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Discussion of Timrava's fiction

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  • BJLK@aol.com
    I read Timrava s short stories several years ago when I borrowed the book as an inter-library loan. Even though I don t have a copy to refer to, I would be
    Message 1 of 24 , Apr 11, 2003
      I read Timrava's short stories several years ago when I borrowed the book as
      an inter-library loan. Even though I don't have a copy to refer to, I would
      be interested in joining the discussion.

      B. J. Licko-Keel (BJLK@...)


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • J. Michutka
      Wow, I m glad so many people are interested in this! How about if we start the discussion of the first story on Weds, April 30? I hope that is enough time for
      Message 2 of 24 , Apr 12, 2003
        Wow, I'm glad so many people are interested in this!

        How about if we start the discussion of the first story on Weds, April
        30? I hope that is enough time for books to arrive, for those who are
        ordering. Then allow two weeks per story.

        I'll send out a reminder the Friday beforehand, and if we find that books
        still haven't arrived, we can adjust the starting date.

        Julie Michutka
        jmm@...
      • Andrea Vangor
        I am happy to report that I found a copy in a bookstore down in Olympia, so went and grabbed it today! ... From: J. Michutka To:
        Message 3 of 24 , Apr 12, 2003
          I am happy to report that I found a copy in a bookstore down in Olympia, so
          went and grabbed it today!


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "J. Michutka" <jmm@...>
          To: <Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 11:29 AM
          Subject: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: timetable proposal


          > Wow, I'm glad so many people are interested in this!
          >
          > How about if we start the discussion of the first story on Weds, April
          > 30? I hope that is enough time for books to arrive, for those who are
          > ordering. Then allow two weeks per story.
          >
          > I'll send out a reminder the Friday beforehand, and if we find that books
          > still haven't arrived, we can adjust the starting date.
          >
          > Julie Michutka
          > jmm@...
          >
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
        • Bill Tarkulich
          http://dogbert.abebooks.com is a wonderful network of used booksellers across the globe. I have used this service at least a dozen times to quickly order
          Message 4 of 24 , Apr 13, 2003
            http://dogbert.abebooks.com is a wonderful network of used booksellers
            across the globe. I have used this service at least a dozen times to
            quickly order books from places unimaginible just 10 years ago. Payment
            is simple too. I have not financial interest in this service.
            alibris.com is an alternative network, second to abebooks.com, but I
            tend to find most things I'm looking for at abebooks. I've picked up a
            lot of communist-era, soviet books on our regions, printed mainly in the
            50's-70's. Some are translated, some not. But for prices as low as
            $10, you can pickup books filled with photos of a lost and forgotten
            era.

            While the book you are seeking "Incipient Feminists" is not available,
            another work by the author is:

            Rudinsky, N.
            THAT ALLURING LAND. Slovak Stories by Timrava
            Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992. Stiff Paper
            (pb). Very Good+ condition. First Edition. 8vo. ISBN:0-8229-5473-7. 324
            pages including a bibliography. Series in Russian and East European
            Studies No. 15. Minimal shelfwear to trade paperback binding, with
            vertical creases along spine. Minimal highlighting scattered throughout
            text. ISBN:0822954737 Bookseller Inventory #003038

            Happy Hunting,
            Bill Tarkulich



            -----Original Message-----
            From: Andrea Vangor [mailto:drav@...]
            Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 8:06 PM
            To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: timetable proposal


            I am happy to report that I found a copy in a bookstore down in Olympia,
            so went and grabbed it today!


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "J. Michutka" <jmm@...>
            To: <Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 11:29 AM
            Subject: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: timetable proposal


            > Wow, I'm glad so many people are interested in this!
            >
            > How about if we start the discussion of the first story on Weds, April

            > 30? I hope that is enough time for books to arrive, for those who are

            > ordering. Then allow two weeks per story.
            >
            > I'll send out a reminder the Friday beforehand, and if we find that
            > books still haven't arrived, we can adjust the starting date.
            >
            > Julie Michutka
            > jmm@...
            >
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
            > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >



            To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



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          • capt jack
            Bill, A very interesting site, thanks for the link, it will be fun to see what is available for a number of interests of mine. Jim ... Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo!
            Message 5 of 24 , Apr 13, 2003
              Bill, A very interesting site, thanks for the link, it will be fun to see what is available for a number of interests of mine. Jim


              ---------------------------------
              Do you Yahoo!?
              Yahoo! Tax Center - File online, calculators, forms, and more

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Andrea Vangor
              I agree -- have bought several books through them, including this one. Does anyone know the name of the village where Timrava was born? ... From: Bill
              Message 6 of 24 , Apr 13, 2003
                I agree -- have bought several books through them, including this one. Does
                anyone know the name of the village where Timrava was born?


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Bill Tarkulich" <bill@...>
                To: <Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2003 6:36 AM
                Subject: RE: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: timetable proposal


                > http://dogbert.abebooks.com is a wonderful network of used booksellers
                > across the globe. I have used this service at least a dozen times to
                > quickly order books from places unimaginible just 10 years ago. Payment
                > is simple too. I have not financial interest in this service.
                > alibris.com is an alternative network, second to abebooks.com, but I
                > tend to find most things I'm looking for at abebooks. I've picked up a
                > lot of communist-era, soviet books on our regions, printed mainly in the
                > 50's-70's. Some are translated, some not. But for prices as low as
                > $10, you can pickup books filled with photos of a lost and forgotten
                > era.
                >
                > While the book you are seeking "Incipient Feminists" is not available,
                > another work by the author is:
                >
                > Rudinsky, N.
                > THAT ALLURING LAND. Slovak Stories by Timrava
                > Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992. Stiff Paper
                > (pb). Very Good+ condition. First Edition. 8vo. ISBN:0-8229-5473-7. 324
                > pages including a bibliography. Series in Russian and East European
                > Studies No. 15. Minimal shelfwear to trade paperback binding, with
                > vertical creases along spine. Minimal highlighting scattered throughout
                > text. ISBN:0822954737 Bookseller Inventory #003038
                >
                > Happy Hunting,
                > Bill Tarkulich
                >
                >
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: Andrea Vangor [mailto:drav@...]
                > Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 8:06 PM
                > To: Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: timetable proposal
                >
                >
                > I am happy to report that I found a copy in a bookstore down in Olympia,
                > so went and grabbed it today!
                >
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: "J. Michutka" <jmm@...>
                > To: <Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com>
                > Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2003 11:29 AM
                > Subject: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: timetable proposal
                >
                >
                > > Wow, I'm glad so many people are interested in this!
                > >
                > > How about if we start the discussion of the first story on Weds, April
                >
                > > 30? I hope that is enough time for books to arrive, for those who are
                >
                > > ordering. Then allow two weeks per story.
                > >
                > > I'll send out a reminder the Friday beforehand, and if we find that
                > > books still haven't arrived, we can adjust the starting date.
                > >
                > > Julie Michutka
                > > jmm@...
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
              • J. Michutka
                ... Oddly enough, the intro to _That Alluring Land_ says just that She was born 2 October 1867 ...in a hillside village in southeast Slovakia above the Danube
                Message 7 of 24 , Apr 13, 2003
                  At 02:51 PM 4/13/03 -0700, you wrote:
                  >I agree -- have bought several books through them, including this one. Does
                  >anyone know the name of the village where Timrava was born?

