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Some people read these stories as literature. Some people read these stories as Jewish literature. Whats the difference - Essay Example

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However, another class of literature which is often considered as having a distinct identity is that of Jewish literature. Although Jewish literature may broadly be incorporated…
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Some people read these stories as literature. Some people read these stories as Jewish literature. Whats the difference
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Literature and Jewish Literature Literature is a broad which is considered to be an independent discipline in the humanities. However, another class of literature which is often considered as having a distinct identity is that of Jewish literature. Although Jewish literature may broadly be incorporated into the discipline of literature, it does present some differences in terms of its themes and authorship. Jewish literature builds up a sense of Jewish thought by circumscribing the ideas in literary terms. On the other hand, readers reading the same literary work as a product of ‘literature’ may choose to perceive the work as illuminating broader forms and ideas.
In her book, Elisa Albert makes it clear that she is an aspiring writer writing on Jewish themes, which is how she described herself after being asked by agents (179). This instantly creates a picture of a Jewish-themed literature being read by the reader. Her later references to women attending shiva, which is a Jewish period of mourning, establishes her essentially Jewish subject matter of her books. Even Roth makes several references to Jewish concepts and terms which conjure up an image of a perceived Jewish novel (139). In the chapter, The Conversion of the Jews, the Jewish and the Christian contradictions in the status of Jesus is highlighted when Ozzie points out that Jesus was not God (Roth, 140). So, at several points in the two books, the readers are reminded of the Jewish essence in the themes.
Albert particularly points out her identity as an aspiring writer that too, essentially a Jewish writer writing on Jewish American novels centering her attention at women. This demonstrates the inseparable nature of her Jewish literary identity with her writing career. The references to Judaism are plenty and it is evident that Albert considers her style of writing as essentially Jewish. However, apart from the Jewish theme, Roth does not talk about his writings as a Jewish author although his work reflects a marked tinge of Judaism.
Albert talks about her debut novel to Roth highlighting its great ideas. Albert can be observed to be speaking with great enthusiasm about her debut novel which supposedly has great ideas but which ironically is still finding a home. It is amusing to see how Albert’s “great” novel has yet to be published (179). Also, her concept of “Great American Jewish Novel” ironically presents a satirical account of women in the light of Jewish traditional contexts.
Although Albert would openly embrace the fact that she is a Jewish literature writer, I am skeptical about Roth who may not be open to the idea of being referred to as a Jewish author. Roth’s book does present Jewish themes and Judaic concepts of God however, Roth may not entirely want his work to be categorized into a single class of Jewish literature. While both books do contain theological references in their literary works, Roth’s work may not entirely qualify as a Jewish literature despite several references to the literature because it seeks to present much deeper themes than the superficial theme of Judaism.
Works Cited
Albert, Elisa. How this night is different. New York: Free Press, 2006. Print.
Roth, Philip. Goodbye, Columbus and five short stories. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959. Print. Read More
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