Elie Wiesel, noted writer, educator and Nobel laureate recently published a new novel titled A Mad Desire to Dance (Knopf, 2009). Mr. Wiesel, the author of over 50 books, is of course best known for the acclaimed La Nuit (Night), a memoir of his Holocaust experiences.
It caught our eyes that the book's designers chose Robert Doisneau's timeless Last Waltz on Bastille Day, 1949 as the cover image. While the novel centers on a Holocaust survivor named Doriel Waldman and his personal despair, Doisneau's photograph was most certainly selected to convey a sense of joy and hope.
Hope may be needed in higher doses these days as The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity was also in the news recently for its investments with Bernard Madoff. Following is a message from the Foundation's website:
We are deeply saddened and distressed that we, along with many others, have been the victims of what may be one of the largest investment frauds in history. We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had $15.2 million under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities. This represented substantially all of the Foundation's assets.
The values we stand for are more needed than ever. We want to assure you that the Foundation remains committed to carrying on the lifelong work of our founder, Elie Wiesel. We shall not be deterred from our mission to combat indifference, intolerance, and injustice around the world.
At this difficult time, the Foundation wishes to express its profound gratitude for all your support.
Conde Nast Portfolio, March 2009, photograph by Jonathan Saunders
"It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us, any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing, bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with lamentation! Away with elegies and dirges! Away with biographies and histories, and libraries and museums! Let the dead eat the dead. Let us living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance. But a dance!" - from Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller