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Fixing Tradition
Joseph W. Yoder, Amish American

C. Henry Smith Series 4

Julia Kasdorf

Foreword by Marlene Epp


Summary: Summary: This book tells and interprets the story of Joseph W. Yoder (1872-1956), author of Rosanna of the Amish and a musician. His journey—from an isolated, Pennsylvania religious subculture to the world and back—is a heroic quest, fraught with conflicts, misunderstandings, and reversals of intention.

Comment: “This is must reading for anyone interested in the paradoxes of Amish mentality in the American context, seen here through the prism of a lyrical writer’s wrestling with her own calling.”
—John L. Ruth, author of The Earth Is the Lord’s: A Narrative History of Lancaster Mennonite Conference

“This excellent book traces the story of a flamboyant Amish born writer, living on the margins between Amish culture and American society. Kasdorf captures the nuances and ironies of the story with extraordinary skill and imagination.”
—Donald B. Kraybill, author of The Riddle of Amish Culture

“Yoder was an American progressive, an enigmatic figure among his Amish kin. A promoter of higher education, a professional musician, a writer-publisher, and belatedly, the husband of an ‘elegant’ Presbyterian, Yoder broke with convention yet negotiated a place for himself within Amish Mennonite culture, most strikingly in writing Rosanna of the Amish. Kasdorf’s biography skillfully blends history, genealogy, and metaphor to illuminate the tensions and triumphs of an Amish American and his artistry.”
Rachel Waltner Goossen, author of Women Against the Good War

"Fittingly, this study of the first successful Mennonite writer, Joseph W. Yoder, is written by a prize-winning poet whose ancestral and cultural roots lie in the same Big Valley near Belleville, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania."
—Ervin Beck, Professor of English, Goshen College

Fixing Traditions can be appreciated on many levels: as a fine biography, for its insight into Amish social control, for trends in higher education in the early decades of the twentieth century, and for its clear and compelling prose.”
—Donald F. Durnbaugh, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Bethany Theological Seminary; Archivist, Juniata College

Market: Students and scholars; church leaders, pastors; anyone who believes intellectual pursuit should exhibit the marks of Christian discipleship.

Shelving: History—Anabaptist, Mennonite, of Pennsylvania. BISAC: History, Biography, Religion. RTM: 170, Biography; 430 History/American; 690 Religion/Ethics

The Author: Julia Kasdorf, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, is the author of two books of poetry, Sleeping Preacher and Eve’s Striptease, as well as of The Body and the Book, essays about gender, writing, and Mennonite culture. She teaches creative writing at the Pennsylvania State University

Quote: "Yoder’s story has meaning not only for individuals from traditional backgrounds who wish to become artists, but for anyone interested in considering the complex relationships between individual authority, sectarian community, and liberal society." —Julia Kasdorf, in Fixing Tradition

Publisher: Pandora Press U.S. (the original name of Cascadia Publishing House)
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: January 3, 2003 (copies available now)
Pages: 280
Format: 6 x 9 trade paper
Prices: $22.95 US, $34.95 Can.
ISBN: 1-931038-06-6


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Copyright 2002 by Cascadia Pubilshing House (the new name of Pandora Press U.S.)
04/09/08