Peter, you have brought the story of the Russian Empire to 1897 by mentioning that as the founding of the bond. I want to take it a little further because the turn of the century is the revolutionary upsurge in the Russian Revolution of course, but also in the self-understanding that went with it of minorities. This comes after the notion of citizenship has been widely spread because of the French Revolution and the American Revolution, and the circumstances of international trade have changed. How nations are connecting to each other, industrialization and of course, capitalism. But we have in Odesa, in the importance of Odesa for the Jews of Russia, and of Poland, and Lithuania. The importance of Odesa is as a model for what can be done under easier circumstances for the Jewish minority where they're not quite so oppressed. It was also a time when the Jews were not only able to take on different roles than they had in the Russian Empire, and to do so openly. It was also a time when they could learn to become fluent in Russian. We know that the Jews of Odesa went to Russian schools in order to be able to function in the larger commerce world, in capitalists, etc., and so on. That takes it a little further. Odesa as a city, was a model that echoed the long tradition in Europe of the free city. My father, who grew up in L'viv and then in Vienna, used to say that the Jews liked cities because, and then he would quote, "Stadtluft macht frei", city air makes you free, and Russians were still caught up in their localities, and each locality had its own traditions. Whereas in the city, you were able to come up with new understanding of who you were, and what you did, and your possibilities. Odesa becomes a model for what you can do. It was also a contested model because Odesa consisted of many different groups, many different minorities all working together, if you will. Let's put it this way. The grain harvest from Russia and Poland out to the world of Europe through the Black Sea because Odesa was a warm water port, so the grain could go through there. Jewish fortunes were made because they were able to organize the transport of the grain to Odesa and the transport of it out of Odesa, out of Russia to European markets. We have the Ephrussi's who became a very famous French family, who are very important in Odesa. But this was also the rise when other possibilities happen, and I mentioned the notion of the virtuoso. The virtuosos, were Jewish geniuses, we might say. We have examples of them in music because they not only emerged in Odesa, they then themselves left Odesa and became world-famous. I think, of Mischa Elman. But people that are more familiar to contemporary audiences, Jascha Heifetz comes from Odesa. These are Jews who, because of their skill, their unrivaled skill can do things that nobody else can. We have a story by Isaac Babel, where his father says to him, you're going to become a violinist. You are going to become a great musician. That will be a way for us to be freed of our oppressed status. The story is all about how he failed, as a violinist. But instead, he learned to swim down at the port. The person who taught him how to swim also taught him a few other things including French. Babel's first effort as a writer is in French. He follows in the footsteps of Guy de Maupassant. He was a remarkable linguist. Who was a remarkable short story writer, and Babel, gets a job helping someone translate de Maupassant from French into Russian. Right away, he's an intellectual and he's working in many languages. He is someone who understands that one language is not enough. There are all kinds of Jewish jokes about this. One of the jokes involves Jews learning many languages. One Jew comes to another and says, Yiddish is not good enough for you. He looks at him and he says, from one God, can you make a living? The whole notion of making a living is now different. You can do it on your own in business with your skill as a virtuoso. Babel's stories, his early stories, some in French, some in Russian, or about growing up in Odesa with its free or atmosphere with it's less restrictive, narrowing in of what use could do. This is a huge impact on consciousness. It becomes a situation where Jews from all over the empire understood that in Odesa, you could have a better life. Self defining rather than defined by others. This leads, as I mentioned earlier too, for example, the rise of Jewish Hebrew poetry. The great poet Haim Nachman Bialik writes Hebrew poetry. He founds a Hebrew publishing group in Odesa. Other people come and write poetry. They keep functioning in Odesa until Stalin closes the publishing house. Where upon they all go to Palestine, which isn't that far. You remember that first poem of Bionics is a poem addressing the swallow who comes from the land of Israel to Odesa. How he wants the swallow the bird, to bring his greetings to the land of Israel. Babel writes about this, but he's also someone who is very aware of freedom as a place that's open and contested. He has a number of stories about pogroms. Because these are ways in which different communities argued, contested, fought about opportunities and which ones they could take. One thinks of Odesa and pogroms. But I can tell you that in New York City, in the 1950s, if you were Jewish, you didn't go into certain neighborhoods. Just as how if you were an African-American in Chicago, you didn't go in certain areas. There are boundaries within the city keeping ethnic groups in their places, so to speak, and the ethnic groups who are always trying to break out of that to have a larger arena for their action and a free or set of circumstances. We may mention as a paradox that indeed, as you describe, life for Jews in Odesa was better, and Odesa was also the most frequent home for pogroms. There were more victims of pogroms