Bridge of Words (1)

I mentioned Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language by Esther Schor (Metropolitan Books, 2016) in a recent post, but I've been negligent in blogging about it. I am also acknowledged in it, as my web site is an invaluable source for research into Esperanto and its history.

April 14 marked the centennial of Zamenhof's death, which has been commemorated in various ways. (I have begun to blog about this, more to come.) In Zamenhof's lifetime, and for decades afterward, it was necessary to downplay Zamenhof's Jewishness due to the prevalence of Zamenhof, and in fact all of Zamenhof's children were murdered by the Nazis. Esperanto researchers and scholars, writing in Esperanto -- N.Z. Maimon and Adolf Holzhaus come to mind -- began to undo this enforced silence with documentation of Zamenhof's investment and activity in the Jewish world.  This dimension of Zamenhof's Jewish interests and their relation to Esperanto remained even more obscure in the English-speaking world than Esperanto generally. A few years ago Esther Schor began to write and speak about this in the USA. We lectured together at a symposium on Zamenhof on December 15 (his birthday), 2010, at a U.N. building. George Soros made a surprise visit, and while the rest of us got a photo op with him, only he was reported in the mainstream media. I was covered by the Jewish Daily Forward, though.

This book is the latest fruit of Esther Schor's endeavors. It has a strongly Jewish angle which is also bound to be emphasized in some reviews.

Michael Wex is a Yiddishist, known for such books as Born to Kvetch. It is not surprising that he would review this book in The New York Times (November 11, 2016) : "The Jewish Roots of Esperanto." Wex has some criticisms but overall appreciates the subject matter and whets the appetite, and of course highlights the Jewish dimension.

Stuart Schoffman's review "The Great Family Circle" in the Spring 2017 Jewish Review of Books is much narrower, but with some interesting anecdotes. Under the editorship Itamar Ben-Avi, the Jerusalem daily Do’ar Ha-yom published an item about Esperanto on January 23, 1924 and on several other occasions, its obsession with a Jewish renewal notwithstanding. On this date the writer noted that Zamenhof was a Jew, after reporting: "An anti-Semitic weekly in Germany had urged fellow anti-Semites to learn Esperanto, the better to communicate with anti-Semitic organizations in other countries." The short review also mentions Zamenhof's involvement in the proto-Zionist movement.

There is a contrasting pair of comments. The first is a poem from a snotty Zionist ridiculing Esperanto's universalism, Obama, and George Soros. The second is from an Esperantist posting Zamenhof's poem "La Espero" (Hope).


Samovar: magazine of speculative fiction in translation seeks submissions

Samovar submission guidelines:

Samovar is a quarterly magazine of and about speculative fiction in translation, published by Strange Horizons.

What do they want?

Samovar encourages and welcomes submissions from all languages, and by individuals from groups or backgrounds that have historically been marginalized and/or under-represented within speculative fiction. Please don't self-reject; we want to consider your work! 
All submissions should be made through our Moksha page, here. Translations submitted to Samovar may also be considered for publication in Strange Horizons. If you're sending us a submission and don't want it forwarding to Strange Horizons, please let us know in your cover letter. Feel free to send any queries to samovar@strangehorizons.com.
They pay! Details for submissions and payments follow for these categories:
  • Short stories
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction
    • Review-essays
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Verkoj: nova retejo

Jen atentinda nova retejo:

Verkoj – Esperantaj verkoj: Hejmo por verkistoj kaj legantoj

"Multaj verkistoj kontribuis kaj konstante kontribuas al la Esperanta kulturo. Ili ne agas pro ekonomiaj konsideroj, sed male: kreado en Esperanto postulas, ke ili investu multe da tempo kaj rimedoj, kelkfoje eĉ fronte al indiferenta kaj nekomprenema ĉirkaŭaĵo. Ili agas nur pro la amo al la literaturo kaj al la lingvo, kaj sentas, ke ili plenumas gravegan taskon. Oni povas konsideri ilin naivuloj kaj nerealaj homoj, sed dum la tempopaso ili donacis al Esperanto veran, neatenditan trezoron – originalajn kaj riĉajn literaturon kaj poezion, kiuj havas memstaran valoron per si mem en la monda kulturo. Tiu ĉi retejo estas dediĉita al ili. Ĝia celo estas igi iliajn verkojn alireblaj al la vasta publiko."
Oni povas serĉi en rubrikoj de verkistoj, bildrakontoj, temoj kaj ĝenroj, kantoj kaj muziko.

Mi aliris la kategorion Scienc-fikcia kaj trovis:

Gregor Benton on the proletarian Esperanto movement

I vaguely recall the name Gregor Benton from somewhere; I assume he surfaced somewhere in my erstwhile study of the history of Trotskyism. I see that he is a specialist on China and that he has published on Chinese Trotskyism, Maoism, and Chinese communism overall.

