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VIII Author in the Epic

Larry Lockridge Indiana University Press ePub

Departures and homecomings give rise to the pathos of Raintree County. Reported dead, John Shawnessy returns from the Civil War to confront two new tombstones in Danwebster graveyard, his sweetheart Nell’s and his own. Years later he returns from New York City upon news his mother is dying. His friend the Perfessor surmises that all myths of homecoming are really myths of death. Shawnessy never enjoys a triumphant homecoming and spends most of his life anyway in the county of his origin.

But the larger novel narrates triumphant homecomings of several of his friends, back in Raintree County for the 1892 Fourth of July celebration in Waycross (i.e., Straughn), Indiana—a politician, a financier, and an army general. They’ve all made it out there in the world and can now enjoy an afternoon of hometown applause. Also stepping off the train that day, to no applause, is the infidel Perfessor, chased out of the county many years earlier.

Ross Lockridge takes his plot from a short story, “The Great Stone Face,” which turns on an obvious irony. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stay-at-home, idealistic, lowly Ernest is seen by local people in the end to have a nobler profile than four returning hometown heroes, yellow-faced and weather-beaten. He himself thus fulfills the local prophecy that a great and noble personage would someday appear whose face resembles a face shaped by nature in the side of a mountain.

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Medium 9780253356727

5. Sephardi Theater: Project and Practice

Olga Borovaya Indiana University Press ePub

Sephardi Theater is one of the least documented and least studied sociocultural practices in the lives of Ottoman Jews. Since the extant memoirs hardly, if at all, mention it,1 the only available source of information on Sephardi Theater is the Ladino press, which played an exceptional role in its development. Moreover, the conceptualization of Sephardi Theater offered and promoted by Ladino periodicals was an integral element of the whole project, indispensable for its proper realization, if not for its very existence. Outside the framework of the Ladino press, Sephardi Theater cannot be adequately construed, and the data related to it appear as an unstructured assortment of random facts.

It is, perhaps, its chaotic and peculiar makeup that accounts for the fact that, as a cultural phenomenon, Sephardi Theater has attracted the attention of very few scholars; the most important of them is Elena Romero, who dedicated a few years to its comprehensive description. Her doctoral dissertation2 consists of Romanized (more precisely, Hispanicized) editions of fourteen Ladino plays with notes, detailed descriptions, and other bibliographic materials. Romero has also published a number of articles on Sephardi Theater and a valuable collection of the materials found in most extant Ladino periodicals on the shows performed by Sephardim in the Ottoman Empire.3 Finally, a chapter of her monograph on Sephardi print culture4 offers the first and only overview of Ladino theater.5

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Medium 9780253019622

2. Legends of Authenticity: Das Buch von den polnischen Juden (1916) by S. J. Agnon and Ahron Eliasberg / Sylvia Jaworski

Gabriella Safran Indiana University Press ePub

Das Buch von den polnischen Juden (1916)
by S. J. Agnon and Ahron Eliasberg


In his article “Deutsche und polnische Juden” (German and Polish Jews, 1897), Nathan Birnbaum (1864–1937) describes the German Jew’s perception of the so-called “Polish Jew” as follows:

When a German Jew crosses the eastern border of his fatherland, he immediately feels like he is being transferred into a new world. It is strange and significant that nothing in this new world attracts his attention more than the Jews. It is mostly them who make him shake his head. Well, no! We are better people than that, he thinks. We dress and speak like the world does, and we are polite and modest. We do not wave about that much with our hands, we do not scream as intolerably, we do not creep, hop, or walk in such a ridiculous way. It is a real blemish for . . . for . . . for—he thinks a while about what for exactly—for Judaism. . . . Since they [the German Jews] wear a white collar, these people think that they may look down on Polish Jews to the extent that, for instance, Dr. Peters does on his colored fosterlings.1

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Medium 9780253372086

53. Review of Buckley’s Moral Teachings of Science

Charles S. Peirce Indiana University Press PDF


Review of Buckley’s Moral

Teachings of Science

2 June 1892

The Nation

Moral Teachings of Science. By Arabella B. Buckley. D. Appleton & Co. 1892.

Another subject so important, vast, and difficult it would be hard to name—a subject which not every philosopher of the first rank would be competent adequately to treat. Not mere clear insight into one aspect of philosophy is sufficient; a full appreciation of what belongs to the spirit of all the different leading schools of thought is required. To say that the subject is far beyond the powers of the authoress is no disparagement.

Nor has she attempted any thorough or philosophical discussion. It is not science which has dictated her teachings, but traditional ideas, for which she ingeniously finds considerable countenance in facts of natural history. But these facts are somewhat isolated and sporadic; they are not the leading facts of any current scientific theory. That they play so little part in science perhaps indicates a defect in scientific theories.

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7 Anne Frank, a Guest at the Seder

Barbara KirshenblattGimblett Indiana University Press ePub

Liora Gubkin

Anne Frank never mentions the Jewish holiday of Passover in her diary. There is no evidence in the diary that Anne ever attended a seder, the ritual meal traditionally held in Jewish homes on the first and second nights of Passover. Yet, every year when Jews recount the story of their freedom and redemption from slavery in ancient Egypt, Anne is a “guest” at many a seder through her presence in several American Passover haggadahs. Her appearance speaks not only to her familiarity and popularity, but also to the extent to which her writing has been readily adapted. The best-known words of Anne Frank—“I still believe that people are really good at heart,” part of a diary entry written on July 15, 1944—foster creative engagements with diverse understandings of slavery and freedom and their implications for American Jews wrestling with the legacy of the Holocaust.

Passover is one of the most popular holidays for American Jews, and the haggadah, the text used to conduct the seder, is the most widely published Jewish text in the United States.1 Thousands of versions of the haggadah have been created over the centuries.2 Today, one can purchase or download a haggadah for a wide array of interests, including haggadahs with traditional commentary, a haggadah for Jews and Buddhists, a haggadah for a thirty-minute seder (the traditional ritual can last several hours), and haggadahs for activists committed to a variety of political causes. These politically engaged haggadahs follow the models of self-published haggadahs by left-wing activists in the 1960s and ’70s and, before those, haggadahs issued by secular Yiddishists and Zionists beginning in the 1930s. The traditional haggadah exhorts seder participants to reflect upon the personal nature of oppression and its relevance in the present by encouraging an imaginative ritual performance of identification with the oppressed and by issuing a call to end all subjugation. While innovative haggadahs typically follow the basic structure of the traditional text, they may complement ritual instructions, biblical passages, and early rabbinic commentaries with selections from modern and contemporary texts, including Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, that span the dimensions of time and place. Many innovative haggadahs published in the United States during the last forty years use these additional texts to deliberately link the ancient Israelite journey from slavery to freedom with such contemporary social and political issues as the threat of nuclear war, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, vegetarianism, feminism, the oppression of Soviet Jewry, and the Holocaust.

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