Ashes and Diamonds
Jerzy Andrzejewski Northwestern University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PG7158.A7P613 1996 | Dewey Decimal 891.8537
Originally published in Poland in 1948, and acclaimed as one of the finest postwar Polish novels, Ashes and Diamonds takes place in the spring of 1945, as the nation is in the throes of its transformation to People' Poland. Communists, socialists, and nationalists; thieves and black marketeers; servants and fading aristocrats; veteran terrorists and bands of murderous children bewitched by the lure of crime and adventure—all of these converge on a provincial town's chief hotel, a microcosm of an uprooted world.
"At last, she arrives at the fatal end of the plank . . . and, with her hands crossed over her chest, falls straight downward, suspended for a moment in the air before being devoured by the burning pit that awaits her. . . ." This grisly 1829 account by Pierre Dubois demonstrates the usual European response to the Hindu custom of satis sacrificing themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands—horror and revulsion. Yet to those of the Hindu faith, not least the satis themselves, this act signals the sati's sacredness and spiritual power.
Ashes of Immortality attempts to see the satis through Hindu eyes, providing an extensive experiential and psychoanalytic account of ritual self-sacrifice and self-mutilation in South Asia. Based on fifteen years of fieldwork in northern India, where the state-banned practice of sati reemerged in the 1970s, as well as extensive textual analysis, Weinberger-Thomas constructs a radically new interpretation of satis. She shows that their self-immolation transcends gender, caste and class, region and history, representing for the Hindus a path to immortality.
Ashes of Izalco
Claribel Alegría and Darwin J. Flakoll Northwestern University Press, 1995 Library of Congress MLCS 90/06098 (P)
Written in two voices, Ashes of Izalco is a collaborative novel by Claribel Alegría and Darwin Flakoll, a love story set against the events of 1932, when thirty thousand Indians and peasants were massacred in Izalco, El Salvador. Ashes of Izalco brings together a Salvadoran woman and an American man who struggle over issues of love, loyalty, and sociopolitical injustice.
The memory of the American Civil War took many forms over the decades after the conflict ended: personal, social, religious, and political. It was also remembered and commemorated by poets and fiction writers who understood that the war had bequeathed both historical and symbolic meanings to American culture. Although the defeated Confederacy became best known for producing a literature of nostalgia and an ideological defensiveness intended to protect the South's own version of history, authors loyal to the Union also confronted the question of what the memory of the war signified, and how to shape the literary response to that individual and collective experience.
In Ashes of the Mind, Martin Griffin examines the work of five Northerners—three poets and two fiction writers—who over a period of four decades tried to understand and articulate the landscape of memory in postwar America, and in particular in that part of the nation that could, with most justification, claim the victory of its beliefs and values. The book begins with an examination of the rhetorical grandeur of James Russell Lowell's Harvard Commemoration Ode, ranges across Herman Melville's ironic war poetry, Henry James's novel of North-South reconciliation, The Bostonians, and Ambrose Bierce's short stories, and ends with the bitter meditation on race and nation presented by Paul Laurence Dunbar's elegy "Robert Gould Shaw." Together these texts reveal how a group of representative Northern writers were haunted in different ways by the memory of the
conflict and its fraught legacy.
Griffin traces a concern with individual and community loss, ambivalence toward victory, and a changing politics of commemoration in the writings of Lowell, Melville, James, Bierce, and Dunbar. What links these very different authors is a Northern memory of the war that became more complex and more compromised as the century went on, often replacing a sense of justification and achievement with a perception of irony and failed promise.
The twentieth century is frequently characterized in terms of its unprecedented levels of bloodshed. More human beings were killed or allowed to die by human cause than ever before in history. The impact of the century’s carnage does not end with the lives that were taken; the atrocities continue to take their toll on those who survived, on those who bore witness, and on succeeding generations.
Blooming through the Ashes features over sixty writings about this historic violence and its aftermath in a global anthology that brings together the work of Nobel laureates Seamus Heaney, Toni Morrison, Czeslaw Milosz, Wole Soyinka, Elie Wiesel, Imre Kertesz, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Eugenio Montale, and Pablo Neruda. In non-fiction and fiction, these writers and others reflect on the litany of man-made violence that marred the twentieth century and that shadows the twenty-first, including the Holocaust, the Gulag, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, apartheid, repression in Latin America, genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the attacks of 9/11.
The texts are arranged thematically, rather than by event, in order to highlight the shared themes of memory expressed across culture and geography. Starting with visceral reactions to a violent event, chapters proceed through recognitions of loss, and move into statements of public remembrance through which future generations attempt to understand the impact of past violence.
In 2005 Michael Ignatieff left his life as a writer and professor at Harvard University to enter the combative world of politics back home in Canada. By 2008, he was leader of the country's Liberal Party and poised--should the governing Conservatives falter--to become Canada's next Prime Minister. It never happened. Today, after a bruising electoral defeat, Ignatieff is back where he started, writing and teaching what he learned.
