Monday, May 05, 2008

Very, very, good free resource

Most people know that Google has a new program offering partial previews of books. What's less known is that they've been scanning out of print and out of copyright books and offering complete PDFs of them for download for free. This means that many very good books that, if available at all, were only held university research libraries or bigger college libraries are now there for free download.

August Strindberg's autobiographical book "The Inferno" is one of the very good but totally out of print books you can find. Strindberg was a bohemian decadent author (in the sense of belonging to the Decadent literary movement, although probably in real life as well) who has been labeled the anti-Ibsen, his fellow Scandinavian contemporary. "The Inferno" documents Strindberg's descent into and freeing from mental illness, effected through the means of physical alchemy, that is of setting up a lab and manipulating chemicals and metals trying to transmute lead into gold. Very good. Also, some people are influenced by Nietzsche and his nihilistic philosophy (even though he said his philosophy was not Nihilism), but Strindberg actually corresponded with him.

"Homo Sapiens" by Stanislaw Przybyszwski is another very good book that's now available through Google Books. Przybyszewski, pronounced Pjibishevski, was another very awesome decadent writer, this time coming from the Austrian partition of Poland (which wasn't a united country until after World War I). Sarcastic, nihilistic, a representative also of Romanticism in its late form, Przybyszevski is a rare writer. "Homo Sapiens" has been totally unavailable except in libraries and for exhorbitent prices for a seventies reprint in the used book market.

The book is now available for free, in English, Here

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