The End of Free Love
Susan Steinberg University of Alabama Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3619.T4762E53 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
The End of Free Love evokes the schizophrenia of our times, a community of voices at the zero point. Like the voices that splinter from Marguerite Duras's work, these characters are neurotic, taking refuge in comics, food, music, sex, 'locking' and lies. Violence is everywhere: within, without, in every emotion, in every word. But often hidden emotions rise to the surface, where self-consciousness, shame, and rage, to name a few, are permitted, voiced, and, eventually, set free. Throughout The End of Free Love Steinberg creates a hybrid text, blending poetry and fiction in writing as much about its form as its content. This is fiction that offers itself up for our delight, while remaining as elusive and unpredictable as language itself.
Edna Ferber University of Illinois Press, 1917 Library of Congress PS3511.E46F47 2001 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Heralded by one reviewer as "the most serious, extended and dignified of [Edna] Ferber's books," Fanny Herself is the intensely personal chronicle of a young girl growing up Jewish in a small midwestern town. Packed with the warmth and the wry, sidelong wit that made Ferber one of the best-loved writers of her time, the novel charts Fanny's emotional growth through her relationship with her mother, the shrewd, sympathetic Molly Brandeis.
"You could not have lived a week in Winnebago without being aware of Mrs. Brandeis," Ferber begins, and likewise the story of Fanny Brandeis is inextricable from that of her vigorous, enterprising mother. Molly Brandeis is the owner and operator of Brandeis' Bazaar, a modest general store left to her by her idealistic, commercially inept late husband. As Fanny strives to carve out her own sense of herself, Molly becomes the standard by which she measures her intellectual and spiritual progress.
Fanny's ambivalent feelings about being Jewish, her self-deprecating attitude toward her gift for sketching and drawing, and her inspired success as a businesswoman all contribute to the flesh-and-blood complexity of Ferber's youthful, eminently believable protagonist. She is accompanied on her journey by impeccably drawn characters such as Father Fitzpatrick, the Catholic priest in Winnebago; Ella Monahan, buyer for the glove department of the Haynes-Cooper mail order house; Fanny's brother, Theodore, a gifted violinist for whose musical education Molly sacrifices Fanny's future; and Clarence Heyl, the scrappy columnist who never forgot how Fanny rescued him from the school bullies.
Ferber's only work of fiction with a strong autobiographical element, Fanny Herself showcases the author's enduring interest in the capacity of strong women to transcend the limitations of their environment and control their own circumstances. Through Fanny's honest struggle with conflicting values–financial security and corporate success versus altruism and artistic integrity–Ferber grapples with some of the most deeply embedded contradictions of the American spirit.
Diaries, testimonies and memoirs of the Holocaust often include at least as much on the family as on the individual. Victims of the Nazi regime experienced oppression and made decisions embedded within families. Even after the war, sole survivors often described their losses and rebuilt their lives with a distinct focus on family. Yet this perspective is lacking in academic analyses.
In this work, scholars from the United States, Israel, and across Europe bring a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to their study of the Holocaust and its aftermath from the family perspective. Drawing on research from Belarus to Great Britain, and examining both Jewish and Romani families, they demonstrate the importance of recognizing how people continued to function within family units—broadly defined—throughout the war and afterward.
Boyarin, Jonathan Rutgers University Press, 2013 Library of Congress DS143.B785 2013 | Dewey Decimal 305.8924
From stories of biblical patriarchs and matriarchs and their children, through the Gospel’s Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and to modern Jewish families in fiction, film, and everyday life, the family has been considered key to transmitting Jewish identity. Current discussions about the Jewish family’s supposed traditional character and its alleged contemporary crisis tend to assume that the dynamics of Jewish family life have remained constant from the days of Abraham and Sarah to those of Tevye and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof and on to Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint.
Jonathan Boyarin explores a wide range of scholarship in Jewish studies to argue instead that Jewish family forms and ideologies have varied greatly throughout the times and places where Jewish families have found themselves. He considers a range of family configurations from biblical times to the twenty-first century, including strictly Orthodox communities and new forms of family, including same-sex parents. The book shows the vast canvas of history and culture as well as the social pressures and strategies that have helped shape Jewish families, and suggests productive ways to think about possible futures for Jewish family forms.
This book offers an extensive introduction and 13 diverse essays on how World War II, the Holocaust, and their aftermath affected Jewish families and Jewish communities, with an especially close look at the roles played by women, youth, and children. Focusing on Eastern and Central Europe, themes explored include: how Jewish parents handled the Nazi threat; rescue and resistance within the Jewish family unit; the transformation of gender roles under duress; youth’s wartime and early postwar experiences; postwar reconstruction of the Jewish family; rehabilitation of Jewish children and youth; and the role of Zionism in shaping the present and future of young survivors. Relying on newly available archival material and novel research in the areas of families, youth, rescue, resistance, gender, and memory, this volume will be an indispensable guide to current work on the familial and social history of the Holocaust.
