A Year at the Sorbonne
A Proustian Life
By Oliver B. Pollak
Council Bluffs, Iowa: Yellow Barn Press, 2002. Edition of 150.
6 x 9"; 144 pages. Set in 12-point Monotype Garamond cast by Michael and Winifred Bixler on a Vandercook Universal III press. Wood engravings and pattern paper for the covers by Sandy Connors. Printed on mouldmade Frankfurt white paper. Bound by the Campbell-Logan Bindery. Case bound with pattern paper over boards and a linen cloth spine. In matching slipcase. Numbered.
Oliver Pollak, Preface: "This story is about learning, influences and experiences that led to a teaching career, and the impact teachers have on students. It is a story about balancing faith, profession, and affection. It is a study in alterity. It is a study of Jewish intellect permeating Western European culture and sensibilities.
"History relies on the chance survival of documents. I thank Neil Shaver for graciously providing his brother Elmo's diaries, his mother's 1946 diary, and Edna Blackwood's 1940 and 1946 summer travel journals, as well as his own memories."
Introduction: "Elmo Elton Shaver arrived in Paris in September 1937 to spend his junior year of college at the Sorbonne. He spent the rest of his life as a Francophile. He was born in 1916 in Kearney, Nebraska, and lived most his life in Long Beach, California. He never married and had no children. His posterity lies in the five thousand students he taught and in his sixty-three years of diaries."
Shaver's diaries spans almost two-thirds of the 20th century, providing a unique testimony to the world's events.
Oliver B. Pollak is an attorney, professor of history at the University of Nebraska Omaha and author. He is co-founder of the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society and has been on the board of the Nebraska Humanities Council and the Nebraska Center for the Book. He is a professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where he has taught since 1974.