Elsewhere: A Memoir (Southern Literary Studies)

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9780807123768: Elsewhere: A Memoir (Southern Literary Studies)

Like a gale at her back, history propelled Julia Israel Schueler early in life on a westward course. She was born in Moscow in 1923 and at the age of three months was exiled with her parents and other Mensheviks to Berlin. Twice more "The Group" was displaced - to Paris in 1933 as Adolf Hitler intensified the persecution of political opponents, and to the United States, via Spain and Lisbon, when he invaded France in 1940. Elsewhere is Schueler's life memoir, an adventure, coming-of-age, and coming-to-America story all in one. Against the gripping backdrop of major twentieth-century events, she tells in lyrical prose her personal tale of immigration and acculturation, and the ongoing search for an elusive home "elsewhere."
Schueler revisits memories of school days in Germany; streets blood-stained from an early version of Kristallnachtand the admonishment "You saw nothing"; nostalgia for socialist songs of youth; reading banned books by Balzac and Zola; a wardrobe of castoff, made-over clothes; the shock of seeing Paris in blackout; scenes of civil war-ravaged Spain; tears of guilt in Times Square on New Year's Eve 1940; and much more. She introduces a parade of intriguing individuals, including her imaginative, romantic schoolmate Vivi, the niece of Leon Trotsky; Mr. Wittenberg, a close family acquaintance who spoke Esperanto; Dina, the daring young friend who ran away to become a model for the sculptor Aristide Maillol; and refugees from Stalinist gulags and German concentration camps.
Elsewhere will draw readers into a delightful intimacy with the author as they follow her suspenseful passage from impressionable childhood through vibrant youth to graceful maturity, to finding home at last in New Orleans. For the past forty years, Julia Schueler has lived in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans - "my springboard to fly out to far-off places, always to come back refreshed, renewed, and happy to call it home." She taught German and French there for over twenty years and then launched a second career as a trilingual tour guide and lecturer.

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Julia Schueler lives in New Orleans, where she taught German and French for over twenty years.

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