Biggest Book of the Year – The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: One-Volume Compact Edition

BABL Compact One-VolumeHello everyone,

In the publishing world it’s common for people to speak of the “big books” for the season. They don’t usually mean 2,178 pages in length, 1.85 inches in thickness, and 4.38 lbs. in weight. That’s what the new one-volume Compact edition of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature comes in at—and we’re not joking when we call it “compact.”

The competition here is The Norton Anthology of English Literature one-volume Major Authors edition, which runs to 3,072 pages, 2.48 inches think, and 4.44 lbs.—longer, thicker, and heavier than the Broadview.* Even within English Studies, neither Broadview nor Norton can claim the dubious distinction of heavyweight champion. That title appears to be currently held by the 4th edition of Duncan Wu’s Romanticism: An Anthology, for which the publishers (Wiley-Blackwell) chose a heavy, glossy paper stock, the result being that a book of 1,640 pages weighs in at 4.96 lbs. In the sciences and the social sciences, of course, textbooks even heavier than that are routine.

Why do publishers do it? In Broadview’s case, I can attest that we conducted extensive editorial research before deciding to go ahead; it was clear that there was indeed a desire on the part of many instructors for a new one-volume anthology designed to suit the needs of courses covering the full sweep of British literature, from the medieval period to the twenty-first century.

It’s not hard to see why many academics prefer to have their students use one, large course text. If one sometimes likes to discuss, for example, some of the links between Tennyson and Malory, or between Yeats or Heaney and the early Irish lyric, it’s much less convenient to do so if one half of each pairing is to be found in a volume that no student is likely to have brought to class.

The most important thing about any book will always be its contents, of course—and in this new incarnation we’re confident that the Broadview will continue to be regarded as “the new standard” among anthologies of British literature. These days more than ever, though, it’s vitally important for publishers to think not only of words and illustrations, but also of the heavy load that students carry. When we do publish large texts, we should strive for the best possible balance between paper opacity and paper lightness. We should pay close attention to the experience of reading a thick book. We should make e-book alternatives available for those students who wish to take advantage of them. And we should price each book as reasonably as we possibly can.

In each of these respects, I’m very proud of what we’ve done with the one-volume Compact Edition of The Broadview Anthology of British Literature. Thanks largely to the work done by Managing Editor Tara Lowes in choosing paper stocks, there’s remarkably little see-through, even on pages where an illustration appears on the reverse. The wide format we use means that the bound book lies flat on the desk much more easily than does the one-volume Norton. The book is priced at just $69.95—considerably less than the one-volume Norton.** And for those who would prefer something even less expensive (and even lighter!), we have also made the anthology available as an e-book, priced at only $48.95 when purchased through our website.

Broadview’s biggest book ever, indeed. And compact—no joke!

All the best,

Don

PS  Of course, for those of you who prefer to teach a survey course from a handful of slim paperbacks, we have hundreds of great choices!

* Other points of comparison include the complete 6-volume versions of the Norton and the Broadview (each totaling over 6,000 pages), the two-volume version of the full Norton anthology (each volume of which runs to over 3,000 pages), Broadview’s own two-volume Concise Edition (each a relatively slender 1,700 pages), and various versions of the third entrant in the field, The Longman Anthology of British Literature.

** In fairness, I should say that the Norton also seems to me to offer excellent value; it’s a competitor that we at Broadview have the greatest respect for—as do we for its general editors, and its publisher.

 

The “Umbrella-Philosopher” According to R.L. Stevenson

GentlemanFrom Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Philosophy of Umbrellas”
(210). 
Appendix L “The Victorian Gentleman: Body and Clothing” of the Broadview Edition. 

More information on our new edition of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Third Edition can be found here.

