Defenses of the Imagination: Jewish Writers and Modern Historical Crisis

Defenses of the Imagination: Jewish Writers and Modern Historical Crisis

Defenses of the Imagination: Jewish Writers and Modern Historical Crisis

Defenses of the Imagination: Jewish Writers and Modern Historical Crisis

Excerpt

These essays present an argument which is the complementary opposite of the one proposed in After the Tradition, my previous book on modern Jewish writing. That earlier collection of essays, as its punning title was meant to suggest, was an attempt to explore the ambiguous relationship -- often more supposed than real -- between Jewish writers and the variegated background of Jewish historical experience. In the present volume, by contrast, I am much more centrally concerned with Jewish writers as a symptomatic, if extreme, instance of the predicaments of twentieth-century literature, and so I repeatedly direct attention not so much to the writers' sense of their cultural past as to their feeling for their imaginative medium and how it bears on the urgencies of the historical moment. From one point of view, then, this is a book about the troubled encounter between the literary imagination and . . .

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