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A measure of memory : storytelling and identity in American Jewish fiction /
Victoria Aarons.
Athens : University of Georgia Press, c1996.
xii, 218 p. ; 23 cm.
082031773X (alk. paper)
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Athens : University of Georgia Press, c1996.
082031773X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-10-01:
The value of this impressive study lies in its departure from preoccupations with acculturation to focus on the process of storytelling as the most revealing act of authorial identity. By examining the narrative method in a wide range of short fictions, Aarons (Trinity Univ.) demonstrates that the typical first-person voice in Jewish storytelling provides for dramatic interplay between individual choice and historic compulsions. She begins with Scripture and extends to the great Yiddish modernists, particularly Sholom Aleichem, who relied on stories to bear witness to history and to the human need for both belonging and individuation. Separate chapters treat the fiction of Delmore Schwartz, Jerome Weidman and Gilbert Rogin, Bernard Malamud, and Grace Paley, and each of these major discussions includes briefer comparative readings of many more authors (e.g., Philip Roth, Herbert Gold, Cynthia Ozick, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Salinger, Art Spiegelman, Leslea Newman, Susan Fromburg Schaeffer, and Francine Prose). The author does not attempt to trim individual talents into a neat thesis; rather she sees the short stories as part of a larger pattern of generational conflict and changing cultural roles whereby the children of immigrants seek to define themselves in terms of loyalty to an inescapable past and to invent themselves according to personal desires. Storytelling confronts and helps bridge the gap between these needs. Useful notes supplement this intelligent study. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Butovsky Concordia University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 1996
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Table of Contents
Introduction: The Stories They Tellp. 1
The Ethical Fiction of Delmore Schwartz: Identity, Generation, and Culturep. 26
Telling History: Generations of Voices in American Jewish Fictionp. 54
"Believe me, there are Jews everywhere" - Accidental Connections in the Most Unlikely Places: A Reading of Bernard Malamudp. 92
Margins of Hope: Grace Paley's Language of Memoryp. 123
Epilogue: New Voices, Old Storiesp. 170
Notesp. 185
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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