The Mythstress Who Guides Oliver
In the early 1400s the interest in classical learning that would come to be called “humanism” spread from Florence to the north of Italy: to the princely courts and to republican Venice and the mainland cities it controlled. Isotta Nogarola was born into a noble Veronese family which shared that interest: her father’s sister, Angela, was a poet of some repute. With her own brothers and sisters (of ten children, seven survived to adulthood), Isotta was educated by a tutor who had himself been a student of Guarino of Verona, the most respected humanist scholar in the north. Two of the four girls, Isotta and her older sister Ginevra, were skillful enough in the studia humanitatis (Latin grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, moral philosophy) that their reputation spread through the area and they began to write letters in classical Latin to other scholars. Ginevra would marry in 1438 and apparently cease to write, but Isotta would continue her studies and her Latin writing throughout her life.
“So we may indeed have ‘readers’—though nearly everyone I know who reads seriously is, of course, a writer—but we have no ‘literature.’
“In other words, we have an official, corporate/state approved ‘literature’ like those of the Soviets and other dead, repressive societies before us.” Read More
Who We Are
Eric Larsen, Publisher and Founder of The Oliver Arts & Open Press, is a native of Minnesota who has lived in New York City since 1971. He taught writing and literature for thirty-five years at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, and now devotes himself full time to writing and publishing. Through the 1970s 1980s he published fiction, essays, and reviews in numerous magazines, from quarterlies like The South Dakota Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Ohio Review through more general-circulation magazines like Harper’s, The New Republic, and The Nation. His first novel, An American Memory, came out in 1988 and was winner of the Chicago Tribune‘s inaugural Heartland Prize for year’s best novel from or about the middle west. In 1992, his second novel, I Am Zoë Handke, was published, like the first, by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. His third, The End of the 19th Century, appeared in 2011 from The Oliver Arts & Open Press, and his fourth, The Decline and Fall of the American Nation, appeared in 2013, completing a tetralogy of inter-related novels. After four decades of teaching literature, Larsen is also embarked on writing a series of volumes about the “great works.” They will appear under the general title of “Great Literature for Regular People.” The first volume, Homer for Real: A Reading of the Iliad, appeared from The Oliver Arts & Open Press in 2009. Larsen is also author of The Skull of Yorick: The Emptiness of American Thinking at a Time of Grave Peril—Studies in the Cover-Up of 9/11 and of A Nation Gone Blind: America in an Age of Simplification and Deceit (2006).
Adam Engel, Associate Editor, is author of the novel Topiary (2009), the memoir-essays I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague: My Life in the Bush Era of Ghosts (2010), and the volume of poems, entitled Cella Fantastik. Engel is also the author of The Oliver Arts & Open Press’s Manifesto. Reading that statement will provide not only some idea of the range and depth of Engel’s literary and intellectual achievements, but reading it will also provide an eloquent statement of the standards, aims, and ambitions of The Oliver Arts & Open Press itself.