                  Oddly enough, the intro to _That Alluring Land_ says just that "She was
                  born 2 October 1867 ...in a hillside village in southeast Slovakia above
                  the Danube river plain"; why on earth didn't Rudinsky name the
                  village? She then mentions Timrava moving to a neighboring village after
                  1909, but again doesn't name the village; just footnotes the book that has
                  the biographical info. But Helene knows; one of Timrava's villages is
                  Helene's favorite village in Slovakia.

                  Julie Michutka
                  jmm@...
                • Jan Lan
                  ... Rodisko Polichno. http://www.polichno.sk/index.php?data=6_000 Janko
                  Message 8 of 24 , Apr 13, 2003
                    At 05:56 PM 4/13/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                    >At 02:51 PM 4/13/03 -0700, you wrote:
                    > >I agree -- have bought several books through them, including this one. Does
                    > >anyone know the name of the village where Timrava was born?
                    >
                    >Oddly enough, the intro to _That Alluring Land_ says just that "She was
                    >born 2 October 1867 ...in a hillside village in southeast Slovakia above
                    >the Danube river plain"; why on earth didn't Rudinsky name the
                    >village? She then mentions Timrava moving to a neighboring village after
                    >1909, but again doesn't name the village; just footnotes the book that has
                    >the biographical info. But Helene knows; one of Timrava's villages is
                    >Helene's favorite village in Slovakia.
                    >
                    >Julie Michutka
                    >jmm@...

                    Rodisko Polichno. http://www.polichno.sk/index.php?data=6_000

                    Janko



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                  • J. Michutka
                    OK, am I the only reader who would like to give the girl in The Assistant Teacher a good shaking? LOL She must be about 17.......(and yet, her parents are
                    Message 9 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                      OK, am I the only reader who would like to give the girl in "The Assistant
                      Teacher" a good shaking? LOL She must be about 17.......(and yet, her
                      parents are old). I do like young Somos; I enjoy Timrava's depictions
                      of both these young people.

                      Rudinsky mentions (p. xi, introduction) the two castes in Timrava's
                      stories, "the numerous peasants and the scattered village
                      intelligentsia". Our heroine, who appears to be a nameless runaway from a
                      Jane Austen novel, belongs to the latter group. (How interesting that both
                      Timrava and Austen are never-married daughters/sisters of clergy.) In
                      spite of a school population of 60 pupils, some of whom must have older
                      brothers, she has no one in the village to flirt with. (I found myself
                      wondering if her parents "need" an assistant teacher as much to marry their
                      daughter as to relieve papa whose eyesight and hearing are failing.) Her
                      chores seem to be limited to setting the table--we don't see her cooking,
                      or tending animals. Mama scolds/is cheerful to "the whole household",
                      which makes it sound like there are some unseen helping hands besides old
                      Kata about the place (but not other children--"don't you know you're all we
                      have" says mama on p. 19). Their house has 3 bedrooms, which seems large
                      for the time, judging by the houses I've seen at Slovak skansens (outdoor
                      musuems with period houses/furnishings)--but someone correct me if I'm
                      wrong on that.

                      So many of us on this list are descended from Slovaks who were part of "the
                      numerous peasants" who came to America in search of a better life. Does
                      anyone know of being descended from the "village intelligentsia", and if
                      so, what family stories have you heard? Rudinsky says that the two castes
                      were socially and economically distinct, but then she seems to contradict
                      herself there with regard to the economic distinction: the peasant caste
                      ranges from "rich farmers" on down, while village parsons are part of the
                      intelligentsia but "live meagerly".

                      As I go through my village parish records, I see signs of some folks being
                      more important than others-- their entries are larger, lists of witnesses
                      to the event are longer, etc. Unfortunately, I can't read the village
                      history book well enough yet to see if these folks are discussed, and what
                      their role in the village was; although sometimes they are noted as
                      "dominus" in the record entries.

                      I've run out of time to write any more right now.....what else catches your
                      attention in this story?

                      Julie Michutka, trying to think of a Jane Austen-ish title for this story
                      jmm@...
                    • Helen Fedor
                      I d like to be 2nd in line to give her a shaking. I wonder why Somos would put up with her. Was it the prestige of marrying a pastor s daughter? Or was that
                      Message 10 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                        I'd like to be 2nd in line to give her a shaking. I wonder why Somos
                        would put up with her. Was it the prestige of marrying a pastor's
                        daughter? Or was that the only "class" that he was expected to choose
                        from and the pickings were slim? If you read the description of what
                        the narrator (we never do learn her name) wishes for before she ever
                        sees Somos, "I could imagine his raven hair, his black eyes, his
                        magnetic personality, and his uniquely good heart," you can see that she
                        got exactly what she wished for. Too bad she didn't remember to wish
                        for good looks.

                        To get an assistant, the father wrote to his friend to send his son.
                        How much autonomy did the father have to run his school? Was there no
                        central administration he could ask to send an assistant?

                        There was one other "helper" mentioned, Borica, the "hired man"
                        ('zeliar' in the original--Kata was a 'zeliarka,' which Norma translates
                        as "the poor widow". 'Zeliar' = farm hand or hired man, acc'd to the
                        dictionary.)

                        One thing I found kind of curious has to do with her friend Esther.
                        It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a name have been
                        given to a Lutheran girl? Also, there's something in the original that
                        was dropped in the translation. Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is "a
                        slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original.

