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Byatt, at least in two of them we can ind good examples of the postmodernist trend of parodying the fairy tale and rewriting the fairy-tale tradition1. All the ive stories contained in this volume use elements of the fairy tale. Jones and Zipes Oxford Companion xv , although Jack Zipes cuts a clear distinction between the oral folk tale and the literary fairy tale. Apart from these collections of rewritten fairy tales, most of A. Of all these stories, of particular interest for the purposes of this essay are the ones that display the magic element of metamorphosis, for in them we see opening up before our eyes the possibilities of changing identities.
On the other hand, it is in metamorphosis that, according to authors such as Jack Zipes or Marina Warner, lies the essential characteristic of the fairy tale. The transformation undergone by the characters in some of the postmodern fairy tales written by A. Everybody and everything can be transformed in a wonder tale.
In some of her writings Byatt shows that she is aware of this problem, demonstrating the dificult position a woman of her generation would be in if she wanted to succeed professionally. In those days the body required sex and childbearing, and quite likely the death of the mind alongside. Byatt writes, for example, about the dificulty she experienced in managing her professional and her domestic life, to concentrate on her creative writing while having to attend to the needs of her young children.
In an interview with George Greenield, Byatt describes the pains of trying to write while raising her children, in the following terms: The most terrible thing about children and writing is the total uncertainty of being able to plan ahead. Thus, many of the heroines undergo a metamorphic process that enables them to exist outside reality in a fantastic world of their own. But the fairy-tale genre opens up possibilities of creation that are not to be found in the more constricting and realist format of the novel.
She has, in fact, spoken in interviews and written disapprovingly both of feminist criticism5 and of the feminist drive to rewrite the fairy-tale genre in what she views as a moralizing uninteresting manner. Perhaps even more so than in interviews and other writings, it is in the stories that we ind the sharpest critique of feminist readings of the fairy-tale tradition.
Lieberman or Andrea Dworkin cf. But also, in the same histories and tales, it can be seen that this is not so. Princesses are captious and clever choosers. This does not mean that the author is not aware of the misogynist implications of fairy tales. Literary feminism is a much more dubious thing. So, although A. Ice, Snow and Glass in A. Literature has always been my way out, my escape from the limits of being female. It is perhaps one of the most pervasive symbols to be found in her work.
It can be found in the very irst novel, The Shadow of the Sun , a novel where Anna, the protagonist, is striving to discover her artistic voice and inds herself under the spell of the moon always relected through the glass, which gives her a sense of being drowned in another world, as in the following quotation from the novel: But tonight, with the soft light from the summer moon leaning gently on the corner of the bath, propped triangularly like another pane of paler glass between the window and the loor, there was nothing garish about the bathroom at all; it was a drowned world, a sunken secret world, with pillars and planes of light shining gently in its corners and the odd brightness of a tap, or the sliver of light along the edge of a basin, winking like living creatures, strange ish suspended and swaying in the darkness Anna, an aspiring writer, feels suffocated by the brilliance of the sun of her father, an established writer, in whose light she lingers.
Her own visionary experiences, unlike those of her father, are always mediated by mirrors and glasses, under the more shadowy light of the moon. The ice was ridged and bubbly and impure. While she was sewing, she looked out at the snow and pricked her inger with a needle. Three drops of blood fell into the snow. Here the snow stands for the traditional purity at heart, which accompanies the central character of the story.
Kay, the young boy who is abducted by the Snow Queen, is stuck in the heart by a fragment of the troll mirror, which makes people see everything distorted.
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The Snow Queen, on the other hand, stands for all that is cold and cruel, but also for rationality, as opposed to emotion and warmth. Contrarily to the Snow Queen, Gerda, the little innocent girl that sets herself the task of going on a Quest to save her friend Kay, is warm-hearted and innocent, associated to the sunshine and the lowers. In contrast, in A. But before we go into the tales, let us irst try to understand the use A. Byatt makes of the fairy tale in her work.
