Best Selling Books by Gail Holst-Warhaft

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release date: Nov 01, 2017
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The House by the River

The first novel by acclaimed Greek writer Lena Manta to appear in English translation, The House by the River is an intimate, emotionally powerful saga following five young women as they realize that no matter the men they choose, the careers they pursue, or the children they raise, the only constant is home.

Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever—they’re too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return.

A devoted and resilient mother, Theodora has lived through World War II, through the Nazi occupation of Greece, and through her husband’s death, and now she endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives—they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her—and each other—more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they’ve forgotten their childhood house in its tiny village, or will their broken hearts finally lead them home?

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release date: Jan 01, 1998
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Aeschylus, 2 : The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, the Suppliants, Prometheus Bound (Penn Greek Drama Series)

The Penn Greek Drama Series presents original literary translations of the entire corpus of classical Greek drama: tragedies, comedies, and satyr plays. It is the only contemporary series of all the surviving work of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander.

This final volume of the tragedies of Aeschylus relates the historic defeat and dissolution of the Persian Empire on the heels of Xerxes disastrous campaign to subdue Greece, the struggle between the two sons of Oedipus for the throne of Thebes, the story of fifty daughters who seek asylum from their uncle, the king of Egypt, because of his demand that they marry his sons, and the well-known tale of the proud and unrepentant Prometheus, who is chained to a massive rock for revealing fire and hope to humankind.

Translations are by David Slavitt (Persians), Stephen Sandy (Seven Against Thebes), Gail Holst-Warhaft (The Suppliants), and William Matthews (Prometheus Bound).

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release date: Feb 01, 1996
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Achilles' Fiancée (Modern Greek Writers)
The book has received the 2002 Premio Acerbi in Italy.

Set in Paris sometime after the 1967 military coup in Greece. Eleni, together with a group of friends and fellow political exiles, finds herself working as an extra in a French film: "The Horror Train". It is not the first time she has been caught up in a deadly drama, nor is it her first ride on a horror train. As the director waves his arms, shouting directions and re-shooting the sequence, Eleni's mind wanders to her first train ride: "Athens-Piraeus. My first long journey by train." "You're Eleni? I'm Achilles." "They don't ask which Achilles. One name is enough..."

For the rest of her life, Eleni will be "Achilles' fiancée"; fiancée of the guerrilla leader, the brave, handsome kapetanios whose code name is Achilles. In the demonstrations against the German occupiers of Greece during World War II, in prison where she risks a death sentence during the civil war that followed, in Tashkent where Greek communists fled as political refugees and eventually, in Paris. But throughout, Eleni acquires her own personality with self-determination and independent thinking. As she begins to question the slogans she used to fight for when she blindly followed the leaders of the Party like her fianc, Eleni involves us in her own private world of self-awareness. It is a woman's world, where human warmth and friendships count for more than abstract ideals.

The Greek word for a novel is mythistorema, a word that combines myth and history. In her story of a young woman's struggle to survive through a hard period of Greek history, Alki Zei has woven the threads of her own quasi-mythical life into the stuff of history.

The novel Achilles' Fiancée has been a top-selling book since it was first published in Greece in 1987. It has also been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Danish and Turkish.

"Alki Zei has written history like masters do, gingerly and discreetly." ."

Sofia Castellanos, A Cubierta Libros, 2014

"Achilles' Fiancée is a superb book that has marked Greece's modern literature."

Demosthene Kourtovic, Scholiastis magazine, 2012

"Good books do not become outdated with time. They are read by new generations of readers, as if they are new every time."

Yannis Papatheodorou, Diavazo Magazine, 2012

"Between the lines of the narrative, important issues regarding human dignity and substance, self- determination and freedom, faith and ideology, are touched."

George Theocharis, Book Press, 2012

"The narrative becomes immediately compelling because the author manages to convert a biographical story into a collective issue."

Anna Paini, Libreria delle Donne di Milano, 1998

Achilles' Fiancée, With a Faber Number Two Pencil and Wildcat under Glass form a sort of trilogy in which 50 years of Greek history is covered by Alki Zei's exquisite and distinguished narrative.

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release date: Nov 07, 2016
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The Fall of Athens
The Fall of Athens reflects the bleak state of present-day Athens and reminds the reader that there is nothing new about Greece’s suffering. Combining present observations with portraits of the Greek musicians and writers, Holst-Warhaft’s book is both a peon of praise for the music and poetry that the author first discovered in the Greece of the 1960’s, and a reminder of how much the country has changed since it returned to democracy in 1974. Having played in the orchestras of such legends as Mikis Theodorakis and Dionysis Savvopoulos, the author had a bird’s eye view of 20th century Greek music at its apogee. Translating Greek poetry and prose later brought her in close contact with some of the leading writers of the period. With the discovery of Greek music and poetry came the forging of lasting friendships with these giants of Greek culture. This eclectic compilation of poetry, prose, translation, memoir, and songs captures the enigmatic, hybrid nature of Greece, a country that has always had the ability to create extraordinary beauty out of suffering.
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release date: Jul 01, 1996
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release date: Jun 15, 1995
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Dangerous Voices: Women's Laments and Greek Literature
In Dangerous Voices Holst-Warhaft investigates the power and meaning of the ancient lament, especially women's mourning of the dead, and sets out to discover why legislation was introduced to curb these laments in antiquity. An investigation of laments ranging from New Guinea to Greece suggests that this essentially female art form gave women considerable power over the rituals of death. The threat they posed to the Greek state caused them to be appropriated by male writers including the tragedians. Holst-Warhaft argues that the loss of the traditional lament in Greece and other countries not only deprives women of their traditional control over the rituals of death but leaves all mourners impoverished.
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release date: Jun 30, 2000
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The Cue for Passion: Grief and Its Political Uses

