By Norman Ravvin
Targeting the best way Jewish historical past - fairly the Holocaust - and culture tell postwar Canadian and American Jewish literature, this article bargains readings of the works of influential writers akin to Saul Bellow, Leonard Cohen, Eli Mandel, Mordecai Richler, Chava Rosenfarb, Philip Roth and Nathaneal West. Norman Ravvin highlights the troubles that those disparate writers percentage as Jewish writers in addition to locations their paintings within the context of the wider traditions of mulitculturalism, postcolonial writing, and important idea.
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Extra info for A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory
Jake remembers Joey as a fighter with style, working out in his makeshift 37 Taking the Victims' Side gym while glamorous women looked on (121). Like a figure out of Isaac Babel - a Jew on horseback - Joey rode at "the Bagg Street stables" while Jake sat on his mother's front step (122). St Urbain Street legend has it that Joey played semi-pro baseball and piloted a plane (123). He was supposedly sighted in action in Spain in 1938 and in Israel a decade later, and now Jake imagines him in Paraguay hunting down Josef Mengele.
F. acknowledges the failure of his pursuit of spiritual and sexual release most directly in his "Long Letter" describing his "Argentine vacation hotel week-end shack-up with Edith" (175). Here he addresses the narrator as his "Dear Friend" (170) and promises, "I am going to set you straight on everything" (173). Speaking as a decadent and world-weary cynic, F. admits that action and honest engagement with political violence have always been beyond him: I will confess that I never saw the Quebec Revolution clearly, even at the time of my parliamentary disgrace.
He views his own commitment to politics and social transformation as a fraud, and as a kind of representative man, he speaks for a generation of beaten victims, ready to accept the most hideous and demeaning of deaths. 27 Writing around the Holocaust F. 's spiritual and sexual training, what he calls his "Pygmalion tampering" (195). Pursuing the "pan-orgasmic body, [an] erogenous zone over the whole flesh envelope," Edith has found herself cursed with a body in "trouble ... it kept changing sizes, she even feared that it might be dying" (175).