Thrice Chosen

Thrice Chosen

by Edouard Roditi
     
 

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In this moving collection of poems and translations, all of them composed during the rise and fall of the Third Reich, Edouard Roditi gives thanks to God and to his forebearers for the blessing of his Jewish-mystic heritage.

As an American student in Berlin in the 1930s, Roditi witnessed at firsthand the shocking rise of German anti-Semitism. Upon resuming his

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Overview

In this moving collection of poems and translations, all of them composed during the rise and fall of the Third Reich, Edouard Roditi gives thanks to God and to his forebearers for the blessing of his Jewish-mystic heritage.

As an American student in Berlin in the 1930s, Roditi witnessed at firsthand the shocking rise of German anti-Semitism. Upon resuming his education in England, he began to study Hebrew and ancient Jewish texts as a supplement to his study of the Greek and Latin classics and, more importantly, as an act of cultural memory. As Charles Reznikoff had done in the 1920s, Roditi began his exploration of Jewishness by writing narrative poems based on Old Testament sources, including the Creation story and the tale of Lot's wife. He also wrote "Cassandra's Dream," a poem based on a dramatic monologue by Lycophron (3rd century B.C.E.), whom Roditi considers "the only Greek poet endowed with the same gift of prophecy as the Hebrew prophets." Later, after the Holocaust, he wrote tributes to the survivors and prayers for the dead, and translated lyrics by German-Jewish poets who perished in the camps. All of these poems are collected here, but the centerpiece of the volume is Roditi's best-known poem, the "Three Hebrew Elegies," a sad, stubborn, compassionate expression of righteousness and despair that at least one critic, Paul Goodman, ranked with the best of Eliot and Rilke.

"It is Roditi's stubbornness that I like the most. No matter how badly off he is, no matter how impossible the circumstances of the world, he continually and unfalteringly proves that it is still possible to be an urbane and compassionate man, one who does not avoid the suffering and does not blinkat the facts but who can nevertheless find some truth and beauty there." -Paul Goodman

Edouard Roditi (1910-1992) was born in Paris by American parents and educated there, in England and Germany, and at the University of Chicago. He was a poet, a short-story writer, and a writer on European art and artists. He was also a prolific translator, making memorable English versions of poetry and prose from French, German, Spanish, Danish, and Turkish originals.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780876853504
Publisher:
Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
12/28/1981
Pages:
137
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.51(d)

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