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Central European University Press
Marianna D. Birnbaum,Professor emeritus of University of California, Los Angeles; visiting professor of Central European University
Dr. Marianna Birnbaum, a ...
Dr. Marianna Birnbaum, a Germanic Languages professor at UCLA, was my all-time favorite teacher for her unique viewpoint and endless encouragement.
During class, Birnbaum shared stimulating personal accounts from her role as a student leader during the 1956 (more)
Villa Aurora - LA: Lesungen
December 6, 2004: Reading and Discussion with Prof. Marianna Birnbaum
"The Long Journey of Gracia Mendes" is the biography of a female mercantile in the 16th century.
Although she was a practicing Christian, she secretly stayed Jewish.
The novel tells her exceptional story until her death in Constantinople in 1569.
Her life samples the Jewish culture's will to survive even under the worst circumstances.
is Prof. Emeritus at UCLA
, were she
taught literature and culture.
She is an Assistant Professor at the Medieval Department at the Central European University in Budapest.
Mirianna D. Birnbaum has just retired as Professor of Hungarian Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in order to take up a new position at the Central European University (Budapest) in the Department of Medieval Studies.She is the author of eleven monographs and over one-hundred scholarly papers.Her main areas of interest are in the Renaissance in Central Europe (cultural history and semiotics), theory of literature, and Jews in art and literature.
M.-Ana Börger-Reese teaches in the Department of Foreign Languages at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.Her
principal interests lie in Medieval Spanish Literature and Nineteenth-Century Peninsular Drama.Most of her
work has dealt with comparative genre studies (drama, prose, opera, dance) and translation.She
is currently working on a translation into Spanish of Loveknot by contemporary playwright Dorothy Louise.She
has served as Administrative Director of the José Greco Foundation for Hispanic Dance for the past 15 years.Before being asked to serve on the editorial board of Mediterranean Studies she
was Managing Editor of Hispanic Review.
By Marianna Birnbaum
It is easy to come under the spell of Gracia Nasi or Gracia Mendes, as Marianna Birnbaum
prefers to call her.
brings the reader insight into the skill and effectiveness of Gracia Nasi as businesswoman, philanthropist and patron of publishing, going beyond existing studies in English.
The Long Journey of Gracia Mendes , however, goes beyond in detailing La Señora's acumen as gifted businesswoman, who, as CEO of the banking and trading firm that dominated the spice trade, used effective economic leadership skills to bring the House of Mendes to new heights of prosperity.
An example is the chapter "In Business with Ragusa," in which the author describes a contract negotiated by Doña Gracia for her
firm with the port city, now called Dubrovnik, so fortuitously positioned between Europe and the Ottoman Empire.Elsewhere, Dr. Birnbaum's
expertise in the political economy of the period enhances the reader's comprehension of the banking and trading of the day, with information such as the relative values of period currency and products traded.
also takes care to present the background to the events she
or example, Chapter 2, "A Short History of the Conversos," describes in full the issues faced by New Christians and their origins.
is important if one is to appreciate fully the challenges confronting someone of this background, very much in the public eye, on a seventeen-year odyssey to a destination that must be kept hidden as long as possible.
he same attention is given to a wide-screen picture of the Ottoman Empire, necessary if one is to understand the environment that served as stage for the daring political actions and spiritual dreams of Doña Gracia's later years.
scholarship is artfully combined with her
writer's understanding that readers need more than a chronological recounting of events for the true picture to emerge of personages and periods long gone.
MARIANNA D. BIRNBAUM taught Hungarian and Central European literature and culture at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is Professor Emeritus.
he also serves as visiting professor at Central European University, Budapest, in the Medieval Department.
OLORES SLOAN spoke on Doña Gracia at SCJS's
er articles on La Señora have appeared in HaLapid, which she