However, what these stories show us is that these women can only come to life when they forsake their bodies, becoming disembodied statues, spiritual and rational beings, no longer aflicted, as it seems, by their bodily and sexual existence. Either love, passion, sex and those things, or the life of the mind, ambition, solitude, the others. There was a third way: you could be alone and not alone in a bed, if you made no fuss.
Being a girl, she was raised with the utmost care and grew up to become a very frail and delicate child and a somnolent and lifeless adolescent. Until one day, she discovers the wonderfully revivifying effects of snow and cold upon her body. In contact with the snow and ice, she discovers her innermost identity, as is described in the following words: This is who I am, the cold princess thought to herself, wriggling for sheer pleasure in the snow-dust, this is what I want.
And when she was quite cold, and completely alive and crackling with energy, she rose to her feet, and began a strange, leaping dance, pointing sharp ingers at the moon, tossing her long mane of silver hair, sparkling with white-crystals, circling and bending and inally turning cartwheels under the wheeling sky With this new insight into her identity the Princess develops a whole new being which allows her to become a much more energetic and vital person, once she discovers she is the descendent of an ice woman that had come from the North. In spite of this discovery, she cannot help falling in love with a Desert Prince and has to accompany him to his country of great deserts and excessive heat.
Interestingly enough, the Princess is attracted to Prince Sasan, the Desert Prince, by her skill as a glassmaker, confusing the extreme clarity of glass with that of ice; only later does she understand that glass is the opposite of ice, for it is made of ire. Indeed, the metaphor of the cold princess is used to subvert the whole idea of coldness as a psychological attribute which is usually applied to rationality, for through this Princess we are given a story that allies the dichotomous polarities so as to shufle old stereotypes of female and male identities.
Her body develops a crust of stones. It becomes clear, then, that although this woman is made of stone, she does not develop into a statue, but grows fully alive, now that her body has been metamorphosed into something other, something quite unidentiiable and separate from the world. This becomes apparent in the comparison the character makes between herself and the statues she inds at the local cemetery, where she goes in search of a place to rest after what she previously thinks of as the completed petriication process: She might take her place near them, she thought, but was dissuaded by the aspect of their neighbours, a group of the theological virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity, simpering lifeless women clutching a stone cross, a stone anchor, and a fat stone helpless child.
They had nothing to do with a woman who was made of volcanic glass and semi-precious stones, who needed a refuge for her end. But to become molten lava and to contain a furnace? In the end, with the help of a stone carver she meets at the cemetery, the Icelander Thorsteinn Hallmundursson, the stone woman inds a place for her new stone self, together with the Trolls in the cold mountains of Iceland. The metamorphosis of the stone woman is clearly the metaphor for a new female identity, one that liberates her from the constraints ascribed to her female body; she becomes something other.
It is in the light of this mythology that we may best appreciate the existence of this petriied ice world where Ines ultimately inds herself a home.
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In one of the cofins he inds a beautiful young woman, who, after being rescued by the tailor, explains her story and marries him. Though why you should have, simply because I opened the glass case, is less clear to me altogether, and when, and if, you are restored to your rightful place, and your home and lands and people are again your own, I trust you will feel free to reconsider the matter, and remain, if you will, alone and unwed. Although this story does not fully rewrite the female pattern as the two other tales discussed here do, it nevertheless draws on a tradition of the fairy tale that brings forth the power of these narratives to disrupt acquired notions of behaviour and the stereotypes that are inherent to those notions.
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The bird-women are a good metaphor for a non- essentialist coniguration of the female gender, out of the constricting social roles that the female body would force them to take. The whistling women had been cast out from the city of men and punished with eternal silence, for, although they could communicate among themselves by means of a whistle, this sound was both unintelligible and fatal to those who heard it.
