luminary

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Debinha

Member
portuguese - Brasil
Can luminary stand as a slang for any profession?
I´ve searched the dictionary and what I found there isn´t enough to make out the following sentence:

"..he was a second avenue luminary. "

The story takes place in NYC at the beginning of the 20th century.

thanks.
 
  • Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The word "luminary" is often used ironically with the meaning of someone of exceptional intellect. But there is not enough context to be sure what is meant in the excerpt you quoted.
     

    Debinha

    Member
    portuguese - Brasil
    There goes the quote:

    "some of the attraction he held for her - and later for the world - was a physical presence that echoed the animal magnetism and raw intellect of her father, Jacob, a Second Avenue luminary. This was combined with a quality displayed by Boris T., Jacob´s greatest competitor (....) His well know susceptibilty crossed the footlights with fatal impact. He was, in fact, a personality impossible to resist."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Second Avenue at one time had a vibrant Yiddish theatre district. I suspect that this is somehow related because of "crossed the footlights". Jacob was probably a famous performer in the district. A luminary can also be a synonym for star.

    From an article on Yiddish theatre on Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiddish_theatre

    At many times, a dozen Yiddish theatre groups existed in New York City alone, with a theater district centered on Second Avenue (in what is now the East Village, but was then considered part of the Jewish Lower East Side) that often rivaled Broadway in scale and quality. At the time the U.S. entered World War I, there were 22 Yiddish theaters and 2 Yiddish vaudeville houses in New York City alone.[34] Original plays, musicals, and even translations of Hamlet and Richard Wagner's operas were performed, both in the United States and Eastern Europe during this period.
     
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