An Orphanmaster Holiday

Everyone have a glorious Fourth.

In 1663, at the time of The Orphanmaster, not only was there no Fourth on Manhattan, there were no pyrotechnics, no sparklers, no cherry bombs. Of course festivities existed, such as Kermis, with entertainments like pulling the goose, when organizers hung a goose by its feet and celebrants charged under it with the intent of pulling down the bird. Feathers flew, squawking, likely some bloodshed. And there was always strong drink.

Some things don’t change.


Filed under History, Jean Zimmerman, The Orphanmaster

2 responses to “An Orphanmaster Holiday

  1. I normally don’t reply to critics, since everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the reviewer is conducting a hate campaign with a scurrilous accusation. I am of Jewish heritage. Among other topics, The Orphanmaster is about the destructive effects of rumor and superstition. In the book, women are attacked as witches, Native Americans as demons. The passage this reviewer cites is not, of course, an example of an author’s antisemitism, but rather I invoke it as an example of how false report can be wielded as a weapon: just one element in a list of lies and rumors leveled against Aet Visser, the orphanmaster of the title. Should everything be shiny and nice in literature? I don’t think so. Blood libel against the Jewish people has a long and vicious history, and one way to battle it is to expose it to the light of day, not sweep it under the rug. This reviewer’s comment is not fair play in the marketplace of ideas. It is a deliberate misreading of the text, and a slanderous, offensive and quite dangerous slur.

    Censorship isn’t an answer.

  2. Anonymous

    Why did you find it necessary to state that “he supplied young ophans to the Jews for their infernal blood rites”? The statement is ignorant lies that screams antisemitism. This does nothing for your novel, but shows who you are. Shame on you. Get it out of your novel.

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