They represent, then, a re-enactment of the myth of the sirens, for, like them, are given destructive powers but are simultaneously imprisoned in a world of their own, from where they cannot escape, being unable to communicate. These metamorphosed women, who had wanted to transcend the limits of their female bodies in order to be able to become shape-shifters like men, are, in a way, allowed their freedom, but that also makes of them outcasts without a place in the social structure of their country, as they explain: In Veralden, only men were shape-shifters.
Women stayed in the valley, spinning and teaching, tending fruit-trees and lowers. They never left the valley. Byatt writes, as was already mentioned here, about the way she felt in relation to the role ascribed to women in some of the fairy tales she read when a child. Ultimately, these new fairy tales envisage, not only a reconigured idea of womanhood, one that can liberate them from the bodily functions that for some many centuries conined their lives, exclusively, to the performance of those roles that were associated to the female body.
Fairy Tales. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, Ragnarok: The End of the Gods.
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New York and London: W. Norton and Company, a. The Guardian 14th February, Accessed: Little Black Book of Stories. A Whistling Woman. On Histories and Stories: Selected Essays. Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice. Possession: A Romance. Byatt, interviewed by Juliet A. The Annotated Brothers Grimm. Norton and Company, Houndmills, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, Jones, steven swann.
New York and London: Routledge, Salon, Issue 20 June , Delighting the Heart: a Notebook by Women Writers. The Major Works. Hants: Scholar Press, . Critics such as Teresa Mangum irst and Karen Chase later have argued that the Victorians were particularly concerned about ageing and old age. In the nineteenth-century, the American writer Edgar Allan Poe and the Victorian English man of letters Edward Bulwer-Lytton, focusing on similar topics in their respective literary works, can be considered transatlantic doubles as well as indicative of national conceptualisations about their own processes of ageing.
Being economically disinherited in his young adulthood, after growing accustomed to a reasonably well- off standard of living during his childhood, Edgar Allan Poe lived fast and underwent a quickened process of ageing. Both writers experienced different turning points in their lives that conditioned their own way of perceiving ageing, which is in turn relected in their literary works.
Keywords: ageing; place; time; precociousness; ageing prematurely. Introduction In terms of their respective biographies, being contemporaries, Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Bulwer-Lytton could be regarded as transatlantic double igures, respectively personifying two ends of the same spectrum. Despite their differing situations, representative of almost opposite social classes, the fact they both experienced an event which signiicantly changed their lives at a certain point, paves the ground to gain insight into the different way they approached life and ageing, looking into the ways they adapted to the new situation and how successful they were in their endeavours.
These different views are deeply rooted in concrete personal experiences both authors underwent at some point in their lives, which set a precedent that inluenced their differing approaches to ageing as well as the different pace of life they adopted and its effects. Likewise, these experiences and views about ageing often reverberated in their literary works as a relection of their respective situations. In the case of Edgar Allan Poe, despite his humble origins, he was adopted by a wealthy merchant, John Allan, who provided him with the education he could never have received had he remained the son of itinerant performers David Poe and Elizabeth Arnold.
This important change endowed Poe with some social and economic aspirations that would remain for the most part of his life, striving to escape his original background and be accepted within his newly-acquired social milieu as a wealthy Southern gentleman in the United States of America. Moreover, being brought up in England and Scotland for an important part of his adolescence, Poe imbibed the importance attached to social hierarchy, which would eventually come to a close when he was virtually disinherited soon after John Allan remarried and had a family of his own.
Therefore, from being an orphan of humble origins, Edgar Allan Poe suddenly became the adopted son and expected successor of a wealthy merchant living in Europe, while Bulwer-Lytton, even if a future baronet and landowner, was forced to become a self-made man dependent on his own resources. The Victorians and the Biographical Approach Due to the Utilitarian emphasis on individual self-interest, as well as the middle-class conidence in personal effort and initiative so as to attain success, individualism often shaped the ways in which Victorians interpreted their place in the universe Moran , Because of the importance attached to individualism, guidebooks that offered advice on self-development and volumes describing exemplary lives acquired signiicant popularity in Victorian times.