in Odesa than any other major city. That's why I talk about the contested area. It also helps us to see that the pogroms differed from one another, their causes, their consequences varied from place to place. At the same time, could you have told your younger family members, don't go to Odesa? On the contrary, I would have said to them, go to Odesa. Take the risk. Yes. You might have a better life. You might have more problems too, but they go together. These were Jews who were also risk-takers. Willy-nilly. Willy-nilly. But that was also why they joined the International Socialist Movement. They were risk-takers. They were also, as you say, frequently closed down and punished and jailed as members of the socialist movement. What happens then is, the outbreak of the Soviet Revolution and Odesa has a place in that. Babel is aware of what is happening because now everything is up for grabs. How do you get your piece of the action? What is it that you can do? Well, first of all, if you live in Odesa, you have new opportunities. One of the things that happens in Odesa is the Jews live in an area called the Moldovanca, the slum. But they get organized and they have gangs. The gangs have a role, because they are after all, ways of accumulating power over and against the ultimate power of the modern state. But Odesa is also a place of opportunity, and the opportunity is expressed in the most fundamental ways in terms of food. Babel, in a couple of his stories, talks about the food that the Jews could have in Odesa. Sid, would you read us the first paragraph? For the dinner at this wedding, they served turkeys, roasted chicken, geese, gefilte fish and fish soup, in which lakes of lemon shimmered like mother of pearl. Above the dead goose heads, flowers swayed like luxuriant plumes. But do the foamy waves of the Odesa sea throw roasted chickens out onto the shore? We have in Babel's description of a wedding, the sense of abundance. This is one of the great changes that modernity brings. It brings the notion of abundance to everyone, rather than the notion of scarcity economics. This is key to thinking about it. Babel's stories have this great exuberance, the Odesa stories, about abundance, about possibility. Here, there is another passage about the wedding. One of the great stories is about the wedding of his sister. Sid, would you read the next paragraph, which is longer. On this blue knight, this starry night, the best of our contraband, everything for which our region is celebrated far and wide, plied its seductive, destructive craft. Wine from afar heated stomachs, sweetly numbed legs, dulled brains, and summoned belches as resonant as the call of battle horns. The black cook from the Plutarch, which pulled in three days before from Port Sayid, had smuggled in big bellied bottles of Jamaican rum, oily Madeira, cigars from the plantations of Pierpont Morgan, and oranges from the groves of Jerusalem. This is what the foamy waves of the Odesan Sea flow onto the shore. This is what the Odesan beggars sometimes get at Jewish weddings. They got Jamaican rum at Dvoira Krik's wedding, and that's why the Jewish beggars got as drunk as unkosher pigs and began loudly banging their crutches. But the peak of the gangsters ecstasy came when in accordance with ancient custom, the guests began bestowing gifts on the newlyweds. The synagogue, shamuses has jumped onto the tables and sang out, above the din of the seething flourishes, the quantity of rubles and silver spoons that were being presented. The sense of abundance of excess, if you will, which is after all, our experience of the modern world of consumption. I love to go to Costco to see all the stuff that the modern culture, or world that modern capitalism produces. The Jews of Odesa are suddenly not only feeling opportunity, but they feel it in the most fundamental ways, in what you can eat, in the luxury goods, the cigars, the rum, the stuff from all over the world. That little area of Odesa is an International department store, if you will, and that is a model for opportunity. Of course, that doesn't last long because the Jews of Odesa do not have a long period of time when this takes place. Just as Bialik only can write poetry in Odesa for about 15 years, not even, and then the Soviet idea comes and closes off opportunities. Babel is writing about those opportunities and those contested arguments, the pogroms, if you will, and the story of how his grandfather is killed in a pogrom in the history of My Dovecote. These are wonderful stories. Babel is very aware of his job as writing about this changing world. It's much harder to write about a changing world than about a stable world because there were all these arguments and these contestations and these struggles. Babel is thinking about it and he has a literary sponsor, if you will. His first stories are published by Gorky in basically a newspaper, a newsletter, and as he talks to Gorky about his writing, Gorky says, you must go out and see the people, you must go out and meet what's happening. Comes to the revolution; Babel is going to do just that. But remember, revolution doesn't happen like a change of regime. In this country, revolution is about struggle, and argument, and counter revolution. Babel has to write about the chaos of revolutionary times, and he does that in his famous collection of stories, Red Cavalry. I want to talk for a moment about Babel's sentences, you've heard a few of them, and about his writing, and how he is writing to give us a sense of the chaos of revolutionary times. One of the fundamental things you have to understand about literature is that you cannot represent chaos in literature as directly as you experienced it in real life, because you can't read chaos that way. There has to be something else at work. He collects his stories, and his vignettes and