Cynthia Ozick's Fiction: Tradition and Invention by Elaine Kauvar

By Elaine Kauvar

Marvelous novelists deserve exceptional literary research. Cynthia Ozick has chanced on such critics... such a lot lately in Elaine Kauvar, whose current paintings is concurrently a profound contribution to Ozick interpretation and an astonishingly readable account of the novelist's rules and creative manner.... hugely recommended.? —Choice"... accomplished and wonderfully written... "? —Studies within the Novel"... an indispensible paintings of scholarship.... ?ќCynthia Ozick's Fiction, in sum, demonstrates an astute and complete seize of either Ozick's writings and the gigantic shop of writings that impact her... a definitive and indispensible study... "? —American Literature"... a unprecedented mix of painstaking scholarship with magnificent severe intelligence and inventiveness." —Edward Alexander"... Elaine Kauvar's accomplished and fantastically written examine of Cynthia Ozick's fiction might be welcomed as a heroic counter-cultural manifesto, either in what she says and within the splendor with which she says it." —Congress MonthlyLooking past the stereotype of Ozick's paintings as American-Jewish literature, Kauvar illuminates the intricacies of Ozick's texts and explores the dynamics of her creativity. Kauvar presents readings of all of Ozick's fiction from her first released novel, ?ќTrust, via ?ќThe Messiah of Stockholm.

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Their lives stretching before them, the two heroines follow divergent paths, arrive at diverse destinations.  The "rot of disappointment" seizes the narrator, for the recognition that her father cares for nothing save pleasure, that she was made by a "boy of seventeen" out of the "merest merest whim," dashes her dreams (512).  Of her first day at Duneacres, she concludes: "It was an idyll" (520).  It recalls her apprehension of the private visitor: "Expecting the infernal Dante, I had found the Virgil of the Eclogues—a green land with a shepherd in it … a factor of the earth," a factor linking her to nature (531).

Where she will arrive when she walks from that doorway is intimated in the finality of her departure from William and in the tension between Enoch's power and Tilbeck's magnetism, the competing forces of part 4. " (468). " (476).  Each episode in "Duneacres," from the initial experience the narrator has in front of the tree to the final revelation she gains in Huntingdon's house, brings her progressively closer to the truth, to full understanding. " Then the sun slides away, taking its light from the tree, and she knows herself to be "profane"— profane because irreligious, because uninitiated (481).

The initiation rites are unfinished. 29 Until the narrator returns from the labyrinth at Duneacres, the estate Huntingdon planned as a museum in which the history of the origin of life could be learned, it cannot be said that she has ended her journey.  Purse doubts the truth of Tilbeck's claim—that he and the girl are father and daughter, like Prospero and Miranda.  When she eschews the magical process that renders "lyre" and "lute" indistinguishable from "liar" and "loot," she echoes Prospero's abjuration of magic and illusion in the famous epilogue to The Tempest; and in her choice of the words lyre and lute, emblems of art, Ozick indicates from what direction her narrator's destiny beckons (551).

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