I am familiar with Jacobin magazine. In a country where the very name of Marx is taboo, Jacobin is the most widely known Marxist magazine in the country, "widely" being a relative term but at least not totally invisible among the intellectual reading public. Many years ago, when the magazine was still in gestation, at least one person involved in it was interested in interviewing me on C.L.R. James, but this never materialized.

Nobody in the USA, on the left or otherwise, cares about Esperanto, so I was quite surprised when this article surfaced in Jacobin and by which author:

"Communism in Words" by Gregor Benton

"A brief history of Esperanto, the language intimately tied to the common destiny of the working class."

I can imagine the horror of many American Esperantists to see Esperanto associated with communism in this way, though there are some who have mentioned the proletarian Esperanto movement as an historical phenomenon. Benton's father, who fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, defended Esperanto to comrades who dismissed it, using the phrase "communism in words" (which I have never seen anywhere else). Gregor himself learned Esperanto and delivered a euology to his father in Esperanto for the Catalan Esperanto Association.

This is a very good article, with a good historical overview and an objective assessment, advocating Esperanto in a realistic way without hype and cultism, and even with his particular interest as a man of the left.

Benton provides a capsule summary of Zamenhof and of the Esperanto movement's history and present status, then launches into the history of the proletarian Esperanto movement and the hostility engendered in reaction to the various causes that embraced Esperanto. Benton mentions the leading international organization, Sennacieca Asocio Tutmonda (World Anationalist Association, "SAT" for short), its erstwhile collaboration with the USSR, the eventual Stalinist break with SAT, and the breakaway pro-Moscow Internacio de Proletaj Esperantistoj (International of Proletarian Esperantists).

Benton then covers the persecution of Esperantists by the Nazis and the Stalin regime and its eventual satellite regimes. (Esperanto had a significant presence before the Great Purges. I do not recall the Communist International ever endorsing Esperanto''s rival Ido, though I do remember Ido was part of the mix.) With de-Stalinization, the Esperanto movement was revived in the Soviet bloc, and its association there with the "peace movement" was a vehicle for Esperanto to thrive.

Benton also outlines the history of Esperanto in China, its early association with anarchism and communism. He mentions also the Japanese woman Hasegawa Teru (known by the Esperanto pseudonym "Verda Majo" = Green May) who was to join with the Chinese against Japanese aggression. In Maoist China, Esperanto was initially suppressed, then tolerated, then later, even while under suspicion during the Cultural Revolution, was widely used by the regime for Maoist propaganda. The Esperanto movement thrived in the post-Mao era, but its strength has vacillated.

Finally, Benton tackles the future prospects of Esperanto, with respect to the global changes that have transpired since its early days and what this means for the role and fate of the language -- in recent decades the effects of the fall of the Soviet bloc, the decreased reliance on traditional Esperantist membership organizations, and the rise of online communication. Esperanto thrives in the digital age, and the values it represents are as relevant as ever.

Karel Čapek en Literatura Mondo, 1924-1948

Kun helpo de Enhavolisto de Literatura Mondo mi trovis la jenajn erojn de kaj pri la ĉeĥa verkisto Karel Čapek, al kiuj mi aldonas retligojn al numeroj de Literatura Mondo kaj al aliaj retpaĝoj:

Kamarýt, Stanislav. "Du romanoj de K. Čapek" (Observo), 1a serio, 3a jaro, 9a n-ro, septembro 1924, p. 154-5.

Jobo, "R.U.R. de Karel Čapek" (Recenzo), aprilo 1926, p. 000k2.

Čapek, Karel. "La kudrilo" (Novelo), trad. Miloš Lukáš, decembro 1932, p. 200VIII.

Novak, Arne. “Karel Čapek” (Observo), decembro 1932, p. 206-7.

Čapek, Karel. “Ordinara murdo” (Novelo), trad. Miloš Lukáš, n-ro 10, decembro 1934, 182-3.

Čapek, Karel. “Instruo, kiel malsani” (Novelo), trad. Miloš Lukáš, junio 1948, p. 180-3.

La tekstoj de Čapek mem estas en DOC-formato kaj troveblas ĉe Karel ČAPEK: Česká literatura v esperantu. La numeroj de Literatura Mondo havas PDF-formaton.

Jobo laŭdas la enhavon kaj stilon de la dramo R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots).

Novak skizas la gravecon kaj evoluon de la verkaro de Čapek. Li mencias ankaŭ la engaĝon de Čapek pri pragmatismo, specife la verkon Pragmatismo aŭ filozofio de praktika vivo (1917).

