The Martyrdom of Stephen Werner
by: Roberta Kalechofsky

A religious allegory about Christians, Jews, and others, based upon a Passion play among Yucatan Indians, The Martyrdom of Stephen Werner uses the jungles of Guyana to elicit the primitive nature of the deicide charge, or what Hyman Maccoby has called, “the nightmare mythology.” The locale here is the boundary between Guiana and Brazil, in a place on the atlas designated “area of dispute.”

.”…a voyage back in psace, in teime, and to an ealier mythos which substitutes itself insistently for history…. What Stephen encounters in the jungle, along with heat, bugs, and the oppressive sense of unseen presence can be compared with what happens in The Heart of Darkness and in Typee…. it is always surprising that the fulfillment of a gradually revealed pattern is so satisfying, even in its agony.” Ellen Ferber

.”Roberta quickly and deftly immerses us in another time, another place — like Penelope Fitzgerald. But at the same time, like Conrad, she imbues that exotic setting with religious and spcyhological implications and involes us passionately in the fate of her hero.” Richard Seltzer

Blonde, long-legged, good-looking, adventurous, Stephen Werner is assimilated to the modern world in looks and in spirit – in everything but his destiny.

About Author:

Roberta Kalechofsky is the author of seven works of fiction, a monograph on George Orwell, poetry and two collections of essays. She has been published in quarterlies, reviews and anthologies, and was the recipient of Literary Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts.

Several of her stories, and two novellas, La Hoya and Stephen’s Passion, have been translated into Italian and published in Italy. La Hoya received excellent reviews in major publications, such as Corriere Della Sera., and was included in a college curriculum in Italy under the title, Veduta di Toledo.. Stephen’s Passion has also been included in a college curriculum in courses in American Fiction in the University of Florence, under the title, La Passione Di Stephen. Her novel, Bodmin, 1349: An Epic Novel of Christians and Jews in the Plague Years, was included twice in a college curriculum in the United States.

She began Micah Publications in 1975 and has received publishing grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, in addition to her literary fellowships. As a publisher, she created The Echad Series, which includes five anthologies of Jewish writing from around the world, and has published 40 different titles in poetry, fiction, scholarship, vegetarianism and animal rights. She is active in the animal rights and vegetarian movements and began the organization, Jews for Animal Rights, in 1985, and coordinates publishing projects with this organization.

She has also been a contributing editor to various magazines, such as Margins, and On The Issues, and taught at Brooklyn College for four years.

She was a participant in a round-table discussion, “Please Use Other Door: Literary Creativity and the Publishing Industry,” with Cynthia Ozick, Hugh Nissenson, Gordon Lish, Elizabeth Sifton and Robert Boyers, which was published in RSA Journal, #3 (March, 1992).

She graduated from Brooklyn College and received a doctorate in English literature in 1970 from New York University.

A critical essay on her work can be found in the Dictionary of Literary Biographies, Volume 28: Jewish Fiction Writers. A list of her published work and/or extended resume is available upon request.

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