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Like Madame Rosa he has sublimated the anguish by becoming a benevolent dispenser of kindness all around him. Ajar's style in both novels reproduces the language of the man in the street, savory, slangy, full of verve and irony, yet barely concealing a feeling of malaise and suffocation. The post-war generation's need to find its Jewish roots has expressed itself in still other genres, spiritual or intellectual diaries, where remembrances either are mixed with religious, philosophical or political reflections or frankly give way to an essay commenting on insistent preoccupation with the Jewish condition in our age.
In the category of essays one must mention the attempt by Alain Finkielkraut — to analyze the state of mind of his generation in Le Juif imaginaire Disappointed with leftist politics, tired of resisting his parents' recurrent "Jewish leitmotiv," he rediscovered for himself the significance of the Jewish message. Although he is well-read, his statement is based solely on his own intuitive subjective feeling.
The impact felt by the works of a group of young philosophers appears to be a more lasting one. What emerges here is the indictment of Athens in the name of Jerusalem. Bernard Chouraqui's — message in Le Scandale juif ou la subversion de la mort is more flamboyant and more mystical in its condemnation of Western rationalism. The latter is accused of having stifled the limitless freedom of man's spirit and more specifically the Jewish spirit. If permitted to fulfill its true vocation, Judaism can overcome death itself.
The statement is often too grandiloquent to be totally convincing.
He too challenged the European humanism and rationalism, but in so doing he also condemned "Western oriented" Ashkenazi Judaism and Zionism itself. In the name of Kabbalistic tradition and Sephardi predominance he advocated a kind of revivalist Judaism, far from the Haskalah tradition. Most of these prolific authors were disillusioned leftists. One of the most interesting was Pierre Goldman — , a son of Polish immigrants who, after revolutionary activities, was accused of murder. He discovered his Jewishness in jail and started to study Judaism seriously.
He wrote his first and best book in prison.
Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Professeur agrégé de philologie classique en Belgique, Les eaux amères (ROMAN) (French Edition) by [JOB, Armel]. Le bon coupable (ROMAN) (French Edition) eBook: Armel Job: rapyzure.tk: Kindle-Shop. Les eaux amères (ROMAN) (French Edition). Armel JOB.
After his release he was murdered under mysterious circumstances. He proclaimed himself a Jewish revolutionary, who, in anguished self-concern, expressed his identification with his people through his revolutionary convictions. His Jewish self-identification remained divorced from either religious or Zionist feelings. The theme is couched in the form of a legend: the hero fulfills an angelic mission, that of exterminating all officialdom, because it represents a civilization responsible for Auschwitz.
Henri Raczymow's — Contes d'exil et d'oubli "Tales of Exile and Oblivion," are an imaginary dialogue between a grandson in search of his Jewish self and a Polish grandfather transplanted to the Paris ghetto of Belleville. The tales contained in this short volume beautifully bring to life the charm and faith of the shtetl. Un cri sans voix tells the story of Esther who was totally obsessed with the memory of the Warsaw ghetto and committed suicide in the s. Raczymow also published an intriguing essay. He turned his attention, like others before him, to Swann, the half-Jewish Proustian hero.
But the approach is new. The title of the book, Le cygne de Proust , gives a clue of the direction chosen. Referring himself to one of the known models for Swann, namely Charles Haas, a dandy of the day a German Jew , the essay pinpoints what links Swann to him and what separates Swann from his presumed model. The author's starting point is the translation from Haas to Swann. Haas hare in German was both too plebeian and too German for Proust's taste. Passing over to the English more to the snobs' liking he coined the new name Swann, only subtly reminiscent to the French reader of its translation swan — and not Swann — evoking in English the noble and mythical bird: "le cygnet".
Such is the starting point for the essay. The author then answers the secret: how did the idea suggest itself? He observed in a painting representing a brilliant social circle, that Charles Haas was standing "near the door, facing the others, though on the side, as if he hesitated to mingle with them and penetrate inside the circle. One can see in this study a literary illustration of social marranism. Myriam Anissimov, born in in a refugee camp, wrote a Kafkaesque novel, Rue de Nuit , the bizarre story of a couple accused of some unknown crime.
