On Packing My Library: How I Built My Latin American Judaica Collection—and Shipped It Away, with Ilan Stavans

Live, Online Event Recorded Via Zoom on February 4, 2021

For over three decades, Ilan Stavans, the distinguished scholar of Jewish Latin America, built the world's richest historical and personal collection of Latin American Judaica: books, manuscripts, translations, music, photographs, and other items from colonial to contemporary Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, and beyond in Ladino, Yiddish, Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Polish, Russian, and other languages. As he approached the age of sixty, he decided it was time to house the collection in an institution committed to its long-term expansion as a source of research. In this presentation, Stavans recounts how, with German man of letters Walter Benjamin as his inspiration, he packed 160 large boxes.

Ilan Stavans is an internationally renowned writer whose books, translated into numerous languages, have been adapted into film, theater, TV, and radio. He is the author of the graphic novels El Iluminado (2013) and Angelitos (2017), the award-winning poem "The Wall" (2018), and the forthcoming meditation on immigration and mental illness What Remains (2020). He edited the Oxford Book of Jewish Stories (1998), the Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2011), Becoming Americans (2013), and How Yiddish Changes America and How America Changed Yiddish (2020), among other volumes. His other one-man play The Oven has toured all over the United States. He is Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.

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