This interest in life stories also found its counterpart in the Victorian preoccupation about the process by which an individual struggled to maturity, which in turn led to an increasing interest in the process of ageing and the proliferation of bildungsroman narratives in the domain of iction.
The Victorian appeal to biographical writing and ageing seems particularly interesting from the perspective of contemporary biographical theory. Owing to the advent of postmodernism, grand narratives, dominant ideologies and social theories alike are often called into question Roberts , 4 , and conversely, narratives and life stories are given the same prominence as any apparently authoritative accounts as it is claimed everything can be subjected to scrutiny, and thus, ultimately subverted. Postmodern approaches have given way to the need of making use of a variety of texts as an attempt to gain insight into some sort of truth.
In this sense, according to Wilfred L. Nineteenth-century writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, as an arguably canonical writer, and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, as a reputed Victorian whose fame ultimately fell into oblivion, are particularly apt to be studied from the discipline of biographical studies, precisely because of the signiicant corpus of biographical texts that have been produced together with their literary works such as biographies, letters and personal papers. With regard to Poe, soon after his demise, many scholarly accounts of his life came to light, such as the volumes produced by John Ingram, Arthur Hobson Quinn, Jeffrey Meyers, Kenneth Silverman, or Peter Ackroyd, to name just a few.
Likewise, during his lifetime, Edward Bulwer-Lytton started writing an autobiography, and after his demise, his son Robert and his grandson Victor took over the task that his father and grandfather, respectively, had begun but could not inish, thus producing impressively thorough biographies of Edward Bulwer-Lytton that have endured up to now. The Discourse of Ageing and the Perception of Time In her seminal volume entitled The Long Life, Helen Small claims that one observable change that ageing brings is not biological but psychological , It is argued that, as the individual approaches old age, it becomes more usual to think about the limited time available.
In this respect, the Victorian period seems to be a signiicantly important era from the perspective of ageing studies, since, according to Teresa Mangum , there was a greater concern about the process of ageing in Victorian England. Likewise, Karen Chase has also thoroughly explored how the discourse of ageing began to gain unprecedented attention in Victorian cultural manifestations, especially in literature.
Conversely, according to historian David Hackett Fischer , in the United States of America, due to their differing cultural and political situation, the nineteenth-century could be deined as a period of gerontophobia. In this sense, many literary manifestations at the time envisioned old age as a metaphor for the old order that had to be left behind so as to become a nation of their own. The conceptualisations of ageing are thus deeply inluenced by cultural ideologies that depend on nation and place. From this follows that, if space and culture deter- mine the ageing process, the conceptualisations of time equally determine the way ageing is approached as space and time are mutually dependent.
Being contemporaries and citizens of different nations, Edward Bulwer- Lytton and Edgar Allan Poe approached ageing from a different perspective. Conversely, Edgar Allan Poe, having experienced the death of many of his beloved relatives and friends during all his life, he seemed to grow detached from any relection on his own process of ageing, even though tragic circumstances increased his sense of gloom and his feeling of growing prematurely aged. Some of his most highly acclaimed novels such as Pelham , Paul Clifford and The Caxtons portray young boys coming of age that are required to grow up fast due to tragic and demanding circumstances, thus acquiring an acute sense of precociousness and maturation despite their young age.
This realisation would soon turn young Edward into a precocious and mature child, fully aware that his education was mostly aimed at training him to accept his duties as a future baronet and heir to his lineage. Consequently, he soon gained insight into the certainty his fate had been determined soon after his birth, so that his life became for the most part a period of waiting until his duty would eventually be accomplished.
