BEL KAUFMAN UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE PDF

She was Her daughter, Thea Goldstine, confirmed the death. It has sold more than six million copies and been translated into at least 16 languages. So fully has the novel entered the collective consciousness that its title is still used as a catchphrase to describe absurd or impossible situations. The book and movie made Ms. Kaufman a celebrity; for decades afterward, she was in demand as a speaker before educational and civic groups.

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She was Her daughter, Thea Goldstine, confirmed the death. It has sold more than six million copies and been translated into at least 16 languages. So fully has the novel entered the collective consciousness that its title is still used as a catchphrase to describe absurd or impossible situations. The book and movie made Ms. Kaufman a celebrity; for decades afterward, she was in demand as a speaker before educational and civic groups.

She was also a highly visible public presence at events commemorating the work of the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, her maternal grandfather. It appeared in to mixed reviews. The world of the novel, she often said, was based closely on her own experience as a teacher in New York City high schools. Belle Kaufman was born on May 10, , in Berlin, where her father, Michael, was studying medicine. When Belle was very young, her family returned to their home in Odessa, in what is now Ukraine.

The coming of the Russian Revolution in put the Kaufmans at grave risk: With their comfortable home and household servants, they were considered members of the bourgeoisie.

Kaufman later wrote of soldiers bursting into their home, smashing items and shooting off guns. When Belle was 12, the family managed to leave for the United States. Though many other members of the bourgeoisie, as Ms. They settled in the Bronx, where Belle, who spoke no English, was placed in a class of first graders. As an undergraduate at Hunter College, she enrolled by chance in an education class and was captivated.

To obtain a municipal teaching license, Ms. For several years until she got her regular license, Ms. Kaufman was relegated to substitute teaching in a string of New York City high schools, any one of which could have been Calvin Coolidge. What happened? Did you rob a bank? Kaufman said afterward, at a low point in her life. In the s, in order to sell a story to Esquire, which took a dim view of submissions by women, she began signing her work with the more androgynous first name Bel.

In , Ms. After several rejections, she sent it to Saturday Review, which published it in the Nov. The day the story was published, Gladys Justin Carr, an editor at Prentice Hall, asked her to turn it into a book. Besides her daughter, Thea, from her first marriage, survivors include her second husband, Sidney J.

Gluck; a son from her first marriage, Jonathan Goldstine; a brother, Sherwin Kaufman; and a granddaughter. Over the years, Ms. Though they were inane enough to look real, she explained, in fact, she had invented most of them. Kaufman did include a few actual New York City Board of Education memos, but had to tone them down to make them credible.

The best indication of Ms.

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Up the Down Staircase

She quickly becomes discouraged during her first year of teaching, frustrated by bureaucracy, the indifference of her students, and the incompetence of many of her colleagues. The title of the book is taken from a memo telling her why a student was being punished: he had gone "up the down staircase". She decides to leave the public school government funded system to work in a smaller private setting. She changes her mind, though, when she realizes that she has, indeed, touched the lives of her students. The novel is epistolary ; aside from opening and closing chapters consisting entirely of dialogue the story is told through memos from the office, fragments of notes dropped in the trash can, essays handed in to be graded, lesson plans, suggestions dropped in the class suggestion box, and most often by inter-classroom notes that are a dialogue between Sylvia and an older teacher. Sylvia also writes letters to a friend from college who chose to get married and start a family rather than pursuing a career.

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