The Golem Redux
From Prague to Post-Holocaust Fiction
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Wayne State University Press
I began reading post-Holocaust fiction and memoirs that incorporated fairy-tale motifs sporadically several years ago. As my exploration of these intertexts proceeded, I noticed a similar relationship between the golem legend and post-Holocaust literature...
The golem is back! In a May 2009 article in the New York Times titled “A New Heyday (and Many Spinoffs) for a Centuries-Old Giant, the Golem,” Dan Bilefsky chronicles the many reincarnations of the golem in Prague. He quotes a Czech theater director as claiming: “The Golem starts...
1. The Golem Redux: Variations on the Golem Legend in Jewish Tradition
Most accounts of the history of the golem begin by mentioning that the first appearance of the word “golem” occurs in the Book of Psalms, as quoted above. Commentaries in the Talmud suggest that the speaker here is Adam and that he praises God for forming his...
2 German-Language Appropriations: The Golem Runs Amok
The two primary texts we will consider in this chapter, Gustav Meyrink’s novel Der Golem (1915) and Paul Wegener’s film Der Golem: Wie er in die Welt kam (1920), are among the earliest popularizations of the golem legend for the general public beyond the Jewish...
3. Traditional Retellings of the Golem Legend
In this chapter we will encounter the golem in three stories that hew closely to traditional Jewish legends of the clay man. Two of these retellings were published in 1982 and 1983 and were written by Isaac Bashevis Singer, who fled Poland for America in 1935, and by the Holocaust...
4. The Comics Connection
Their names tell the story. Like their comic creations, America’s early and subsequently famous cartoonists had a double identity. Max Ginsberg, credited with creating comic books as we know them today, became Maxwell...
5. Golems to the Rescue
As we saw in chapter 4, comic books of the 1930s and 1940s transformed the venerable Jewish tradition of the golem into Superman and other superheroes, and Marvel Comics returned to the trope of the heroic golem in the 1970s; the merging of the golem with comic images...
Golem texts are far too numerous to be treated fully in the body of this study but several deserve brief mention here because of their historical importance, their obscurity, or their idiosyncracy...
Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012
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