Abstract

ABSTRACT:

This article is an attempt to reformulate the critique of Israel in recent years in literary terms; namely, how postcolonial perspectives regarding Zionism are utilized toward the emergence of a new sensibility in twenty-first-century Jewish American Literature. More specifically, the article focuses on the growing preoccupation of twenty-first-century Jewish American novelists with Israel and its destruction. By discussing Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007) and Jonathan Safran Foer's Here I Am (2016), I argue that Israel and Israelis provide an opportunity for Jewish writers to regain a marginalized stature in the American literary field, to reclaim an "expertise in alienation" that Jewish authors have lost since the immediate years following World War II. The destruction of Israel (or the Jewish Hurban) is depicted in both novels as a utopian dystopia, a national Jewish entity blown away to small diasporic pieces. The growing preoccupation of writers with Israel is identified here not only as a testament of the gradual separation of many Jews in America from what they perceive to be an oppressive, colonizing state, but in supplementary aesthetic terms as well—the national center against which Jewish American writers imagine their own otherness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-5077
Print ISSN
0271-9274
Pages
pp. 161-181
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-01
Open Access
No
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