A Baseball Bat and Book of Poems, Betty Szold Krainis '44, TI-JEAN Press, 2002. Krainis' poems span seven decades, with the earliest written in the 1940s and the most recent in 2002. They pay tribute to activities as varied as playing ping pong, cooking, teaching, aging, and writing ("If you want to write well, Show, don't tell./Something to crow about? Write what you know about./Both old pros and tyros Start off with bios./ Searching for riffs? Go for 'what ifs....' "). An introductory essay by Krainis details the founding and flourishing of the Great Barrington (MA) Rudolph Steiner School, which she helped establish in 1971. "You are lucky if you can work at something you love, something you believe in," Krainis writes. "Important things can happen late in life. Perhaps my 25 years of motherhood was an unconscious preparation for what came later." Krainis died 9/19/02; her daughter Deborah Morris '69 and Ruth Bowman '44 helped to publish this book.
It Happened on Washington Square, Emily Kies Folpe '65, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. The heart of New York City's Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park has been a vital public space for nearly two centuries. Lined by elegant townhouses, anchored by Stanford White's iconic Washington arch, and used by students, professionals, chess players and toddlers, the park is both an oasis from and an ideal of urban life. Synonymous with the city's artistic identity, the park has also witnessed waves of political and social unrest and served as a focal point for contentious debates about the future of urban development. It Happened on Washington Square traces historical phases of the park, when it was farmland for freed slaves, a dueling ground in the aftermath of the Revolutionary war, the elite enclave described by Edith Wharton, and a counter-cultural gathering place during the 20th century. Folpe explains why the survival of this unique public space is so important. She is an independent scholar who served for many years as a museum educator at the Museum of Modern Art. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and lives on Washington Square.
Poetics Before Plato: Interpretation and Authority in Early Greek Theories of Poetry, Grace M. Ledbetter '87, Princeton University Press, 2002. Combining literary and philosophical analysis, this study is the first to argue that there is a distinctively Socratic view of poetry, and the first to connect the Socratic view of poetry with earlier literary tradition. Literary theory is usually said to begin with Plato's famous critique of poetry in the Republic. Ledbetter asserts that Plato's earlier dialogues Ion, Protagoras, and Apology introduce a distinctively Socratic theory of poetry. Poetics Before Plato tracks the sources of this Socratic response. The Socratic poetics Ledbetter elucidates focuses not on censorship but on the interpretation of poetry as a source of moral wisdom. Socrates' theory includes poetry as subject matter for philosophical inquiry within an examined life. Ledbetter is Associate Professor of Classics and Philosophy at Swarthmore College.
Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880-1930, Roger Benjamin, Ph.D. '85, University of California Press, 2003. With exotic images ranging from Renoir's forgotten Algerian oeuvre to the abstract vision of Matisse's Morocco, this book offers the first history of Orientalist art in the period of high modernism. Benjamin draws on a decade's research in untapped archives, introduces many paintings, posters, miniatures and panoramas, and discovers an art movement closely bound to French colonial expansion. His research ranges wide, from the decorative arts to colonial museums, traveling scholarships, and art criticism in the salons of Paris and Algiers. His rediscovery of the Society of French Orientalist Painters provides a critical context for understanding a rich body of work, including that of indigenous Algerian artists whose careers have never before been discussed in English. Orientalist Aesthetics shows how colonial policy affected aesthetics, how Europeans visualized cultural differences, and how indigenous artists in turn manipulated Western visual languages. Benjamin lectured at Bryn Mawr on February 26 as part of the Visual Culture colloquia on "Renoir in Algiers: The Impressionist as Orientalist." He is Power Professor of Art History at the Power Institute of Art, University of Sydney.
Orientalism's Interlocutors: Painting, Architecture, Photography, Jill Beaulieu, M.A. '84, Mary Roberts, Eds., Duke University Press, 2003. Orientalist art-exemplified by paintings of harems, slave markets, or bazaars-has predominantly been understood to reflect Western interpretations and to perpetuate reductive, often demeaning stereotypes of the exotic East. Orientalism's Interlocutors contests the idea that Orientalist art simply expresses the politics of Western domination and argues instead that it was often produced through cross-cultural interactions. Focusing on paintings and other representations of North African and Ottoman cultures, by both local artists and westerners, the contributors contend that the stylistic similarities between indigenous and Western Orientalist art mask profound interpretive differences, which on examination can reveal a visual language of resistance to colonization. The essays demonstrate how marginalized voices and viewpoints-especially women's-within Western Orientalism decentered and destabilized colonial authority. From the liminal "Third Space" created by mosques in postcolonial Britain to the ways 19th-century harem women negotiated their portraits by British artists, the essays in this collection force a rethinking of the Orientalist canon.
Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art, Fred R. Myers, Ph.D. '76, Duke University Press, 2002. Over the past three decades, the acrylic "dot" paintings of central Australia were transformed into objects of international high art, eagerly sought by upscale galleries and collectors. Since the early 1970s, Myers has studied as a participant-observer of the Pintupi, an Aboriginal group who paints the famous acrylic works. Describing their paintings and the complicated cultural issues they raise, he looks at how the paintings represent Aboriginal people and their culture, and how their heritage is translated into exchangeable values. He tracks the way these paintings become high art, as they move outward from indigenous communities through and among other social institutions-the world of dealers, museums and critics. At the same time, he shows how this change in the status of the acrylic paintings is directly related to the initiative of the painters themselves and their hopes for greater levels of recognition.
