Magical American Jew (eBook)
The Enigma Of Difference In Contemporary Jewish American Short Fiction And Film
de Aaron Tillman
Sobre o livro
Efforts to describe contemporary Jewish American identities often reveal more questions than concrete articulations, more statements about what Jewish Americans arenot than what they are. Highlighting the paradoxical phrasings that surface in contemporary writings about Jewish American literature and culture—language that speaks to the elusive difference felt by many Jewish Americans—Aaron Tillman asks how we portray identities and differences that seem to resist concrete definition. Over the course ofMagical American Jew, Tillman examines this enigma—the indefinite yet undeniable difference that informs contemporary Jewish American identity—demonstrating how certain writers and filmmakers have deployed magical realist techniques to illustrate the enigmatic difference that Jewish Americans have felt and continue to feel.
Similar to the indeterminate nature of Jewish American identity, magical realism is marked by paradox and does not fit easily into any singular category. Often characterized as amode of literary expression, rather than a genre within literature, magical realism has been the subject of debates about definition, origin, and application. After elucidating the features of the mode, Tillman illustrates how it enables uniquely cogent portrayals of enigmatic elements of difference. Concentrating on a diverse selection of Jewish American short fiction and film—including works by Woody Allen, Sarah Silverman, Cynthia Ozick, Nathan Englander, Steve Stern, and Melvin Jules Bukiet— Magical American Jew covers a range of subjects, from archiving Holocaust testimony to satirical Jewish American humor. Shedding light on aspects of media, marginalization, excess, and many other facets of contemporary American society, the study concludes by addressing the ways that the magical realist mode has been and can be used to examine U.S. ethnic literatures more broadly.