Friday Catalogs: Soft Skull/Counterpoint

Here’s what caught my attention as I browsed Soft Skull and Counterpoint’s Winter 2008 catalog.


Lydia Millett fans will be happy to know that she has a new book out, How the Dead Dream. The cover features an extreme close-up of what I think is a T. Rex face, and the book deals with a supercharged LA estate developer named T. who eventually takes a "Conradesque"
journey up a tropical island river. Pubbing in January.

Counterpoint is publishing two new books from the late Donald Barthelme. Not-Knowing (February) is a book of essays and interviews. The Teachings of Don B. (February)seems like a hodgepodge: satires, fables, illustrated stories, and plays. The big news here is that Teachings features a foreword by Thomas Pynchon.

Another Barthelme, recently published by Shoemaker and Hoard, is Flying to America, a collection of previously uncollected and/or unpublished stories.


Although I don’t know much about the author, I’m intrigued by The Devil Gets His Due, a collection of Leslie Fiedler’s essays. The copy calls him a popular essayist in Europe who broke down barriers between high and low cinema, literature, and history. Pubbing in March.

And lastly there’s Reproduce and Revolt. This book is a collection of street-savvy political graphics, but since everything in it is open source, anyone can use the included images in whatever they want. Available.


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The Teachings of Don B actually came out in 92, I think. I like it a lot.
I would also think that Fiedler is equally popular in America.

Fielder’s not European, he was born in Newark. Ross Posnock published a good piece about him in Bookforum called “Innocents at Home,” available online. The Wikipedia entry about him sums up his influential 1948 Partisan review essay, “Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Huck Honey!”

both the barthelme books are re-issues with new intros.
very excited regardless.

It’s sad when Leslie Fielder, author of Love and Death in the American Novel,is remembered, if at all, as perhaps a European critic or as the author of a now obscure article. In fact, Fiedler was one of the most brilliant critics of his time as well as being an anti-war activist when we was a professor at SUNY-Buffalo in the Sixties. I’m glad to hear he’s being resurrected, at least in part and encourage all to read him carefully.

xmattxyzx wrote:
>The Teachings of Don B actually came out in 92, I think.
Yeah, both of the Barthelme’s are re-issues. Not-Knowing came out in 97.

mike wrote:
>both the barthelme books are re-issues with new intros.
The intros are the same as prior editions: Barth (N-k) and Pynchon (Teachings).

I used to want to be Leslie Fiedler! Seriously, though, in my estimation probably one of the best cultural critics of his generation. Certainly the best writer. Managed to be smart and avant garde without being obscure (not to say obtuse) in the fashion of too many literary and cultural theorists of the past thirty years. The closest I’ve seen to literary criticism becoming a form of literature itself.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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