Words of the Executed. Did you know that all of these books, along with many more Chicago favorites, are available in (highly portable! low cost!) electronic editions? And now, through December 31st, enter the promotional code EBK2010 in your shopping cart to receive a 30% discount on any ebook published by the University of Chicago Press. Happy . . .

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The Ballad of the Lonely Marketeer

December 10, 2010
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The Ballad of the Lonely Marketeer

‘Twas the night before editing class, when all through the house,Not a Tumblr was stirring, not even about Leo Strauss.Our Manual was hung by the Craigslist chair with care,In hopes that substantive freelance projects soon would be there. Its semicolons were nestled, all snug in their beds,While visions of in-line text citations danced in their heads.And yoga instructor partner in his ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,Had just settled our auto-insurance claim before a between blogging nap. When from the publicist in Reference Division there arose such a clatter,I sprang to The Chicago Manual of Style to see what was the matter.Away to my (still standing!) 2006 MacBook Core-Duo I flew like a flash,Tore open my freeware version of Word and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of Chicago’s (seriously?) ten inches of snow,Gave lustre to the bags of Fiery Hot Cheetos on the sidewalk below.When, what to my wondering eyes should appear?But a miniature CMoS, available for download here. With such masterful copyediting (what symphonic soundtrack? Mahler?),I thought for certain it must be trademark Carol Fisher Saller.More rapid than in our Online Q & A, the pithy one-liners came,And mini-CMoS whistled, and shouted, and called them . . .

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Top Five or Ten: On the Digital Humanities

November 18, 2010
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Top Five or Ten: On the Digital Humanities

And with this whimsical title, we introduce a new Chicago Blog feature: the Top Five or Ten, a collection of materials occasionally preceding eleven and following nine—the Fermat prime, if you will, or the, um, bell that tolls multiple times for thee—geared for a day when you need a bit of neurotic listmaking in your life. Sometimes we double your pleasure (“Ten”) and other times we streamline your attention span (“Five”). That said, let’s inaugurate, shall we? On the heels of Patricia Cohen’s well-charted NYT piece on the digital humanities and Press author Dan Edelstein’s forward-thinking response, we’d like to point you towards five wholly relevant recent books that chart these brave new methodologies and help us to make sense of developments in the liberal arts and their bright digital future: Drumroll, please (and in no particular order): Lydia H. Liu’s The Freudian Robot: Digital Media and the Future of the Unconscious (forthcoming, January 2011) Liu’s book offers a rigorous study of the politics of digital writing and their fateful entanglement with Mr. Freud, from avant-garde literary experiments to the postphonetic and ideographic system of digital media. #literary theory #cybernetics #Joyce #neurotic machines N. Katherine Hayles’s My Mother Was a . . .

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Thursday, child, full of woe!

November 11, 2010
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Thursday, child, full of woe!

Thursday’s the perfect day for a wrap-up—good ol’ Thunor’s Day, Donderdag, or as Truman Capote had Holly Golightly put it best in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “‘Thursday.’ She stood up. ‘My God,’ she said, and sat down again with a moan. ‘It’s too gruesome.'” Gruesome or not, *it is* almost Friday. And with that in mind, we’d like to proliferate a few news items and multimedia ephemera in what we hope will become a Chicago ritual: the wrap-up on the day that is not the day that wraps things up. Onward! With Veterans Day still weighing on hearts and minds, David Royko has reposted his father Mike Royko’s classic Veterans Day column from 1993. Many know the legend of Mike Royko, Newspaperman, but few are familiar with the tender naiveté Royko exhibited in his Air Force days, via the exchange of letters with his sweetheart (and later wife) Carol Duckman that became Royko in Love: Mike’s Letters to Carol. In unavoidably idiosyncratic news outside of scholarly publishing that we just can’t help touching upon: the Guardian and now People and the Los Angeles Times report the heroic, years-old tale of porpoises rescuing a sleeping, surfboard-helming Dick Van Dyke somewhere in the . . .

