It's been a long time coming, but here is the 15th issue of the 1Lit ezine. We sincerely apologise for not having having sent out the newsletter in the last few months. We have been suffering financial difficulties and have had to focus on revenue-generating commercial projects.
Thankfully, the most difficult period is behind us and we hope that 2002 will see the dawning of a new era in the development of 1Lit. To the many readers who wrote in asking what had happened to 1Lit, our reply has always been: we have big plans for this publication. It will continue to evolve, and become better each issue (we hope).
Indeed, we used the sales of some of online assets to go on a spending spree over the summer. Not only do we now hold the domain name 1Lit.com, but we purchased 1Lit.co.uk, 1Lit.us and 1Lit.net.
It does not please us to state this but, in a trend which has been apparent since the beginning of the last century, 2002 saw literature own an even thinner slice of the leisure-market cake. The few commercial television stations which devoted programme to books or authors have replaced them with the likes of Big Brother and Popstars; 'intellectual' programming is more than ever the preserve of public service broadcasters.
The net, which some analysts predicted (or prayed?) might rekindle an interest in the written word, too, is abandoning books and any form of written expression unless it is focussed (with appalling spelling) on Kylie Minogue's derriere or the possibility that David Beckham is having an affair. The number of major portals devoting space to books is on a perpetual decline and even online stores have decided to focus more on CDs and DVDs, which are more glamorous and profitable, at the expense of books.
1Lit has published articles in the past bemoaning the book industry's antiqued practices and inability of both authors and publishers to face up to reality that we are living in 2002 not 1902 - compare a £4/€6 glossy magazine to a book costing the same amount and you'll see what we mean. Society is in awe of all things popular, for which you can read 'dumb', and the book industry is not solely to blame, but isn't it time for all concerned to take a good hard look in the mirror when it has become fashionable for successful people to say "I don't read books"?
Anyway, on we march towards our December issue. As always, feel free to get in touch with our friendly staff should you wish to get anything off your chest. A Merry Christmas to all our readers and thank-you for sticking with us - keep an eye out for our exclusive pictures of Zadie Smith sunbathing in the south of France in the next issue out on 1 February!
Nadeem Azam, 1Lit.com
1. News: Poetry magazine strikes gold; Alexandre Dumas rebuired in lavish ceremony; new children's literature site
2. Features: American student bloopers
3. Reviews: The Nazi Terror and The Real Odessa 4. Recommended websites: Christmas gifts
5. Competition: Subscriber Monthly Prize Draw Winner
============ NEWS ============
Poetry magazine gets $100 million from poet it repeatedly turned down
America’s most reputable poetry magazine has received a multimillion-dollar gift from the woman whose verse it refused to publish.
Ruth Lilly, 87, heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, first started sending poems to the small but influential Poetry magazine in the early 70s, yet received only handwritten rejection notes for her efforts. Editor Joe Parisi thought her poems "good, but not up to the standards of a monthly known for running the works of titans of 20th century poetry, including William Butler Yeats, W.H. Auden and Dylan Thomas." However, Lilly "did not take personally" the rejections, her solicitor said.
On November 15, at a dinner party to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Poetry, Parisi announced that Lilly has bequeathed the magazine millions of dollars a year under a new estate plan covering thirty years. "Ruth Lilly has ensured our existence into perpetuity," the editor said. The exact amount of the gift – no strings attached – will fluctuate with the value of Eli Lilly stock, but the first payment, in January, should be about $10 million. In the course of the 30 years, her gift could be worth from $100 to 150 million.
It is "by far the largest single donation ever made to an institution devoted to poetry," stated Parisi. He told reporters Poetry magazine has "definite plans" for using Lilly's staggering gift which will turn the shoe-string four-man operation into one of the world's richest magazines. They include obtaining new quarters, expanding their list of publications, creating educational programs, and hiring the best poets to lead workshops.
But Parisi emphasized: "We're not going to be profligate; we're going to leverage this money to make it go farther. I would not suggest anyone call, anytime soon, and ask for $10,000 - though we've already received many such calls, it's been crazy."
"Its a real mind-blower," said the United States' poet laureate, Billy Collins, who was at the dinner. "Poetry has always had the reputation as being the poor little match girl of the arts. Well, the poor little match girl just hit the lottery."