Bulwer-Lytton was thus raised fully aware of the future that was awaiting him, being inculcated to live with his older days in mind despite his blatant youth. Consequently, Bulwer-Lytton often envisioned young characters that, as a result of their personal circumstances, became precocious and prematurely grown-up, feeling compelled to take responsibility for their own existence at a very young age. The elder, who was about ifteen, seemed older than he was, not only from his height, but from the darkness of his complexion, and a certain proud, nay imperious, expression upon features that, without having the soft and luent graces of childhood, were yet regular and striking.
Deprived of a family, growing up alone and taking care of his younger brother, he is required to behave wisely and age fast, thus attaining maturity before he is actually due. Similarly, in his gothic novel Lucretia , Bulwer-Lytton also relected on the negative effects of denying a female adolescent the right to behave according to her age.
Detached from any female companion of the same age, Lucretia is given the education bestowed upon male heirs at the time and is brought up in a strict and stern manner despite her youth. Seeing but few children of her own age, and mixing intimately with none, her mind was debarred from the usual objects which distract the vivacity, the restless and wondrous observation, of childhood. Bulwer-Lytton is thus critical of children behaving like adults, even if the result he presents differs in his novels, thus being rather ambivalent.
In his novel Night and Morning, Phillip Beaufort is rewarded, even though his younger brother grows detached from him and resents the miserable and humble existence he had when he lived with his elder brother. However, it is implied that, because Lucretia grows up detached from any female companion and is educated as an heiress, she eventually becomes a murderess due to her unlimited ambition and her mannish manners, having been previously required to come of age and leave her childhood behind before due time.
Edgar Allan Poe spent most of his childhood and youth in Richmond, Virginia, and a signiicant period of his adolescence in England and in Scotland. This privileged background led Poe to acquire certain social and economic aspirations that would persist in his adulthood, to the extent of even taking for granted that he would someday be appointed legitimate heir of the Allans, as Frances and John Allan had no children of their own. At the age of twenty-ive, he felt compelled to adjust the way of life he had adopted during his youth and aspired to maintain ever after.
His effort to become a self-made man, only dependent on his own resources for the irst time and trying to make himself a name, became a heavy burden to bear, which ultimately unleashed a relentless process of premature ageing. Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher!
It was with dificulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. His temperament was markedly nervous, and rendered him a good subject for mesmeric experiment. The sharp separation between will and body is also often brought about through the process of ageing, as the spirit seems to remain young, while the body grows weaker.
However, once Simpson puts on his spectacles, he suddenly realises he has married a toothless lady of eighty-two years of age, whom he discovers to be his great-great-grandmother, playing tricks on him to reprimand him for his overstated vanity. Could I believe my eyes? Was that — was that — was that rouge? And oh! Jupiter, and every one of the gods and goddesses, little and big! I dashed the spectacles violently to the ground, and, leaping to my feet, stood erect in the middle of the loor, confronting Mrs.
Simpson, with my arms set a-kimbo, and grinning and foaming, but, at the same time, utterly speechless with terror and rage. Alluring and Embittered Approaches Towards the Ageing Process In addition to the importance Bulwer-Lytton and Poe placed on precociousness and premature ageing respectively, in most of his literary works Bulwer- Lytton seemed to acquire a more positive approach towards ageing in relation to Poe.
Again, these different tendencies seem to be the result of their personal circumstances. In the case of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the fact of living most of the time ahead of his present and getting ready to fulil his fate as a successor endowed him with a particular approach towards the passage of time and the course of ageing. This gave him a sense of permanence and continuation, regarding his elders with reverence and even awe, inding in his maternal grandfather, the great scholar Richard Warburton Lytton, a model of experi- ence to emulate in his youth.
Consequently, in contrast with Edgar Allan Poe, Bulwer-Lytton often envisioned ageing as a productive, active and pleasant stage in life, where most objectives would ultimately be accomplished and individuals could fulil the wishes and expectations they had given thought to in the course of their lives. In this sense, in his domestic novel The Caxtons, it is precisely in his old age that Austin Caxton, decides to write what becomes to be known as his Great Book, in capital letters, which he intends to be the result of a lifetime of strenuous effort and profound study of the great philosophers.
