Professor Ilan Stavans: “Crypto-Jews: To Be and Not to Be”

“Crypto-Jews: To Be and Not to Be”: If the Jews, a steadfast people united by a single, never-ending book, are praised for surviving across centuries through a variety of assimilation strategies, crypto-Jews are a unique “people-within-a-people.” From before the fateful 1492 to the present, their presence in Hispanic civilization is at once ubiquitous and discreet, their contribution to science, finances, philosophy, and the arts unquestionable. How does their “revealed secret” work?

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of the Humanities, Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, the publisher of Restless Books, the host of NPR’s podcast In Contrast, and a columnist for the New York Times en Español. An internationally-renowned essayist, translator, and literary critic who is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, Stavans’ books include On Borrowed Words, Dictionary Days, El Iluminado. He adapted Don Quixote into a graphic novel and is also the editor of The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature, The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry, and The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.

The Nov. 7 lecture was sponsored by the Harry Spindel Memorial Lecture Fund.


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