Davidson, Linda Kay

views updated

Davidson, Linda Kay

PERSONAL:

Married David M. Gitlitz. Education: Purdue University B.A., 1971; Indiana University, M.A., 1976; Ph.D., 1980.

ADDRESSES:

Office— University of Rhode Island, Independence Hall, 60 Upper College Rd., Kingston RI 02881. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER:

Educator and writer. Overseas Book Mart, manager, 1974-1976; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, instructor, 1978-1982; State University of New York-Binghamton, instructor, 1984-1988; University of California, Los Angeles, visiting instructor 1994; University of Rhode Island, Kingston, instructor, 1989—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

National Jewish Book Award for Ashekenazi and Sephardic Culture, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Jane Grigson Award for Distinguished Scholarship, both 2000, both for A Drizzle of Honey; Best Reference Source for 2002,Library Journal, for Pilgrimage.

WRITINGS:

(With Maryjane Dunn-Wood)Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Research Guide, Garland (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Maryjane Dunn)The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: A Comprehensive, Annotated Bibliography, Garland (New York, NY), 1994.

(Editor, with Maryjane Dunn)The Pilgrimage to Compostela in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, Garland (New York, NY), 1996.

(Author of introduction, with Thomas F. Coffey and Maryjane Dunn)The Miracles of Saint James: Translations from the Liber Sancti Jacobi, Italica Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(With husband, David M. Gitlitz)A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1999.

(With David M. Gitlitz)The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook, St. Martin's Griffin (New York, NY), 2000.

(With David M. Gitlitz)Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland: An Encyclopedia, two volumes, ABC-Clio (Santa Barbara, CA), 2002.

(With David M. Gitlitz)Pilgrimage and the Jews, Praeger Publishers (Westport, CT), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Teaching the Middle Ages, edited by Robert V. Graybill, and others, Ralph, 1982;Innovative Approaches to Curriculum Design in the Study Abroad Program, edited by Deborah J. Hill, Renaissance Press, 1987;Encyclopedia of the Renaissance, Simon & Schuster, 1999;Articles for the Medieval Trade, Travel, and Exploration: An Encyclopedia, Garland, 2000;The Encyclopedia of Medieval Folklore, edited by Carl H. Lindahl, John Mc Namara, and John Lindow, ABC-Clio, 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Medieval Spanish Language, Literature & Cultural Studies. Assistant to the editor,American Hispanist,1975-76; special editor for Gould Publications, Binghamton, NY, 1982-83.

SIDELIGHTS:

Linda Kay Davidson, is a medievalist and Spanish instructor and also the coauthor or coeditor of several books focusing on pilgrimages, many of them written with her husband, David M. Gitlitz. Among her publications are four books on various aspects of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, the burying place of St. James. These books have become standards in the field. For example, she and Maryjane Dunn are the authors of The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela: A Comprehensive, Annotated Bibliography. She is also the editor, with Dunn, of The Pilgrimage to Compostela in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays. The book includes nine essays focusing on various aspects of the pilgrimage, such as its religious history and the music and art associated with the pilgrimage over the ages.

Davidson and Gitlitz also write about the famous Catholic pilgrimage in their book The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook. Writing in the Historian, Conrad Kent commented that "no study of the road can compare with this remarkable ‘cultural guide’ to the many layers of the Santiago pilgrimage," adding: "For both advanced students of Spanish cultural history and sophisticated travelers, this manual should be the point of departure for any journey to Santiago."

The authors provide insights into many monuments, shrines, and villages that are encountered on the pilgrimage and recount many of the folktales, myths, and legends associated with it. They also provide an historical overview of the famous pilgrimage, including profiles of prominent personalities and an examination of religious and political discords over the years. In addition, the authors recount their own travels on the pilgrimage route as a basis for their many observations. The book includes bibliographic references, a Spanish-English glossary, a timeline of rulers and events, sections on art and architectural styles, lists of saints and religious iconography, in addition to an index. In his effusive praise for the book, Kent also wrote that The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago "will clearly be the standard by which all future books on the road to Santiago will be judged."