Kamarýt fakas pri filozofio. Lia vortaro tiufaka ricevis recenzon en suplemento de Literatura Mondo:

Recenzo: Dr. Stan Kamaryt: Filozofia Vortaro (1934) de F. Erdey

Pri Čapek, Kamarýt reliefigas la pragmatisman influon kaj la valorigon de la individua homo kontraŭ socipolitikaj skemigoj, kiel ekzempligas Fabrikejo de Absoluto (1922) kaj Krakatit (1922). Kamarýt detale resumas ambaŭ romanojn, do lia pritrakto estas la plej ampleksa el la tri recenzoj.

K.R.C. Sturmer refoje

Mi ĵus trovis ĉi tiun malnovan artikolon:

"Kiu estis kiu: K.R.C. Sturmer"
  de Alec Venture,
  en La Brita Esperantisto,
  novembro-decembro 1997.

Sferoj 5: sciencfikciaj noveloj de virinoj (1)

Sferoj 5 (1987) estas speciala numero da tradukitaj sciencfikciaj noveloj de virinoj, antologio el la serio Sferoj, eldonita de Grupo Nifo. Kompilis ĉi tiun volumon Miguel Gutiérrez Adúriz, Jen la enhavo:
Maria kaj Joĉjo de Naomi Mitchison (tradukis el la angla William Auld)
La koncerto de Hana Pěchulová (tradukis el la ĉeĥa Adolf Staňura)
Bezonata sperta virgino de Johanna Sinisalo (tradukis el la finna Pekka Virtanen)
La operacio de Ingeborg Sulkowsky (tradukis el la germana Eckhard Bick)
La Drako-Damo de Elia Barceló (tradukis el la hispana Liven Dek)
Miriel de Zefia Beszczyńska (tradukis el la pola Wojciech Usakiewicz)
La spaco de vivo de M. Ĉudakova (tradukis el la rusa Vl. V. Ĉarin)
Kiam ŝanĝiĝis de Joanna Russ (tradukis el la angla Karl Pov)
Naomi Mitchison ĉ 1920
Mi ankoraŭ ne trovis ion ajn pri la jenaj aŭtoroj en la angla lingvo:
Hana Pěchulová (ĉeĥa)
Ingeborg Sulkowsky (germana)
Zofia Beszczyńska (pola)
Sed jes pri Marietta Chudakova [Ĉudakova]:
Stories by Soviet Women Authors Pre-1969: “The Useless Planet” (1967), Olga Larionova, “The Astronaut” (1960), Valentina Zhuravlyova, “Life Space” (1969), Marietta Chudakova by Joachim Boaz (2016.12.11)
Boaz laŭdas la originalan koncepton de "La spaco de vivo." (La angla traduko "Life Space" troveblas en la antologio World's Spring, kiun mi ne havas.) Kaj ĝi ja estas interesa. Iu homo estas limigata ne de tempo, sed de spaco. Li povas movi sin libere tra tempon, do ne mortos kun la antaŭeniĝo de la tempo, sed lia spaco ŝrumpiĝas kaj li mortos kiam lia spacamplekso nuliĝos,

Notu ankaŭ, ke Valentina Zhuravleva troveblas en la angla kaj en Esperanto,  kaj jen en la angla pere de Esperanto:
Starluma Rapsodio” de Valentina Ĵuravleva, tradukis Aleksej I. Verŝinin
Johanna Sinisalo de Finnlando estas konata en la anglofona mondo. Ie iu mencias la ĝis tiam netradukitan novelon "Bezonata sperta virgino," Ankaŭ Elia Barceló de Hispanio iom aperis en la angla. La jena anglalingva artikolo pri sciencfikcio en Hispanio mencias la novelon "La Drako-Damo." Mi ankoraŭ trovis nek unu nek la alian novelon anglalingve.

La Antaŭparolo emfazas la gravecon de "La Drako-Damo." Jen alia aserto: trovi verkistinojn de sciencfikcio estis malfacila tasko (t.e. ĝis 1987).


As You Like It in Esperanto: Washington, DC, 1910

2010 was the 100th anniversary of the 6th Universal Congress of Esperanto in Washington, DC, which Zamenhof himself attended. It was reported in the daily press of all of the major Washington newspapers. I researched this and related matters extensively and reported on it during the centennial year, in an interview on National Public Radio, a talk with slide show at the annual national congress of Esperanto USA in the Washington area, and in a similar talk as a part of a symposium at the UN on Zamenhof's birthday, at which Esperanto-speaker George Soros made a surprise appearance.

Some of my documentation can be found in a special section of my web site:

The Esperanto press of course reported on the congress as well.  Here is my outline of the contents, with links to some specific items, of:

Amerika Esperantisto, vol. 8, no. 3, Oct. 1910

Note that Shakespeare's play As You Like It -- Kiel Plaĉas al Vi -- was performed in Esperanto translation by non-Esperantist actors on Tuesday, August 16, the third day of the conference.

