Thursday, October 23, 2014 Tishri 29, 5775
A critic argues that Prague has been "rewritten" through the ages
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Scholar Alfred Thomas is very clear about his intentions in his new book Prague Palimpsest: Writing, Memory, and the City , recently published by Chicago University Press; and these intentions have much to do with some of the more trendy currents in academic literary criticism. He tells us in his introductory remarks that he did not want to...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Like most teenagers, I was distressingly opinionated and unwilling to bend when it came to my judgments concerning most artistic matters. For example, I was particularly sniffy when it came to the accomplishments -- or not -- of Leonard Bernstein. It didn't matter whether I was discussing his music (classical or otherwise) or his conducting. To a young...
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SPEAKING VOLUMES The older I get, the more difficult it is for me to imagine what my father's young life, especially his most formative years, was like. What I know of him is like a faint outline: He was American-born, the oldest of three children, and his parents were both Russian immigrants who met here. Raised in South Philadelphia, it...
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Whatever happened to other works from two great masters?
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SPEAKING VOLUMES The history of 20th-century literature is littered with famous writer's blocks. Two of the most documented and analyzed were suffered by a Jewish American, Henry Roth, and an African-American, Ralph Ellison. Both novelists wrote a single -- and singular -- work, and then seemingly fell silent. With Roth, the first work was Call It Sleep , which has...
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How the French got in step with the Nazis during World War II
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SPEAKING VOLUMES Until the release of Marcel Ophuls' four-hour documentary The Sorrow and the Pity in 1971, the conventional wisdom about France during World War II was that it may have been a country swiftly defeated by the Nazis, then brutally occupied, but no matter what, it never grew complaisant -- nor did it ever misunderstand its true mission under...
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