Davidson and Gitlitz also wrote A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews, which Library Journal contributor Judith Sutton called "a meticulously researched scholarly work." The book is a culinary history of the Jews who stayed in Spain during the Catholic Inquisition of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which drove out the Moors from Spain and persecuted the Jews, forcing them to convert to Catholicism. Despite their outward proclamation that they were Catholics, many of these Jews continued to practice their age-old Jewish customs, including many of the food preparations for Jewish holidays and festivals. The book focuses on the life of these Jews and includes some of the recipes that they used, although in an adjusted form for the modern kitchen. Among the recipes are a cold white lamb casserole and various forms of matzas. "Gitlitz and Davidson offer an erudite look into both culinary and Jewish history," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Mark Knoblauch, writing in Booklist, commended the authors for "producing rounded portraits of individuals who endured the bizarre persecutions."

In their two-volume Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland: An Encyclopedia, Davidson and Gitlitz provide an encyclopedic look at major pilgrimage sites throughout the world, from Delphi, home of the Oracle of Apollo in Greece, to the Stonewall Inn, the site of the Stonewall riots of 1969 and the symbolic inauguration of the gay liberation movement in the United States. Other sites include Gettysburg, Lenin's Tomb, Lourdes, Masada, Mecca, the site of the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City, and, as indicated in the title, Graceland, the home of the late Elvis Presley. In addition to alphabetical entries concerning these various sites, the authors also provide profiles of the people, institutions, and activities related to these sites. In addition, they discuss various religions or religious traditions associated with sites, from Buddhism and Hinduism to various Christian religions, Judaism, and Native American religions. The encyclopedia includes 500 entries overall, as well as 200 illustrations, including maps. "This encyclopedia contains a wealth of information," wrote William P. Collins in the Library Journal. Referring to Pilgrimage as "a delight to read and pleasing to view," a Booklist contributor went on to note: "The text is frequently enlivened with the anecdotal details of actual pilgrim experiences."

Pilgrimage and the Jews, also written in collaboration with Gitlitz, provides a history of Jewish pilgrimages, pointing out that pilgrimages have been integral to Jewish history and tradition from ancient times. In addition to providing an historical overview of Jewish pilgrimages, the authors delve into the many varieties of pilgrimages taken by Jews and the sites important to both Hasidic and Sephardic Jews. Shrines for political leaders and Holocaust sites are included. Library Journal contributor Marcia Welsh called Pilgrimage and the Jews a "fascinating book [filled] with maps, photographs … other illustrations, and copious notes." The book also includes a chronology of the "shrine wars" in Jerusalem between Arabs and Jews.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 1999, Mark Knoblauch, review of A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews, p. 1022; April 15, 2003, review of Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland: An Encyclopedia, p. 1500.

Catholic Historical Review, October, 1998, Marilyn Stokstad, review of The Pilgrimage to Compostela in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays, p. 734.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June, 1993, V.R. Hotchkiss, review of Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages: A Research Guide, p. 1600; April, 2003, M.E. Snodgrass, review of Pilgrimage, p. 1331; July-August, 2006, A.J. Avery-Peck, review of Pilgrimage and the Jews, p. 2009.

Historian, fall, 2002, Conrad Kent, review of The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook, p. 217.

Library Journal, February 15, 1999, Judith C. Sutton, review of A Drizzle of Honey, p. 178; February 1, 2003, William P. Collins, review of Pilgrimage, p. 72; April 15, 2003, review of Pilgrimage, p. 41; March 15, 2006, Marcia Welsh, review of Pilgrimage and the Jews, p. 75.

Medium Aevum, fall, 2001, review of The Pilgrimage to Compostela in the Middle Ages, p. 375.

Publishers Weekly, December 21, 1998, review of A Drizzle of Honey, p. 60.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 1993, review of Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, p. 5; May 2003, review of Pilgrimage, p. 15; May, 2006, review of Pilgrimage and the Jews.

Reference Reviews, January, 2004, John Lawrence, review of Pilgrimage.

ONLINE

ABC-Clio,http://www.abc-clio.com/ (November 27, 2007), brief profile of author.

Greenwood Publishing,http://www.greenwood.com/ (November 27, 2007), brief profile of author.