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A87917872 - Streets: A Memoir by Bella Cohen Spewack

Post 1

Dmitri Gheorgheni

Entry: Streets: A Memoir by Bella Cohen Spewack - A87917872
Author: Dmitri Gheorgheni - U1590784

I spent all afternoon reading this book. I'd say I couldn't put it down, but it's more like I was glued to the screen. All this revelation from watching the 1958 Hallmark Hall of Fame version of 'Kiss Me, Kate' last night. Original cast. Hm, what's the story behind....?

Which led me to Bella Cohen Spewack and her memoir. Just think: she wrote all that witty dialogue, playing around with Shakespeare. She was born in Romania and grew up speaking Yiddish. Her husband helped - he was born in Ukraine....

I thought it was an amazing story. I hope you'll agree.

smiley - dragon


A87917872 - Streets: A Memoir by Bella Cohen Spewack

Post 2

SashaQ - happysad - Editor

Another excellent celebration of someone people should know more about than they do smiley - applausesmiley - biggrin I like how you describe the 'Life in the Streets of New York', too - conveys the flavour succinctly but clearly...

Just three questions as I read through:

Settlement House - do you say what this is?

Your second external link is called Streets Internetn - should that read Streets at Internet Archive?

I see the film Hester Street is not based on Streets - do you include this because it is interesting if people are interested in seeing what the 'Streets' would have looked like?

Excellent concluding paragraph.


A87917872 - Streets: A Memoir by Bella Cohen Spewack

Post 3

minorvogonpoet

This is an amazing story. Your account gives a vivid impression of a remarkable woman and her background in a New York which has long since gone. smiley - smiley

One thing that worries me a bit is the title. I hadn't heard of Bella Cohen Spewack and I don't suppose other people will have either. They might then miss this entry. Could you add to it - eg 'Streets - by Bella Cohen Spewack, author of Kiss me Kate' ?


A87917872 - Streets: A Memoir by Bella Cohen Spewack, Author of 'Kiss Me, Kate'

Post 4

Dmitri Gheorgheni

Thanks, both of you, for the informed reading and the excellent suggestions. smiley - smiley I made some changes.

smiley - biro I added MVP's title suggestion. When we get that far, we can see if anything else comes to mind, but this is good because it's super-searchable. smiley - smiley

smiley - biro I added a footnote about settlement houses. Thanks, Sasha, I forgot people didn't know. This also gave me a chance to link to Jane Addams and the Devil Baby - that story took place at a settlement house in Chicago. smiley - smiley

smiley - biro Typo fixed. smiley - smiley

smiley - biro I added a sentence to the Hester Street recommendation to explain that this film shows you what the Lower East Side looks like. Of course, Ms Silver only had one horse....the horse trainer kept painting it different colours so that it could play different parts. They said the horse enjoyed this a lot. smiley - winkeye

One critic at the time (1970s) complained that first-time director Silver had made a rookie mistake by making the street scenes too crowded....boy, did that critic have no clue. Here's a still from the movie shown in New York's Jewish Daily Forward. ('Hester Street' was based on a novella by the paper's founder.)

http://forward.com/culture/358772/hester-street-film-based-on-abraham-cahan-novel-set-for-theatrical-adaptati/

Here's a photo from Hester Street at the time:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ds.10253/

Every day looked like festival day in the town where I live now. And remember: the rear courtyards of each of those buildings probably had a three-storey wooden tenement in it.

By the way, in case you're interested: The Forward/Forverts is a bilingual publication. Originally it was only in Yiddish, but who reads Yiddish these days? The website used to let you click to translate, but now it has a separate link for the Yiddish edition, which you might want to look at for curiosity's sake;

http://yiddish.forward.com/articles/211608/musings-of-an-unassuming-polyglot/

Highlight or double-click a word to see the translation, although the dictionary can't always find the exact word. smiley - smiley On this page, it mistook 'polyglot' for 'polygraph'. smiley - rofl


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A87917872 - Streets: A Memoir by Bella Cohen Spewack

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