Abstract

The schlemiel is a central character in the tradition of Yiddish and Jewish-American literature. Oftentimes, the schlemiel is read as a comic character that has political and ethical content. In our essay, we take another look at the ethical character of the schlemiel by way of a close reading of Levinas's notion of the self, aesthetics, and ethics, coupled with Hommi Bhabba's reading of Levinas in terms of history and Adam Newton's reading of Levinas in terms of narrative. This nuanced reading is used in the analysis of schlemiels in selected stories and parables of Franz Kafka, I. B. Singer and Nathan Englander.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-658X
Print ISSN
0026-7724
Pages
pp. 91-114
Launched on MUSE
2008-03-24
Open Access
No
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