By David L. Weaver-Zercher
From the early Nineteen Sixties to the past due Nineteen Eighties, John A. Hostetler used to be the world’s most popular pupil of Amish existence. Hailed through his friends for his illuminating and delicate portrayals of this usually misunderstood non secular sect, Hostetler effectively spanned the divide among renowned and educational tradition, thereby shaping perceptions of the Amish all through American society. He used to be additionally outspoken in his perspectives of the trendy international and of the Amish world—views that proceed to stir debate today.
Born into an previous Order Amish relations in 1918, Hostetler got here of age in an period while the Amish have been principally disregarded as a old fashioned and declining tradition, a curious survival with little relevance for modern American existence. That conception replaced in the course of Hostetler’s occupation, for not just did the Amish continue to exist in the course of those a long time, they tested a gorgeous measure of cultural vitality—which Hostetler saw, analyzed, and interpreted for hundreds of thousands of readers.
Writing the Amish both recounts and assesses Hostetler’s Amish-related paintings. the 1st 1/2 the publication comprises 4 reflective essays—by Donald Kraybill, Simon Bronner, David Weaver-Zercher, and Hostetler himself—in which Hostetler is the first topic. the second one part reprints, in chronological order, fourteen key writings by means of Hostetler with commentaries and annotations via Weaver-Zercher.
Taken jointly, those writings, supplemented by means of a accomplished bibliography of Hostetler’s courses, offer prepared entry to the Hostetler corpus and the instruments through which to judge his paintings, his highbrow evolution, and his legacy as a pupil of Amish and American existence. in addition, via offering a window into the numerous worlds of John A. Hostetler—his Amish boyhood, his Mennonite Church milieu, his academic targets, his scholarly profession, and his vocation as a mediator and suggest for Amish life—this quantity complements the continuing dialogue of the way ethnographic illustration relates to America’s most famous folks tradition, the outdated Order Amish.
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