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

By Norman Ravvin

ISBN-10: 0773516646

ISBN-13: 9780773516649

Concentrating on the best way Jewish historical past - fairly the Holocaust - and culture tell postwar Canadian and American Jewish literature, this article deals 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 concept.

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Example text

Beautiful Losers can be seen as anticipating the renewed attraction of Nazism and as offering a condemnation of the way that certain yearnings - psychological, sexual, or religious - can bring about extreme and inexcusable behaviour. The bedroom scene with Hitler offers the reader a grotesque parable of the movement from the abstract idea to the complicit act, from mere fascination to outright abuse, from Mein Kampfto Mauthausen. If F. has been in flight from the abyss of history in pursuit of ecstatic transcendence, then the diabolic scenario staged in his hotel room halts this flight, bringing into question all modes of thought on which such pursuits are founded.

In black and white the storefronts and prairie roads of Bienfait and Hirsch look like vacant film sets, peopleless under a sky so clear and vast that the galaxy seems to have been emptied of all its heavenly bodies. Abandoned frame buildings are shot through with sun and the brilliant still air. But Eli Mandel himself undercuts any sense that these stills provide proof that Ann's vision of the landscape, her account of relics and recollection, reveals the truth. The photographs are anything but sure representations, he says: "we take the photographs to be the reality.

2 This process of appropriation of images previously considered horrifying - too agonizing to contend with - as fair game for aesthetic or sexual practice is perversely exemplified in one review, 3i Writing around the Holocaust quoted by Konrad Kellen, of Lina Wertmuller's 1976 film Seven Beauties. Judging the film to be an aesthetic success, the reviewer described how "he was always ashamed to have perceived a certain beauty in the way the corpses appeared in Auschwitz photos, but that since having seen Seven Beauties he no longer is ashamed to feel that way" (64).

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


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