                        Helen


                        >>> jmm@... 04/30/03 06:33AM >>>
                        OK, am I the only reader who would like to give the girl in "The
                        Assistant
                        Teacher" a good shaking? LOL She must be about 17.......(and yet, her

                        parents are old). I do like young Somos; I enjoy Timrava's
                        depictions
                        of both these young people.

                        Rudinsky mentions (p. xi, introduction) the two castes in Timrava's
                        stories, "the numerous peasants and the scattered village
                        intelligentsia". Our heroine, who appears to be a nameless runaway
                        from a
                        Jane Austen novel, belongs to the latter group. (How interesting that
                        both
                        Timrava and Austen are never-married daughters/sisters of clergy.) In

                        spite of a school population of 60 pupils, some of whom must have older

                        brothers, she has no one in the village to flirt with. (I found myself

                        wondering if her parents "need" an assistant teacher as much to marry
                        their
                        daughter as to relieve papa whose eyesight and hearing are failing.)
                        Her
                        chores seem to be limited to setting the table--we don't see her
                        cooking,
                        or tending animals. Mama scolds/is cheerful to "the whole household",

                        which makes it sound like there are some unseen helping hands besides
                        old
                        Kata about the place (but not other children--"don't you know you're
                        all we
                        have" says mama on p. 19). Their house has 3 bedrooms, which seems
                        large
                        for the time, judging by the houses I've seen at Slovak skansens
                        (outdoor
                        musuems with period houses/furnishings)--but someone correct me if I'm

                        wrong on that.

                        So many of us on this list are descended from Slovaks who were part of
                        "the
                        numerous peasants" who came to America in search of a better life.
                        Does
                        anyone know of being descended from the "village intelligentsia", and
                        if
                        so, what family stories have you heard? Rudinsky says that the two
                        castes
                        were socially and economically distinct, but then she seems to
                        contradict
                        herself there with regard to the economic distinction: the peasant
                        caste
                        ranges from "rich farmers" on down, while village parsons are part of
                        the
                        intelligentsia but "live meagerly".

                        As I go through my village parish records, I see signs of some folks
                        being
                        more important than others-- their entries are larger, lists of
                        witnesses
                        to the event are longer, etc. Unfortunately, I can't read the village

                        history book well enough yet to see if these folks are discussed, and
                        what
                        their role in the village was; although sometimes they are noted as
                        "dominus" in the record entries.

                        I've run out of time to write any more right now.....what else catches
                        your
                        attention in this story?

                        Julie Michutka, trying to think of a Jane Austen-ish title for this
                        story
                        jmm@...


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                      • J. Michutka
                        ... Not knowing enough about the culture, I d guess......a combination of things. Slim pickings; I think they were pre-disposed to be attracted to each other
                        Message 11 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                          At 11:27 AM 4/30/03 -0400, you wrote:
                          >I'd like to be 2nd in line to give her a shaking. I wonder why Somos
                          >would put up with her. Was it the prestige of marrying a pastor's
                          >daughter? Or was that the only "class" that he was expected to choose
                          >from and the pickings were slim?

                          Not knowing enough about the culture, I'd guess......a combination of
                          things. Slim pickings; I think they were pre-disposed to be attracted to
                          each other (she certainly was, and he must have known that there was a
                          daughter in the household); and you know, I don't get the sense that she
                          was a bad sort. Since she is the narrator, we don't get a real description
                          of her. She doesn't moan about not being pretty, so I'll bet she's
                          attractive; and don't you get a sense that she's a lively and friendly sort
                          when she's not trying to jerk this guy's chain? Since Somos sees right
                          through her, I think he's seeing right through to something nice. She just
                          needs to grow up a little.

                          I was wondering where would she have gotten her romantic notions, if "the
                          romantic ideal of a love match based on free choice.....was still new in
                          central Europe" (intro p. xii). But then there's Timrava herself, educated
                          at home and reading Czech, German, Magyar and Russian. Who knows, maybe
                          Jane Austen was translated into German and made its way into Timrava's
                          life! Certainly sounds like there must have been a variety of literature
                          available to those with education and the means to obtain books.


                          >One thing I found kind of curious has to do with her friend Esther.
                          >It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a name have been
                          >given to a Lutheran girl? Also, there's something in the original that
                          >was dropped in the translation. Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is "a
                          >slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original.

                          Dear Helen, kind Helen, you are gonna be so sorry you let us know that you
                          have access to the Slovak text!

                          What an excellent question. Is it a Jewish nose because Esther is Jewish,
                          or is it merely descriptive, as we might characterize a nose as Roman or
                          aquiline? I'd be surprised if Rudinsky would gloss over Esther being
                          Jewish; but if it's just descriptive, then I could see her leaving it out
                          to avoid confusion. I was under the impression that Esta's family was just
                          like our protagonist's--pastor/teacher in a village.

                          Since you have the Slovak text :) the salary is 600 *what* per
                          year? Does it say? I'd be curious to compare it (if possible) to what
                          Grisak made in the mines in his autobiography, which was at about the same
                          time.

                          Julie Michutka
                          jmm@...
                        • Helen Fedor
                          First, the salary: s~est stozlatova~ = literally, a-600-golden-ones salary. Does anyone know what currency that would have been? An interesting aside about
                          Message 12 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                            First, the salary: s~est'stozlatova~'= literally, a-600-golden-ones
                            salary. Does anyone know what currency that would have been?

                            An interesting aside about this is that where Norma [I met her many
                            years ago and know her as Norma] has "it's a very good position," the
                            original has "cirkev je vel'mi dobra" [the church is very good]. I
                            assume this means that it's a rich church. But why does Timrava use
                            'cirkev', the general word for church instead of 'kostol,' which she
                            uses when the narrator says (p.12) that she went to church on Sunday
                            morning (and came home with cold hands that Somos helped her warm)? Or
                            is "ist' do kostola" just a set phrase for "gpoing to church"? And then
                            there's the part about "the consecration of the church" (p. 12), where
                            Timrava uses 'chram,' which means temple.

                            <<I was under the impression that Esta's family was just like our
                            protagonist's--pastor/teacher in a village.>> That was the assumption
                            I made too, but nowhere does she come right out and say it. Just out of
                            curiosity, I typed the name "Krasnovsky" into Google. A few of the
                            sites I looked at lead me to believe that Krasnovsky is a Jewish name.
                            If so, does this mean that state (i.e. secular) and church-run schools
                            were all part of the same school system? Or is this totally off the
                            wall?

