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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Part of the larger body of work

Being the son of an English Literature professor, as well as the proud bearer of a B.A. in that august (but largely unmarketable) subject, I am amazed at the sheer volume of excellent poetry and prose that has been written over the centuries that has been deemed unworthy of study by modern students.

The undergraduate student of English Lit. usually does little more than scratch the surface of this enormous body of writing, and graduate students tend to specialize quite narrowly.  The end result is that a vast sea of writing exists that will rarely if ever see the light of day.

I am please and proud to let you know that as of this week I joined the ranks of writers whose work will probably be largely ignored for generations to come. 

Here... let me explain:

A couple of years ago I wrote a post here on treppenwitz about my experiences at my Israeli barber shop in Beer Sheva.  Shortly thereafter I got an email from an English Lit professor at the University of Houston in Texas.  It turns out he was compiling an anthology called 'The Barber in Modern Jewish Culture' and wanted to know if he could include my essay.

Naturally I said yes... and that was that.

Well, this week I received a handsomely bound book in the mail from Dr. Irving N. Rothman... and sure enough, it was the above mentioned anthology (you can buy it here for only $158).  It is arranged chronologically from an entry dated 1150 B.C.E. through a piece written in 2007. 


There are relatively few modern essays in this genre (mine was the sole representative for 2006), so I feel like I'm in a fairly exclusive club.

BTW, I should point out that any of you who commented on that post are also included in the anthology since he opted to pubilsh the comments on the post as well! 

Granted, it's not like having one's work selected for inclusion in the Norton's Anthology of English Literature.  But seeing one's name in print... even in a tome that may not see wide circulation/interest... is heady stuff indeed.

So this is my way of saying 'Hey dad... I may not have written the great American novel (yet), but being published in a serious anthology ain't bad'. 

Posted by David Bogner on June 8, 2008 | Permalink


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Congrats, and nice post (the original one I mean). I would just add the necessity of a barbershop pole (the endlessly fascinating rotating stripes kind).

When I was a kid, growing up in a heavily Jewish neighborhood in Toronto, an Italian immigrant opened a new barbershop (meeting all the criteria!) shortly before Pesach. The man thought he had struck gold - he had a steady stream of work, until Pesach (and sefira) began. Suddenly, nothing! Eventually someon explained it to him. He had a long (and, i hope, prosperous) career.

Posted by: cyberdov | Jun 8, 2008 3:41:44 PM

Congrats. The barbershop I used when I was a kid was the only place in town to find out everything about anything.

Posted by: Sam | Jun 8, 2008 3:54:13 PM

Mazel Tov! I still miss my barber from the old country (an immigrant from Greece).

And from English lit to marketing -- how do you do that (I ask since I'm trying to do something similar).

Chag Sameach!

Posted by: Avi | Jun 8, 2008 3:56:46 PM

How exciting for you. Very cool - congrats!

Posted by: jaime | Jun 8, 2008 4:50:40 PM

As we say - a "snip" at USD158!

Posted by: asher | Jun 8, 2008 5:02:19 PM

Very cool! Congrats & Chag Sameach!

Posted by: Sara K | Jun 8, 2008 5:06:24 PM

Actually, this is one of the reasons why getting a degree in lit. studies is worth all the sweat (yeah, look who's talking).

V'imru: http://tinyurl.com/5tu2p9

Posted by: a | Jun 8, 2008 5:46:14 PM


I sure am glad your blog is free!

Mazal Tov!

I'll wait for your novel, it'll be alot cheaper :-)

Posted by: Baila | Jun 8, 2008 5:47:06 PM

Woohoo- Published!

Posted by: Jack | Jun 8, 2008 7:43:24 PM

Just to think, I knew you when...

Posted by: Marjorie Hirsch | Jun 8, 2008 7:59:01 PM

Mazel tov.

Fahgetabout that novel, when's the "Lives" piece gonna be done?

Posted by: val | Jun 9, 2008 12:02:36 AM

very exciting Trepp. My husband's father came from Poland and became a barber in Los Angeles. At $158, I think I'll wait for it to come on ebay

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Jun 9, 2008 1:55:25 AM

What wonderful nostalgia! And, yes, I do live vicariously in my children's accomplishments, especially (!) in writing. To be fair, as much pride as I take in David's essay appearing in an English professor's pricey anthology (certified 'literature'), I have taken even greater pride in the long and deep literary essay merits of Treppenwitz over four-and-a-half demanding years. Not only have there been gems enough for anyone's picking, but (IMHO) there has been a consistency of quality and interest sufficient to make any writer feel justified in his efforts.
There's a lot of wishful thinking projected when I mutter, "It's in the genes, kid"
In any case, nice work and richly deserved!

Posted by: Delmar Bogner | Jun 9, 2008 2:43:24 AM

Go you! Congrats!

Posted by: Gila | Jun 9, 2008 6:58:23 PM

Congratulations! Take any acclaim you can get... it will make for a good story when you're accepting the Pulitzer.

Posted by: Isaac B2 | Jun 10, 2008 2:45:06 AM

cyberdov... That must have been confusing. I often wonder how barbers in religious neighborhoods here in Israel weather the sfira drought.

Sam... It's funny... we accuse women of being gossipers. :-)

Avi... It ain't what you know but who you know. Network, network, network!

jaime... If you play your cards right I might even let you read the book when you guys come to visit! ;-)

asher... funny, they use the same expression in the mohel business. :-)

Sara K... Thanks. Hope yours was enjoyable.

a... Where do you find those pictures?!

Baila... I'm sure whenever the novel comes out it will be 'remaindered' in no time. :-)

Jack... See that? You comment on a post and suddenly you are in the Library of Congress! :-)

Marjorie Hirsch... Some possible ways to complete your sentence "... 170 lbs."; "... not bald."; "... solvent.". You get the idea. ;-)

val... You find me someone who has an 'in' at the Times and I will submit it.

cruisin-mom... I already say a copy on ebay for 9 bucks. :-)

Delmar Bogner... Thanks. I think this is probably equal parts 'nature' and 'nurture', so you can take credit on two fronts. :-)

Gila... Hey, you're the one whose literary star is rising. :-)

Isaac B2... First I have to figure out how that is supposed to be pronounced (fancy-pants folk say it with a long 'U' as in Puke). :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 10, 2008 3:27:01 PM

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