Any one acquainted with the growth of Society, and knowing out of what small seeds of cause are produced great revolutions, and wholly new conditions of intercourse, sees from this simple thought how the carriage of an umbrella came to indicate frugality, judicious regard for bodily welfare, and scorn for mere outward adornment, and, in one word, all those homely and solid virtues implied in the term RESPECTABILITY. Not that the umbrella’s costliness has nothing to do with its great influence. Its possession, besides symbolising (as we have already indicated) the change from wild Esau to plain Jacob dwelling in tents,[1] implies a certain comfortable provision of fortune. It is not every one that can expose twenty-six shillings’ worth of property to so many chances of loss and theft. So strongly do we feel on this point, indeed, that we are almost inclined to consider all who possess really well-conditioned umbrellas as worthy of the Franchise. They have a qualification standing in their lobbies; they carry a sufficient stake in the common-weal below their arm. One who bears with him an umbrella—such a complicated structure of whalebone, of silk, and of cane, that it becomes a very microcosm of modern industry—is necessarily a man of peace. A half-crown cane may be applied to an offender’s head on a very moderate provocation; but a six-and-twenty shilling silk is a possession too precious to be adventured in the shock of war.

These are but a few glances at how umbrellas (in the general) came to their present high estate. But the true Umbrella-Philosopher meets with far stranger applications as he goes about the streets.

Umbrellas, like faces, acquire a certain sympathy with the individual who carries them: indeed, they are far more capable of betraying his trust; for whereas a face is given to us so far ready made, and all our power over it is in frowning, and laughing, and grimacing, during the first three or four decades of life, each umbrella is selected from a whole shopful, as being most consonant to the purchaser’s disposition. An undoubted power of diagnosis rests with the practised Umbrella-Philosopher. O you who lisp, and amble, and change the fashion of your countenances—you who conceal all these, how little do you think that you left a proof of your weakness in our umbrella-stand—that even now, as you shake out the folds to meet the thickening snow, we read in its ivory handle the outward and visible sign of your snobbery, or from the exposed gingham of its cover detect, through coat and waistcoat, the hidden hypocrisy of the ‘DICKEY’![2] But alas! even the umbrella is no certain criterion. The falsity and the folly of the human race have degraded that graceful symbol to the ends of dishonesty; and while some umbrellas, from carelessness in selection, are not strikingly characteristic (for it is only in what a man loves that he displays his real nature), others, from certain prudential motives, are chosen directly opposite to the person’s disposition. A mendacious umbrella is a sign of great moral degradation. Hypocrisy naturally shelters itself below a silk; while the fast youth goes to visit his religious friends armed with the decent and reputable gingham. May it not be said of the bearers of these inappropriate umbrellas that they go about the streets ‘with a lie in their right hand’?[3] […]

[1] In the Book of Genesis Jacob is forced to live in the wild when his brother Esau takes over his tents and livestock.

[2] A false, short shirt-front that looks like a full shirt but is made of cardboard or celluloid.

[3] Isaiah 44:20: “He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?’”

Philosophizing About Sex: Teenage Sexting

Philosophizing about Sex

In Broadview’s acclaimed new publication, Philosophizing about Sex, Laurie J. Shrage & Robert Scott Stewart discuss general issues (freedom, privacy, objectification, etc.) and show how ongoing public discussions of sexuality can be illuminated by careful philosophical investigation. In the following excerpt, they look at the complex topic of teenage “sexting.”

Some recent studies suggest that teens sext for a wide variety of reasons, including peer pressure and to engage in a form of “safe sex.” Some teen sexters, like many teens before them, wonder why adults are making such a fuss. In a recent Australian study, a number of teenagers interviewed thought that the word itself, ‘sexting,’ was nothing but a media label deployed to raise unnecessary alarm about teen behavior. Some of these teenagers indicated that they never use the term because it now has the connotation of something sinister or offensive, and so they opt instead for the more neutral term “pictures.” These Australian teens have a point: most media commentary about teen sexting includes a lot of hyperbole and, at times, reflects or promotes mass hysteria. Yet can teens exchange sexy “pictures” in responsible ways that avoid violating another’s privacy and that avoid damaging their own or another minor’s mental health and reputation?

