Literary recreations of the Eastern European past in contemporary Jewish fiction / by Anna Petrov Ronell.
This dissertation lays down the groundwork for understanding a new literary trend that re-engages the Eastern European Jewish past. It provides a critical reading of six works produced in Israel and the Diaspora by young Jewish authors who themselves did not grow up in Yiddish-speaking pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe, but who creatively employ images of Eastern Europe to express a variety of contemporary dilemmas.I analyze significant examples of literary recreations of the Eastern European Jewish past from three bodies of literature: American-Jewish fiction, Russian-Jewish fiction, and Israeli fiction. Following an introductory overview, two chapters are devoted to each area: (1) Grigorii Kanovich's The Park of the Jews (1997) and Friedrich Gorenstein's Traveling Companions (1989); (2) David Grossman's See Under: Love (1986) and Itamar Levy's The Legend of the Sad Lakes (1989); (3) Rebecca Goldstein's Mazel (1995) and Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated (2002).While tracing the permutations of Eastern European imagery in contemporary fiction, my dissertation seeks to answer the question why at the end of the 20th Century Eastern European Jewish civilization still animates the literary imagination. In each case, I undertake a study of comparative literary properties, complex imageries, and cultural contexts. Special attention is paid to the issues of intertextuality, linguistic experimentation, and their incorporation of imagery and tropes from classical Yiddish literature.
Record last modified: 2018-05-16 16:15:00
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