The golem as a metaphor in Jewish American literature / by Nicola Morris.
Translate AbstractThis dissertation discusses the use of the golem legend in Jewish American Literature. Analysis of the fiction of Michael Chabon, Thane Rosenbaum, Nomi Eve and Steve Stern reveals the use of the golem as a metaphor for power and powerlessness, and for the complexities surrounding the act of creation. The introduction explicates the golem legend in traditional Jewish texts and folklore and reviews the critical literature. An analysis of Chabon's use of the golem in Kavalier and Klay illustrates the ideas of power and powerlessness, and an analysis of the self-reflexivity present in the works of the authors is introduced.Chapter one considers Rosenbaum's uses of the golem in his two novels, Second Hand Smoke and The Golems of Gotham. Based on art historian Dora Apel's articulation of “sites of resistance,” the analysis considers Rosenbaum's fiction in the context of the legacy of the Holocaust for the second generation and theorizing about Holocaust representation, and argues that Rosenbaum creates three “sites of resistance” in his fiction.Chapter two analyzes Eve's novel, The Family Orchard in context of the Jewish exegetical tradition of PaRDeS, and of the complex relationship between fiction and auto/biography. The chapter argues that Eve uses the figure of the golem to complicate the reader's view of the historian's task, placing her text in the context of Linda Hutcheon's articulation of historiographic metafiction.Chapter three considers Stern's short fiction collection, Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven along with his children's book, Mickey and the Golem. The necessity for the centrality of the author is established, and the ethics of intertextuality are questioned through investigations of the folkloric, literary and oral history antecedents to Stern's work. Using the figure of the golem, Emmanuel Levinas' theorizing about the relationship between self and other is applied to Stern's relationship and responsibilities to his sources and his texts.The dissertation concludes with two original golem stories, “Mr. Goli” and “An Open Wound.”
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Record last modified: 2018-05-16 16:15:00
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