Teenagers in the Australian study recognized that sext messages often get shared, and that this could cause problems for the person who originally sent the message, and especially for any females whose bodies and sexual behavior are exposed. These teenagers were also adamant that charging them with child pornography was completely unwarranted, at least in most cases. Child pornography charges were only appropriate, they thought, when there was a significant age difference between the people exchanging sexts and when one of them was well beyond his (or sometimes her) adolescence. There was some ambivalence regarding how educators should deal with sexting, though they noted that simply telling teenagers not to sext was both ineffective and inappropriate.

Many within the legal profession recognize the need to find ways to address sexting among teenagers who are close in age, without resorting to the criminal justice system. The lawyer for the 16-year-old girl in British Columbia, mentioned in an earlier paragraph, points out that sexting is lawful for adults, and then raises the following question about using criminal statutes against child pornography: “The provisions were created to protect children. So is it now appropriate to use those provisions to prosecute children? … On a common sense level, does it make sense to charge youth with child pornography if they are not engaged in pedophiliac behaviour?” It does not seem to make sense when the sexting is consensual and the acts recorded are not themselves criminal acts, unlike in the Rehtaeh Parsons case. Marsha Levick, legal director of the non- profit Juvenile Law Centre, makes a similar point when she asks, “Why should we criminalize a kid for taking and possessing a photo of herself…. There is no problem that needs to be solved.” Shaheen Shariff, from McGill University’s education faculty, agrees: “I don’t think putting kids through the criminal justice system is the answer, especially under child pornography laws.” Shariff continues, “Schools have always been reactive to bullying and cyberbullying, and occasional anti-bullying programs haven’t worked. We need to address the root societal issues of rape culture, misogyny, homophobia and objectification of women—and get kids to realize the long-term impact of their postings.” One issue is why sexting is so much more damaging to girls or women than to boys or men? How does sexting get used to stigmatize women for their sexual behavior (“slut” labeling), and also gay men and lesbians?

As a form of speech between adults, most sexting is protected by free-speech guarantees. So when adults consensually exchange sext messages, even misogynist or homophobic ones, or ones that trivialize rape, this is mostly legal. But when the sexting involves sexual images of children, it is no longer protected speech, even when children are producing and disseminating images of themselves. We need to find ways to limit the speech of minors without criminalizing their sexually explicit messages about themselves, especially when they share these consensually with others of similar age. In her recent article “Why Kids Sext,” Hanna Rosin mentions that approximately 20 states in the U.S. have approved “sexting” laws that treat initial offenses as misdemeanors and repeat violations as felonies, with lighter penalties for the former. She writes,

Where they’ve been passed, the new laws have helpfully taken ordinary teen sexting out of the realm of child pornography and provided prosecutors with a gentler alternative. But they have also created deeper cultural confusion, by codifying into law the idea that any kind of sexting between minors is a crime. For the most part, the laws do not concern themselves with whether a sext was voluntarily shared between two people who had been dating for a year or was sent under pressure: a sext is a sext. So as it stands now, in most states it is perfectly legal for two 16-year-olds to have sex. But if they take pictures, it’s a matter for the police.[1]

Rosin proposes that laws regulating sexting should target those who forward a sext to a third party without the consent of its author, and also anyone who gains access to nude “selfies” and circulates or publishes them without the permission of the author and those depicted in the photograph. Rosin’s research shows that approximately 1/3 of teens in the U.S. sext, and thus laws that criminalize an increasingly common behavior among teenagers represents an overreaction to the harm typically done, and compounds the damage to the minors whom the laws are meant to protect. Parents and law enforcers have other ways to minimize the harms of sexting, such as by making teens more aware of the rights and wrongs, and benefits and costs of sexting, and how to protect themselves and others against such violations of their privacy.

