Book Markers 05.23.13

Local book news

Mac Griswold on “The Manor”
    A trip into Shelter Island’s deep past — to say nothing of down “the slave staircase” at the island’s storied Sylvester Manor — awaits the historically curious on Saturday at 3 p.m., when Mac Griswold discusses the particulars of her new book, “The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island.” The talk, part of the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s annual meeting, will take place at the Annie Cooper Boyd House on Main Street in that village.
    Ms. Griswold, a landscape historian, first took note of the manor when from a rowboat she spied huge, and thus hundreds of years old, boxwoods on the 243-acre property, which dates to a mid-1600s charter. Held by 11 generations of one family, it once encompassed the entire island.
    The book is due out from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on July 2. Ms. Griswold will next talk about it at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack on June 15, before appearances at the East Hampton Library on Aug. 10 and at Sylvester Manor itself, with an accompanying tour, on Aug. 17.

Shakespeare’s Philosophical Pearls
    Whereas lesser men might wonder at how such a surfeit of genius, from fluency of language to psychological insight, could cohere in a single person, Farhang Zabeeh plunges into the Bard’s timeless oeuvre in search of “Philosophical Pearls of the Shakespearean Deep,” the title of his new book (Humanity Books, $39).
    Mr. Zabeeh, a former philosophy professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago and a regular visitor to East Hampton, acknowledges previous philosophical analyses of Shakespeare’s works, back at least to 1774, but differentiates his own book’s intent to reveal the Bard’s “use of the heritage of rich thoughts he acquired and expanded upon” and his “conceptual inventions” as they relate to the “philosophical issues that have preoccupied Western philosophy since ancient times. . . .”
    That is, he reveals Shakespeare’s influences and education when it came to writers and thinkers from Socrates and Plato to Machiavelli and Montaigne — not through sprinkled-in quotations, but comprehensively.
    Mr. Zabeeh’s introduction to the works of Shakespeare came by reading a translation of “Macbeth” as a 16-year-old student in his native Tehran in 1934, he writes in an author’s note. Next came America and the University of California at Berkeley. His five previous books include “Hume: Precursor of Modern Empiricism.”