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A parting

August 27, 2010
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On the Chicago blog, we usually stick to news of our books and authors—that, after all, is what a publisher’s blog is for. Today, however, we’d like to break from that for a moment to offer thanks and good wishes to the colleague who has been an eloquent voice on this blog for the past few years, Stephanie Hlywak. Stephanie is leaving us today after seven years, and she’ll be missed, perhaps nowhere more than in this very space, where her inventiveness, eye for a story, and ready wit have been responsible for giving the Chicago blog much of its panache. We wish her the best of luck as she takes up a job at the Poetry Foundation, where she’ll continue the good work of promoting books and literature to the world at large. At times like these, people have turned for centuries to the Ancients, and we would be remiss if we did any less. So as we wave goodbye, we’ll let Seneca have the floor, in an excerpt from a letter of advice to young Nero Caesar, as translated by Robert A. Kaster in our new volume, Anger, Mercy, Revenge: You can boldly make this declaration, Caesar: all . . .

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Stuart Brent, 1912-2010

June 26, 2010
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Stuart Brent, who for fifty years personified independent bookselling in Chicago, died Thursday at the age of 98. He attended the University of Chicago where he earned a degree in education before service in the Army in World War II. After the war he opened a small bookshop on Rush Street that he called the Seven Stairs, for the number of steps it took to descend to its door. A few years later he moved to a larger space at 670 North Michigan Avenue which became the Chicago readers’ destination Stuart Brent Books. The ground floor was stocked with a well-crafted selection of literary fiction, art books, and essential non-fiction, with a tilt toward titles in psychology and psychoanalysis. The lower level was devoted to children’s books. He was a bookseller of the most independent sort: well-read, opinionated, and willing (or more) to shape his customers’ reading habits. Over the course of his fifty years in the business, bookselling became ever more concentrated in the mall stores, superstores, and virtual stores of billion dollar corporations. The books stocked in Stuart Brent Books were chosen by a personality, not an algorithm. Brent was also an author: of Seven Stairs, a memoir . . .

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The Press Congratulates the Guggenheim Fellows

April 16, 2010
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The Press Congratulates the Guggenheim Fellows

Yesterday, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced its eighty-sixth class of fellows. Among those honored with the prestigious award were a number of familiar faces at the Press. We recognize and congratulate each below. Andrew Apter, professor of history and anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles, studies ritual, memory, and indigenous knowledge. He has published three books with the University of Chicago Press—including Black Critics and Kings: The Hermeneutics of Power in Yoruba Society and The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria; in his most recent book, Beyond Words: Discourse and Critical Agency in Africa, Apter confronts colonialist depictions of Africa in the discipline of anthropology and develops an ethnographic practice that transcends the politics of the continent’s imperial past. A professor of sociology at Northwestern University, Gary Alan Fine has published six book with the University of Chicago Press, covering topics from little league baseball to outsider art. His most recent book, Authors of the Storm: Meteorologists and the Culture of Prediction, takes us inside Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma and the National Weather Service in Washington, D.C, to see first hand how meteorologists and forecasters predict the weather. Though perhaps best known . . .

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Free e-book of the month

November 5, 2009
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Free e-book of the month

Beginning this month we will offer a free e-book each month. If you’d like to give our Chicago Digital Editions a try, or if you just want to score some good reads, check in regularly for the free e-book of the month. And for all our currently available e-books, see our list of e-books by subject. This month’s selection is The Birthday Book by the Roman writer Censorinus. Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Roman scholar Censorinus bestowed upon his best friend a charming birthday present: The Birthday Book, which appears here in its long-awaited first English translation. Laying out everything he knew about birthdays, the book starts simply, but by the conclusion of this brief yet brilliant gem, Censorinus has sketched a glorious vision of a universe ruled by harmony and order, where the microcosm of the child in the womb corresponds to the macrocosm of the planets. Alternately serious and playful, Censorinus touches on music, history, astronomy, astrology, and every aspect of time as it was understood in third-century Rome. He also provides ancient answers to perennial questions: Why does the day begin at midnight? Where did Leap Year come from? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? . . .

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