Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

The Transactions of the American Philosophical Society is a monographic series published by the American Philosophical Society. Please note that each chapter in each monograph appears individually.

Articles from Vol. 106, No. 4, 2016

Abode of the Moon
Nothing could match the location of the Malti house in Deir el-Amar (the Abode of the Moon). One of the most famous villages in Lebanon, Deir el-Amar is nestled in the Shouf Mountains, about a two-hour drive from Beirut on winding mountain roads, which...
Besançon
Not long after my First Communion at Les Soeurs de St. Joseph in Deir elAmar, Papa transferred me to Les Soeurs de Besançon in Beirut, a more exclusive school in the Lebanese capital. To make the trip to the new boarding school more enticing, Papa always...
City Life and Village Life
My father owned property in Beirut, part of which he used for his medical practice. He regularly drove from the mountains to the seaside capital and often allowed me to accompany him. I loved the drive as much as being in the capital. At times, Papa...
Coming of Age
I first met St. Bernadette in Papa's clinic. She introduced herself to me through the French pamphlets encouraging pilgrimages to Lourdes and touting the miraculous powers of that site, especially the famous grotto that is now permanently installed in...
Cornell
Cornell was a challenging academic environment. When I look back on my education, 1 can see that other students at Cornell were far better prepared than I was for the coursework. By preference, I took courses in art history and foreign languages. When...
Crash
My twenty years at Indiana University showed me a side of people to which I wish I had never been exposed. One of my most distressing experiences was seeing faculty colleagues trying to destroy my graduate students. Some were effectively run out of the...
Dreams of Flying
One evening, we were invited to Shadi and Rita's house for dinner. Shadi is Mimo's half-brother, the son of Mama Hana and her second husband. Mimo treats him as her brother, and so do I, as the other brother I did not even know I had. Rita, Shadi's wife,...
Facebook
Reconnection with Constantine and my mother did not mean that I forgot my Lebanese family. Constantine often spoke of our half-sister Mimo, with whom he had spent more time than I had, since I was in boarding school during her first years. Over the decades,...
Family
At last, we arrived. I stared at the door before we entered the building. Religious icons greeted me. Everyone from the airport had somehow managed to join us at Mimo's house. I was still carrying the mylar balloon. I felt like a freak, everyone around...
Family Rituals
I remember little about daily events from that time. Only a few significant memories still occupy my brain. One morning, Olga's brother, Uncle Herb, and his wife, Aunt Helen, had arrived at the house and were awaiting us. It must have been Sunday, because...
Flesh and Spirit
Papa was a great cook, and one did not need to watch him very long to realize that he truly loved this part of his life. He created a baked white spaghetti I can taste now only in my imagination. The activity I never took to well was the actual slaughter...
Florida
The prom ended my days in Ithaca. Before I knew it, my aunt and uncle were talking about packing up and driving to Miami, Florida. Florida? This came as a complete surprise. Had I been living in a cocoon, oblivious to everything going on around me? Apparently,...
Funeral
Our return to Charlottesville came quickly with the end of Christmas break. Having reconnected with Constantine and my mother, Allen and I both felt that this might be the right time to attempt a reconciliation with my uncle and his family. On the one...
Hand-Off
Constantine and I were seated in the back row of the plane, with my brother near the window and me on the aisle. The flight attendant realized that I could speak French, so there was no need for an Arabic-speaking attendant. We both sat quietly, looking...
Indiana
By the early 1990s, I was in my late forties. This was the point in my career when I began to get unsolicited inquiries about jobs. Michigan, USC, and Indiana were among the universities courting me. The USC position was for a Saudi-funded chair. I flew...
La Yadum Ightirabi (My Exile Will Not Last)
A heavenly voice native to Lebanon,Fairuz,Serenades me on the plane to Beirut.The night before in a Chicago hotel room,Eyes wandering over Lake Michigan,I dial my brother's number in Florida.Inadvertently calling him Tino,His long-ago name.My sister,...
Los Angeles and Paris
That June (1971), Allen and I were married. The ceremony was performed by a judge of the New York State Supreme Court in that iconic New York County Supreme Court building that is featured in all the episodes of Law & Order. The judge was an acquaintance...
