If women of yore who had lived their lives in the shadows of men spoke up and told their stories, what would they say? The six stories in this book span almost five hundred years and two continents. These ‘invisible stories’ are the monologues of six Jewish women whose point of view had been all but hidden beyond the stories in which they were merely supporting actors.
Birnbaum, a cultural historian, reveals the feelings and ideas of these women through fictitious diaries, letters and confessions. Five of them are well-known historical figures or characters in famous works of art: Gilda Molcho from Verdi’s Rigoletto; Reyna, daughter of Gracia Mendes, the famed Renaissance banker; Fromet, wife of the revered philosopher Moses Mendelssohn; Rebecca Gratz, one of the founders of several Jewish Aid Societies in America in the 19th century; or Léda, the lover and muse of Endre Ady, one of the most important Hungarian poets. The sixth woman, the narrator of “Mici’s Playbook,” tells the story of a typical Jewish Hungarian woman in the 20th century: persecution, survival and starting anew in the New World. This is the longest and most poignant story in which an elegant old woman, victim of a street attack, is lying in a vegetative state – or so she pretends to the people visiting her in the hospital. In fact, she hears and sees everything, and has her own, often deprecating, opinion of all those around her, especially her own daughter.
Marianna D. Birnbaum’s ‘untold stories,’ written in a dynamic prose that has the feel of immediacy, offer realities behind the reality well known from textbooks. They provide valuable, sometimes funny, sometimes heartrending footnotes to mainstream cultural history.
If women of yore who had lived their lives in the shadows of men spoke up and told their stories, what would they say?
ISBN 978 963 1437 24 9
2018, hard cover with jacket
160 pages, 110×180 mm
Excerpt on hlo.hu
Complete English translation available