A comedy of eruvs: (re)locating Jewish identity in Michael Chabon's 'The Yiddish policemen's union' and Howard Jacobson's 'J'

Witcombe, M (2016) 'A comedy of eruvs: (re)locating Jewish identity in Michael Chabon's 'The Yiddish policemen's union' and Howard Jacobson's 'J'.' Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 34 (4). pp. 29-51. ISSN 1534-5165

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/sho.2016.0024

Abstract

Michael Chabon's 'The Yiddish Policemen's Union' (2007) and Howard Jacobson's 'J' (2014) are novels fixated on the survival of Jewish identity in hostile environments. Exploring the scholarly reception of these novels to form of a defense of their narrative complexity, this article focuses on themes relating to space and place. It does so by arguing that the depiction of home spaces in these novels allows for the concept of the eruv to become a guiding principle in the construction of both novels' narratives. A close reading of homes in these novels through the lens of eruvin exposes unexpected parallels between these vastly different writers, at the same time that it allows scholars to more easily fit these works into their authors' respective oeuvres. As such, these home spaces are argued to be "eruvic spaces" that serve a key narrative function in both texts, in turn enabling a reevaluation of the novels themselves.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 16:56
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 18:20
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