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The first full-length collection in many years by an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Threepenny Review, and a host of other journals.
A Maritime History of the Pacific Peoples
Written by a senior scholar and master mariner, Sailors and Traders is the first comprehensive account of the maritime peoples of the Pacific. It focuses on the sailors who led the exploration and settlement of the islands and New Zealand and their seagoing descendants, providing along the way new material and unique observations on traditional and commercial seagoing against the background of major periods in Pacific history. The book begins by detailing the traditions of sailors, a group whose way of life sets them apart. Like all others who live and work at sea, Pacific mariners face the challenges of an often harsh environment, endure separation from their families for months at a time, revere their vessels, and share a singular attitude to risk and death. The period of prehistoric seafaring is discussed using archaeological data, interpretations from interisland exchanges, experimental voyaging, and recent DNA analysis. Sections on the arrival of foreign exploring ships centuries later concentrate on relations between visiting sailors and maritime communities. The more intrusive influx of commercial trading and whaling ships brought new technology, weapons, and differences in the ethics of trade. The successes and failures of Polynesian chiefs who entered trading with European-type ships are recounted as neglected aspects of Pacific history. As foreign-owned commercial ships expanded in the region so did colonialism, which was accompanied by an increase in the number of sailors from metropolitan countries and a decrease in the employment of Pacific islanders on foreign ships. Eventually small-scale island entrepreneurs expanded interisland shipping, and in 1978 the regional Pacific Forum Line was created by newly independent states. This was welcomed as a symbolic return to indigenous Pacific ocean linkages. The book’s final sections detail the life of the modern Pacific seafarer. Most Pacific sailors in the global maritime labor market return home after many months at sea, bringing money, goods, a wider perspective of the world, and sometimes new diseases. Each of these impacts is analyzed, particularly in the case of Kiribati, a major supplier of labor to foreign ships.
Essays on Beckett
Sails of the Herring Fleet traces esteemed director and theorist Herbert Blau's encounters with the work of Samuel Beckett. Blau directed Beckett's plays when they were still virtually unknown, and for more than four decades has remained one of the leading interpreters of his work. In addition to now-classic essays, the collection includes early program notes and two remarkable interviews -- one from Blau's experience directing Waiting for Godot at San Quentin prison, and one from his last visit with Beckett, just before the playwright's death. Herbert Blau is Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Professor of the Humanities, University of Washington.
Beyond O'Connell & His Critics
Canonized in 1297 as Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France (1214-1270) was the central figure of Christendom in the thirteenth century. He ruled when France was at the height of power; he commanded the largest army in Europe and controlled the wealthiest kingdom. Renowned for his patronage of the arts, Louis was equally famous for his choice to imitate the suffering Christ as a humbly attired, bearded penitent. Armed with the considerable resources of the nouvel historien, Jacques Le Goff mines existing materials about Saint Louis to forge a new historical biography of the king. Part of his ambitious project is to reconstruct the mental universe of the thirteenth century: Le Goff describes the scholastic and intellectual background of Louis’s reign and, most importantly, he discusses methodology and the interpretation of written sources—their composition, provenance, and reliability. Le Goff divides his unconventional biography into three parts. In the first, he gives us the contours of Louis’s life from birth to death in the usual context of family dynamics and genealogy, courtly and regional politics, and shifts in economic, social, and cultural life. In sifting through the historical accounts of the king’s life, Le Goff determines that it is Louis IX’s profound sense of moral and religious purpose—his desire to become the ideal Christian ruler—that colors his every action from boyhood on; it is also, for Le Goff, what renders contemporary accounts problematic and what necessitates further scrutiny. That dissection of sources occupies the second part. Le Goff’s intention is to pare away the layers of homily and anecdote produced by the king’s early biographers to discover the true St. Louis. In the third part, Le Goff highlights the contradictions within Louis and his historical image that previous chroniclers have elided and overlooked.