A series of Shakespeare's plays was promised for the 1907 Universal Congress in Cambridge, UK:

Shakespeare in EsperantoThe New York Times, April 10, 1907

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC posted an article from its web site on Facebook on May 11:

As You Like It in Esperanto: Washington, DC, 1910, by Sarah Hovde, November 16, 2015

As they say, it's a small world, also because I live in the same neighborhood as the Folger Shakespeare Library, and my late beloved Evelyn, the 12th anniversary of whose death is today, was a Shakespeare buff and a volunteer there.

The library's catalog entry lists the date of the play's performance by the Hickamen Players as August 15, I will have to check other sources to confirm whether it was the 15th or 16th. Hovde extensively documents the performance, with links to reports in the American press. Bravo!

According to her report, this was the Hickman Players' first (and last) play performed in Esperanto, the first Esperanto play performed in the USA, and the first Esperanto translation of As You Like It.

The translation can be accessed and downloaded from Google Books:

Kiel plaĉas al vi: komedio en kvin aktoj de William Shakespeare; tradukis Dro. Ivy Kellerman [Reed]; speciale tradukita por, kaj ludita ce La Sesa Internacia Kongreso de Esperanto. Washington, D.C., USONO: La Sesa Internacia Kongreso de Esperanto, 1910.

Some time ago I was asked by Humphrey Tonkin to research what other documentation I could dig up on this. Maybe someday...

Begoña Paz - La pezo de mia deziro

Aperis en Beletra Almanako n-ro 28 (februaro 2017):

Tri rakontoj de Begoña Paz, trad. Suso Moinhos.

Jen sonregistraĵo:

Begoña Paz - La pezo de mia deziro (komenco)


A Seamstress Wants to Learn Esperanto

A Seamstress Wants to Learn Esperanto | YIVO Institute for Jewish Research | The Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections Project

May 1, 2017

The publication of Esther Schor's Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language occasioned this excavation from the YIVO archives.
This application for registration in an Esperanto course offered in the 1930s in Vilna (Wilno) by VILBIG (Vilna Jewish Education Society) was filled out by Tsile Lyubitsh, a young lingerie seamstress. Born in 1911, she was a member of the first generation to have attended one of the new secular Yiddish schools that were established in the wake of World War II.

What motivated Tsile to want to learn Esperanto? One possible clue comes from the memoir of a young Jewish man in Kielce, born in the same year at Tsile. A. Greyno, as he signed his submission to an autobiography contest sponsored by YIVO in the 1930s, was from a poor family. Like Tsile, he was a garment worker, and in his case, a trade unionist. He also dreamed of a world without borders, but more specifically, of a unified world proletariat, and had found a socialist Esperanto organization with which to affiliate [....]

Thank you, YIVO! See also the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe:
Belmont, Leo
Braun, Mieczysław
Gorshman, Shira
Korczak, Janusz
Tuwim, Julian
Zamenhof, Ludwik
Zaretski, Ayzik

Marjorie Boulton: 90-jaraĝa en 2014

Jen malnova novaĵo sed atentinda: raporto kun pluraj fotoj pri festo ĉe Oxford por literaturologo kaj esperantista verkistino Marjorie Boulton (naskiĝinta la 7-an de majo 1924):

Marjorie Boulton: 90-jaraĝa (La Brita Esperantisto, aŭtuno 2014)


John Wilkins' 17​th​-Century Moon Mission

I have blogged about this before, once in Esperanto, once in English. These historical tidbits keep getting rediscovered, this time by one of my favorite enterprises, Atlas Obscura:

The 17​th​-Century Moon Mission That Never Got Off the Ground 
Atlas Obscura, May 03, 2017
(Dr. John Wilkins’ lunar ambitions were a little too lofty.)

Wilkins' ideas were a combination of forward-thinking scientific and technological notions and faulty speculation. His conception of space travel is outlined here. His creation of a universal language is also noted, more than once.  Here is a tidbit new to me:
' A century later, some of Wilkins’ eclectic passions were the butt of small jokes; in a 1784 letter, historian Horace Walpole wrote: “I discovered an alliance between Bishop Wilkins’s art of flying, and his plan of universal language; the latter of which he no doubt calculated to prevent the want of an interpreter when he should arrive at the moon.” '
Let me repeat a few relevant links (see my Esperanto post for non-English links):

By Wilkins:

A Journey to the Moon Possible [from The Discovery of a New World (1638)], in English Prose: Selections with Critical Introductions by Various Writers and General Introductions to Each Period; Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration; edited by Henry Craik (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916).

The Discovery of a World in the Moone: Or, A Discovrse Tending To Prove That ’Tis Probable There May Be Another Habitable World In That Planet. Printed by E.G. for Michael Sparke and Edward Forrest, 1638. 

By someone else:

Ballad of Gresham College (1663)