Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Publication Date: November 15, 2009
Binding: Paperback Book
Availability: 10-15 Days
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Now in paperback, Julia Kasdorf's "The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life" investigates the often difficult relationships among writing, community, and belief. The book examines aspects of Mennonite life from the perspective of family stories and historical documentation as well as from the author's own experiences. This collection of ten essays - presented in relation to poems as well as photographs and other illustrations - explores a variety of themes, including gender, community, silence, place, identity, and the body. Divided into distinct sections, the book tries to reconcile Kasdorf's profession with the practical wisdom and habitual silence of her Mennonite heritage. Essays in the first section delve into her familial influences in the old Amish settlement where her parents grew up. The second section focuses on the obstacles she faces as a woman writing from a traditional and ethnic religious background. Each essay in the third section uses a historical episode as an occasion to explore the complex interconnections among voice, body, gender, and religious tradition. And, finally, the last section demonstrates how writing enables an author to integrate disparate experiences and memories. Even as she strives to create herself as an individual, she cannot fully separate from the Mennonite heritage that has shaped her.