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Chaim Potok


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Table of Contents

ContentsAcknowledgments IntroductionDaniel WaldenPart 1 The Novels1 The Chosen: Defining American Judaism Kathryn McClymond2 The Three-Pronged Dialectic: Understanding Conflict in Potok's Early Fiction Jessica Lang 3 Guardians of the Torah: Ambiguity and Antagonism in The Promise Victoria Aarons 4 Daedalus Redeemed: Asher Lev's Journey from Rebellion to Rapprochement S. Lillian Kremer 5 Davita's Harp: The Silence of Violence and the Limits of the Imagination Susanne Klingenstein 6 The Book of Lights: A Book of Choices Sanford E. Marovitz 7 History and Responsibility: An Assessment of Potok's "Non-Jewish" I Am the Clay Nathan P. Devir Part 2 Looking Back: Memories of Potok8 Choosing the Chosen: A Reappraisal of The Chosen Hugh Nissenson 9 Chaim Potok: A Zwischenmensch ("Between Person") in the Cultures Daniel Walden 10 Chaim Potok and the Question of Jewish Writing Jonathan Rosen 11 Chaim Potok: A Literary Biography Adena Potok12 Chaim Potok Is No Longer With Us, but His Lessons Remain Jane Eisner 13 Adena Potok on I Am the Clay Nathan P. Devir 14 Chaim Potok: My Life as a Writer Chaim PotokContributorsIndex

About the Author

Daniel Walden is Professor Emeritus of American Studies, English, and Comparative Literature at The Pennsylvania State University. He founded the Jewish Studies Program at Penn State as well as the journal Studies in American Jewish Literature.


"Daniel Walden has done American literature an uncommon and impressive service. This masterful collection will stand as a forerunner to further significant criticism, and as an inspiration."-Cynthia Ozick

"Daniel Walden's Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of Tradition is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the crucial role played by Chaim Potok's novels in examining the clash between modernity and faith. This skillfully edited work contains both critical essays and personal reflections by leading Potok experts. The novelist was a personal friend of Walden's, and this volume can be seen as the editor's memorial to the late writer."-Alan L. Berger, Florida Atlantic University

"Daniel Walden caps his distinguished career as a scholar, writer, editor, and esteemed pioneer in American Jewish literary studies with this sensitive and illuminating study of a side of American Jewish life not often, until recently, described in such lovely and moving prose as Potok's. Walden does welcome justice to Potok's originality and importance, and I highly recommend this book to all interested in Jewish American and American writing generally."-Jules Chametzky, author of Out of Brownsville: Encounters with Nobel Laureates and Other Jewish Writers-A Cultural Memoir

"I can think of nobody better than Daniel Walden to edit this outstanding collection of essays about the late writer Chaim Potok. As the founding editor of Studies in American Jewish Literature, Walden has been a shaping hand in the direction of American Jewish literary study. Chaim Potok was a popular writer during his lifetime; this collection makes a persuasive case that he is also an important one."-Sanford Pinsker, Franklin and Marshall College

"In his previous work on Chaim Potok (Conversations with Chaim Potok, Chaim Potok and Jewish-American Culture), Daniel Walden has shown himself to be the go-to resource on the writer and his cultural impact. Now, in Chaim Potok: Confronting Modernity Through the Lens of Tradition, Walden has once again demonstrated his deft understanding of the subject. Pulling together an impressive array of contributors and working with some of the most prominent Jewish American literary scholars today, Walden presents us with a vast tapestry displaying the many hues of Potok's narrative worlds. With essays concerning modernity and tradition, the Torah and the Kabbalah, and myth and history, Walden's collection stands as the text by which all subsequent studies will now be judged."-Derek P. Royal, founder and executive editor, Phillip Roth Studies

"A truly fine treatment by Daniel Walden, one of the founding figures in Jewish American literary criticism, this volume brings new historical and literary attention to Chaim Potok. Essays draw on new biographical and manuscript materials to provide fresh, critical treatments of Potok's work during a major sociocultural revaluation of mid-twentieth-century American culture. This is an important book about a beloved and continuously read twentieth-century Jewish American writer."-Gloria Cronin, co-editor of Saul Bellow Journal

"These critical essays and personal reflections on Potok's work and life will go far in solidifying his reputation as a leading American writer of fiction."-B. Adler, Choice

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