                            Helen



                            >>> jmm@... 04/30/03 02:09PM >>>
                            At 11:27 AM 4/30/03 -0400, you wrote:
                            >I'd like to be 2nd in line to give her a shaking. I wonder why Somos
                            >would put up with her. Was it the prestige of marrying a pastor's
                            >daughter? Or was that the only "class" that he was expected to
                            choose
                            >from and the pickings were slim?

                            Not knowing enough about the culture, I'd guess......a combination of
                            things. Slim pickings; I think they were pre-disposed to be attracted
                            to
                            each other (she certainly was, and he must have known that there was a

                            daughter in the household); and you know, I don't get the sense that
                            she
                            was a bad sort. Since she is the narrator, we don't get a real
                            description
                            of her. She doesn't moan about not being pretty, so I'll bet she's
                            attractive; and don't you get a sense that she's a lively and friendly
                            sort
                            when she's not trying to jerk this guy's chain? Since Somos sees right

                            through her, I think he's seeing right through to something nice. She
                            just
                            needs to grow up a little.

                            I was wondering where would she have gotten her romantic notions, if
                            "the
                            romantic ideal of a love match based on free choice.....was still new
                            in
                            central Europe" (intro p. xii). But then there's Timrava herself,
                            educated
                            at home and reading Czech, German, Magyar and Russian. Who knows,
                            maybe
                            Jane Austen was translated into German and made its way into Timrava's

                            life! Certainly sounds like there must have been a variety of
                            literature
                            available to those with education and the means to obtain books.


                            >One thing I found kind of curious has to do with her friend Esther.
                            >It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a name have
                            been
                            >given to a Lutheran girl? Also, there's something in the original
                            that
                            >was dropped in the translation. Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is
                            "a
                            >slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original.

                            Dear Helen, kind Helen, you are gonna be so sorry you let us know that
                            you
                            have access to the Slovak text!

                            What an excellent question. Is it a Jewish nose because Esther is
                            Jewish,
                            or is it merely descriptive, as we might characterize a nose as Roman
                            or
                            aquiline? I'd be surprised if Rudinsky would gloss over Esther being
                            Jewish; but if it's just descriptive, then I could see her leaving it
                            out
                            to avoid confusion. I was under the impression that Esta's family was
                            just
                            like our protagonist's--pastor/teacher in a village.

                            Since you have the Slovak text :) the salary is 600 *what* per
                            year? Does it say? I'd be curious to compare it (if possible) to what

                            Grisak made in the mines in his autobiography, which was at about the
                            same
                            time.

                            Julie Michutka
                            jmm@...


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                          • Andrea Vangor
                            I think the pickings were particularly slim in Eastern Slovakia for Lutherans, regarding eligible marriage partners. Only about 5% of the population in S~aris~
                            Message 13 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                              I think the pickings were particularly slim in Eastern Slovakia for
                              Lutherans, regarding eligible marriage partners.

                              Only about 5% of the population in S~aris~ and Abov were Lutheran, according
                              to a survey done by the Hungarian government -- it's on that website, Radix
                              or some such thing. Looks like the Lutherans were mostly clumped in little
                              island villages and the few large towns, surrounded by a sea of Roman and
                              Greek Catholics.

                              Given the class barriers on top of religioius ones, it probably came down to
                              a mere handful of single people of suitable age for a Lutheran of the middle
                              class in Eastern Slovakia.

                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "J. Michutka" <jmm@...>
                              To: <Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 11:09 AM
                              Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: class distinctions


                              > At 11:27 AM 4/30/03 -0400, you wrote:
                              > >I'd like to be 2nd in line to give her a shaking. I wonder why Somos
                              > >would put up with her. Was it the prestige of marrying a pastor's
                              > >daughter? Or was that the only "class" that he was expected to choose
                              > >from and the pickings were slim?
                              >
                              > Not knowing enough about the culture, I'd guess......a combination of
                              > things. Slim pickings; I think they were pre-disposed to be attracted to
                              > each other (she certainly was, and he must have known that there was a
                              > daughter in the household); and you know, I don't get the sense that she
                              > was a bad sort. Since she is the narrator, we don't get a real
                              description
                              > of her. She doesn't moan about not being pretty, so I'll bet she's
                              > attractive; and don't you get a sense that she's a lively and friendly
                              sort
                              > when she's not trying to jerk this guy's chain? Since Somos sees right
                              > through her, I think he's seeing right through to something nice. She
                              just
                              > needs to grow up a little.
                              >
                              > I was wondering where would she have gotten her romantic notions, if "the
                              > romantic ideal of a love match based on free choice.....was still new in
                              > central Europe" (intro p. xii). But then there's Timrava herself,
                              educated
                              > at home and reading Czech, German, Magyar and Russian. Who knows, maybe
                              > Jane Austen was translated into German and made its way into Timrava's
                              > life! Certainly sounds like there must have been a variety of literature
                              > available to those with education and the means to obtain books.
                              >
                              >
                              > >One thing I found kind of curious has to do with her friend Esther.
                              > >It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a name have been
                              > >given to a Lutheran girl? Also, there's something in the original that
                              > >was dropped in the translation. Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is "a
                              > >slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original.
                              >
                              > Dear Helen, kind Helen, you are gonna be so sorry you let us know that you
                              > have access to the Slovak text!
                              >
                              > What an excellent question. Is it a Jewish nose because Esther is Jewish,
                              > or is it merely descriptive, as we might characterize a nose as Roman or
                              > aquiline? I'd be surprised if Rudinsky would gloss over Esther being
                              > Jewish; but if it's just descriptive, then I could see her leaving it out
                              > to avoid confusion. I was under the impression that Esta's family was
                              just
                              > like our protagonist's--pastor/teacher in a village.
                              >
                              > Since you have the Slovak text :) the salary is 600 *what* per
                              > year? Does it say? I'd be curious to compare it (if possible) to what
                              > Grisak made in the mines in his autobiography, which was at about the same
                              > time.
                              >
                              > Julie Michutka
                              > jmm@...
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                              > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                              >
                              >
                            • Helen Fedor
                              I don t know why Norma says that Polichno is in southeast Slovakia, when it s about 20 km northwest of Lucenec. It seems to me that that would be considered
                              Message 14 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                                I don't know why Norma says that Polichno is "in southeast Slovakia,"
                                when it's about 20 km northwest of Lucenec. It seems to me that that
                                would be considered south central Slovakia (Gemer?), where there are a
                                fair number of Lutherans, no?

