Read Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architects of a New City by Adina Hoffman Free Online
Book Title: Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architects of a New City|
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The author of the book: Adina Hoffman
Edition: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date of issue: April 5th 2016
ISBN 13: 9780374289102
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 23.56 MB
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A biographical excavation of one of the world’s great, troubled cities
A remarkable view of one of the world’s most beloved and troubled cities, Adina Hoffman’s Till We Have Built Jerusalem is a gripping and intimate journey into the very different lives of three architects who helped shape modern Jerusalem.
The book unfolds as an excavation. It opens with the 1934 arrival in Jerusalem of the celebrated Berlin architect Erich Mendelsohn, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany who must reckon with a complex new Middle Eastern reality. Next we meet Austen St. Barbe Harrison, Palestine’s chief government architect from 1922 to 1937. Steeped in the traditions of Byzantine and Islamic building, this “most private of public servants” finds himself working under the often stifling and violent conditions of British rule. And in the riveting final section, Hoffman herself sets out through the battered streets of today’s Jerusalem searching for traces of a possibly Greek, possibly Arab architect named Spyro Houris. Once a fixture on the local scene, Houris is now utterly forgotten, though his grand Armenian-tile-clad buildings still stand, a ghostly testimony to the cultural fluidity that has historically characterized Jerusalem at its best.
A beautifully written rumination on memory and forgetting, place and displacement, Till We Have Built Jerusalem uncovers the ramifying layers of one great city’s buried history as it asks what it means, everywhere, to be foreign and to belong.
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Read information about the authorBorn in Jackson, Mississippi in 1967, Hoffman grew up in Peterborough, New Hampshire and Houston, Texas, and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1989. She has lived in Jerusalem since 1992 and writes often about the Middle East and its people, especially those who are overlooked in standard journalistic or textbook-styled accounts.
Her first book, House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood (Steerforth Press, 2000, Broadway Books, 2002) consists of a series of linked essays about her North African Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem. It was described by Kirkus Reviews as “steadily perceptive and brimming with informed passion.” In 2009 Yale University Press brought out her My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet's Life in the Palestinian Century, a life and times of the Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali. The first biography ever published about a Palestinian writer, My Happiness was awarded Britain’s 2010 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize and was named one of best twenty books of 2009 by the Barnes & Noble Review and one of the top ten biographies of the year by Booklist. Writing in The Independent, Boyd Tonkin called it “a remarkable book… A triumph of personal empathy and historical insight and a beacon for anyone who believes that ‘more joins than separates us.’” A 2011 Guggenheim Foundation fellow, Hoffman is married to MacArthur-winning poet and translator Peter Cole, and in 2011, she and Cole published a book they wrote together, Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (Schocken /Nextbook), which has been widely praised, with Harold Bloom calling it “a small masterpiece” and the Nation describing it as “a literary jewel whose pages turn like those of a well-paced thriller, but with all the chiseled elegance and flashes of linguistic surprise we associate with poetry... Sacred Trash has made history both beautiful and exciting.” In the Jewish press, the Chicago Jewish Star called it "captivating, with the drama of any good mystery… it has all the ingredients of a compelling work of fiction. Except that it's true."
Hoffman is formerly the film critic for the Jerusalem Post (1993–2000) and the American Prospect (2000–2002). Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, the Times Literary Supplement, Raritan, Bookforum, the Boston Globe, New York Newsday, Tin House, and on the World Service of the BBC. She is one of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions, a small, Jerusalem-based press that publishes the literature of the Levant. Hoffman has been a visiting professor at Wesleyan University and Middlebury College, and in 2009 was the Franke Fellow at Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center. During the summer of 2011 she was the Distinguished Writer in Non-Fiction at NYU’s McGhee School. She now divides her time between Jerusalem and New Haven.