[1] Hanna Rosin, “Why Kids Sext,” The Atlantic, October 14, 2014: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/11/why-kids-sext/380798

Costume Design for Salome: Everyone in Yellow

Bernhardt as Salome

Excerpt from Graham Robertson’s Time Was (125-6) (from the Appendices of the new Broadview Edition)

[Graham Robertson designed the costumes for the original production of Salome at the request of Sarah Bernhardt. Both Robertson and Wilde expressed a desire that the wardrobe represent varying shades of yellow. According to Sheldon Weintraub, “yellow was not only the decor of the notorious and dandified pre-Victorian Regency, but also of the allegedly wicked and decadent French novel” (99). Thus, we might speculate that the choice of yellow reflects Wilde’s investment in the French cultural context from which the play itself emerged.]

“I should like,” he [Wilde] said, throwing off the notion, I believe, at random, “I should like everyone on the stage to be in yellow.”

It was a good idea and I saw its possibilities at once—every costume of some shade of yellow—from clearest lemon to deep orange, with here and there just a hint of black . . . and all upon a pale ivory terrace against a great empty sky of deepest violet.

“A violet sky,’ repeated Oscar Wilde slowly. “Yes—I never thought of that. Certainly a violet sky and then, in place of an orchestra, braziers of perfume. Think—the scented clouds rising and partly veiling the stage from time to time – a new perfume for each emotion!”

“Ye-es,” said I doubtfully, “but you couldn’t air the theatre between each emotion, and the perfumes would get mixed and smell perfectly beastly and—no, I don’t think I care for the perfume idea, but the yellow scheme is splendid.”

More information on Broadview’s new edition of Salome can be found here.

Victims and Victimhood: Trudy Govier in Conversation

Victims and Victimhood

Broadview Press is proud to have recently published Victims and Victimhood by Trudy Govier, a careful examination of the concept of victimhood. Issues are explored with reference to a range of complex examples, including child victims of institutional abuse and the famed Rigoberta Menchú controversy. Further topics include the authority of personal experience, restorative justice, restitution, forgiveness, and closure.

In the following interview, Broadview Philosophy Editor Stephen Latta engages Govier in conversation about some of the key questions posed by her work.

SL: In the introduction to Victims and Victimhood you suggest that, while issues related to victims have been much discussed in other academic fields, they have been comparatively neglected in philosophy. What is unique about a philosophical approach to the discussion of victims, and why is it valuable?

TG: A philosophical approach is unique in the ways in which it explores definitions, assumptions, and value judgments. It has much to offer in thoroughly considering differing perspectives and the reasons for and against these. Furthermore, such an approach can relate the issues to broader theories in ethics, epistemology, and political philosophy. Two central issues in these areas are those of credibility (epistemology) and punishment (political philosophy).

SL: How do you see the philosophical discussion of victims connecting to the work of victim advocacy groups? Should they mutually inform one another?

TG: I think it would be helpful to connect these approaches, and I hope that people will do that to good effect, though in some respects advocacy work and philosophical analysis will obviously differ in their goals.

SL: There have been a number of high-profile news stories recently involving allegations of victimization; in such cases, the testimony of victims is sometimes contradicted by the testimony of alleged perpetrators, with no physical evidence available to corroborate either party’s claims. How should we balance the rights and interests of victims (or purported victims) against the rights and interests of those who are accused?

TG: It is a difficult problem, to be sure.  There are surely temptations in this context.  Given tendencies to dismiss or discredit victims, one might wish to give them full credit in a sort of compensation for benighted attitudes in the past.  Or, given the strong association between innocence and victimhood, one might presume greater credibility for persons claiming to be victims.  While these temptations are understandable, I think they should be resisted. They can be very distorting. Most importantly, they fail to take seriously the rights of accused perpetrators.  The rights of victims and those of accused perpetrators need somehow to be balanced in contexts where credibility is at issue.