In La soie et les cendres Silk and ashes, , Hannah, obsessed with the weight of her people's tragic past, deceives herself into believing that she has found the truth about herself and her link with the Holocaust. She has found an original "profession" for herself: she sells shmattes old clothes at the flea market. In so doing, she fantasizes that she is one with the pitiful remains the "silk" of the victims at Auschwitz the "ashes". The book tells the sad and perverse nightmare of a Jewish girl, who eventually faces up to the essential duty of living creatively.
She will find salvation through music, doubtless a finer memorial to the victims. Robin had already devoted Le deuil de l'origine to the influence of their Jewish roots and the loss of their language Yiddish or Ladino on the works of several writers, such as Kafka, Celan, Freud, Canetti, and Perec. The memory of the Holocaust remains at the heart of some young writers' books.
The first novel of Norbert Czarny deals with the problem of memory, or rather the ability to keep alive and convey the reality of the past. In Les valises the narrator's parents and grandparents, unlike the father in Wiesel's book, have been feeding the child endless stories of their past. But the child, threatened with suffocation, by the burden of those recollections, transforms, almost magically, a hard and somber tale into a legend full of poetic charm.
Stephanie Janicot wrote her first novel, Les Matriochkas , about the relationship between a young German and the Jewish family he lives with in Paris in the s. Gila Lustiger — , who grew up in Germany, published L'inventaire and Noussommes , telling the story of her family. The German occupation, which the author never experienced, is the recurrent and obsessive theme.
A search for his true identity and for the meaning of his Jewish condition runs through the first novel, where the hero lives in fantasy through a thousand lives and identities. As a Jew, he sees himself sometimes as a king, sometimes a martyr. The same quest continues in the other books, down to the haunting search for the father in the last novel. The father is a pathetic, repulsive, ghost-like figure, victim and partner of a shady gang who lives it up under Nazi occupation.
The ultimate question remains: is one ever free to choose or are we nothing but puppets in the hands of blind fate? The notion of Jewish identity has lost all moral or historic meaning. It has been reduced to an almost organic search for roots. The strained narratives are put forth in deliberately flat style, conveying tragic situations in a painfully grotesque manner.
Modiano was awarded the Goncourt Prize in In the s, Modiano deliberately turned to writing children's books. They included Catherine Certitude , the charming story of a little girl who lives with her "papa" in a northern Parisian neighborhood close to Montmartre, part of a cosmopolitan world of little people who struggle as best they can, slightly out of the "real" French world. They find refuge in a world of dreams. Catherine will later realize that even the French sometimes have to escape a glittering, but cruel, reality. In fact, the "not quite French" depicted here are, in an implicit but clear fashion, Jewish immigrants, who always remain "out of it," even when they take on a new French name.
The irony of Catherine's French surname resides in the fact that Catherine's father has been renamed by an employee of the city registrar, unable to read or spell the immigrant's foreign sounding name. Catherine and her father eventually leave for New York, where Catherine's American mother now lives.
Later Catherine, herself a mother, will realize that something in her parents' persistent estrangement from themselves and the world is part of their essential humanity.
In this new vein of writing, Modiano, though still dealing with the hero's search to elucidate the darker of his parents' past, has found a lighter touch, devoid of bitterness and sarcasm. The mood is whimsical, sometimes ironic, but never cynical or nightmarish. The "happy ending" is suited to a delightful and moving children's book. In Dora Bruder Modiano attempts to pick up the trail of a teenager who was deported from Paris in , but "I will never know what she was doing all day long, where she was hiding, who she was with during Winter, then Spring ….
