Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of Tradition by Daniel WaldenChaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of Tradition by Daniel Walden

Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of Tradition

EditorDaniel Walden

Paperback | July 3, 2013

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Chaim Potok was a world-class writer and scholar, a Conservative Jew who wrote from and about his tradition and the conflicts between observance and acculturation. With a plain, straightforward style, his novels were set against the moral, spiritual, and intellectual currents of the twentieth century. This collection aims to widen the lens through which we read Chaim Potok and to establish him as an authentic American writer who created unforgettable characters forging American identities for themselves while retaining their Jewish nature. The essays illuminate the central struggle in Potok’s novels, which results from a profound desire to reconcile the appeal of modernity with the pull of traditional Judaism. The volume includes a memoir by Adena Potok and ends with Chaim Potok’s “My Life as a Writer,” a speech he gave at Penn State in 1982.

Aside from the editor, the contributors are Victoria Aarons, Nathan P. Devir, Jane Eisner, Susanne Klingenstein, S. Lillian Kremer, Jessica Lang, Sanford E. Marovitz, Kathryn McClymond, Hugh Nissenson, Adena Potok, and Jonathan Rosen.

Daniel Walden is Professor Emeritus of American Studies, English, and Comparative Literature at The Pennsylvania State University. He founded the Jewish Studies Program at Penn State as well as the journal Studies in American Jewish Literature. Daniel Walden is Professor Emeritus of American Studies, English, and Comparative Literature...
Title:Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of TraditionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.04 × 5.98 × 0.49 inPublished:July 3, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271059826

ISBN - 13:9780271059822

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Daniel Walden

Part 1 The Novels

1 The Chosen: Defining American Judaism

Kathryn McClymond

2 The Three-Pronged Dialectic: Understanding Conflict in Potok’s Early Fiction

Jessica Lang

3 Guardians of the Torah: Ambiguity and Antagonism in The Promise

Victoria Aarons

4 Daedalus Redeemed: Asher Lev’s Journey from Rebellion to Rapprochement

S. Lillian Kremer

5 Davita’s Harp: The Silence of Violence and the Limits of the Imagination

Susanne Klingenstein

6 The Book of Lights: A Book of Choices

Sanford E. Marovitz

7 History and Responsibility: An Assessment of Potok’s “Non-Jewish” I Am the Clay

Nathan P. Devir

Part 2 Looking Back: Memories of Potok

8 Choosing the Chosen: A Reappraisal of The Chosen

Hugh Nissenson

9 Chaim Potok: A Zwischenmensch (“Between Person”) in the Cultures

Daniel Walden

10 Chaim Potok and the Question of Jewish Writing

Jonathan Rosen

11 Chaim Potok: A Literary Biography

Adena Potok

12 Chaim Potok Is No Longer With Us, but His Lessons Remain

Jane Eisner

13 Adena Potok on I Am the Clay

Nathan P. Devir

14 Chaim Potok: My Life as a Writer

Chaim Potok

Contributors

Index

Editorial Reviews

“These critical essays and personal reflections on Potok’s work and life will go far in solidifying his reputation as a leading American writer of fiction.”

—B. Adler, Choice