Tuesday, May 11, 2004

New literature

The Associated Press

GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali
(Taschen; $3,000).
And in this corner ... weighing 75 pounds ... from Taschen publishing ... GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali. GOAT - "Greatest of All Time" - is a huge new book that celebrates the life of one of boxing's greats.

Its nearly 800 pages contain 3,000 photographs by 200 photographers, and essays and excerpts by more than 50 writers. Printing is limited to 10,000 numbered copies. Of these, the first 1,000 are "The Champ's Edition," which sell for $7,500 each and include four silver gelatin prints by Howard L. Bingham and a sculpture by American artist Jeff Koons.

And the book comes in a silk-covered box and was bound by the Vatican's official bindery - in pink leather, because it's the color of Ali's first Cadillac.

The Bronte Myth

By Lucasta Miller (Knopf; $26.95). Something is rotten in the state of literary criticism, says scholar Lucasta Miller in her refreshingly honest book. Tackling "Brontemania" with a mix of gusto and scholarship, Miller offers an astounding panorama of Bronteabilia.

Over the years Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte and their fictional characters have been called spinsters, lesbians, old maids, oversexed tarts, psychotics, pagans, demons and saints. In reality, the sisters led quiet lives and died young. Since Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre, these women have been molded and remolded to fit shifting ideas of 19th-century female writers, Miller says.

Readers may feel like they're in a lit class, but Miller does include the gossipy details we love to read. Her combination of passion, wit and intensive research is engaging.

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