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The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature by Alvin H. Rosenfeld

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By Alvin H. Rosenfeld

The author Uprooted is the 1st ebook to check the emergence of a brand new iteration of Jewish immigrant authors in the US, such a lot of whom grew up in previously communist international locations. In essays which are either own and scholarly, the participants to this assortment chronicle and make clear problems with own and cultural dislocation and loss, but in addition verify the probabilities of reorientation and renewal. Writers, poets, translators, and critics resembling Matei Calinescu, Morris Dickstein, Henryk Grynberg, Geoffrey Hartman, Eva Hoffman, Katarzyna Jerzak, Dov-Ber Kerler, Norman Manea, Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, Lara Vapnyar, and Bronislava Volkova describe how they've got coped creatively with the pains of displacement and the demanding situations and possibilities of resettlement in a brand new land and, for a few, authorship in a brand new language.

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Extra info for The Writer Uprooted: Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature (Jewish Literature and Culture)

Sample text

Many artists and writers collapse in exile or at home before the problem of a change in their linguistic identity arises. And yet, historical catastrophes can pale beside the dark forces that destroy their language. • I was almost completely at sea in English. To my fright, I found myself to be like Nabokov’s Professor Pnin, who thought Hamlet sounded better in his native Russian than in English. In my first decade here, I became terribly anxious when invited to speak at conferences. Not only because of my accent, but also because I constantly feared I would lose or forget my script.

I was almost completely at sea in English. To my fright, I found myself to be like Nabokov’s Professor Pnin, who thought Hamlet sounded better in his native Russian than in English. In my first decade here, I became terribly anxious when invited to speak at conferences. Not only because of my accent, but also because I constantly feared I would lose or forget my script. I still remember arriving in Turin in 1991 and finding that my bags were missing. I was to give my lecture in English the next morning and, in despair, I tried to convince the conference’s organizers to move it to the afternoon.

On his deathbed, the expatriate Cioran lapsed back into the language he had refused to speak for decades! He rediscovered Romanian, but not himself. He experienced the ecstasy of Alzheimer amnesia. The greatest joy, the highest penalty. The End. My reasons for severing my ties were perhaps stronger than Cioran’s, but still I hung on to my native tongue, and, since I could not turn back the clock, I could not aspire to the transfiguration and profound, radical change toward which Cioran struggled during his decades in exile.

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