Ethnic passing across the Jewish literary diaspora
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In my dissertation, I examine the works of six writers (George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Clarice and Elisa Lispector, Evgenia Ginzburg and Vasilii Aksyonov) who did not explore their Jewish identity in their texts and were subsequently left out of the canons of Jewish literature in their respective countries. My goal is to recalibrate the concept of the Jewish canon from the charged notion of identity to a theory of shared thematic material in which the works of hyphenated Jewish writers will be considered under the category of ‘Jewish American, Brazilian, or Russian’ if they share definite attributes. This was a transnational study showing that similar forces were at work not only in one country, but across continents, affecting the sensibilities of Jewish writers in remarkably similar ways. On a larger scale their de-thematized narratives share thematic tropes and belong to a ‘minor, liminal, marginal narrative,’ a narrative which attempted to work within the scope of the master narratives produced by the hegemonic culture. I have claimed that even though these six writers did not thematize identity in their texts, because of the negative political and social situation for the Jew in the first half of the twentieth century in western civilization, this situation and the writers’ own alterity produced similar and overlapping narratives.
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