It's her secret. Her poor and precious secret that torturers, camps, History could never rob her of…. Though the themes in Cohen's work — meditation on death, the universality and absurdity of human destiny, the tragic nobility of the Jewish condition — are not new, they reach to the heart of the Jewish writer's experience. A Jewish child encounters the implacable, stupid, cruel hatred of antisemitism and this banal and terrifying incident, prototype of all genocide, makes of him a Jew, an adult, and a poet. The bearer of this unified triple identity will have but one mission: to state the place of the Jew among the nations and send a cry of alarm to a mad world bent on hating, when love alone can save.
In a poignant volume of diaries, Carnets , the elderly writer returned to his timeless meditation. His style lost none of his brilliance, variety, sharpness, and opulence. A group of writers, mostly Sephardi, has gradually emerged, characterized by books situated midway between the novel and the autobiography.
Memmi claims to have some Berber ancestry. Both books, no matter how remote from plain realism, have a remarkable, convincing ring of truth. In La Statue de sel Memmi confronted the question of his own Jewish identity. To the same group belongs Jacques Zibi, who in Ma pays tribute to his mother. He tenderly and deftly evokes the mother's simple gestures, the intimacy of the Arab Jewish dialect of her native Tunisia, the purity and peace of the Jewish home.
The modern reluctant prophet is forcibly pulled out of a quiet existence to denounce the sinful town, i. Lucien Elia offers a painful experience of a real talent, presenting a degrading picture of his people. In a second novel, Fer blanc , he presents a downright anti semitic caricature of Israel. Jacques Sabbath, in Le Bruit des autres , appears as a talented short-story writer.
Naim Kattan born in Iraq in and Albert Bensoussan born in Algeria in similarly revive with great talent the land of their past. The first tells us of his youth in Baghdad, the second recalls Jewish life in Algiers. Kattan's Adieu Babylone portrays the life of a young Baghdad Jew in the modern age. Still part of an ancient Jewish tradition, he is exposed to Western modes when the arrival of British troops during the Second World War breaks into the unchanged quiet of the Oriental community.
The hero is then caught between several alternatives: remaining within the bounds of traditional Jewish living, becoming an enlightened Westerner, identifying with the Arab nationalist struggle in the guise of progressive politics or with the Zionist pioneering ideal. Bensoussan's two novels: Frimaldjezar and Au nadir do not deal so much with ideological choices as with the nostalgic feeling of a happy and sunny past, when an Algerian Jewish child could live in the cheerful fervent, popular milieu of a settled community.
French colonial power then appeared as a permanent shield against all possible abuse on the part of the Arabs. The style, both lyrical and highly colorful, conveys the love of native surroundings where historical change was never to intrude. Voix juives In describing Jewish circles in Tunisia before independence or Jewish immigrants to Paris, Nine Moati — often focuses on women. In Villa Week-end she analyzes the evolutionary relationship between a young Jewish girl and her French friend in Tunisia in the s, then under German occupation; and L'Orientale tells the story of Hannah, Duke Nessim's daughter from Leghorn, who becomes a "queen" in fashionable Paris before falling in love with an antisemitic French aristocrat.
The need to portray the life of now extinct Sephardi and Oriental communities also inspires a group of much younger writers, several of them women, who attempt to give a specific literary coloring to their childhood recollections. The author chose an illiterate little girl as a narrator, gifting her with a colorful and truculent language, where French is interspersed with Jewish Arab, Jewish Italian and Jewish Spanish dialects.
Les Femmes avec leur amour describes the deep friendship between a young Jewish girl and her Muslim maid in Egypt, a few months before the Suez War in ; expelled by Nasser in , like most of the Egyptian Jews, the heroine of Gilda Stambouli souffre et se plaint Gilda sets up house in Paris, full of vigor, excesses, and insincerity, while at the same time her daughter tries to leave her kibbutz on the Syrian border. Marc, her beloved, is dead.
Her mother, whom Jane always hated, committed suicide. Though she was a camp survivor, Jane never granted her even "a few minutes of loving grace. Death has come into her world because a dark and tragic past could neither be spoken of nor allusively approached.
