JWST 303 - Jewish Fiction before the War
Focused on the great novels and short stories written by European Jews before the Holocaust. All of the writers–even Kafka, whose fictional world is non-Jewish–reflect a Jewish consciousness and a Jewish confrontation with modernity. Modernity in these works takes different and often conflicting forms. In some works it is revolution (the promise of communism as a solution to the Jewish question); in other work, emigration, Zionism, or radical assimilation to the surrounding culture, what that happens to be. Several books–most prominently those of Sholem Aleichem, Agnon, and Kafka–take up the question of God’s justice. Several books deal with the loss of identity. A variety of 20th-century themes (political radicalism, bourgeois desires and bourgeois impurity, a desire to uproot and a search for roots) run through the texts, always in different combinations. All readings are in English translation.
Major/Minor Restrictions: None
Class Restriction: None
Area of Inquiry: Human Thought and Expression
Liberal Arts CORE: None
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