Amy Lemmon’s stunning and heart-wrenching debut, Saint Nobody, offers us a profound meditation on the body, on the tribulations and the hard-found joys of incarnation. Lemmon does not shy away from a world where “vestigial angel-parts ache to emerge” and where there doesn’t appear to be a “speck of God.” This piercing meditation takes the problem of the body, and the problem of the body in a world that often seems God-less, head-on, without flinching, and yet delivers us truths and beauty we would never have imagined. Lemmon knows that we can’t count on the intercession of an absent saint, and she refuses easy solace. Instead, she probes deeply into the pain, into the conflicting emotions of childbirth, into the birth of a child with Down Syndrome—which is probably the most extraordinary poem written on that subject—to understand the life of our body here, the body in which “pain is sharpest where my wings would be.” This is a world of urine samples, “errant” chromosomes, lost kisses, first bleedings, chaotic cells, and scars, where the blood seems ours alone, and where the words are the only bread we have that may deliver us. In the bread of her words, Lemmon has given us a profound sacrament.
Weingrod presents an anthropological study of the development of a new Jewish saint, or zaddik, in Israel and of the annual pilgrimage to his enshrined grave by thousands of North African Jews. It is the fascinating story of how Rabbi Chayim Chouri, an aged Tunisian rabbi, became famed as the “Saint of Beersheba,” after his death in the 1950s. The author focuses upon the meaning of this event in the lives of the participants, and interprets the relevance of mystical-religious traditions to present-day Israeli society, politics, and culture. It includes a photographic essay that brilliantly evokes the joyful events that occur during the ritual and festivity of the pilgrimage.
A Drama in Five Acts
Based on events that began in Saint-Domingue on August 21, 1791, The Saint-Domingue Plantation; or, The Insurrection vividly dramatizes the genesis and outbreak of a slave revolt. When a representative of the French Assemblée nationale, Monsieur de Tendale, arrives at the Valombre family plantation to examine the condition of slaves in Saint-Domingue and to preach their liberation, he sparks a debate among the local curé and the Valombres—Monsieur, Madame, son Léon, and daughter Célestine—who disagree about how slaves should be treated and whether they should be freed. Meanwhile, rebellion brews on the plantation. As the slave revolt unfolds, the play's white hero, Léon, realizes the discrepancy between his liberal political and philosophical ideas and the reality of his family's economic interests. The black hero, Timur, confronts the slaves' bloodthirsty desire to kill the masters, their resistance to his leadership, and the realization that freedom places heavy demands on him and the other insurgents.
Translated into English by Norman R. Shapiro for the first time since its publication in 1825, The Saint-Domingue Plantation addresses a wide range of topics that antislavery activists raised during Charles de Rémusat's time, including antitorture measures, slaves' access to the sacrament of marriage, and religious education. An informative introduction by Doris Y. Kadish places the play in its historic and literary contexts, inviting further discussion and interpretation of this important work.
Edith Wyschogrod and the Possibilities of Philosophy of Religion
Since the publication of her first book, Emmanuel Levinas: The Problem of Ethical Metaphysics, in 1974-the first book about Levinas published in English-Edith Wyschogrod has been at the forefront of the fields of Continental philosophy and philosophy of religion. Her work has crossed many disciplinary boundaries, making peregrinations from phenomenology and moral philosophy to historiography, the history of religions (both Western and non-Western), aesthetics, and the philosophy of biology. In all of these discourses, she has sought to cultivate an awareness of how the self is situated and influenced, as well as the ways in which a self can influence others.In this volume, twelve scholars examine and display the influence of Wyschogrod's work in essays that take up the thematics of influence in a variety of contexts: Christian theology, the saintly behavior of the villagers of Le Chambon sur Lignon, the texts of the medieval Jewish mystic Abraham Abulafia, the philosophies of Levinas, Derrida, and Benjamin, the practice of intellectual history, the cultural memory of the New Testament, and pedagogy.In response, Wyschogrod shows how her interlocutors have brought to light her multiple authorial personae and have thus marked the ambiguity of selfhood, its position at the nexus of being influenced by and influencing others.