Having set aside age-old ways of mourning, how do people in the modern world cope with tragic loss? Using traditional mourning rituals as an instructive touchstone, Gail Holst-Warhaft explores the ways sorrow is managed in our own times and how mourning can be manipulated for social and political ends.

Since ancient times political and religious authorities have been alert to the dangerously powerful effects of communal expressions of grief--while valuing mourning rites as a controlled outlet for emotion. But today grief is often seen as a psychological problem: the bereaved are encouraged to seek counseling or take antidepressants. At the same time, we have witnessed some striking examples of manipulation of shared grief for political effect. One instance is the unprecedented concentration on recovery of the remains of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. In Buenos Aires the Mothers of the Disappeared forged the passion of their grief into a political weapon. Similarly the gay community in the United States, transformed by grief and rage, not only lobbied effectively for AIDS victims but channeled their emotions into fresh artistic expression.

It might be argued that, in contrast to earlier cultures, modern society has largely abdicated its role in managing sorrow. But in The Cue for Passion we see that some communities, moved by the intensity of their grief, have utilized it to gain ground for their own agendas.

release date: Jul 01, 2006
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The Collected Poems of Nikos Kavadias (The Modern Greek Literature Library)
Modern Greeks dominate the world's merchant marine; ancient Greeks like Homer's Odysseus sailed the Mediterranean and beyond. But what do we know about shipboard life? Not much. Reading Kavadias fills this emptiness. He spent his adult life sailing world-wide and writing poems about monsoons, cats dying on shipboard, masts snapping in two, dream-girls or disgusting whores on shore, and fleas jumping off one's pubic hair. "In this fo'c'sle," he laments, "I ruined my calm self / and killed my tender childhood soul. / But I never gave up my obstinate dream, / and the sea, when it roars, tells me a lot." Scrupulously translated, these accessible poems will tell landlubbers a lot about life on the winedark sea. -Peter Bien, Translator of Nikos Kazantzakis and Stratis Myrivilis
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release date: Jun 01, 2007
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Penelope's Confession
Gail Holst-Warhaft has long been one of our leading interpreters of ancient and modern Greek life, literature, and music. Author of Road to Rembetika (1975, 2nd ed. 2005), Theodorakis: Myth and Politics in Modern Greek Music (1980), and Dangerous Voices: Women's Laments and Greek Literature (1992), translator of The Collected Poems of Nikos Kavadias (1987) and I Had Three Lives: Selected Poems of Mikis Theodorakis (2004), she now emerges as a poet in her own right. It would be her best work - the narrow ship bristling with tiny black oars dipped in an indigo sea .... The poet's judgement of Penelope's tapestry may well prove to be true of Penelope's Confession. Half a lifetime labouring at their lonely crafts, both women have waited (a key verb in these poems) until their work can do justice to their experience of love and loss, tenderness and cruelty. Holst-Warhaft's Penelope is a triumph of imaginative possession as, listening for the voice of the lonely weaver, she liberates her own. If this does not prove to be her 'best work', what follows will be worth the wait, however long. - Jon Stallworthy ( The Guest from the Future, Anzac Sonata, editor, Norton Anthology of Poetry) With the publication of Penelope's Confession, Gail Holst-Warhaft has established herself as among the finest poets of her generation. Hers is a unique voice, a subtle meld of the lyrical and reflective, each reinforcing the other, leaving an impression that, unlike much of the poetry being written today, does not evaporate with the reading. - David Solway Franklin's Passage (Grand prix de literature de Montreal), Modern Marriage).
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release date: Nov 18, 2016
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Losing Paradise: The Water Crisis in the Mediterranean (Voices in Development Management)
Taking a uniquely interdisciplinary view of the Eastern Mediterranean region's water problems, this book considers some of the technical and regulatory solutions being proposed or implemented to solve the difficulties of diminished or polluted water supplies. Stressing the importance of traditional and historical cultural understanding in addressing the water crisis, the authors demonstrate that what is required is an integrated legal, social and scientific management system appropriate to each country's stage of development and their cultural heritage. Using case studies from Lebanon, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Greece, Jordan and Cyprus, the authors focus on the urgency of the present crisis faced by each country and the need for cooperation. The suggested solutions also serve as a paradigm for the rest of the world as it faces similar issues of water shortage.
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