The Legend of the Wandering Jew
George K. AndersonPaper: $40.00
Energetically written, logically organized, and splendidly produced . . . An original and creative work of scholarship, in which erudition and imagination walk hand in hand.
—American Jewish Historical Quarterly
Anderson, writing with liveliness and humor, takes Ahasuerus [the Wandering Jew’s most common name] from his house on the road to Golgotha, where he was condemned to endless walking, through centuries to come and climes unknown (one being the moon). Beginning with the Middle Ages the legend developed, reflecting the Zeitgeist and social conditions, and followed the main stream of European history, down to the anti-Semitism of our own times.
[Anderson’s] study asks good questions at this juncture in space and time, when the National Archives is collecting tweets and people are wondering whether their Facebook profiles might be given to historians after they pass away. Anderson’s extended essay provides a useful starting point to consider these issues (of our digital legacies) and our role as media historians in the early twenty-first century. Ultimately, he is right in suggesting that new media technology can help, and not hinder, how historians shape and share their inquiries into the past (and thus into the present).
… In the enchanted plainsong of these seasoned, measured poems, the ultimate intimacy of consciousness achieves a lucidity so deeply truthful that it becomes the mythic.
I love how this book moves from the personal to the public, from the private room of the heart where losses are conferred, to the world’s stage of mindless, unaccountable war.…The vulnerability in these poems is real, but so is the hope.
GEORGE K. ANDERSON, a renowned Anglo-Saxon scholar, was Professor of English at Brown University, where he taught for 45 years. Aided by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Anderson spent 20 years researching the legend of the Wandering Jew. His other books include The Literature of England (1979) and a translation of The Saga of the Volsungs (1982).