Poetry magazine was founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe. It has published work by some of the most important poets of the 20th century, including T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens. It pays poets a flat rate of $2 a line, whether they are Nobel laureates or graduate students, and has a monthly circulation of 12,000.
Ms Lilly, a publicity-shy philanthropist, has previously established the $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and has sponsored two annual fellowships via Poetry magazine, as well as a professorship in poetry at Indiana University.
Links: Poetry Magazine - fortune has blessed the highly-regarded Chicago-based journal
1Lit.com - click to email editor of 1Lit if you would like to donate $100 million (or $100)
Lavish reburial for Three Musketeers author
French President Jacques Chirac has presided over a torch-lit ceremony to re-bury the body of French writer Alexandre Dumas in the Pantheon in Paris.
The elaborate ceremony marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the 19th-century author, famous for his swashbuckling romances, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Man in the Iron Mask.
His remains had been exhumed last week from his home town north-east of Paris. Yesterday, on 30 November, Dumas' coffin was borne through the streets of Paris as crowds waved copies of his novels.
Dumas's coffin now joins the likes of Victor Hugo and Emile Zola, interred in the Pantheon, the mausoleum of France's heroes. It will lie in state for a few days so visitors can pay their respects.
Dumas was the son of an army general who served under Napoleon and the grandson of a French colonist and a black slave from present-day Haiti.
He left more than 300 plays, novels and travel journals, which have made him the most widely read French author in the world. The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, his most popular works, have been made into countless films.
An ardent republican, Dumas spent many of his later years in Italy, where he became friends with Giuseppe Garibaldi, the father of that country's unification movement.
Links: The Dumas Society - English version of site dedicated to the French Man of Letters
Google News - Dumas, whose death was almost ignored in 1870, is now hitting the headlines on hundreds of news sites
Ground-breaking website gives free access to children's books
A new website was launched on 21 November that will make thousands of children's books from 100 different cultures available for free to internet-savvy kids.
The International Children's Digital Library, which aims to improve reading and learning skills while teaching children about other cultures, will eventually hold about 10,000 books for children aged between 3 and 13.
The site is the work of designers at the University of Maryland and San Francisco-based non-profit group The Internet Archive. Although the site has been launched, it won't be completed for another five years.
Children played an important role in developing the website, telling researchers what designs and icons appealed to them most. The designers responded to their request for special indexes for browsing funny or scary stories.
The site has officially debuted with 200 titles from more than 27 cultures in more than 15 different languages. Access to the library initially requires a high speed internet connection, such as a cable modem or ADSL line. Those connecting by phone modems will be able to access the site in summer 2003.
Old time subscribers will remember our collections of hilarious Bushisms in 2000. Well, it's not just the American President who could do with reading a book or two, as this collection of amusing bloopers collected by teachers from students at American higher schools, colleges and universities shows.
Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.
The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked, "Am I my brother's son?"
Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.
The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.
Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.
In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java.
Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus."
Another story was William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.
Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted, "hurrah."
It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. And Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100 foot clipper.
============= BOOK REVIEWS =============
A Wicked, Wicked World
The Nazi Terror by Eric Johnson
January 2003, Granta Books
The Real Odessa by Uki Goni
February 2002, John Murray
Two days before he blew his brains out in order to speed his exit to Valhalla, Hitler put a fatherly arm around one of his secretaries. They were in the Berlin bunker. Outside 300,000 Russian troops had already fallen in the battle for Berlin. He asked her to take down his will and have three copies ready by the next day.
The secretary is still alive today and has fond memories of the Führer: "a considerate boss - fatherly". The will is outrightly racist and Hitler's testament to his fleeing, murderous disciples. But at least the aging lady who worked for Hitler is not in denial, as so many other living witnesses still seem to be.
So the paperback edition of Eric Johnson's The Nazi Terror is timely. It is a detailed study of three areas in western Germany: Cologne, Krefeld and Bergheim, and how their solid citizens reacted and related to their Nazi state. The conclusions are damning: their passivity or active support of the National Socialists has been well documented in tomes like Hitler's Willing Executioners.
Indeed, in August 1933, 85 percent of Germans voted to give Hitler and his murderous henchmen an extraordinary set of unrestricted powers.