Emotional Healing Through Mindfulness Meditation: Stories and Meditations on the Search for Wholeness, Barbara Miller Fishman, Ph.D. '79, Inner Traditions, 2002. As a result of years working with women as a psychotherapist, Barbara Miller Fishman developed the discipline of Mindfulness Psychotherapy, a combination of mindfulness meditation and psychotherapy that, taken together, describe a path toward wholeness. Now she presents the integration of her life's work through the poignant stories of eight women-all faced with critical decisions and tough life circumstances-and how they used Mindfulness Psychotherapy to attain greater levels of peace and well-being. "Essentially, the book is about the relationship between psychotherapy and meditation that is emerging in our time," Fishman writes. She offers a radical shift in a woman's relationship to life. Readers will discover the importance of naming a life problem, accepting the "is-ness" of it, developing a matter-of-fact curiosity, and exploring the mind/body reactions that we call emotional pain. The path continues as the reader creates an observing self and discovers the deep compassion that ultimately heals. Once learned, awareness practices can be used to face difficult situations, discover self-acceptance, and release the love needed to reside fully in one's whole self. Guided meditations are included on an accompanying 60-minute audio compact disc. Fishman is a therapist who offers workshops and seminars in Mindfulness Psychotherapy as it can be used for individuals and couples. She is the co-author of Resonance: The New Chemistry of Love and lives in Bala Cynwyd, PA.
Grandparents: A New Look at the Supporting Generation, Ursula A. Falk, M.S.S. '53, Gerhard Falk, Prometheus Books, 2002. Falk, a psychotherapist, and her sociologist husband, provide an overview of the many facets of being a grandparent in today's society in this book, adding perspective and depth to the stick-figure images of grandparents promulgated by contemporary culture. Among the topics discussed are the history and evolution of the grandparent role, the distinctly different roles of grandmother and grandfather, the parental responsibilities that modern grandparents are often forced to assume in the absence of their grandchildren's parents, the ways in which various cultures treat grandparents, the usually negative and stereotypical depiction of grandparents in Western media and in literature, and the supporting roles that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. Grandparents stresses that grandparents must be seen as individuals with their own lives and interests and should serve as a springboard for a much-needed reassessment of the value of the elderly. Falk is a social worker in private practice, a nursing home consultant, and the author of Ageism, The Aged and Aging in America.
The Medusa Reader, Nancy J. Vickers, President of the College, & Marjorie Garber, Eds., Routledge, 2003. The Medusa story has inspired writers and artists, anthropologists and psychoanalysts, political theorists and poets. The Medusa Reader traces her through the ages, from classical myth through the Renaissance to our present-day concerns with psychoanalysis, pop culture, art, and fashion. This anthology brings together the essential literary and philosophical passages as well as critical writing on Medusa. Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, Ovid, Dante, Petrarch, Christine de Pizan, Bacon, Goethe, Shelley, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, Plath, Gianni Versace and others are represented. Nancy J. Vickers, President of the College, has published widely in the fields of literary and cultural studies, with particular interests in Dante, Renaissance poetry, and the technologies of lyric production. In this collection, her essay "The Face of Medusa" invokes Medusa as the countertale to Shakespeare's Lucrece, noting that both stories of women's sexual behavior-Medusa's "adulterie" and Lucrece's chastity-served as lessons to Renaissance audiences. At the same time, Vickers reveals a cautionary tale about rhetoric itself embedded in the descriptions that circulated around both Medusa and Lucrece. Marjorie Garber is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Harvard. "From its distant beginnings, the story of Medusa has fascinated listeners and readers-and terrified them," the introduction reads. "For what is most compelling in the long history of the myth and its retellings is Medusa's intrinsic doubleness: at once monster and beauty, disease and cure, threat and protection, poison and remedy, the woman with snaky locks who could turn the unwary onlooker to stone has come to stand for all that is obdurate and irresistible."
Writing Outside the Nation, Azade Seyhan, Fairbank Professor in the Humanities and Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Princeton University Press, 2002. Writing Outside the Nation is a comparative study of narratives by selected bi- and multilingual writers of the United States and Germany, writing in their second or third language. The book's focus is on stories and histories that recuperate, in memory, losses incurred in migration, dislocation, and translation. Narratives that originate at border crossings cannot be bound by national borders, languages, and literary and critical traditions. They mark the site of a "third geography," where a transnational and multilingual literary movement has shown how literature's symbolic economy can reclaim lost personal and collective histories and encourage dialogues between different cultural voices. By considering themes of loss, witness, language, identity, politics, and linguistic exclusion as well as linguistic mastery, the book considers diasporic literatures as condensed archives of cultural memory that give integrity and coherence to pasts ruptured and unsettled. (See the Spring 2003 Bulletin for more information on Azade Seyhan.)
The Cambridge Companion to Gadamer, Robert J. Dostal, Rufus M. Jones Professor of Philosophy, Ed., Cambridge University Press, 2002. Hans-Georg Gadamer (b. 1900) is widely recognized as the leading exponent of philosophical hermeneutics. The essays in this collection examine Gadamer's biography, the core of hermeneutical theory, and the significance of his work for ethics, aesthetics, the social sciences, and theology. They consider his appropriation of Hegel, Heidegger, and the Greeks, and his relation to modernity, critical theory, and post-structuralism. This Companion was written for new readers as well as advanced students and specialists, who will find a conspectus of recent developments in the interpretation of Gadamer. Dostal penned the introduction as well as the chapters "Gadamer: The man and his work" and "Gadamer's relation to Heidegger and phenomenology."
Return to Summer 2003 highlights