Records and Reflections: Selected from Her Writings During Half a Century, April 3rd, 1840 to April 3rd, 1890

Wertheimer, Lea
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Publisher
Wertheimer, Lea
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Published on
Dec 31, 1894
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Pages
130
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Language
English
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This content is DRM free.
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Rachel Simon’s debut, originally published in 1990, is a collection of stories about the struggle for love and intimacy, told from the point of view of adolescent girls, young mothers, and elderly women. Some are rooted in reality, others in magical realism, with tones ranging from serious to comic, sunny to dark. Throughout, Simon employs such a wide range of voices—sweet, shrewd, wistful, irascible, vulnerable, sensual—the Philadelphia Inquirer hailed her as “a literary ventriloquist.”

Among the highlights are “Little Nightmares, Little Dreams,” in which an elderly couple enters the unknown by trying to dream the same dream; “Paint,” in which a runaway-turned-artist’s-model provokes protests after her naked body becomes the canvas; “Afterglow,” in which a plucky thirteen-year-old playing hooky is held hostage by an escaped convict; “Grandma Death,” in which an overbearing grandmother can’t seem to go anywhere without someone dropping dead; and “Better Than A Box of Dreams,” in which a maid irritated by her boss’s dream therapy sessions dreams her own fondest wish back to life.

Little Nightmares, Little Dreams was presented on NPR’s Selected Shorts and the Lifetime program The Hidden Room. “Paint” and “The Speed of Love” were adapted by the Arden Theatre Company, and “Better Than A Box of Dreams” for InterAct Theatre, both in Philadelphia.

This 2014 ebook rerelease includes four previously uncollected stories. It also includes a new introduction that tells the story of the book’s astonishing path to publication, reveals the inspiration behind several stories, and offers wisdom from a seasoned writing friend that writers everywhere will treasure.



In the first major study of women in an Arab country�s Jewish community, Rachel Simon examines the changing status of Jewish women in Libya from the second half of the nineteenth century until 1967, when most Jews left the country. Simon shows how social, economic, and political changes in Libyan society as a whole affected its Jewish minority and analyzes the developments in women�s social position, family life, work, education, and participation in public life.

Jews lived in Libya for more than two thousand years. As a result of their isolation from other Jewish centers and their extended coexistence with Berber and Arab Muslims, the Jews of Libya were strongly influenced by the manners, customs, regulations, and beliefs of the Muslim majority. The late nineteenth century witnessed a growing European cultural and economic penetration of Ottoman Liibya, which increased after the Italian occupation of Libya in 1911. Italian rule continued until a British Military Administration was established in 1942-43. Libya became independent in late 1951. The changing political regimes presented the Jewish minority with different models of social and cultural behavior. These changes in the foci of inspiration and imitation had significant implications for the position of Jewish women, as Jewish traditional society was exposed to modernizing and Westernizing influences.

Economic factors had a strong impact on the position of women. Because of recurring economic crises in the late nineteenth century, Jewish families became willing to allow women to work outside the home. Some families also allowed their daughters to pursue vocational training and thus exposed them also to academic studies, especially at schools operated by representatives of European Jewish organizations.

Although economic and educational opportunities for women increased, the Jewish community as a whole remained traditional in its social structure, worldview, and approach to interpersonal relations. The principles upon which the community operated did not change drastically, and the male power structure did not alter in either the private or the public domain. Thus the position of women changed little within these spheres, despite the expansion of opportunities for women in education and economic life. Change was slow, evolutionary, and within the framework of traditional society.

Rachel Simon’s debut, originally published in 1990, is a collection of stories about the struggle for love and intimacy, told from the point of view of adolescent girls, young mothers, and elderly women. Some are rooted in reality, others in magical realism, with tones ranging from serious to comic, sunny to dark. Throughout, Simon employs such a wide range of voices—sweet, shrewd, wistful, irascible, vulnerable, sensual—the Philadelphia Inquirer hailed her as “a literary ventriloquist.”

Among the highlights are “Little Nightmares, Little Dreams,” in which an elderly couple enters the unknown by trying to dream the same dream; “Paint,” in which a runaway-turned-artist’s-model provokes protests after her naked body becomes the canvas; “Afterglow,” in which a plucky thirteen-year-old playing hooky is held hostage by an escaped convict; “Grandma Death,” in which an overbearing grandmother can’t seem to go anywhere without someone dropping dead; and “Better Than A Box of Dreams,” in which a maid irritated by her boss’s dream therapy sessions dreams her own fondest wish back to life.

Little Nightmares, Little Dreams was presented on NPR’s Selected Shorts and the Lifetime program The Hidden Room. “Paint” and “The Speed of Love” were adapted by the Arden Theatre Company, and “Better Than A Box of Dreams” for InterAct Theatre, both in Philadelphia.

This 2014 ebook rerelease includes four previously uncollected stories. It also includes a new introduction that tells the story of the book’s astonishing path to publication, reveals the inspiration behind several stories, and offers wisdom from a seasoned writing friend that writers everywhere will treasure.



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