Leonard Unger's AMERICAN WRITERS, Volume 4 PDF

By Leonard Unger

ISBN-10: 0684136767

ISBN-13: 9780684136769

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Certainly few of the driven souls in The Family Moskat contribute much to society's betterment. Singer's first novel to appear in English, it sprawls through the years 1911 to 1939 and three generations of Warsaw's brawling, disoriented Jews. Here (and occasionally elsewhere) he borrows several characters and expands incidents from the fiction of Joshua Singer, whom he credits with having taught him much of the writer's craft. But then both draw from the same fund of people and memories; both also utilize Gogol's sharp, kaleidoscopic detail and Flaubert's disciplined detachment to cut deeply into Jewish life.

But Singer's integrity and imagination transcend mere fad or fashion. His vision is as tragic as that of the Greek dramatists. He too sees a universe governed by forces lying beyond reason or justice. For man this often means neither certainty on earth nor concern in heaven. "From a cabalistic point of view," he states, "I am a very realistic writer. Cabalists believe there are millions of worlds, but the worst is this one. " Singer therefore is as convinced as were Hawthorne and Faulkner that evil is so near and constant a danger no one can avoid profaning life's most sacred aspects.

The country's social values and forms here are 18 I AMERICAN WRITERS scrambled. Polish noblemen flee the police while Jews enjoy a rare respite of freedom and prosperity. Emerging from ghettos and shtetls, the latter share in the new industrialism and radicalism. Older Jews cling to Torah and prayers, watching bewilderedly as their children turn revolutionaries to redeem mankind. Events revolve around pious Caiman Jacoby and to a lesser extent the decadent Count Wladislaw Jampolski. As Caiman's fortunes rise, the Count's decline; leasing the dispossessed nobleman's estate or "manor," Caiman becomes wealthy.

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AMERICAN WRITERS, Volume 4 by Leonard Unger

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