ChaeRan Freeze explores the impact of various forces on marriage and divorce among Jews in 19th-century Russia. Challenging romantic views of the Jewish family in the shtetl, she shows that divorce rates among Russian Jews in the first half of the century were astronomical compared to the non-Jewish population. Even more surprising is her conclusion that these divorce rates tended to drop later in the century, in contrast to the rising pattern among populations undergoing modernization. Freeze also studies the growing involvement of the Tsarist state. This occurred partly at the behest of Jewish women contesting patriarchy and parental power and partly because the government felt that Jewish families were in complete anarchy and in need of order and regulation. Extensive research in newly-declassified collections from twelve archives in Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania enables Freeze to reconstruct Jewish patterns of marriage and divorce and to analyze the often conflicting interests of Jewish husbands and wives, rabbinic authorities, and the Russian state. Balancing archival resources with memoirs and printed sources in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Russian, she offers a tantalizing glimpse of the desires and travails of Jewish spouses, showing how individual life histories reflect the impact of modernization on Jewish matchmaking, gender relations, the "emancipation" of Jewish women, and the incursion of the Tsarist state into the lives of ordinary Jews.
The concepts of gender, love, and family—as well as the personal choices regarding gender-role construction, sexual and romantic liaisons, and family formation—have become more fluid under a society-wide softening of boundaries, hierarchies, and protocols. Sylvia Barack Fishman gathers the work of social historians and legal scholars who study transformations in the intimate realms of partnering and family construction among Jews. Following a substantive introduction, the volume casts a broad net. Chapters explore the current situation in both the United States and Israel, attending to what once were considered unconventional household arrangements—including extended singlehood, cohabitating couples, single Jewish mothers, and GLBTQ families—along with the legal ramifications and religious backlash. Together, these essays demonstrate how changes in the understanding of male and female roles and expectations over the past few decades have contributed to a social revolution with profound—and paradoxical—effects on partnering, marriage, and family formation. This diverse anthology—with chapters focusing on demography, ethnography, and legal texts—will interest scholars and students in Jewish studies, women’s and gender studies, Israel studies, and American Jewish history, sociology, and culture.
A Mother's Kisses
Bruce Jay Friedman University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3556.R5M6 2000 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
A Mother's Kisses is the story of Joseph, a tall, scattered looking boy of seventeen and his wonderfully indomitable mother, Meg, who is resolved, in the summer after her son's high-school graduation to start arranging his life for him, even going so far as to accompany him to college. A work of roaring comedy and emotional honesty, A Mother's Kisses is a classic of modern fiction.
Lake Rose Davis is the only child of former hippies who settled in a small Idaho mill town in the late 1960s. Her parents' eccentric lifestyle makes Lake an outcast among the children of the town, and the unspoken tensions among the adults of her parents' social universe puzzle and disturb her. She ponders over her mother's infidelities and the mysterious resentment between her mother and her grandparents far away in St. Louis, and between her mother and her aunt, a conventional career woman relentlessly in search of love.
As a teenager, Lake joins her grandparents in Missouri and spends her youth seeking answers to her questions about the past, trying to understand the complex pattern of betrayals that shaped it. Only when she herself becomes party to a betrayal as devastating as any committed by her mother does Lake begin to understand.
Passanante writes with a keen eye for the details of behavior that reveal the yearnings and fears beneath the surface. She shows us that the path to understanding is never a smooth one, and that love is often far more complex than we can imagine. Western Literature Series.
Paradise, New York: A Novel
Eileen Pollack Temple University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3566.O4795P37 1998 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
We first meet Lucy Appelbaum, the heroine of Paradise, New York, in 1970, as a nine-year-old girl enjoying her family's Catskills hotel, the Garden of Eden. Ten years later, having found nothing else at which she can distinguish herself, Lucy tries to save the Eden by capitalizing on a wave of nostalgia for the Borscht Belt and running the hotel as a sort of living museum of Yiddish culture.
In the course of the season, Lucy battles her grandmother's attempts to sabotage Lucy's success, her parents' superstitious fears of anything that attracts attention to the Jews, and her brother's contention that what Lucy is doing is more a matter of ego than authentic religious feeling.
Paradise, New York explores the comforts and complexities of American ethnic identity with a charming commitment to laughter and love.
As the good little girl in an unhappy family who hid her darker troubles, Deb Abramson felt like she was living with another girl, a shadowy being who would neither leave nor make herself known. Crushed beneath the burden of her parents‘ rigid expectations yet driven to satisfy their needs, Abramson becomes bulimic, then severely depressed and suicidal, retreating more and more from the troubling outside world to the seeming haven of home, to a cycle of comfort from and competition with her depressed mother, to the frightening but alluring intimacy of her father's affections. Her struggle to extricate herself from the “impermeable, immutable knot” of her family forms the heart of her dazzling book.
In this psychological portrait of a family bound together by the uneasy permutations of love, Abramson relies not on sensationalist narrative but on a collection of the many small moments that glitter along the bumpy path of her life. Now and then she provides a broader, connecting perspective by stepping out of her story to reflect on the meaning of it all from the standpoint of the insightful, healed person she has managed—against all odds—to become.
Rich in metaphor and intimate detail, this is a lyrical story about moving from isolation toward connection, about seeing childhood not as a crippling refuge but as a point of departure, about discovering that it is possible to “have your shadows as well as your light.”