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The Global and the IntimateFeminism in Our Time$
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Victoria Rosner and Geraldine Pratt

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231154499

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231154499.001.0001

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Letter From Argentina

Letter From Argentina

Chapter:
(p.186) 8 Letter From Argentina
Source:
The Global and the Intimate
Author(s):

Nancy K. Miller

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231154499.003.0008

In this chapter, the author explores the personal voice in scholarly writing within the context of globalization and how it can function not only to reassert the primacy of identity but also as a discursive strategy for analyzing continuities and discontinuities among far-flung social worlds. To make her point, the author analyzes a letter from Argentina that was addressed jointly to her father's brother and to her grandmother in North Bergen, New Jersey. Written in Yiddish, the letter is a blow by-blow account of a surgery that her great-aunt, her grandmother's sister, Dvorah Weisman, underwent in a Jewish hospital in Buenos Aires. Almost twenty years after her father's death, the author had the letter translated into English. She was enchanted by Dvorah's comparison of her bodily pain to the difficulty of life in Russia even as it provided a poignant measure of the suffering endured in the world they had left behind. Her second reading revealed a geography of loss: Dvorah's daughter, “unhappy in her marriage, committed suicide, leaving a small boy”.

Keywords:   personal voice, globalization, letter, Argentina, Yiddish, surgery, Dvorah Weisman, Russia, suffering, suicide

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