SL: One of the more compelling examples you discuss in the book is child soldiers, who may seem to blur the line between victims and perpetrators. Are there cases in which one’s being a victim can excuse one from also being a perpetrator?

Estimates are that there are over 300,000 child soldiers in the world today.  Problems posed are those of  moral and legal responsibility, rehabilitation, and reintegration; these are huge. A child soldier who commits seriously brutal acts is a perpetrator as well as a victim, and this is one of the ethically and politically challenging aspects of the case. Child soldiers are perpetrators in the sense that they are agents who have committed brutal and inhumane acts. They are (typically) victims in the sense that they have become soldiers in coercive circumstances and are not fully responsible for their acts. The perpetrator/victim dichotomy does not serve us well in reflecting on these problems.

SL: In Canada, the recent Victims Bill of Rights has been promoted by the federal government as an effort to “stand up for victims of crime and give them a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections system.” Do you believe that victims should have a central role in the criminal justice system?

TG: Victims deserve respect; they deserve to be heard; they deserve prompt and relevant information about their case; they deserve reparation and compensation. There are aspects of suffering that are unique to victims. Only the victim of a heinous act knows what it is like to experience it.  Having a central role in policy and sentencing is another matter, however.  There are important reasons not to give victims this role.  One is that their experiential knowledge of suffering does not amount to knowledge about sentencing and policy and does not provide it.  Another is that giving a central role to victims through impact statements unintentionally privileges ‘respectable’ and articulate victims, producing imbalances in the administration of justice.

SL: You’ve published on many other topics in social philosophy, including reconciliation, forgiveness, and terrorism. How do you see Victims and Victimhood connecting to those topics?

TG: I have long been interested in issues of peace and reconciliation. To some theorists and practitioners, victims have been of interest primarily for their potential forgiveness, resulting in lack of attention to their serious needs. Victims’ efforts for reparation or compensation may be resisted or ignored, to their lasting detriment. These tendencies were apparent even in the well-regarded Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. There, victims deserved better.  However, it is important also to recognize that victim advocacy groups can pose challenges to peace settlements. Individuals or groups may seize, righteously and even competitively, on the victim role.  Exploiting presumptions about innocence and victimhood, they may insist on their victimhood with no recognition of their actual or possible status as perpetrators.  Exaggerated deference to victims may result in simplistic judgments concerning the blameworthiness of those identified as perpetrators.

Happy New Year from Broadview Press: Forthcoming Spring Titles

Red Badge of Courage

Happy New Year! As we enter the coldest months of the year, it is cheering to look forward to new spring titles…

Forthcoming Broadview Editions bring us narratives of endurance, exploration, and adventure, including the vivid depiction of a soldier’s experience of war in Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, the building of a socialist community in antebellum Massachusetts in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance, and the transatlantic capers of Daniel Defoe’s Colonel Jack. This list also delves into the complex world of the human mind reflecting upon itself, from the medieval meditative tradition in the prayers and stories of The Miracles of the Virgin and The Wooing of Our Lord, to modern psychological explorations, such as Oscar Wilde’s fierce, rebellious exploration of desire in Salome and the nightmare scenes of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Editions of works by Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Godwin, and John Locke further enrich this season’s offerings.

In English Studies, Broadview continues to expand our list of introductory handbooks that teach clear thinking and writing, from an accessible general handbook, Academic Writing Now, to more specialized introductions: How to Read (and Write About) Poetry and Writing for Today’s Healthcare Audiences. The compact and lucid Literary Theory and Criticism: An Introduction will be much appreciated by any new readers of theory.

Our new Philosophy books take on questions that are being keenly debated in the media and in the classroom. Victims and Victimhood considers how we characterize and respond to victims; Philosophizing about Sex explores the complexity behind even our simplest questions about sexuality; and the perennial question of ‘what it means to be happy’ is analyzed by two companion volumes, Happy Lives, Good Lives and Theories of Happiness: An Anthology.