                                Helen



                                >>> drav@... 04/30/03 04:50PM >>>
                                I think the pickings were particularly slim in Eastern Slovakia for
                                Lutherans, regarding eligible marriage partners.

                                Only about 5% of the population in S~aris~ and Abov were Lutheran,
                                according
                                to a survey done by the Hungarian government -- it's on that website,
                                Radix
                                or some such thing. Looks like the Lutherans were mostly clumped in
                                little
                                island villages and the few large towns, surrounded by a sea of Roman
                                and
                                Greek Catholics.

                                Given the class barriers on top of religioius ones, it probably came
                                down to
                                a mere handful of single people of suitable age for a Lutheran of the
                                middle
                                class in Eastern Slovakia.

                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: "J. Michutka" <jmm@...>
                                To: <Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com>
                                Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 11:09 AM
                                Subject: Re: [Slovak-World] TIMRAVA: class distinctions


                                > At 11:27 AM 4/30/03 -0400, you wrote:
                                > >I'd like to be 2nd in line to give her a shaking. I wonder why
                                Somos
                                > >would put up with her. Was it the prestige of marrying a pastor's
                                > >daughter? Or was that the only "class" that he was expected to
                                choose
                                > >from and the pickings were slim?
                                >
                                > Not knowing enough about the culture, I'd guess......a combination
                                of
                                > things. Slim pickings; I think they were pre-disposed to be
                                attracted to
                                > each other (she certainly was, and he must have known that there was
                                a
                                > daughter in the household); and you know, I don't get the sense that
                                she
                                > was a bad sort. Since she is the narrator, we don't get a real
                                description
                                > of her. She doesn't moan about not being pretty, so I'll bet she's
                                > attractive; and don't you get a sense that she's a lively and
                                friendly
                                sort
                                > when she's not trying to jerk this guy's chain? Since Somos sees
                                right
                                > through her, I think he's seeing right through to something nice.
                                She
                                just
                                > needs to grow up a little.
                                >
                                > I was wondering where would she have gotten her romantic notions, if
                                "the
                                > romantic ideal of a love match based on free choice.....was still new
                                in
                                > central Europe" (intro p. xii). But then there's Timrava herself,
                                educated
                                > at home and reading Czech, German, Magyar and Russian. Who knows,
                                maybe
                                > Jane Austen was translated into German and made its way into
                                Timrava's
                                > life! Certainly sounds like there must have been a variety of
                                literature
                                > available to those with education and the means to obtain books.
                                >
                                >
                                > >One thing I found kind of curious has to do with her friend Esther.
                                > >It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a name have
                                been
                                > >given to a Lutheran girl? Also, there's something in the original
                                that
                                > >was dropped in the translation. Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is
                                "a
                                > >slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original.
                                >
                                > Dear Helen, kind Helen, you are gonna be so sorry you let us know
                                that you
                                > have access to the Slovak text!
                                >
                                > What an excellent question. Is it a Jewish nose because Esther is
                                Jewish,
                                > or is it merely descriptive, as we might characterize a nose as Roman
                                or
                                > aquiline? I'd be surprised if Rudinsky would gloss over Esther
                                being
                                > Jewish; but if it's just descriptive, then I could see her leaving it
                                out
                                > to avoid confusion. I was under the impression that Esta's family
                                was
                                just
                                > like our protagonist's--pastor/teacher in a village.
                                >
                                > Since you have the Slovak text :) the salary is 600 *what* per
                                > year? Does it say? I'd be curious to compare it (if possible) to
                                what
                                > Grisak made in the mines in his autobiography, which was at about the
                                same
                                > time.
                                >
                                > Julie Michutka
                                > jmm@...
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                > Slovak-World-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                                http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                >
                                >


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                              • Barbara Koeller
                                Sorry I can t join in the daytime book discussions - - I don t get home from work until 6, but I wanted to put my 2 cents worth in! I note, as Carol did, that
                                Message 15 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                                  Sorry I can't join in the daytime book discussions - - I don't get home
                                  from work until 6, but I wanted to put my 2 cents' worth in!

                                  I note, as Carol did, that unlike the story's narrator, my grandparents'
                                  lives were hard "with little time left for self-indulgence." My
                                  grandfather was a tailor, having apprenticed in Vienna (he was from
                                  Zelenec~/Linc~ near Trnava). His parents had some land and some cows. But
                                  his older brother inherited everything from the parents, since
                                  primogeniture was in effect in Austria-Hungary. My grandparents didn't
                                  have two servants, for sure. They were both 25 when they came over in
                                  1906. They had a much better life here, but ten years later my grandmother
                                  was left a widow with 8 children when my grandfather died of TB. If she
                                  was sorry that they came over, she never said so. But she always spoke of
                                  fondness for the old country. But I digress ...

                                  I agree that the narrator is one spoiled person. Like Jane Austen, Timrava
                                  is attempting to teach other young ladies, and demonstrating that such
                                  behavior is foolish. The story closes with the narrator's stating, after
                                  her marriage, "So I begin to oppose him, cooly snap at him, and turn away
                                  from him for up to three weeks at a time." There is trouble on the way! I
                                  wish Timrava had constructed a follow-up story showing the couple 10 years
                                  later. (Perhaps she did, and I just don't know it.) The narrator has some
                                  likeable qualities that I think would fade as she grows older. It was
                                  cute, at times, to watch her and Somos~ doing a little "dance" around each
                                  other and pretending to avoid and not be interested.

                                  I'm glad that Helen has the Slovak text to compare for us. Interesting
                                  that she picked up on the bit about the friend Esther with the "Jewish
                                  nose." (Perhaps Norma Rudinsky toned down this remark, since it is
                                  inappropriate today.) I do think Christians and Jews mingled freely,
                                  pre-WW II. My mother's cousin spoke of a synagogue down the street from
                                  their home in Zavar (also near Trnava), but there was no synagogue when we
                                  visited there in 2000.

                                  Another thought: a previous discussion thread on Slovak World talked about
                                  past marriage customs in Slovakia and how girls who married outside of
                                  their village were often the less desirable ones. So, would our story's
                                  narrator have chosen a husband outside the village for class reasons, or
                                  because she had been passed over by others? Maybe she was older than 17
                                  and her parents thought she was in danger of becoming a spinster? They
                                  could have been anxious at the thought that their daughter would refuse
                                  Somos~ - - not only for the good salary, but because they might have seen
                                  him as a "last chance."

