October NYRB Classics October 12, 2010
Introduction by David Leavitt
Irreverently trespassing on the turf of history, biography, and philosophy, The World As I Found It re-imagines the lives of three very different men, the philosophers Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
At the center of the book is Wittgenstein, one of the most magnetic philosophers of our time: brilliant, tortured, mercurial, and forging his own solitary path. Playing in counterpoint are his two reluctant mentors: Bertrand Russell, past his philosophical prime yet eager to break new ground as a public intellectual, educational theorist, and sexual adventurer; and G. E. Moore, the great Cambridge don who was devoted to the pleasures of the table and pure thought, until, late in life, he discovered real fulfillment in marriage and fatherhood.
Bruce Duffy’s novel depicts times and places as various as Vienna 1900, the trenches of World War I, Bloomsbury, and the colleges of Cambridge, while the complicated main characters appear not only in thought and dispute but in love and despair.
“By turns wicked, melancholy, and rhapsodic, The World As I Found It is an astonishing performance, a kind of intellectual opera in which each abstraction gets its own artist.”
—John Leonard, Newsday
By Millen Brand
Afterword by Peter Cameron
The Outward Room is a spare, deft novel that traces one woman’s path from mental illness to trust, recovery and love.
Harriet Demuth, having suffered a nervous breakdown after her brother’s accidental death, has been committed to a mental hospital. Convinced that only she and she alone can refashion her life, Harriet escapes from the hospital, hopping a train by night and riding the rails to New York City. It’s the 1930s, the midst of the Great Depression, and initially Harriet is lost among the city’s multitudes. She runs out of money and is living an increasingly hard existence when she meets John, a machine-shop worker. Slowly she begins to recover her sense of self and Harriet and John fall in love. The story of that love, told with the lyricism of Virginia Woolf and the realism of Theodore Dreiser, is at the heart of Millen Brand’s remarkable novel.
“As devoid of sentimentality as a blizzard, and yet a great love story—a real love story.” —Sinclair Lewis