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By Mark Shechner

An expedition into the guts of the Jewish mind's eye and its expression in American letters in our time, this booklet seems on the parts of politics and literature that engaged the Jewish writers and intellectuals of the post-war many years. The publication keeps within the similar vein because the author's past booklet, "After the Revolution: stories of the modern Jewish-American Imagination". the writer has additionally written "Joyce in Nighttown: A Psychoanalytic Inquiry into James Joyce's 'Ulysses'" and "Preserving the starvation: An Isaac Rosenfeld Reader".

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The Isaac Rosenfeld's Passage 29 sympathetic glamour of the thirties was entirely gone; there was only a squalid stink of toilets and coal bins here. Isaac felt that this was the way he must live. And yet, there are signs that in the final months Rosenfeld experienced a breakthrough of sorts or at very least a remission of conflict that showed up in his writing as a relaxed and genial manner, a mellow adagio in his rhythms. " Rosenfeld's King Solomon is a foppish old Jew, an overweight, cigar-smoking, pinochle-playing monarch who can barely recall his former wisdom but is still beloved by young girls who come from all over Judea - or is it Brooklyn?

His great gift was for laughter, for joke-telling and fun, tempered always by the slight self-mockery so characteristic of Jewish wit .... He was boyish, prankish, yet never mean or narrowspirited. People liked him instinctively, drawn by the open, engaging manner, recognizing his willingness to share rather than dominate. By the tum of the decade, alienation had pretty much run out of rhetorical credit. " Saul Bellow would celebrate the moment in The Adventures of Augie March, which begins with the rousing "I am an American, Chicago born," and builds its case for the American century from there.

The macaronic language of that literature also reflected the interpenetration of realms. "7 What one finds in a mind nurtured upon a higher and a lower language is one that is rather accustomed to shuttling between the transcendent and the worldly and defining its relationship to reality in terms of the ironies generated by such travel. Although American Jews are no longer bilingual and the startling contradictions of ghetto life have melted into the suburban continuities of the American middle-class, habits of mind that were fostered in the Old Country stubbornly remain as structures of consciousness.

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