                                  I loved the little details in the story, such as how they served "three
                                  kinds of strudel, chicken and fruit" when Somos~ came to dinner. This was
                                  really a way to impress him - - we always had two kinds of cake for
                                  company, but three would have been really special!

                                  As an aside comment on teachers in Slovakia: about 6-7 years ago, we had a
                                  visiting teacher from Eastern Slovakia here in town. I was surprised to
                                  learn from her that teachers in Slovakia are paid a uniform salary
                                  throughout the country. It doesn't matter whether you teach in a big city
                                  or in a small town, your salary is the same. Does anyone have more
                                  information on the subject?

                                  Barbara Koeller


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Martin Votruba
                                  ... The Americans generally identifying social classes with income. That has not been the traditional perception in Central Europe. There, education was more
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Apr 30, 2003
                                    > the two castes were socially and economically distinct, but then she
                                    > seems to contradict herself there with regard to the economic
                                    > distinction: the peasant caste ranges from "rich farmers" on down, while
                                    > village parsons are part of the intelligentsia but "live meagerly"

                                    The Americans generally identifying social classes with income. That has
                                    not been the traditional perception in Central Europe. There, education
                                    was more of a factor in how people saw their society.

                                    A rare sociological survey when a brief relaxation of communist control
                                    allowed it in the late 1960s revealed substantial differences in
                                    lifestyles between the intelligentsia and the laborers, although the range
                                    of salaries in communist Czechoslovakia was among the narrowest in all the
                                    com. countries. The highest salaries were barely 3x to 4x higher than the
                                    lowest, and the limited supply of goods and services narrowed what people
                                    could do with their money even more. And since communist ideology favored
                                    the "working class," their pay was as likely to be in the top group, as
                                    those of any other group. Yet, how the intelligentsia lived (how they
                                    spent their free time, what they had at home), was noticeably different
                                    from the laborers.

                                    The same appears to have been true throughout Central European history.

                                    The minister's family may not have been the richest in the village, but
                                    their lifestyle was different. His daughter's expectations (and
                                    fantasies) may not have been met by any farmer she knew in the village.
                                    For example, she might have been dreaming of someone who read literature.
                                    In Timrava's _real_ village, most farmers never read any of her short
                                    stories, even after they learned that some of them were actually depicted
                                    in them, and the stories became part of the school curriculum.


                                    > Esther. It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a name
                                    > have been given to a Lutheran girl?

                                    Esther, and other names from the Old Testament were quite fashionable
                                    among the Slovak Lutherans in the 19th century.


                                    > where would she have gotten her romantic notions, if "the romantic ideal
                                    > of a love match based on free choice.....was still new in central
                                    > Europe"

                                    Surely, infatuation cannot have been new. Norma probably meant
                                    "marriage." The intelligentsia was less bent on arranged marriages than
                                    the farmers, and the protagonist's notions of romantic love (just like
                                    Timrava's) would have been shaped by massive reading of trashy, as well as
                                    some better romance novels abundant in German, in Hungarian translations,
                                    by sentimental stories in Slovak periodicals, as well as by Slovak
                                    romantic novels.


                                    > there must have been a variety of literature available to those with
                                    > education and the means to obtain books

                                    The Central European intelligentsia was well read. An English traveler
                                    had this to say in 1835 (correct: eighteen-35):

                                    "I have often thought that a glance at the booksellers' shops gives a
                                    more correct idea of the state of education in a country than the
                                    most profound disquisitions on its schools and universities. If my
                                    notion is correct, Bratislava ought to rank pretty high in literary
                                    estimation, for in a tour which we made one day through the
                                    warehouses of five or six of the chief booksellers, we were
                                    astonished at the number and excellence of the books they contained.
                                    They were not only rich in Hungarian and German works, but contained
                                    almost every thing of any great merit published in London and Paris.
                                    A fair library both of the French and English classics might easily
                                    be formed in Bratislava. Of the English standard works, we found
                                    editions of London, Paris and Leipzig, but chiefly the latter."


                                    > But why does Timrava use 'cirkev', the general word for church instead
                                    > of 'kostol,'

                                    It means that the Lutheran Church is good (to them), not that their parish
                                    is rich.


                                    > Only about 5% of the population in S~aris~ and Abov were Lutheran

                                    The village should be seen as located in south-central Slovakia. We can
                                    safely assume that practically everyone in Timrava's village was Lutheran.
                                    But regardless, the members of the three Churches were not distributed
                                    evenly. Even in east Slovakia, you'd get a few predominantly Lutheran
                                    villages. Statistically that gives us 5% for the whole county, but the
                                    parishioners were actually clustered.


                                    Martin

                                    votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
                                  • nhasior@aol.com
                                    ... Helen, in the version i have, another change is that her name has been changed from Esther to Esta. Noreen [Non-text portions of this message have been
                                    Message 17 of 24 , May 1, 2003
                                      Ihfed@... writes:


                                      > . Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is "a
                                      > slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original
                                      >
                                      Helen,
                                      in the version i have, another change is that her name has been changed from
                                      Esther to Esta.
                                      Noreen










                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Helen Fedor
                                      Her name is Esther, but Timrava also uses the diminutives Esta and Estika . Norma doesn t translate diminutives, which are much more common in Slovak. In
                                      Message 18 of 24 , May 1, 2003
                                        Her name is Esther, but Timrava also uses the diminutives "Esta" and
                                        "Estika". Norma doesn't translate diminutives, which are much more
                                        common in Slovak. In one case, she even does the opposite. Norma has
                                        the narrator call and refer to her father as "Father," while Timrava has
                                        "Tatuska" and "Apo".

                                        Helen



                                        >>> nhasior@... 05/01/03 06:49AM >>>
                                        Ihfed@... writes:


                                        > . Esther's "slightly crooked nose" is "a
                                        > slightly crooked little Jewish nose" in the original
                                        >
                                        Helen,
                                        in the version i have, another change is that her name has been changed
                                        from
                                        Esther to Esta.
                                        Noreen










                                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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                                      • Helen Fedor
                                        ... instead ... But when her parents are berating the narrator for
                                        Message 19 of 24 , May 1, 2003
                                          > But why does Timrava use 'cirkev', the general word for church
                                          instead
                                          > of 'kostol,'

                                          <It means that the Lutheran Church is good (to them), not that their
                                          parish
                                          is rich.>

                                          But when her parents are berating the narrator for turning down Somos'
                                          proposal, her mother says, "Blaznis~ sa dievc~a? C~i nevies~, aka je
                                          dobra cirkev Chmel'ovo?". Doesn't this mean basically what Norma has:
                                          "Are you crazy, girl? Don't you know what a good position Chmel'ovo
                                          is?"

