New Book Recreates Fables and Fairytales From Antiquity

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The literary treasures of “King Solomon’s Seal” are offered by author Jascha Kessler.

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Fables are a fundamental form of narration from before the time of writing, meant for humor, pathos, tragic emotions and imparting fundamental concepts about living life. Author Jascha Kessler has had a lifelong interest in folklore and fairytales, and with his latest work, presents a collection derived from legends and lore meant for grownups, a treasure trove of tales bearing King Solomon’s Seal.

Upon the Carpathian Mountains, between the years 1745-1815, the commencement of the European Enlightenment, is a small house of study perched on the Fatra Range. There, a hermetic teacher passes on his wisdom, sharing his tales and stories. They are collected into more than 63 pieces, some short, some long, each a story, several containing stories within stories. The materials are diverse in nature, suggestion and purpose, although the reader may and should assume that the works are meant for modern man, even if the language by which the tales are told is a pasticcio of assumed translation into English from some other language, one that relates perhaps to whatever may have been the Yiddish vernacular of those lost times in that faraway place.

Some two or three of its fables have appeared in print, but most of them are new and original, although coming from the ages of antiquity. In perusing them, readers will feel the pleasure of reading meaningful fables and thinking about the basic notions necessary for a sane life. In these discourses, the tone becomes sardonic, humorous, tender, satiric, and attempts something like the roots of civility and civilization, contrasting with the naturally-born savagery of the human species.

King Solomon’s Seal is playful and mock-serious at once. It is meant to entertain, and is a “literary” work, consisting of pseudo-fairy tales, pseudo-folk materials, legends and the like, which will surely garner the attention of readers with an interest in ancient literature and culture.

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About the Author

Born in New York City, Jascha Kessler (Ph.D., Litt.D.) has received research grants, prizes, and writing fellowships since 1952 when he won a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry (University of Michigan). They include the NEA Fellowship in Writing, two Senior Fulbright Awards to Italy and one to Czechoslovakia. Since 1961, he has been a Professor of Modern English & American Literature at UCLA, also teaching poetry, fiction, and playwrighting. In 1979, Kessler was a Rockefeller Fellow and worked at the Bellagio Study Center, completing his translation (with Amin Banani) of the modern Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad: Bride of Acacias: The Poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad. He won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction Writing for 1993-1994. He reviewed fiction and poetry weekly, theater and events on the air for KUSC-FM (Los Angeles) for 5 years in the 1980s; several dozen of his reviews, both broadcast and published in magazines and papers since the 1960s, have been anthologized in Contemporary Literary Criticism over the decades. His literary essays have appeared widely. Among other books, translations of prose and poetry from the Hungarian, Serbian, and Bulgarian. His latest book is Siren Songs & Classical Illusions, also revised and expanded with a Preface as an eBook. He also served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica, Calif., from 1990-1996.

King Solomon’s Seal * by Jascha Kessler
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Trade Paperback; $23.99; 476 pages; 978-1-4836-4348-9
Trade Hardback; $34.99; 476 pages; 978-1-4836-4349-6
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4836-4350-2

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274.

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