George Stade, a professor emeritus of English at Columbia University, is the author of Confessions of a Lady-Killer. His second murder mystery, Sex and Violence, will be published in October.
Ulysses by James Joyce (Vintage, $17). An epic of the human body, Joyce called it, the source of our values, ideas, longings. This novel is tough-minded and charitable, written with unmatched verbal dexterity. Its goal: to produce in the reader philosophic equanimity.Buy it at Amazon
Nostromo by Joseph Conrad (Penguin, $10). The nightly news illustrates how much Conrad got right about imperialism and revolution and the human types who make them happen. The prose is marvelous, the characters unforgettable, the implicit theme a cure for consoling delusions.Buy it at Amazon
The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (Vintage, $10). Set in a parallel world that comments on the one we all live in. Ideas come to life, seem to exist apart from their inventors, romp, coax, caress, possess, kill with their brain-softening credibility.Buy it at Amazon
Collected Poems: Yeats (Picador, $18). I cant formulate exactly what it is in Yeats that gets to me, but I know that some of his poems have sunk down into my bone marrow where they stimulate the production of antibodies to humbug. And the man had an ear.Buy it at Amazon
The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (Avon, $7). Freuds first full-blown demonstration that dreams, jokes, slips of the tongue, puns, poems, workall the things humans doare full of significance we didnt know was there. He restored meaning to what had been wiped clean by the death of God, but this time the meaning was not alien and inhuman. Buy it at Amazon
Tarzan of the Apes