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Download PDF by Ezra Cappell: American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American

By Ezra Cappell

ISBN-10:

ISBN-13: 0791471233978

ISBN-10: 0791471233

ISBN-13: 9780791471234

ISBN-10: 0791471241

ISBN-13: 9780791471241

ISBN-10: 1429471603

ISBN-13: 9781429471602

Appears to be like on the function of Jewish American fiction within the greater context of yankee culture.

In American Talmud, Ezra Cappell redefines the style of Jewish American fiction and locations it squarely in the better context of yankee literature. Cappell departs from the normal process of defining Jewish American authors exclusively when it comes to their ethnic origins and sociological constructs, and as an alternative contextualizes their fiction in the theological background of Jewish tradition. through intentionally emphasizing historic and ethnographic hyperlinks to religions, spiritual texts, and traditions, Cappell demonstrates that twentieth-century and modern Jewish American fiction writers were codifying a brand new Talmud, an American Talmud, and argues that the literary creation of Jews in the United States should be noticeable as another level of rabbinic statement at the scriptural inheritance of the Jewish humans.

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Extra resources for American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American Fiction

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As Malamud says in The Assistant: “The world suffers” (5), and it is the responsibility of his good and ethical characters to empathize with this suffering. Consequently, Malamud’s characters are judged based on their ability to learn “what it means [to be] human” from their suffering. This universal conception of suffering piety creates Reflecting the World 39 a Jewish identity that is more symbolic than actual. Malamud’s symbolic system of Judaism is generally effective in gaining a reader’s empathy when he writes novels and stories not set in a particular historic framework, as is the case with his allegorical short stories and his fables, or when he resorts to supernatural and fantastic elements in his work.

Other critics interpet this scene as a classic rebirth-intomanhood tale. Caught up in myth, none of these interpretations seem to be troubled that the ending doesn’t easily lend itself to even a remotely positive view, a positive ending which would have subverted the modernism and realism Roth had expended so much linguistic 34 AMERICAN TALMUD effort in establishing leading up to the pyrotechnics of the electrocution scene. Why would Roth engage in such a radical departure at the conclusion of Call It Sleep?

Early in A Star Shines over Mt. Morris Park, the first volume of Mercy of a Rude Stream, Roth discusses the shattered vessel of his psyche, dating the split in self to the moment the Stigman family (clearly the Schearls from Call It Sleep) abandoned East Ninth Street in their move uptown to a non-Jewish block near Mt. Morris Park in Harlem. Roth suggests that “it was then and there the desolate breach opened between himself and himself that was never to close” (18). Roth’s project in writing Mercy is an attempt in old age to confess and give testimony to the horrors of his formative years and in so doing reconcile with himself.

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American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American Fiction by Ezra Cappell


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