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The Golem Speaks: A Study of Four Modern Jewish American Novels

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title
The Golem Speaks: A Study of Four Modern Jewish American Novels
author
Tytell, Frances Wilke
abstract
The golem is a figure of Jewish folklore, an artificial person—usually, although not always, male—created using the magic of the Kabbalah. The legend has evolved over millennia; its earliest versions have golems created for no practical purpose other than part of a magical quest to achieve communion with God. The second phase, best known through the stories of Rabbi Loew of Prague, features a golem created for practical purposes, often to be a savior of innocent people. The third phase shows a more malevolent creature, as the golem ultimately evades the control of its creator. A study of the golem figure in four modern Jewish novels suggests that a fourth phase is developing, with the golem becoming a metaphor for the artist’s creativity. The artist may utilize the genuine magic of art—words—to repair a broken world, fulfilling the Jewish commandment of tikkun olam. This goes beyond the novelist as well, for today’s scientists can also be seen as Kabbalists, creating their golems. In this way not only can the golem can be seen as a metaphor for our times, the legend itself becomes its own golem.
subject
Cynthia Ozick
He She and It
Marge Piercy
Michael Chabon
Pete Hamill
Snow in August
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Puttermesser Papers
contributor
ftytell@alumni.wfu.edu (authorEmail)
Charles Richman (committee chair)
Michael Strysick (committee member)
Neal Walls (committee member)
creator
Tytell, Frances Wilke
date
2008-09-28T10:50:44Z (accessioned)
2010-06-18T18:58:35Z (accessioned)
2006-07-11 (available)
2008-09-28T10:50:44Z (available)
2010-06-18T18:58:35Z (available)
2005-04-21 (issued)
degree
null (defenseDate)
MALS (Liberal Studies) (discipline)
Wake Forest University (grantor)
MALS (level)
identifier
tytellfw_05_2005.pdf
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/14779 (uri)
migration
etd-06262005-195633 (oldETDId)
rights
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide. (accessRights)
I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to Wake Forest University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. (license)

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