As he sits next to his granddaughters, Austin Caxton urges himself to inish his Great Book in his old age as follows: Years have passed, and two fair daughters play at the knees of Blanche, or creep round the footstool of Austin, waiting patiently for the expected kiss when he looks up from the Great Book, now drawing fast to its close. Faber retired at the end of the two years agreed upon. He went abroad; and being, though advanced in years, of a frame still robust, and habits of mind still inquiring and eager, he commenced a lengthened course of foreign travel, during which our correspondence, at irst frequent, gradually languished, and inally died away.
In addition to his literary works, Bulwer-Lytton also displayed a remarkably positive attitude towards ageing in his collection of philosophical essays entitled Caxtoniana, which he published in the year , when he was already in his sixties. In this respect, Bulwer- Lytton argues that [y]ou will ind men who, in youth and middle age, seeming scarcely to notice the most striking features of some unfamiliar landscape, become minutely observant of the rural scenery around them when the eye has grown dim and the step feeble. The Ushers are presented as the last members of a race, and as such, they are doomed to disappear, like Edgar Allan Poe and his wife Virginia, being cousins and childless, were the last representatives of their lineage.
In addition to the sense of insufferable gloom that anticipates approaching extinction, in some cases, ageing is also described through dependence and weakness. Smith to be one of the most remarkable men of his age due to his impressive achievements in the battleield but also due to his impressive build and strength. The very last words Montresor utters in the course of his confession unveil that, despite the passage of time and his age, he still feels the need to give voice to his deed, mostly because his guilt condemns him to remember forever.
These tendencies again seem to be the result of personal situations both authors respectively underwent. Experiencing the death of his father at such a young age entailed that Bulwer- Lytton soon became aware of his role as heir of the Lytton family, ultimately learning his life span would become an awaiting period to inherit his rights and responsibilities as baronet when he was in his late ifties, thus mostly liv- ing his life with his sights set on his maturity; a stage perceived as the prime of his life, when his predetermined fate would be ultimately accomplished.
In this sense, in one of his best Newgate novels entitled Eugene Aram, a young and bright scholar undergoing arduous economic constraints decides to murder an acquaintance, Daniel Clarke, so as to rob him of the valuables he had also previously stolen. In this respect, when Eugene Aram is about to be sentenced to death when his deeds are brought to light, he admits Mark what poor strugglers we are in the eternal web of destiny! Three days after that deed, a relation who neglected me in life died, and left me wealth! The news fell on me like a thunderbolt.
Had I waited but three little days! Just Heaven! When they told me, I thought I heard the devils laugh out at the fool who had boasted wisdom! Had I waited but three days, three little days! Wishing to get above himself and become rich so as to devote his whole life to the pursuit of knowledge, he is reprimanded for his Faustian aspirations as well as for daring to take the reins of his own existence, murdering so as to rob an individual of his wealth and thus be able to take possession of the money that otherwise it would have taken him years to earn.
Similarly, in his earlier crime novel entitled Paul Clifford, after having been wrongly accused of a crime he has not committed, Paul decides to join a gang of thieves. Thus, even though his relation with his foster father had always remained intricate, all of a sudden Poe realised the life he had projected under his shadow was no longer feasible, and consequently, he increasingly felt he was running out of time to attempt to reconstruct his former privileged position.
His restlessness and increasing fatigue are frequently mentioned in his letters addressed to his aunt and mother- in-law, Maria Clemm, in the course of his numerous trips. As a case in point, when Rufus Wilmot Griswold asked Edgar Allan Poe to provide him with a biographical sketch to be published in The Poets and Poetry of America, Poe was found to lie about his age, stating he was two years younger that he actually was. His lies about his age would persist for some time as he later on addressed Rufus Griswold another letter stating he was four years younger than he actually was.
