564 Chapters
Medium 9780253372017

3. The Sense of Beauty never furthered the Performance of a single Act of Duty

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF


W H I T I N G S OF P E I R C E , 1857-1866

The Sense of Beauty never furthered the Performance of a single

Act of Duty

MS 12: 26 March 1857

"Schiller, in his Esthetic Letters, observes that the sense of beauty never furthered the performance of a single act of duty" (Ruskin).

Is it possible that the great philosophical poet of the age has contented himself with an "observation" on such a subject—an observation, too, so contrary to daily experience? Ruskin is one of those who, without pretending to understand what they term the "German Philosophy," yet presume to censure it.1 If he had read the letter which follows the one to which he refers he would have found the words: "Beauty is in the highest degree fruitful with respect to knowledge and morality,"

We must go nearer to the fountain-head, then, if we seek Schiller's view of the matter, and I think I cannot do better than to devote this Theme to a most brief exposition of the doctrine of the Esthetic Letters, so far as it relates to our present subject.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253372055

Chronological List, 1884–1886

Peirce, Charles S. Indiana University Press PDF

Chronological List


Three kinds of materials are included in this list which (save the twentyfive manuscripts at the beginning) covers the middle of 1884 through the end of 1886:

1. All of Peirce's known publications, identified by P followed by a number. For these numbers and for further bibliographical information, see A

Comprehensive Bibliography of the Published Works of Charles Sanders

Peirce, 2nd ed. rev., ed. Kenneth Laine Ketner (Bowling Green, OH: Philosophy Documentation Center, 1986), the letterpress companion volume to the 161-microfiche edition of Peirce's published works.

2. All of Peirce's known manuscripts, typescripts, and annotated offprints, identified by MS followed by a number. These numbers reflect the Peirce

Edition Project rearrangement and chronological ordering of the Peirce

Papers, the originals of which are in the Houghton Library of Harvard

University, and of papers found in other collections. Parentheses after the

MS number give either the name or location of those collections, or they identify the Harvard manuscript number. For the latter, see Richard S.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253019622

4. Yiddish Ethnographic Poetics and Moyshe Kulbak’s “Vilne” / Jordan Finkin

Edited by Andreas Kilcher and Gabriella Indiana University Press ePub


At the conclusion of one of the poet Moyshe Kulbak’s (1896–1937) few essays, “The Yiddish Word” (1918), having sketched out what Yiddish literature has achieved in prose, Kulbak turns to what is still to be achieved in poetry. “The Yiddish word was synthesized by the finest spirits of the people, and it carries with it the musical rhythm of singing Jewish souls. If our language still has something to conquer, it will achieve more through its flowers than through its publicistic paper swords.”1 Here as elsewhere Kulbak regards folksong as the beating heart of cultural creativity. In ethnographically resonant language he notes how Yiddish folksong “breathes with the primitive refinement of folk creativity.”2 It is not by chance that he regularly returns to the well of folklore and folksong in his efforts to be precisely that conqueror of the final frontier of Yiddish literary art.

In a letter some six years later, Kulbak makes a tantalizing off-hand mission statement: “I cannot express myself fully except in short or longer poems, and therefore I want to devise such a form which can in a large space, with the help of various shapes, express not an epic world-concept but a pure lyric poetry.”3 Kulbak’s ambitious desire to create a new form for Yiddish poetry that can both encompass his personal aesthetic aims and fulfill his duty to folk creativity sets as one of the hinges between the two a deep reflection on Jewish ethnography. In what follows I outline a model of Jewish ethnographic engagement as it appears in the work of those committed to Yiddish cultural creativity in the early twentieth century, and then I show how Kulbak’s work and his dual engagement, nearly unrivaled in Yiddish literature for its sensitivity if not its lyricism, allows us a glimpse at the intersection of poetry and ethnography, their mutual influences, and how they were understood by the cultural activists committed to both. To do this, I focus on a reading of his poem “Vilne,” stressing its reliance not only on modes of contemporary Jewish autoethnography but also on an understanding of ethnography rooted more in authenticity than authority. That is, whether an ethnography or an ethnographic poem, if it is based in authenticity then it relies on the data themselves rather than extrinsic warrants (especially authority) to provide legitimacy. The literature and poetry that attuned themselves to the specific shifts in conceptual emphases of Jewish ethnography, as in the case of Moyshe Kulbak, offer remarkable insights into Jewish self-understanding.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253006813

Chapter 4: “The Miseries That the Germans Inflicted on Salonika”

Melammed, Renée Levine Indiana University Press ePub

The Nazi invasion of Salonika on April 9, 1941, would determine the fate of the twenty-five-year-old Bouena and her family as well as all of Salonikan Jewry. Bouena survived by fleeing and joining the partisans, at first the EDES Royalists1 and later the ELAS Communists.2 She eventually reached Palestine, accompanying a group of children she had smuggled out of Greece. She later returned to work as a dietitian in the displaced persons’ camp in Siderokastro, Greece, and encouraged Jews to immigrate to Palestine.

This particular collection of verses, entitled Komplas de las mizerias ke izo lo[s] almanes a Salonique del 1941–1943 (in English, “Coplas about the Miseries That the Germans Inflicted on Salonika, 1941–1943”), contains ninety-nine strophes. The traumas that Bouena as well as the community had experienced remained with her until her dying day. Interestingly enough, one perceives that events are often represented in the verses as belonging to the present rather than to the past, for she relived them time and again. The use of this tense seems to add a sense of authenticity and realism, as if the verses were part of a diary.3 The lost world here is not one whose heyday passed as the result of modernization or secularism, but rather the result of war and manmade devastation. In his collection of Sephardi Holocaust poetry, Isaac Jack Lévy writes, “[T]he primary duty of Sephardic writers is not the verbalization of the message but rather the message as a means of retaining their own identity through remembrance of fallen brothers and sisters.”4 Bouena is clearly engaged in remembrance but her verses are unusual in that their message does more than help the survivors retain their identity, for the verses simultaneously send an informative message of historic significance.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253016300

9 Mourning and Melancholia in W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz

Emily Miller Budick Indiana University Press ePub

“IN THE SECOND half of the 1960s I traveled repeatedly from England to Belgium, partly for study purposes, partly for other reasons, which were never entirely clear to me” (Sebald 2001, 3). Thus begins Sebald’s extraordinary novel Austerlitz, in which a nameless narrator records his repeated encounters with the mysterious and elusive Jacques Austerlitz, a Jewish survivor from Czechoslovakia who arrives in England on the Kindertransport and grows up without knowing the story of his origins. The novel unfolds through the narrator’s retelling of Austerlitz’s narrative as Austerlitz comes to understand more and more about his own story. In odd and discomforting ways that story becomes the narrator’s own autobiography, both in the present moment of the narration and, more profoundly, in terms of his history as a German, not a Jew.

Austerlitz, we very quickly realize, is the narrator’s uncanny doppelgänger. Not only do they meet unexpectedly at the most fraught junctures in the narrator’s life, but they also are so in tune with each other that they can seamlessly resume conversations begun years earlier. Thus, concerning their initial meeting the narrator writes: “When I finally went over to Austerlitz . . . he was not at all surprised by my direct approach but answered me at once” (7–8). Or later in the book: “On this second meeting, as on all subsequent occasions, we simply went on with our conversation, wasting no time in commenting on the improbability of our meeting again in a place like this, which no sensible person would have sought out” (28). And even later on, in what proves to be their most significant encounter:

See All Chapters

See All Chapters