Jane's inner self had created a deep gap with that past, which belonged to those closest to her. Memories must now be reconquered, if life is to go on. Noms propres. Sur M. The author rejects both mysticism and pathos, and always displays a sense of the profound nature of Jewish spiritual being. The first part of this work is composed of poems which are not only inspired by Jewish themes and biblical subjects, but whose very poetic material imagery, coloring, rhythms and sound springs forth directly from an intimate knowledge and experience of the Hebrew language.
In his "Diaspora Choral," the poet deplores the fact that the French language in its "subtle flavor" and sophisticated refinement inhibits the authentic "naked word" which in Hebrew "springs forth like fire between the teeth on the living tongue. The third part of the book, "Motifs et variations," celebrates the beauty of Eretz Israel, an eerie beauty so penetrated with history and spiritual tradition as to wash it clean of all pagan seduction.
The end is a beginning. Israel is indeed the place of new beginnings, the only one where the Jew feels the West his very existence is questioned; for the Jews and non-Jews alike perceive that Jewishness is no contingent attribute, but an essential necessity of being. But whereas Jacques will remain permanently in Jerusalem, Myriam will return to her traditional place in the Diaspora, where she still has a role to play.
But is it a petrified one? Nous autres Juifs is a collection of essays dealing with the ambiguities of Jewish existence, its delights and trials. It is also an indictment of a sort of neutral Judaism, cut off from its religious and cultural tradition, or, worse still, the Jewish identification with revolutionary mythologies, in particular bolshevism.
The chief title to fame of contemporary Jewry is, in the author's opinion, the rebirth of the Hebrew language and the creation of an original Hebrew culture in Israel. With Tikoun , an impressive novel bearing a Hebrew title, Mandel returns to his old favorite theme, i. But the setting has become broader, the tone one of gravity. The novel includes a large variety of imaginary characters, as well as historical figures, as far apart as Chaplin and Maimonides. This vast array of people and social situations is treated sometimes with biting satire, sometimes with kind humor. Postwar existentialism and the May abortive revolution are dealt with in the most ironic fashion.
The story starts at the time of the Nazi occupation and culminates some 30 years later in Jerusalem, where the hero Ary Safran, a Hebrew teacher and writer, son of an angelic rabbi, finds comfort for his relative failures in life. The kabbalistic idea of tikkun is here applied to the hope that all quest for unity can some day somewhere be fulfilled.
The city has closed its many colored eyes And shushed its clowns, gongs and tam-tams; On the calm water the captain of the port Takes the oars of a sampan and glides Since the last cholera epidemic When his daughter was brusquely swept away — It is just a year ago today Captain Kio-tsu has greatly changed.
After the event — and he such a worldly navigator! He broke with all his relations And lived in his sad, solitary cottage: For a time, there was even fear, for his sanity His despair seems to detain him like a pillory As he lowers his anemic head in rowing, He circulates among the boats at anchor, Cargo-boats, steamers, coal-burners How the calm of this beautiful night weighs on him! Ah suddenly the wounded father Curses this Japanese night, As in its cloak Nagasaki sleeps An hallucination from his sick spirit Makes him hear the sinister voices of sirens From all the boats asleep there, in the swell, Lamenting in concert the death of his Yu-len!
He is married to the Finnish poet Riikka Olson. All Poems by Henry J. It is made available here without charge for personal use only. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced, or used for any other purpose. Levet — translated by Kirby Olson. Postcards — Tropical Sonnets. French Possession To the memory of Laura Lopez One recalls the Goyaves chapel Where two thousand Antillean Sundays sleep The harmonious widowhood of the port, And the music, quaint antiquities of leaded glass Algeria — Biskra Under the terraces of the Royal the ghoums file past To take part in the fantasia: On his proud horse that disturbs the noise of the zornas, We admire the presence of the Caid of Touggourth Japan —Nagasaki To Auguste Brunet The city has closed its many colored eyes And shushed its clowns, gongs and tam-tams; On the calm water the captain of the port Takes the oars of a sampan and glides