Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite by Julija SukysEpistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite by Julija Sukys

Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite

byJulija Sukys

Hardcover | March 1, 2012

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The librarian walks the streets of her beloved Paris. An old lady with a limp and an accent, she is invisible to most. Certainly no one recognizes her as the warrior and revolutionary she was, when again and again she slipped into the Jewish ghetto of German-occupied Vilnius to carry food, clothes, medicine, money, and counterfeit documents to its prisoners. Often she left with letters to deliver, manuscripts to hide, and even sedated children swathed in sacks. In 1944 she was captured by the Gestapo, tortured for twelve days, and deported to Dachau.

Through Epistolophilia, Julija Šukys follows the letters and journals—the “life-writing”—of this woman, Ona Šimaitė (1894–1970). A treasurer of words, Šimaitė carefully collected, preserved, and archived the written record of her life, including thousands of letters, scores of diaries, articles, and press clippings. Journeying through these words, Šukys negotiates with the ghost of Šimaitė, beckoning back to life this quiet and worldly heroine—a giant of Holocaust history (one of Yad Vashem’s honored “Righteous Among the Nations”) and yet so little known. The result is at once a mediated self-portrait and a measured perspective on a remarkable life. It reveals the meaning of life-writing, how women write their lives publicly and privately, and how their words attach them—and us—to life.
Julija Šukys is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Department of English at the University of Missouri–Columbia. She is the author of Silence Is Death: The Life and Work of Tahar Djaout (Nebraska, 2007).
Title:Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona SimaiteFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.78 × 5.9 × 0.8 inPublished:March 1, 2012Publisher:UNP - NebraskaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0803236328

ISBN - 13:9780803236325

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations 
A Note on Place Names 
Part One
1. The Woman in the Park 
2. Vilnius 
3. Correspondence 
4. Ona Simaite's Letters to Marijona Cilvinaite, 19571958 
5. Caregiving and Letters 
Part Two
6. A Childhood Tale 
7. Russian Letters 
8. Everyday Writings 
Part Three
9. Ghetto 
10. Mowszowicz 
11. Letters to Kazys Jakubenas, 19411943 
12. Destruction of the Ghetto 
Part Four
13. Kazys 
14. Kazys's Death 
15. Alfonsas's Theory 
Part Five
16. Catholicism, Sex, and Sin 
17. Mothering 
Part Six
18. Ludelange 
19. Freedom 
20. Toulouse 
21. Letters to New York 
22. La Courtine 
Part Seven
23. The Ghetto Library 
24. Librarians 
25. Writing a Woman's Life 
Part Eight
26. Aldute 
27. Family Letters 
28. Soviet Schizophrenia 
29. Death in Vilnius 
30. Paris 1968 
31. Single and Crazy 
Part Nine
32. Cormeilles 
33. October 
Works Cited 

Editorial Reviews

“This is an important new take on the legacy of the Holocaust. Eloquent and elegantly written, it reads like a Sebald text but with a voice profoundly its own.”—Laura Levitt, professor of Religion, Jewish Studies, and Gender at Temple University
- Laura Levitt - 20110926