Just as Saddam Hussein has already made arrangements to go into exile in Libya, as early as 1943, when the Russians won at Stalingrad, the more astute Nazis started looking around for escape routes and a safe haven should their plans for world domination not come to fruition.
The horrifying thing is that they found assistance from the Roman Catholic church and the regime of Juan and 'Saint' Evita Peron in Argentina. In The Real Odessa by the Argentian writer Uki Goni, an amazing tale of greed, intrigue and skulduggery unfolds. Ratlines were set up by greedy politicians in Franco's Spain, Switzerland and Scandinavia. But most complicit in enabling the Nazi hierarchy to escape was the Vatican church and the religious orders dominated around the Dominicans, Franciscans and Salisians. The revised paperback edition of this book, out on 23 January 2003, includes a new afterward providing further evidence of the Vatican's complicity in providing sanctuary and escape for war criminals.
Argentina would be the new fortress of Christian civilisation. It would challenge the Communist menace streaming behind th advancing Red Army. General Perod scooped up Nazi rocket scientists and aircraft designers and the dregs of German and Croatian Nazi thuggery. Of course, many of the 'refugees' were loaded with loot, gold bars and national reserve currencies, which helped. Amongst the more notorious were Klaus Barbi, the Butcher of Lyons, Dr Josef Mengele with a case of body parts from his Auschwitz experiments, and Adolf Eichmann, who the Israeli secret service eventually kidnapped, tired and executed in Jerusalem in 1960.
All this, of course, went on against the background of the Cold War among former wartime allies. The US and the UK turned a blind eye to many former war criminals who they believed would be useful to them. Brazen Nazis stood in de-nazification courts and demanded their pensions - and more often than not, got them.
The Real Odessa is a courageous account of a corrupt Argentinian regime which absorbed and comforted some of the most wicked men of the 20th century, aided and abetted by those who claimed to be spiritual lights of the planet. Uncomfortable to remember.
The Nazi Terror by Eric Johnson is available from Amazon UK, France and Germany.
The Real Odessa by Uki Goni is available from Amazon UK, France and Germany.
Amazon is the perfect place to buy Christmas presents. They are offering significant reductions and free postage on orders over £39 or €20 before 15 December. Click on the relevant link below to visit Amazon UK or Germany.
When shopping online most people understandably head to the giants of e-tailing such as Amazon or the websites of established high street companies such as WHSmith; after all, you want to make sure your order arrives. But not only do these bland stores lack the more unusual and enchanting items you ought to consider giving at this magical time of year, their prices can often be beaten by more specialised merchants.
We have found three little stores that between them are sure to have something for everyone on your gift list. If you only have time to check out one of them, we would urge you to visit World Vision's unique Great-Gifts.org which helps raise smiles on the faces of long-suffering people in the third world.
The most innovative gift site we've ever come across. World Vision's charity store gets truly into the Christmas spirit by encouraging you to purchase desperately-needed gifts for people in the third world. You may, for instance, put ten chickens into the hands of a family in Uganda or Honduras and revolutionise people's lives for what would be considered a relatively small amount of money by most Europeans. You nominate a friend or family member in whose name the gift is offered and he or she receives a personalised gift card to inform them of the donation. Raise smiles all around!
Great Gifts - buy presents for less fortunate people from deprived countries
Find Me a Gift
Need to buy something for that friend or relative who seems to have absolutely everything? This site might have just the thing. Find-me-a-gift.com is the place to look for the difficult-to-buy-for person. It's easy to search around as the gifts are divided into categories: men, women, home, designer gallery, health & beauty, wedding, seasonal, special offers. There are over 300 unusual items such as the heart shaped hot water bottle for £4.25 / €6.80 and, at the top end of the scale, a remote controlled helicopter at £250 / €400.
Mankind is a Surrey-based online store offering premium brand male grooming products. They have sourced an exclusive selection of skin, shaving, hair care and body products from around the world. If you make an order, ask on the Shopping Cart page for samples and they'll send you some freebies. We tested their customer support by emailing them a couple of questions and were impressed to receive a reply within three hours.
Every issue we award one of our subscribers the top ten bestselling books at Amazon UK. The winner this Christmas is Andrew Browne from London. He'll receive ten bestselling books (top five fiction and five non-fiction).
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