Steal­ing History

  • Review
By – May 22, 2013
Rumi­na­tions flow in an end­less stream regard­ing his­to­ry, peo­ple, famous events, and occa­sions. Ger­ald Stern, who is almost eight-five years old, states that Chris­tian­i­ty has stolen his­to­ry; he writes that the Lamb” of the Old Tes­ta­ment has been twist­ed to rep­re­sent the Christ,” to per­pet­u­ate wars in the Mid­dle East, to cel­e­brate art that dis­torts his­to­ry even fur­ther and more. Stern per­haps har­bors a hid­den anger about the over­all effect of the aggre­gate here­sies. Numer­ous pages cel­e­brate cher­ished friends, poets, writ­ers, musi­cians, and more who have graced human­i­ty with dis­tin­guished works and whose loss to Stern is immense. The his­to­ry and cur­rent pover­ty of a destroyed Haiti à la nat­ur­al dis­as­ter” is mourned and demands atten­tion. Metaphors of the drag­on­fly, the robin, and more draw forth potent com­par­isons to the beau­ty, inhu­man­i­ty, and insan­i­ty glob­al­ly man­i­fest. Vul­gar top­ics, such as what spit­ting rep­re­sents to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, add humor, hor­ror, and real joy to these reflec­tions. The essay on com­e­dy and the com­ic per­son­al­i­ty is bril­liant and not to be missed. Steal­ing His­to­ry is a lit­er­ate work that will become a clas­sic col­lec­tion of essays limn­ing the twen­ti­eth and twen­ty-first centuries.
Deb­o­rah Schoen­e­man, is a for­mer Eng­lish teacher/​Writing Across the Cur­ricu­lum Cen­ter Coor­di­na­tor at North Shore Hebrew Acad­e­my High School and coed­i­tor of Mod­ern Amer­i­can Lit­er­a­ture: A Library of Lit­er­ary Crit­i­cism, Vol. VI, pub­lished in 1997.

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