                                          Helen



                                          >>> votrubam@... 04/30/03 10:38PM >>>
                                          > the two castes were socially and economically distinct, but then she
                                          > seems to contradict herself there with regard to the economic
                                          > distinction: the peasant caste ranges from "rich farmers" on down,
                                          while
                                          > village parsons are part of the intelligentsia but "live meagerly"

                                          The Americans generally identifying social classes with income. That
                                          has
                                          not been the traditional perception in Central Europe. There,
                                          education
                                          was more of a factor in how people saw their society.

                                          A rare sociological survey when a brief relaxation of communist
                                          control
                                          allowed it in the late 1960s revealed substantial differences in
                                          lifestyles between the intelligentsia and the laborers, although the
                                          range
                                          of salaries in communist Czechoslovakia was among the narrowest in all
                                          the
                                          com. countries. The highest salaries were barely 3x to 4x higher than
                                          the
                                          lowest, and the limited supply of goods and services narrowed what
                                          people
                                          could do with their money even more. And since communist ideology
                                          favored
                                          the "working class," their pay was as likely to be in the top group,
                                          as
                                          those of any other group. Yet, how the intelligentsia lived (how they
                                          spent their free time, what they had at home), was noticeably
                                          different
                                          from the laborers.

                                          The same appears to have been true throughout Central European
                                          history.

                                          The minister's family may not have been the richest in the village,
                                          but
                                          their lifestyle was different. His daughter's expectations (and
                                          fantasies) may not have been met by any farmer she knew in the
                                          village.
                                          For example, she might have been dreaming of someone who read
                                          literature.
                                          In Timrava's _real_ village, most farmers never read any of her short
                                          stories, even after they learned that some of them were actually
                                          depicted
                                          in them, and the stories became part of the school curriculum.


                                          > Esther. It's a Jewish name from the Old Testament. Would such a
                                          name
                                          > have been given to a Lutheran girl?

                                          Esther, and other names from the Old Testament were quite fashionable
                                          among the Slovak Lutherans in the 19th century.


                                          > where would she have gotten her romantic notions, if "the romantic
                                          ideal
                                          > of a love match based on free choice.....was still new in central
                                          > Europe"

                                          Surely, infatuation cannot have been new. Norma probably meant
                                          "marriage." The intelligentsia was less bent on arranged marriages
                                          than
                                          the farmers, and the protagonist's notions of romantic love (just like
                                          Timrava's) would have been shaped by massive reading of trashy, as well
                                          as
                                          some better romance novels abundant in German, in Hungarian
                                          translations,
                                          by sentimental stories in Slovak periodicals, as well as by Slovak
                                          romantic novels.


                                          > there must have been a variety of literature available to those with
                                          > education and the means to obtain books

                                          The Central European intelligentsia was well read. An English
                                          traveler
                                          had this to say in 1835 (correct: eighteen-35):

                                          "I have often thought that a glance at the booksellers' shops
                                          gives a
                                          more correct idea of the state of education in a country than the
                                          most profound disquisitions on its schools and universities. If
                                          my
                                          notion is correct, Bratislava ought to rank pretty high in
                                          literary
                                          estimation, for in a tour which we made one day through the
                                          warehouses of five or six of the chief booksellers, we were
                                          astonished at the number and excellence of the books they
                                          contained.
                                          They were not only rich in Hungarian and German works, but
                                          contained
                                          almost every thing of any great merit published in London and
                                          Paris.
                                          A fair library both of the French and English classics might
                                          easily
                                          be formed in Bratislava. Of the English standard works, we found
                                          editions of London, Paris and Leipzig, but chiefly the latter."


                                          > But why does Timrava use 'cirkev', the general word for church
                                          instead
                                          > of 'kostol,'

                                          It means that the Lutheran Church is good (to them), not that their
                                          parish
                                          is rich.


                                          > Only about 5% of the population in S~aris~ and Abov were Lutheran

                                          The village should be seen as located in south-central Slovakia. We
                                          can
                                          safely assume that practically everyone in Timrava's village was
                                          Lutheran.
                                          But regardless, the members of the three Churches were not distributed
                                          evenly. Even in east Slovakia, you'd get a few predominantly Lutheran
                                          villages. Statistically that gives us 5% for the whole county, but
                                          the
                                          parishioners were actually clustered.


                                          Martin

                                          votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu



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                                        • Martin Votruba
                                          ... Agreed, Helen. It does mean that. I should have responded to the whole question, and checked the whole passage, not just the quoted segment. _kostol_
                                          Message 20 of 24 , May 1, 2003
                                            > Doesn't this mean basically what Norma has: "Are you crazy, girl?
                                            > Don't you know what a good position Chmel'ovo is?"

                                            Agreed, Helen. It does mean that. I should have responded to the whole
                                            question, and checked the whole passage, not just the quoted segment.
                                            _kostol_ means a building, _cirkev_ means the institution, so saying
                                            _kostol je velmi dobry_ would be like saying, e.g., "the gym is good,"
                                            she'd be describing the building. (I hope I understood the question this
                                            time?)


                                            Martin
                                          • BJLK@aol.com
                                            In our present-day lives it s difficult to understand how pervasive class distinctions influenced the daily lives of prior generations. This theme of class
                                            Message 21 of 24 , May 1, 2003
                                              In our present-day lives it's difficult to understand how pervasive class
                                              distinctions influenced the daily lives of prior generations. This theme of
                                              class differences echoes through Timrava's fiction in a very natural way.
                                              Even though the fictional characters have imaginary personalities which the
                                              author has developed in varying degrees, there is no ambiguity about their
                                              class standing. I have no doubt that class-related social artifacts still
                                              remain in Slovakia (and in the United States) today.

                                              Something Timrava does very well when describing class differences is to
                                              fully explore the antagonisms that exist as a kind of ribbon interwoven with
                                              the everyday social interaction between her characters. These run the gamut
                                              from playful insolence to bitter resentment.

