Get A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory PDF

By Norman Ravvin

ISBN-10: 0773516646

ISBN-13: 9780773516649

Concentrating on the way in which Jewish heritage - quite the Holocaust - and culture tell postwar Canadian and American Jewish literature, this article deals readings of the works of influential writers reminiscent of Saul Bellow, Leonard Cohen, Eli Mandel, Mordecai Richler, Chava Rosenfarb, Philip Roth and Nathaneal West. Norman Ravvin highlights the worries that those disparate writers proportion as Jewish writers in addition to areas their paintings within the context of the wider traditions of mulitculturalism, postcolonial writing, and important concept.

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Additional resources for A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory

Example text

These doom-shrouded thoughts mark the brand of victimization portrayed in the meeting with Hitler as having very particular repercussions, as representing the end of a journey. 's and Edith's response to their encounter with Hitler offers us a parable of contemporary political complicity, implying that among the most sensitive, socially aware people there is a tendency to capitulate or even participate in the worst extremes of political violence. Within this tendency Cohen locates for us the perverse and irredeemable uses to which the images related to the Holocaust have been applied.

Instead of mining the rich stories concerning Israel Hoffer, the patriarch who gave his name to the colony he led, Mandel notes that Hoffer's son Abraham is mentioned in Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell: "A psychiatrist, Abraham Hoffer has done pioneer work in the uses of lysergic acid as a means of exploring the nature and causes of schizophrenia and alcoholism. His father was a wheat farmer" (Out i5n). " There is no precise description in the book of what it is that Eli and Ann Mandel discover in a vault they visit on what was the Hoffer family farm near Estevan.

Windows turn in on themselves, roofs furrow and fall, fence posts and corner beams bed down, softened to termite dust and mulch. Buildings are slowly unmade as the world reverts to form, or formlessness. One might assume, then, that Mandel returned to Hirsch and Hoffer to undo this process of transformation and obliteration, that he wrote with the reassuring hope that his poems would "reconstruct the original artefact ... by returning to the scene of it" (Harbison 108), and that through his poems he would erect a monument to all the dead Mandels and Berners of Saskatchewan, a "version of history calling itself permanent and ever-lasting" (Young, Texture 4).

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A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory by Norman Ravvin


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