EROS AND THE JEWS

FROM BIBLICAL ISRAEL TO CONTEMPORARY AMERICA

A scholarly study of Jewish sexuality that is neither sexy nor particularly Jewish. Here, Biale (Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, 1986) appears to have lost his way in the murkier realms of philosophy and theology. He's at his best when dealing with the sociological and psychological realms of sexuality and powerlessness, as noted in the nervous passions of Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, and Erica Jong. Elsewhere, though, his central argument sees Eros in Judaism as ``the struggle between contradictory attractions...the story of a profoundly ambivalent culture.'' Biale consistently misses the subtleties of the Oriental, Jewish paradox of erotic spirituality with his Occidental, secular Bible-critic's sensibility that finds only contradictions. He therefore thinks it scandalous (rather than glorious) that King David's lineage is built on the incestuous seductions of the gentiles Tamar and Ruth (who lust only for progeny). Similarly, Biale cannot see how the literal level of the ``Song of Songs'' feeds the spiritual level with its erotic yearning for the Other. The failure to see that classical Judaism is closer to the Kama Sutra than to the teachings of St. Paul is one thing, but Biale is guilty of errors (``Jacob himself associated with the affirmation of intermarriage'') and of contempt for traditionalists who don't share his view that Judaism is a derivative amalgam of Canaanite and Greco-Roman culture. His subjectivity is all too perceptible. The extensive notes and bibliography help document shifting attitudes toward romance and marriage, but a topic like this deserves a little passion.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 1992

ISBN: 0-465-02033-X

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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