This proves Edgar Allan Poe felt concerned about his age. Likewise, as a dramatic and telling metaphor in his iction, Poe would often resort to premature burials as nightmarish and terrifying experiences which ultimately involved being forced to vanish from existence before due course. This shocking experience ultimately involved fear of being too late, underlining the feeling of running out of time and feeling out of breath. That it has frequently, very frequently, so fallen, will scarcely be denied by those who think. The boundaries which divide Life from Death, are at best shadowy and vague.
Who shall say where the one ends, and the other begins! Dying when he was merely forty, his activity was especially hectic during the last year of his life, as he constantly travelled around to make ends meet. Having been educated in the English metropolis, and taking into consideration the United States of America had become independent from England merely thirty years before his birth, Poe, also being a Southerner, seemed to cling to a past old order that was doomed to disappear soon.
In a way, it can be argued he aged prematurely in a country that struggled to leave its past behind so as to ind its own identity as a young and unique nation. Conclusions All things considered, coming from both ends of the social spectrum but undergoing signiicant turning points in their lives and relecting on analogous themes in their literary works, Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, as transatlantic double igures, illustrate different ways of approaching the process of ageing.
As a result of his European upbringing and his sudden rejection on the part of his foster family, Edgar Allan Poe felt compelled to live fast, moving continuously around the country and ageing prematurely as a result of an insufferable sense of gloom. In a way, Poe was caught unprepared, being required to make the transition between an old order he had imbibed and a new political, social and economic situation that was about to start.
In this respect, Poe illustrated a sense of planned obsolescence which the advent of capitalism in the United States at the time was beginning to proclaim, rejecting the old order and worshiping the ethics of novelty and youth, leaving their European roots behind so as to forge an identity of their own. Knowing that his fate will only be accomplish late in life, he envisioned ageing as an enriching stage in life, whereby individuals could proit from experience and enjoy a quieter and introspective period that seemed out of place in youth.
In a way, Bulwer-Lytton represented the Victorian ethics which held the grandeur of history and the British Empire in high esteem, holding on to a magniicent period that was also inevitably coming to an end. Poe: A Life Cut Short. London: Chatto and Windus, Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Texas: University of Texas Press, Night and Morning. London: George Routledge and Sons, Eugene Aram. New York: International Book Publishers, Paul Clifford.
London: Chapman and Hall, The Caxtons: A Family Picture. New York: Lovell, Coryell and Co. London: Dodo Press, A Strange Story. Doylestown, Pennsylvania: Wildside Press, New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Boston: Twayne, The Victorians and Old Age. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. Aged by Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, New York: Oxford University Press, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Herbert F.
London: Blackwell, Victorian Literature and Culture. London: Continuum, Poe, edgaR allan. November 26, Last Update: December 18, New York and London: Norton, RobeRts, bRian. Biographical Research.
Buckingham: Oxford University Press, The Long Life. In fact, the Sitka district he creates in Alaska is an imagined homeland for Jewish refugees in the late s. Its language and culture is Yiddish, a relection of the European Jewish heritage destroyed by the Holocaust, replicating the conlicts between religious and secular elements that previously existed. Keywords: Michael Chabon; diasporism; Yiddish; assimilation. Under the racist capitalist policies of apartheid the intent was to continue the use of black Africans as a cheap and disenfranchised labor reserve in the country.
The practices of the Israeli government in regard to the Palestinian labor force living on the West Bank and Gaza but working in Israel have been noted by many as strongly reminiscent of the South African past.
It is not, however, a Jewish irst. Historically, of course, the Old Testament tells us of Judea and Samaria, the land where Bar Kochba created the last kingdom of Israel before the second- century Roman conquest. This conquest in fact led to the scattering of the Jews and placed them in diaspora, a diaspora which according to the Zionists re-creating Israel only began to end with independence and the national homeland in Let us consider the basis for the creation of Israel, the Balfour Declaration.
