Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Americans - A Classic by Robert Frank republished in Germany in English, German and Chinese 美国人

The Americans
in German, "Die Amerikaner"
and in Chinese "美国人".
I got this book for my birthday this past December.

If you are down about the American economy and the prospects for 2009 and beyond, don't be. Take a look at this book - and at this first link about that book - to see how greatly much of America has changed in the 50+ years since the mid-1950's. Obama's America in 2009 is a vastly different place than shown in the photographs in "The Americans".

As written by Philip Gefter at the New York Times (Art & Design section online):

"“The Americans,” [is] an intimate visual chronicle of common people in ordinary situations drawn from several trips he made through his adopted country in the mid-1950s."

The Americans, by Robert Frank, a classic photographic study of the United States in the 1950's, was first published May 15, 1958, by Robert Delpire in Paris, followed by an English edition in 1959 via Grove Press in New York, in which the original French language by Alain Bosquet about American history was replaced by an introduction and captions in English by Jack Kerouac.

As written at aloHAA:

"The end result [of Frank's photographic journey through the USA in the 1950's] was the 83 images in the book that no American publisher would touch. It took a Frenchman, Robert Delpire, to publish “Les Americains” in 1958. Progressive publisher Barney Rosset produced the first American edition under his Grove Press the following year. Frank revealed a harsh, sometimes divided America that was a lot different from the rah-rah ’50s dream of “Father Knows Best.” His out-of-the-box compositions paved the way for William Eggleston’s profound color images of America that have garnered unanimous applause in the Whitney’s William Eggleston: Democratic Camera.” “No one has had a greater influence on photography in the last half-century than the Swiss-born Mr. Frank, though his reputation rests almost entirely on a single book published five decades ago,” writes Philip Gefter in the New York Times. "

The German publisher Steidl in Göttingen,
together with the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
in 2008 published a new version of the book in three languages:

English,
German (translation by Hans Wolf)
and Chinese (see e.g. 罗伯特·弗兰克的《美国人》 “The Americans” by Robert Frank).

Frank, 83 years old at the date of publication - a number which corresponds to the 83 tritone plates in the book, chosen out of 20,000 photographs - worked intensively himself on this new version of his now classic book, including for example using some negatives varying from previous editions.

The 13-character ISBN for the English version of the book is: 978-3-86521-584-0.
The 13-character ISBN for the German version of the book is: 978-3-86521-658-8.
The 13-character ISBN for the Chinese version of the book is: 978-3-86521-657-1.

This book is a "must have" for any library that includes materials on America.

For those of my friends in Nebraska, where I grew up, two of the plates in the book are from Nebraska, one of highway 30 between Ogallala and North Platte, and the other of Hested's department store in Lincoln. I've seen both, and, yes, that's exactly the way it looked.

Cartographia: Mapping Civilisations by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress

We are a bit late on this, but Cartographia: Mapping Civilisations by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress is a "Must Have Book" for your library shelves. For example, it features the Waldseemüller Map, the first map to ever use the term "America":
"Waldseemüller map is the first map to include the name "America" and the first to depict the Americas as separate from Asia. There is only one surviving copy of the map, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 2001 for $10 million."
We show this map below from Wikimedia Commons but see also LOC:


You can view 16 of the maps in small images at NPR.

The original Library of Congress press release stated:
"September 26, 2007

Library's Map Treasures Are Highlighted in "Cartographia"

New Publication to Be Subject of Program and Book Signing on Oct. 23

Maps are a visual record of human endeavor, each with a tale to tell. In their various forms, maps are models of time, diaries of political maneuverings and works of art that provide a unique vision of how the world evolved.

Drawn from the world’s largest cartographic collection, housed in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, "Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations," by Vincent Virga, has been published by the Library in association with Little, Brown and Company.

Comprising more than 250 maps, "Cartographia" celebrates the work of those who have charted the world from the dawn of civilization to the present. Among the rare gems included in the book are the 1507 Waldseemüller world map, the first to include the designation "America"; Orelius’s "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum" of 1570, considered to be the first modern atlas; rare maps from Africa, Asia and Oceania that challenge traditional Western perspectives; William Faulkner’s hand-drawn 1936 map of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Miss.; and a map of the human genome.

Vincent Virga is the author of "Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States," which was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club.

Virga and co-author Ron Grim will discuss "Cartographia" as part of the Library’s Books & Beyond author series at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book, the Geography and Map Division and the Publishing Office. For more information, contact the Center for the Book at (202) 707-5221.

"Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations," a 272-page hardcover book with more than 250 color maps and illustrations, is available for $60 from major bookstores nationwide and from the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, D.C. 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop.

# # #

PR 07-192
09/26/07
ISSN 0731-3527"

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