What did he take away from this crash course in political success and failure? Did a life of thinking about politics prepare him for the real thing? How did he handle it when his own history as a longtime expatriate became a major political issue? Are cynics right to despair about democratic politics? Are idealists right to hope? Ignatieff blends reflection and analysis to portray today's democratic politics as ruthless, unpredictable, unforgiving, and hyper-adversarial.
Rough as it is, Ignatieff argues, democratic politics is a crucible for compromise, and many of the apparent vices of political life, from inconsistency to the fake smile, follow from the necessity of bridging differences in a pluralist society. A compelling account of modern politics as it really is, the book is also a celebration of the political life in all its wild, exuberant variety.
In Fire under the Ashes, John Donoghue recovers the lasting significance of the radical ideas of the English Revolution, exploring their wider Atlantic history through a case study of Coleman Street Ward, London. Located in the crowded center of seventeenth-century London, Coleman Street Ward was a hotbed of political, social, and religious unrest. There among diverse and contentious groups of puritans a tumultuous republican underground evolved as the political means to a more perfect Protestant Reformation. But while Coleman Street has long been recognized as a crucial location of the English Revolution, its importance to events across the Atlantic has yet to be explored.
Prominent merchant revolutionaries from Coleman Street led England’s imperial expansion by investing deeply in the slave trade and projects of colonial conquest. Opposing them were other Coleman Street puritans, who having crossed and re-crossed the ocean as colonists and revolutionaries, circulated new ideas about the liberty of body and soul that they defined against England’s emergent, political economy of empire. These transatlantic radicals promoted social justice as the cornerstone of a republican liberty opposed to both political tyranny and economic slavery—and their efforts, Donoghue argues, provided the ideological foundations for the abolitionist movement that swept the Atlantic more than a century later.
From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival is an invaluable, firsthand account of a child's survival in a Nazi concentration camp in Poland during World War II. When the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, Thomas Toivi Blatt was twelve years old. He and his family lived in the largely Jewish town of Izbica in the Lublin district of Poland—the district that was to become the site of three major Nazi extermination camps: Belzec, Sobibor, and Majdanek. Blatt tells of the chilling events that led to his deportation to Sobibor, and of the six months he spent there before taking part in the now-famous uprising and mass breakout. Blatt's tale of escape, and of the five harrowing years spent eluding both the Nazis and anti-Semitic Polish nationalists, is gripping account of resilience and survival.
This edition also includes the author's interview with Karl Frenzel, a former Nazi commandant at Sobibor.
Most discussions of India’s First War of Independence from British colonial rule in 1857 have centered on the role played by the Mughal emperor, the nawab of Awadh, and other sundry members of mostly urban nobility. What has remained missing from this coverage is how ordinary people across the countryside experienced the rebellion and how they passed their stories down to the following generations. In 1957, eminent Hindi writer Amritlal Nagar set out to correct this, travelling through villages and towns scattered across India’s heartland and painstakingly gathering reminiscences and popular ballads about the revolt—its celebrated and unsung heroes, its survivors and martyrs, and where and how various battles were fought. Aging courtesans, bedridden octogenarians, and nameless singers poured their hearts out to Nagar, and the substantial volume he put together made it clear, even to the lay reader, that nothing can stop the spread of a revolution whose time has come.
Translated from Hindi for the first time by Mrinal Pande, Gathering the Ashes is a poignant look into history, enriched by Pande’s useful afterword and a reminiscence by Nagar’s son.
On a February night in 1897, the general store in Walford, Iowa, burned down. The next morning, townspeople discovered a charred corpse in the ashes. Everyone knew that the store’s owner, Frank Novak, had been sleeping in the store as a safeguard against burglars. Now all that remained were a few of his personal items scattered under the body.
At first, it seemed to be a tragic accident mitigated just a bit by Novak’s foresight in buying generous life insurance policies to provide for his family. But soon an investigation by the ambitious new county attorney, M. J. Tobin, turned up evidence suggesting that the dead man might actually be Edward Murray, a hard-drinking local laborer. Relying upon newly developed forensic techniques, Tobin gradually built a case implicating Novak in Murray’s murder. But all he had was circumstantial evidence, and up to that time few murder convictions had been won on that basis in the United States.
Others besides Tobin were interested in the case, including several companies that had sold Novak life insurance policies. One agency hired detectives to track down every clue regarding the suspect’s whereabouts. Newspapers across the country ran sensational headlines with melodramatic coverage of the manhunt. Veteran detective Red Perrin’s determined trek over icy mountain paths and dangerous river rapids to the raw Yukon Territory town of Dawson City, which was booming with prospectors as the Klondike gold rush began, made for especially good copy.
Skull in the Ashes traces the actions of Novak, Tobin, and Perrin, showing how the Walford fire played a pivotal role in each man’s life. Along the way, author Peter Kaufman gives readers a fascinating glimpse into forensics, detective work, trial strategies, and prison life at the close of the nineteenth century. As much as it is a chilling tale of a cold-blooded murder and its aftermath, this is also the story of three ambitious young men and their struggle to succeed in a rapidly modernizing world.