This spring, Broadview’s frontlist offers diverse avenues from which to consider some of our most pressing questions—whether they were posed in the distant past or in the present day. These are books that continue our commitment to publish works that challenge, delight, and surprise.

New Distributor for Australia and New Zealand

As of December 1st, 2014, Broadview Press will be distributed by Footprint Books in Australia and New Zealand. For information on pricing and availability of our titles in this region please visit their website: www.footprint.com.au. Academics may contact Footprint Books ([email protected]) to request inspection copies or to obtain more information about our books.

Kirsten Lodge’s New Translation of Notes from the Underground

Notes from the UndergroundKirsten Lodge’s new translation of Notes from the Underground has been receiving high commendation from academics and readers alike. The following review by Jefferson Gatrall at Montclair State University praises both Lodge’s translation and her contextual materials for students:

Kirsten Lodge has performed an invaluable service for modern readers with her new translation of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground. This classic novel has long been notorious for its nameless hero, an “Underground Man” whose psychological complexities and philosophical provocations remain as revolutionary now as they once were for Dostoevsky’s contemporaries. Lodge manages to capture the full range of the Underground Man’s unpredictable rhetoric through subtle style choices of her own. For the extended monologue in Part I, she keeps intact the Underground Man’s long, winding sentences in all their cynical and seductive lucidity. By contrast, Lodge peppers the dialogs in Part II—in a restaurant, in a brothel, etc.—with cutting and even vulgar language taken from contemporary American vernacular. Dostoevsky prided himself on his mastery of Russian slang. Lodge not only remains true to the letter and spirit of the original through her well-timed use of such words as “bitch” or “morons”; following in Dostoevsky’s footsteps, she also pushes the boundaries of good taste in a way likely to startle readers. The Underground Man, an intellectual recluse, admits that he can sound “bookish”; but he is also an angry college grad working in a dead-end job. Lodge’s translation preserves both the rigor and the venom of his hard-hitting paradoxes.

Teachers in particular will find highly useful the historical documents that Lodge includes with her translation, from excerpts of works by Dostoevsky’s literary rivals to photographs of the “Crystal Palace”—a cutting-edge London pavilion that provoked the horror of the novelist and Underground Man alike. Dostoevsky wrote his novel in part as an urgent intervention at a very specific moment in prerevolutionary Russian history. For teachers and students, Lodge surrounds the novel with a wealth of fascinating materials for understanding what was at stake for Dostoevsky and his political opponents. Lodge’s introduction is especially noteworthy, as it provides what may well be the most clearheaded summary of the novel and its polemics as exists in print. Yet beyond this historical context, Dostoevsky also wrote the Notes from the Underground as a literary experiment, one in which he stretched the conventions of the novel to their breaking point so as to engage the present in as direct a manner as possible. Here Lodge’s translation admirably succeeds in conveying all the energy and urgency of the original for a new generation of readers. From his first word to the last, she lets the Underground Man speak for himself.

-Jefferson Gatrall, Montclair State University

For more information about the edition, please click here.

Victor Ramraj (1941-2014)

Concert of Voices 2e

It is with great sorrow that we at Broadview heard news of the death of Victor Ramraj, editor of our esteemed Concert of Voices anthology. An internationally-recognized scholar at the University of Calgary, Victor was a distinguished expert in postcolonial studies and Canadian literature. He was the author of several books, dozens of articles, and works of creative writing. Concert of Voices, the anthology of world writing in English that he edited for Broadview, has been highly-regarded by students and teachers alike since its first publication in 1995; it exemplifies Victor’s expertise and his dedication to sharing that knowledge and passion with students.

Victor was always a great supporter of the press, and served on our editorial board for many years in the 1990s. In that capacity (as in so many others over the years), he displayed good judgement, infectious enthusiasm, and a warm spirit of humanity.

Victor will be sadly missed by us at Broadview, and by the academic and literary communities to which he contributed so much.

