By Elèna Mortara
In Writing for Justice, Elèna Mortara provides a richly layered examine of the cultural and highbrow surroundings of mid-nineteenth-century Europe and the U.S., via shut readings of the lifestyles and paintings of Victor Séjour, an expat American Creole from New Orleans dwelling in Paris. as well as writing The Mulatto, an early tale on slavery in Saint-Domingue, Séjour penned l. a. Tireuse de cartes (The Fortune-Teller, 1859), a well-liked play in response to the famed Mortara case. during this ancient incident, Pope Pius IX abducted Edgardo Mortara, the kid of a Jewish relatives residing within the Papal States. the main points of the play’s production—and its reception on each side of the Atlantic—are intertwined with the occasions of the Italian Risorgimento and of pre–Civil conflict the US. Writing for Justice is filled with wonderful encounters with French and American writers and old figures, together with Hugo, Hawthorne, Twain, Napoleon III, Garibaldi, and Lincoln. As Elèna Mortara passionately argues, the big volume of public cognizance got via the case unearths an period of underappreciated transatlantic highbrow trade, during which an African American author used notions of emancipation in non secular in addition to racial phrases, linking the plight of blacks in the USA to that of Jews in Europe, and to the bigger battles for freedom and nationhood advancing around the continent.
This e-book will attraction either to basic readers and to students, together with historians, literary critics, and experts in African American reports, Jewish, Catholic, or non secular reports, multilingual American literature, francophone literature, theatrical existence, nineteenth-century eu politics, and cross-cultural encounters.
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Additional info for Writing for Justice: Victor Séjour, the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, and the Age of Transatlantic Emancipations
Reproduced in Moritz Oppenheim’s memoirs, Erinnerungen. Edited by Alfred Oppenheim. 40. Photo: Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt. equality and liberal values, at a time when the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, which was leading the Italian wars of independence, had already granted religious freedom to its Protestant and Jewish minorities in 1848. 6 When the kidnapping took place in 1858, the news of the liberticidal incident soon became a national and international scandal, arousing public demonstrations and covered by the press daily for months, in both Europe and America.
They also indicate that in being “transported” into English, the text was partially altered. 36 This is an important point. A comparison of the French original of 1855 with its English adaptation in 1859 reveals that, apart from some small and sometimes intriguing variations in the names of the characters,37 and apart from a difference in the number of acts (three in the English edition instead of five), which does not affect the length of the text, there is indeed a very substantial change in the ending of the play.
9 Yet in the treatment of the similar dramatic theme one can notice interesting gender and ethnic/racial variations that reveal Séjour’s different attitude toward these characters and the groups they portray. The title characters of both “Le Mulâtre” and Diégarias refer to the victim of prejudice and “revenger,” on whom our attention is focused; in both, the tragic result is the “mixed” offspring’s death by suicide. But in the mulatto story the son, a male, kills his father, taking bloody revenge upon him before killing himself; and this terrible violence, this patricide, is a revolutionary act, revealing the true horror of an unjust law.