In this Book

Chaim Potok
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summary
Chaim Potok was a world-class writer and scholar, a Conservative Jew who wrote from and about his tradition and his conflicts between observance and acculturation. With a plain, straightforward style, his novels were set against the moral, spiritual and intellectual currents of the twentieth century. The aim of the collection is to widen further the lens through which we read Chaim Potok, to establish him as an authentic American writer, one who has created unforgettable characters forging for themselves American identities while also retaining their Jewish nature. These essays illuminate the central struggle in Potok’s novels, the struggle resulting from a profound desire to reconcile the appeal of modernity with the pull of traditional Judaism. The volume concludes with a memoir by Adena Potok and Chaim Potok’s “My Life as a Writer,” a speech the author gave at Penn State in 1982. Aside from the editor, the contributors are Victoria Aarons, Nathan Devir, Jane Eisner, Susanne Klingenstein, Lillian Kremer, Jessica Lang, Sanford Marovitz, Kathryn McClymond, Hugh Nissenson, Adena Potok, Chaim Potok, and Jonathan Rosen.

Table of Contents

  1. COVER Front
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. vi-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xi-xix
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  1. PART 1: The Novels
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. Chapter 1: The Chosen: Defining American Judaism
  2. pp. 3-19
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  1. Chapter 2: The Three-Pronged Dialectic: Understanding Conflict in Potok’s Early Fiction
  2. pp. 20-29
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  1. Chapter 3: Guardians of the Torah: Ambiguity and Antagonism in The Promise
  2. pp. 30-46
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  1. Chapter 4: Daedalus Redeemed: Asher Lev’s Journey from Rebellion to Rapprochement
  2. pp. 47-57
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  1. Chapter 5: Davita’s harp: The Silence of Violence and the Limits of the Imagination
  2. pp. 58-79
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  1. Chapter 6: The Book of Lights: A Book of Choices
  2. pp. 80-96
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  1. Chapter 7: History and Responsibility: An Assessment of Potok’s “Non-Jewish” I Am the Clay
  2. pp. 97-116
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  1. PART 2: Looking Back: Memories of Potok
  2. pp. 117-139
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  1. Chapter 8: Choosing the Chosen: A Reappraisal of The Chosen
  2. pp. 119-127
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  1. Chapter 9: A Zwischenmensch (“Between Person”) in the Cultures
  2. pp. 128-133
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  1. Chapter 10: Chaim Potok and the Question of jewish Writing
  2. pp. 134-140
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  1. Chapter 11: Chaim Potok: A Literary Biography
  2. pp. 145-147
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  1. Chapter 12: Chaim Potok Is No Longer with Us, but His Lessons Remain
  2. pp. 145-147
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  1. Chapter 13: Adena Potok on I Am the Clay
  2. pp. 148-159
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  1. Chapter 14: Chaim Potok: My Life as a Writer
  2. pp. 160-174
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  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. 175-176
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 177-205
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  1. COVER Back
  2. pp. 206-206
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