- Mrs. Ted Bliss (review)
- Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
- Purdue University Press
- Volume 15, Number 1, Fall 1996
- pp. 162-165
- View Citation
- Additional Information
162 SHOFAR Fall 1996 Vol. 15, No. 1 this, 0 House ofJacob," whereas that of v. 12 is addressed to a masculine singular audience, l"ma' 'elay ya'aqob, "listen to me, 0 Jacob." A study of the address forms in this pericope demonstrates that the masculine singular forms are employed in YHWH's address to Jacob in vv. 3-13, whereas the masculine plural address forms are employed in the prophet's address to Jacob that constitutes the rhetorical framework of this chapter and conveys the statements by YHWH. Verse 12 does not introduce a new unit; rather, v. 14, with its masculine plural address form, hiqqab"su kulfkem uf'ma'u, "gather yourselves, all of you, and listen," does mark the new unit addressed by the prophet to Jacob. Thus, vv. 1-2 introduce the speech by YHWH in vv. 3-13, and v. 14 introduces the speech by YHWH in v. 15. The prophet resumes in vv. 15-16a with an introduction to YHWH's speech in vv. 17b-19. Finally, the prophet speaks again in vv. 20-21 with a concluding call to flee from Babylon. Although the strophic structure defines the cadence of this text, the formal features define the organization of its contents and ultimately the means by which it conveys its message. In sum, Franke provides a valuable perspective on the need to consider larger textual units in the analysis of prophetic literature. Rhetorical criticism is absolutely necessary to the interpretation of biblical texts, but it must function together with form criticism in order to achieve its aims. Marvin A. Sweeney School of Theology at Claremont and Claremont Graduate School Mrs. Ted Bliss, by Stanley Elkin. New York: Hyperion, 1995. 296 pp. $22.95. If you could read only one fiction book this year, it should be Mrs. Ted Bliss, by Stanley Elkin. Elkin died in May 1995 and this, his final book, is surely one of his best. Stanley Elkin was the author of ten novels, five collections of shon stories or novellas, and a collection of non-fiction essays. He began publishing stories in the 1950s and early 1960s in magazines such as Accent, Chicago Review, Perspective, The Saturday Evening Post, and Esquire, many of which were collected in the yearly Best American Short Stories anthologies. He had been a professor of literature and creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis since 1960 and was highly Book Reviews 163 regarded by book reviewers, fellow professors, and all discriminating readers who delighted in swimming in the deep and powerful waters of his poetic prose. Simply put, since the publication of his first novel, Boswell, in 1964, Stanley Elkin has been the very best literary stylist in contemporary American fiction. Here is an example of his writing style that will serve as an introduction to his latest novel: There was something still essentially pink in Mrs. Bliss's soul, some almost vestigial principle in the seventyish old woman, not of childhood particularly , or even of girlhood, so much as of femininity itself, something so obscurely yet solidly distaff in her nature that she was quite suddenly overcome by the ancient etiquette she thought females owed males, something almost like courtship, or the need to nurture, shlepping, no matter how silly she knew it might sound . . . the old proprieties of a forced, wide-eyed attention to a man's interests and hobbies from right out of the old beauty-parlor magazines. Mrs. Ted Bliss is a deceptively simple story of an elderly woman who has retired to a condominium in Miami Beach to live out her remaining years. As you can tell from the book's title, the main character has totally subsumed her identity into that of her husband's, a man who has died before the action of the novel begins. Dorothy Bliss is described as a "baleboosteh,» a Yiddish word that can be defined as one who is the "Sovereign of her Household.» The problem for Mrs. Ted Bliss is that the world in which she grew to womanhood, married, raised a family, and made a place for herself almost no longer exists. She is a displaced person who during...