The Rules of the Game

An Excerpt from The Grasshopper, Third Edition, by Bernard Suits

grasshopper

In this passage, the Grasshopper explores the possibility of playing a game without any rules.

Ivan and Abdul [I began] had been officers of general rank before each was retired and ‘elevated’ to the post of ambassador in the backwater capital of Rien-à-faire. Both had established brilliant military careers in the service of homelands which had frequently been at war with one another, and Ivan and Abdul had in fact been opposite numbers in many engagements. So the two warriors were overjoyed at the opportunity their appointments afforded them for going over all of their old campaigns together. But after a few months, when they had reviewed all the victories and defeats from every possible angle and refought all the old battles under every conceivable modification of logistics and tactics, they grew weary of their reminiscences and sought other diversions.

Sport seemed an obvious pastime for a couple of shelved warriors to take up, since sport seemed to them to be a kind of substitute, or polite, kind of warfare. It soon became evident to them, however, that sports were like warfare in only the most superficial respects. Specifically, they found that sports were hedged round with the most outrageously arbitrary restrictions. In golf, for example, you were expected to use a golf club to get your ball out of a sand trap even when your opponent could not see what you were doing. And in tennis, you were expected to call a ball foul or fair honestly even when your opponent was not in a position to check your call. Chess was no better, since surreptitiously to alter the location of pieces on the board – obviously an effective tactic – was ruled out.

But since they could find nothing better to do to occupy their time, they continued to play these games, although – as the diplomatic colony to its delight soon became aware – with a difference. Whenever the rules could be broken without detection or retribution, they were broken. Although this approach was ultimately doomed to failure, it worked very well for a time, and a number of breathtaking refinements were added to most of the conventional games. Thus to golf was added, among other things, the use of self-propelling radar-controlled golf balls, and to chess the use of hallucinogenic drugs as an offensive weapon. On the tennis courts Abdul achieved a much admired coup by hiring two men to raise and lower the net at appropriate times, until this was countered by Ivan’s introduction of the net-piercing tennis ball. Things reached their fated conclusion in a climactic chess match.

In preparing themselves for the contest both contestants had countered the possible use of drugs by taking suitable antidotes, and each was determined to keep a very keen eye upon the other throughout the match. The first game proceeded normally for six moves. Then Ivan made the move which was the beginning of the end. Utterly ignoring the rules governing movement of the pieces, he illegally moved his queen to a square which put Abdul in check. The fascinated audience waited breathlessly for Abdul’s response to this outrage. It was not slow in coming. He simply removed Ivan’s queen from the board and put it in his pocket. Ivan in turn was quick to respond. In a trice he had nimbly rearranged the pieces on the board so that Abdul’s king was in checkmate, crying, ‘I’ve won!’

‘Wrong, my friend,’ screamed Abdul, and gathering up all of the pieces except his king, he flung them to the floor.

‘Abdul, you can’t do that,’ said Ivan in outraged tones. ‘I won the game the moment you were in checkmate.’

‘So you say,’ responded Abdul, ‘but you were obviously mistaken, for there stands my king, quite free to move.’

Ivan had not, of course, expected such a transparent tactic to succeed with the wily Abdul. It had merely been a diversionary move so that he could, while his opponent was momentarily distracted, secure Abdul’s king to the board with the quick-drying glue he had all along held ready in his hand beneath the table. Then, of course, before you could say ‘scimitar,’ Abdul snatched a bottle of solvent from his tunic and freed his king. Ivan’s hand immediately shot out towards the king, but Abdul grabbed his wrist in time to forestall the assault. For a full minute they were locked in a frozen tableau of force and counterforce (evoking spirited applause from the audience), before they broke apart, leapt from their chairs, and began to circle each other warily. Then they joined battled in what was to become a truly mythic contest, for

They fought all that night

Neath the pale yellow light,

And the din it was heard from afar.

Huge multitudes came,

So great was the fame

Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.