A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory by Norman Ravvin

By Norman Ravvin

Concentrating on the best way Jewish background - rather the Holocaust - and culture tell postwar Canadian and American Jewish literature, this article deals readings of the works of influential writers akin to Saul Bellow, Leonard Cohen, Eli Mandel, Mordecai Richler, Chava Rosenfarb, Philip Roth and Nathaneal West. Norman Ravvin highlights the worries that those disparate writers proportion as Jewish writers in addition to locations their paintings within the context of the wider traditions of mulitculturalism, postcolonial writing, and demanding thought.

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Propaganda was above all effective where it was building upon, not countering already existing values and mentalities" (Kershaw, Hitler 4). The fact that neither F. nor Edith is Jewish is worth noting, since it allows Cohen to investigate their yearnings for release through 30 What Sort of Home Is the Past? self-abuse without appearing to imply that Jews themselves identified with their torturers. Instead, the twosome can be seen as representative and prescient participants in the "Hitler Wave" that would erupt in the 19705, "indicating a macabre fascination" with the Nazi leader (Kershaw, Nazi- 62).

Stephen Scobie echoes this notion in his Leonard Cohen, though he admits to a certain discomfort with reading "the whole of Beautiful Losers as ... an allegory of Canadian society" (113). Still, he too writes around the encounter with Hitler, though he does mention it, calling it "the novel's most extreme sexual scene" (107) and "an outrageous parody of all the conventions of 'the orgy'" (109). Scobie draws no direct conclusions about Cohen's use of Holocaust imagery, but concentrates instead on how the section develops such themes as sexual exploration and transcendence (no).

Its aim was to bring to justice representatives of the low- and middle-ranking Nazis who beat, tortured, and murdered prisoners on their own initiative. Verbatim testimony from this trial haunts Jake as he searches Frankfurt's jazzkellers for Joey, whom he believes might be in Germany to watch the proceedings. Richler includes from this testimony a well-known and horrifyingly matter-of-fact description of the dead after a gas chamber is opened: The bodies are not lying scattered here and there throughout the room, but piled in a mass to the ceiling.

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