A contrivance we could say. Might there not be some other location more suitable to be deemed the national home for the Jewish people, a place where the bulk of the nation had settled for a longer period of more recent history? But when this normalization is expected to lourish in the very heart of Islam, it is worse than tragic—it is suicidal. The time has come to return to the Europe that was for centuries, and remains to this day, the most authentic Jewish homeland there has ever been, the birthplace of rabbinic Judaism, Hasidic Judaism, Jewish secularism, socialism—on and on.
The birthplace, of course, of Zionism too. The time has come to renew in the European Diaspora our preeminent spiritual and cultural role. But could a truly Jewish space in Europe be such a far-fetched option? Is anti- Semitism in Europe so strong a threat? Is it not to a great extent today fueled by the practices of the Israeli government? Is there no room for assimilation, as has clearly been the case in the United States? Could the Jew not also be French or Polish or is this not already the case, i. While the Zionists revived Hebrew and made it the language of Israel, Yiddish was the language of the Eastern European diaspora, that which emigrant Jews took with them to the Americas, South Africa and Australia, used by them alongside the dominant language they were forced to learn in order to survive in their new cultures.
This whitening may, in turn, have changed yiddishkeit, or Jewishness as I remember it, an ethnoracial identity as Karen Brodkin would call it, into Judaism, a religious notion. But the notion of Yiddishland is generally rooted in the small Jewish hamlet of the Pale of Settlement, the shtetl, as an Ur-home Shandler This, too, is imaginary, at least in the period since the great pogroms of the s which led to the mass emigration from the Pale. While emigrants may have found their way to agricultural settlements, they often failed and these pioneers returned to the great Jewish urban centers of the Americas, New York, Boston, Chicago, Montreal or Buenos Aires.
Nor was Eastern European Jewry tied to the shtetl. More contemporary ictional representations, for example of Warsaw, in I. Furthermore, this division, as Stephanie Foote writes, can be categorized as dividing the present American self from the true, authentic, Jewish one The establishment of the Jewish state in May was expected to prevent this, but precipitated the irst Arab-Israeli war, which ended in a victory for Zionism. He does this by enacting a proposal which had in reality been rejected.
And where could we employ the Yiddish phrases today? He appears to paint Chabon as an anti-Zionist. Its Jewish community was estimated in to number ,, down from its earlier height of ,; excluding the US and Israel it would be the third largest Jewish city in the world World Jewish population. I would disagree.
A place where you could rent a summer home from Yiddish speakers, go to a Yiddish movie, get a inger wave from a Yiddish- speaking hairstylist, a shoeshine from a Yiddish-speaking shineboy and then have your dental bridge repaired by a Yiddish-speaking dentist? Unfortunately, this never came to pass, as Hannah Mitson states, because Alaska — like much of the United States — was marked by nativism, anti-Semitism and economic insecurity. Dimont, whose testimony included the following: The whole bill is really written around the provision for bringing into Alaska, and simultaneously barring from the United States, non quota immigrants He aggravates the initial inlux of refugees by creating a second but lesser Holocaust caused by the defeat of the newly independent State of Israel in the war with her Arab neighbors.
In much the same manner as the British government through the Balfour Declaration in permitted limited Jewish settlement in the Promised Land settled by Palestinians, the enclosed Jewish Sitka District is carved out of the native lands of the Tlingit people. Unlike the non-ictional situation, however, Jews can stake no claim in Sitka based on previous settlement. It is at the end of 60 years of interim status as a Bantustan and the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming Reversion that the events of the novel begin to unfold.
What is this Bantustan, this Jewish space? The current population of 3. These Polar Bears got it wrong from the outset; there were no animals and no suitable agricultural land to be had: Nowhere to spread out, to grow, to do anything more than crowd together in the teeming style of Vilna and Lodz.
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