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EDUKACJA i STYPENDIA W USA - Education & Scholarships

Bridge of Words: 130 Years of Esperanto at Brooklyn Public Library


"Rompu, rompu la murojn inter la popoloj!" "Break, break the walls between the peoples!" --Dr. Ludwik Zamenhof

Left: Ludwig Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto. Right: Esther Schor, author of Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language (photo: Isometric Studio)Left: Ludwig Zamenhof, creator of Esperanto. Right: Esther Schor, author of Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language (photo: Isometric Studio)

130 years ago, a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist named Dr. Ludwik Zamenhof had a vision of a language that would connect the nations of the world: Esperanto.

Inspired by the multicultural, multilingual, and multi-faith community of his native Bialystok, Dr. Zamenhof was inspired to help peoples all over the world communicate on equal terms. His whole life, he campaigned to promote Esperanto, believing it would lead to a world of mutual understanding, justice, and peace.

Today, as UNESCO celebrates the centennial of Zamenhofs death, Esperanto is spoken in a hundred countries by an active and diverse community. It has spawned numerous specialist organizations and publications, including a vibrant literature. Dr. Zamenhofs vision lives on in this unique international culture.

Poet and literary scholar Esther Schor has documented the story of Ludwik Zamenhof and Esperanto in her book Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of an International Language. At the Brooklyn Public Library, she will discuss her own experience of learning Esperanto and interacting with Esperantists around the world. She will also offer her perspective on the past and present of Esperanto, and what this language has to offer the world today.

Schors talk will be followed by a discussion with Humphrey Tonkin, former president of the Universal Esperanto Association, and Esperanto translator Sebastian Schulman.

Learn more about Esther Schor and Bridge of Words on the Princeton University website.

Esther Schor, a poet and professor of English at Princeton University, won the National Jewish Book Award for Emma Lazarus. Her poems include The Hills of Holland and Strange Nursery: New and Selected Poems. A specialist in British romanticism, her scholarship includes Bearing the Dead: The British Culture of Mourning from the Enlightenment to Victoria and The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley. Her cultural history/memoir of the Esperanto movement, Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language, was widely reviewed and featured on many media outlets including WNYC, Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS, and Freakonomics Radio. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic and the Forward. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey and currently serves as Acting Chair of the Humanities Council at Princeton.

Humphrey Tonkin, President and University Professor of the Humanities Emeritus at the University of Hartford, was president of the Universal Esperanto Association in the 1970s and 1980s. His numerous publications include books and articles in English and Esperanto on English and comparative literature, sociolinguistics, and international exchanges. He has chaired the boards of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the Canadian Fulbright Commission, the Center for Applied Linguistics, and other organizations, and was professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and visiting professor at Columbia University. A native of Britain, he holds degrees from Cambridge and Harvard.

Sebastian Schulman is the Executive Director of KlezKanada, an organization based in Montreal devoted to Yiddish and Jewish arts and culture, music and literature. A PhD candidate at Indiana University, he teaches regular courses in Jewish and Russian history, Yiddish literature, and literary translation at Smith and Hampshire Colleges. His writing and translations have appeared or are forth coming in in Words Without Borders, East European Jewish Affairs, Forward, and elsewhere. Schulman's translation of Spomenka Stimec's Esperanto-language novel Croatian War Nocturnal was published by Phoneme Media in 2017.

"Bridge of Words: 130 Years of Esperanto" is co-presented by the Brooklyn Public Library, the Esperantic Studies Foundation, and the Polish Cultural Institute New York

Friday, December 1, 2017, 1:00 PM

Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Central Library, Trustees Room (3rd floor)
10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY