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Accidents of Influence: Writing As a Woman and a Jew in by Norma Rosen

By Norma Rosen

For Norma Rosen, the Holocaust is the important occasion of the 20 th century. during this publication, she examines the connection of post-Holocaust writers to their paintings when it comes to topic, language, imagery, and dealing with as much as the duty of writing in a post-Holocaust period. She considers the paintings of such significant impacts on our time as T. S. Eliot, Simone Weil, Anne Frank, E. L. Doctorow, Norman Mailer, Eugenio Montale, Philip Roth, and Saul Bellow. injuries of impact combines serious research with own reaction and autobiographical moments. It comprises quotidian encounters in friendship, intercourse, society, paintings, politics, reaction to violence, and non secular observance, which fight for ethical floor during this post-Holocaust period.

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And it will be as if Simone Weil, who set herself the task of a lifelong meditation upon human injustice, had devoted her time to traffic violations, while all around her the air rang with cries of murder.  Peter's Jewish mother passed for German.  His declaration of being a Jew was to them an act of willfulness.  They are the testament of one who began as the Jew Hitler made and who ended as one who chose to be a Jew.  The father, for example, goes on writing plays under Hitler, the stepfather divorces Peter's mother and takes an Aryan wife, the Jewish grandfather dies alone, the Jewish grandmother is taken to a camp and gassed.

Powers, the black about­to­be writer upon Ralph Ellison or Zora Neale Hurston; can see what those efforts of imagination and sympathy could offer by way of take­your­ breath­away, experience­opening influence that show where one's own writing in America might tend.  We who are accustomed to think "prayer for the dead" should remind ourselves of the contents of that prayer: nothing but praise for the redemptive powers of God.  Who could duplicate such idiosyncratic intensity?  Though he reaches easily and well for the comic touch, he has shown that it is possible even in a long career, and in a context largely of satirical American writing, never to fire off in a single story a cheap or reductive shot at Jews.

I thought: if Roth could see, as Flaubert had seen, that the character of the woman in his book related more closely to himself than to a sociological portrayal—in Roth's case to a kind of final word on the destructive Jewish mother—there would be some justice in that.  Or, what would be even worse, on Philip Roth, an even better one.  He is too old, and the breast of his choice is too empty; he only mauls it with his teeth.  How to write as a Jew and as an artist, with honorable effort toward both those attributes.

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