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

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By Norma Rosen

For Norma Rosen, the Holocaust is the significant occasion of the 20 th century. during this e-book, 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 affects 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 effect combines severe research with own reaction and autobiographical moments. It comprises quotidian encounters in friendship, intercourse, society, artwork, politics, reaction to violence, and spiritual observance, which fight for ethical flooring during this post-Holocaust period.

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Example text

And it isn't that I see Jewish life so differently from the way those writers do.  But if we write about debasement and vulgarity Page 44 without showing or knowing that there has been a defection from the nobility of Jewish ideas—what shall we call ourselves? After the publication of Hannah Arendt's book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, in which she criticized the Judenrat, the Jewish council appointed by the Nazis to enforce their anti­Jewish decrees, Gershom Scholem wrote to her to say that she lacked "ahavat Yisrael"—love of the Jewish people.

Did she make the profound spiritual error of not granting separate identity to those who resembled her, transgressing fearfully in that case against her own idea of "attention," the respect due another human being?  Translated to theology, the way leads to the inquisitorial fires.  They were to her an "accursed people," she records among similar jottings in her 1942 New York notebook. " But the record shows nothing of that.  She refused to take nourishment—literally ate herself alive ("More than anything else, I fear remorse," she had said).

Scholem didn't mean that Arendt should have suppressed information about the behavior of the Judenrat, but that she ought to have included other information as well, or other attitudes, that would have shown her understanding of their desperate situation.  Modern writers can tolerate being regarded as distanced, detached, alienated, affectless, chilling—anything that suggests higher intellect—but dare not risk empathy for fear of being labeled apologists.  But it might add a deepening tension to what the writer makes of the chaos of American Jewish life.

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