                                              My own family is an example of how social-class differences continued to
                                              influence relationships in ways that were occasionally inappropriate. My
                                              mother, who left almost all of her family behind, came from a
                                              well-educational, well-traveled family of professionals, educators, and
                                              clergy, while my father, whose entire family emigrated to the United States,
                                              was from a much different social stratum.

                                              I can remember both of them discussing how lucky they were to meet each other
                                              in the United States, because they would not have been able to even speak to
                                              each other (much less marry) had they met in Slovakia. However, their worst
                                              arguments were over "the right way" to do something. For example, my mother
                                              loved fine linens and china, good silver, and nice table manners, while my
                                              father was more concerned about whether there was enough to eat. They both
                                              agreed that it was necessary to say grace before every meal.

                                              My father's family never completely warmed up to my mother and often made her
                                              life miserable--they always regarded her with a little bit of awe and slight
                                              resentment no matter how hard she tried to fit in. It took me years to
                                              figure out why. My observations were confirmed by a long conversation I had
                                              on the subject recently with a kindly Slovak senior.

                                              I sometimes wonder how Timrava's emigres are doing in today's world.

                                              Regards,

                                              B. J. Licko-Keel (BJLK@...)


                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Nick Holcz
                                              ... I don t think that it has disappeared even now. Your experience is a bit like mine my mother was born in Hamburg to a well to do family , her mother and
                                              Message 22 of 24 , May 1, 2003
                                                At 01:03 PM 1/05/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                                                >In our present-day lives it's difficult to understand how pervasive class
                                                >distinctions influenced the daily lives of prior generations.


                                                I don't think that it has disappeared even now.

                                                Your experience is a bit like mine my mother was born in Hamburg to a well
                                                to do family , her mother and children moved to England and still had
                                                servants and lots of money. My father was a Slovak grocer and they met
                                                because he joined the British army in WW2 and there was shock horror from
                                                her family about how she married beneath her class. The problem was solved
                                                when we moved to Australia where no one knew them or cared less.

                                                I suppose the only time it was discussed was when relating the events of
                                                their lives to my brother and I and we would only notice the difference in
                                                their ability to speak and write in English.

                                                Nick


                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • Michelle A Mader
                                                ... I think it depends on where you are from. My husband is from Germany and occasionally, earlier in our marriage, we would talk about moving there. My MIL
                                                Message 23 of 24 , May 2, 2003
                                                  Nick wrote:
                                                  >At 01:03 PM 1/05/2003 -0400, you wrote:
                                                  > >In our present-day lives it's difficult to understand how pervasive class
                                                  > >distinctions influenced the daily lives of prior generations.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >I don't think that it has disappeared even now.
                                                  >
                                                  >Your experience is a bit like mine my mother was born in Hamburg ...

                                                  I think it depends on where you are from. My husband is from Germany
                                                  and occasionally, earlier in our marriage, we would talk about moving
                                                  there. My MIL was always horrified by such talk and tried to explain
                                                  to me about the class distinctions and how I'd never get used to them.
                                                  She talked about how the family of the doctor would barely acknowledge
                                                  the existence of the postman, even if they lived next door to each other
                                                  in identical circumstances.


                                                  Michelle Maco Mader
                                                  Cleveland, Ohio USA
                                                  "I have never let my schooling interfere
                                                  with my education." - Mark Twain
                                                • Martin Votruba
                                                  ... The distinction between social groups we get in Timrava s stories is not one where deference is obligatory. The relationship of the farmers to the
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , May 2, 2003
                                                    > What actions of the peasants would be required to show proper respect to
                                                    > the 'betters' as they met them in town

                                                    The distinction between social groups we get in Timrava's stories is not
                                                    one where deference is obligatory. The relationship of the farmers to the
                                                    intelligentsia is not one of subordination, i.e. the intelligentsia are
                                                    not their landlords, masters. Whatever deference was shown would have
                                                    stemmed especially from the narrator's father being the minister, and
                                                    teacher.

                                                    It can be compared to the American doctors addressing their adult, often
                                                    older patients by their first name, and the patients addressing them as
                                                    "doctor," plus perhaps the doctor's last name. Many, if not most
                                                    Americans show deference to their doctors, accept the unequal, subordinate
                                                    position in mutual address, and think it "natural." It's the same when
                                                    the Americans' interact with the clergy: e.g., people call them "Father,"
                                                    and are addressed by their first name by the priest, although many
                                                    parishioners are richer than the clergyman, older, sometimes in high
                                                    positions in their jobs. That's an approximation of the "class" deference
                                                    we see in this story.

                                                    There are tons of ways how class distinctions are expressed in social
                                                    interactions in the U.S.; and most (by no means all) marriages take place
                                                    within one's own "class" defined by education, wealth, family, race --
                                                    just like they did in the past. There's more marriage "outside one's
                                                    group" today than in the past when we define class by the married couple's
                                                    parents, but that's because some of the "class" distinctions between the
                                                    parents have been erased with the next generation: most people finish high
                                                    school today, the majority go on to colleges, the standard of living of
                                                    most of the poorest 20% bears little resemblance to what it meant to be
                                                    poor a century ago, etc.

                                                    However, just like in Timrava's village, few American offspring of parents
                                                    with college degrees marry someone who is hardly literate,
                                                    Caucasian--African-American marriages are but a fraction of all marriages,
                                                    doctors marry their nurses, but not the cleaning women in their hospitals,
                                                    etc. What Timrava describes follows the same principle, but it is more
                                                    striking, and interesting, because it's in a different guise, in a
                                                    different time and place.

                                                    So, to pick up on what Helen mentioned, the narrator's family would
                                                    probably have addressed their farm hands, and perhaps at least the younger
                                                    farmers in the village informally, while the farmers would probably have
                                                    addressed the parson's family formally.

                                                    At the same time, there was plenty of interaction between the
                                                    intelligentsia and the farmers, as Timrava's stories show. If she weren't
                                                    up to date on much of the village gossip, if she hadn't interacted with
                                                    the other villagers quite intimately, she would not have been able to
                                                    write many of her stories. There is no difference in Timrava's attention
                                                    to and intricate description of the psychology, feelings, second-guessing
                                                    of other people's motives, etc., when her protagonist is a girl from the
                                                    intelligentsia, as in this story, and when the central character of her
                                                    story is a farmer.


                                                    Martin

                                                    votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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