his sketches into something which he calls Red Cavalry. Konarmiya. Right, and Red Cavalry is about the Cossacks. And somehow Babel gets the job, first as, I think, logistics officer, and later on because of his writing as a kind of ideologue of what the Cossacks are doing. There's a great irony here, and there's a wonderful essay by Lionel Trilling, which is the introduction to the Penguin edition of Red Cavalry. There's something terribly ironic about Babel writing, as I guess we'd call it an embedded correspondent today with the Cossacks. Because the Cossacks were the ones who were the most hated by the Jews. Because the Cossacks were the ones who would come along, and interrupt, if you will, what the Jews considered their lives, and kill them, and pillage them. They were a romantic sized group of warriors that Tolstoy writes about in one of his first novels. He romanticizes them. This is after all, the 19th century is the century when Western European culture discovers the noble savage. In the United States. Who are the noble savages? Why of course, the Native Americans. They all have this interest in violence, and in power. Babel comes from a society, from a culture that from his youth he has been taught to be peaceful. That worshiping God, and Jewish tradition is the way to live. Not to take what you need because you are stronger, and more powerful. Here he is riding with the Cossacks who would often engage in, let's call them pogroms, who are now fighting for the new Soviet Union. But there's a further problem because the Cossacks are very much individuals who are very questioning of each other, and constantly testing each other. You know, the way boys are in bands, in groups. They see Babel as an intellectual. The phrase that he keeps coming back to is, you have glasses on your face, right? Jewish intellectuals and your heart is cold. How can this foreign correspondent, if you will, write about the Cossacks, if he is so different from them. He has to ride with them. Red cavalry means horses. He has to ride with them on horses. He needs to show to them that he has the guts, if you will, to ride with the Cossacks. What is it that the Cossacks do? What is it that the noble savages do? That Babel has to prove himself. At the end of his collection of stories of Red cavalry, he says, he wished he had the ability of a Cossack. The simple ability to kill. Because the Cossacks are wielders of power. They are willing to kill and of course to be killed. This is exactly what Babel has not been educated for. There's a wonderful story called My First Goose, where Babel has to prove himself. Then narrator, the speaker of the story, that he can ride with the Cossacks. How can he do this? May I mention that the Babel's description of the Cossacks did not please the authorities. In fact, the cavalry chief Budyonny want to Babel killed. I think it was Gorky who somehow intervene then saved Babel. The picture, which Babel gives is very lifelike, and precisely because of that, he did not please everyone in the Soviet hierarchy. He's got an ambiguous welcome. I think his welcomed. In the Soviet hierarchy. But in My First Goose, the Cossacks say, here you are. They're all having a dinner together. They're not going to invite him because he's not one of them. It's a them and us situation. He understands that he has to do something. This is the narrator's first moment. He discovers that in the place where the [inaudible], there's a goose. The narrator kills the goose ferociously and thrusts it at the woman whose house this is, and says, cook it for me. His murdering of the goose, a symbolic killing rite. A real killing of the goose is the initiation rite. That makes him accepted among the Cossacks. At the end of the story, they all go off to take a nap and they're all napping together. He's now a member of the team. This is Babel, the narrator, personally experiencing revolution and personally experiencing the problem of being a Jew among Cossacks and supposedly fighting for the great purpose of the socialist revolution. Now, Lionel Trilling has this wonderful essay that I've mentioned, and I highly recommend it. He talks about rediscovering it in 1929, discovering Babel, and being very surprised by this writer whom he knew nothing about, but whom he sees as one of the great modernist writers and one of the great modernist writers who understands that modernity is also about violence. That modernity has to follow in so many ways Stalin's comment about making an omelet. You need to crack some eggs. Babel's, trying to deal with this turn to violence that we've seen in revolutionary moments throughout the 20th century. This notion of violence is part of the new moment in Western history if you will. Babel here is not the Jew who is subject to the violence, although Peter will talk to us about the counter-revolution and what that did because a lot of the Revolutionary War earlier is taking place in heavily Jewishly populated areas of the Russian Empire, in Lviv, in Zhytomyr, in all of those places, but in Ukraine. What is it that we're learning about violence from this narrator in a civil war? Well, the chaos of civil war, we've just seen all that, pieces of that working themselves out in terms of the end of the Afghanistan adventure and other things that have happened in modern, contemporary life. But for Babel, he has to learn to kill to be accepted by the Cossacks. This is a new skill, if you will, of the modern world. A world in which everyone will be honest and unarmed would be tolerable. But this is an unreal world. In the real world, the armed exist and built Auschwitz, and the honest and unarmed clear the road for them. Therefore, after Auschwitz, it is no longer permissible to be unarmed. This is Primo Levy, who lives a little longer, could be longer than Babel, but also goes through a hell.