Nazareth
The Center for Middle East Studies swiftly opened doors for me. During my first fiili year at Texas, the Center hosted a group of visiting Egyptian dignitaries: the President of al-Azhar University and leading poets, writers, and intellectuals. I was...
Paradise on Earth
That infamous folder I recovered after Michel's death, and which I renamed the "adoption folder," proved a veritable treasure. My uncle Michel apparently kept every scrap of paper relating to his family back in the old country. Michel had exchanged correspondence...
Penn
All too soon, that last summer in Ithaca was ending, and both Allen and I were heading to graduate school: he to UCLA, and I to the University of Pennsylvania. I rented a tiny studio apartment in Philadelphia from which I could walk to the university....
Praise for <i>Speaking in Tongues</i>
In her autobiography Speaking in Tongues, renowned scholar Fedwa Malti-Douglas displays a poets eye for evocative imagery, summoning up the Lebanon of her childhood and a novelist's mastery of compelling storytelling. This radiant, revelatory book demonstrates...
Preparing the Emigrants
I did not fully understand when I left Beabdat and Les Soeurs de Besançon that I was making a final departure-that this would be our last summer in Lebanon. Constantine and I were to leave for the United States in August 1959, in time to begin the new...
Quest Romance
Allen arrived the next day, laden with stuff. Eddie also called to say he was mailing additional materials. What landed in my life was a veritable treasure, the likes of which I had not anticipated. I was glad my mother had been a hoarder.I carefully...
Refuge
I talk on the phone regularly with Mimo and Halim and follow the extended family on Facebook. Shadi, in particular, posts his travels and performances around the Mediterranean. For a few months after our visit (in 2010), Allen and I thought that some...
Rites of Passage
When we returned to California in 1975, we both continued working on our dissertations, mine on Medieval Arabic literature and Allen's on modern French history. One day, I had a meeting with a member of my dissertation committee, with whom I had studied...
Saying Goodbye
It was 2012. My mother was alone. Joe had died a few years earlier after being bedridden for months. He had a bad heart and bad lungs-multiple organ failure, as far as I can remember. Now my mother was declining. I could tell. She would go to the hospital...
St. Joseph
One day, my mother was living in our village home, and the next, she was not. No one offered me an explanation, and there were no goodbyes. All I knew was that I no longer had to live through the terrifying clashes between her and Aunt Najla. What time...
Tamriyya
Our last night in Beirut was magical. Mimo had invited the entire family to her home, including Halim's family, along with friends and other guests. For the trip, I had packed my traditional black outfits that I wore daily in the United States. It did...
Texas
During my third year at the University of Virginia, I received a call from a colleague at the University of Texas in Austin. He asked if I would be willing to come out for a job interview. I had not applied for the position. It was in modern Arabic literature,...
The Attic
School was a welcome change from the atmosphere at home, even though for the first few years I did not understand all that was taught. Much of the learning simply flew by me, like a lost bird looking for its nest. Our instruction in junior high school...
The Smell of Death
Death was a familiar, unthreatening presence in the landscape of my childhood, in part because it was not yet real.Papa was a frequent visitor to the village cemetery, located on the edge of town where the road began its curved, mountainous descent to...
The Wailing
It was Christmas night, 1958. I was twelve years old. I fell asleep excited and happy. I had celebrated the holiday with my father, Hana, Mimo, and Costy. Like all other religious festivities in the Malti family, this one took place in the downstairs...
Upheavals
My father's death abruptly transformed my life and that of my brother, but in different ways. I was moved from boarding school in Beirut to Beabdat. Costy no longer had home schooling but was shipped off to a boarding school in Sidon: one of us in the...
Womenfolk
At one point in my childhood-I was eight or nine years old-Papa remarried. My stepmother, Hana, much younger than my father, came from the village of Ayn Zhalta, located in the Shouf Mountains, not far from Deir el-Amar. None of us in the direct family...
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