Novelizing myth in Sholem Asch's "Moses"

  • Sholem Asch's epic novel "Moses" has been criticized for a number of shortcomings. One of the main reproaches has do with Asch's attempt to present myth as history in a serious and at times "stuffily reverential" style (Siegel 194). Leslie Fiedler compares Asch's retelling of Exodus-Deuteronomy to Thomas Mann's version of Genesis in "Joseph and his Brothers" and argues that Asch, unlike Mann, lacks the irony of Mann's approach which is essential for handling mythological material in the modern age. Fiedler maintains that Mann's novel is superior to Asch's because Mann does not try to modernize the original material by rationalizing it (Fiedler 73-4). While there is much truth in what Fiedler says about "Moses", the contrast between Mann and Asch is not quite so clear-cut. Undoubtedly, the two authors did handle their material in radically different ways. However, both authors were writing modern realistic novels, i.e., they were dealing with a genre that demands structural coherence. And in this respect one must not overemphasize the difference between Asch's and Mann's treatment of myth.

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Author:Vladimir Tumanov
Parent Title (English):Yiddish
Publisher:Flushing, N.Y.
Place of publication:Queens College Press
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2014/12/30
Year of first Publication:1998
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2014/12/30
GND Keyword:Asch, Sholem; Mann, Thomas / Joseph und seine Brüder; Mythos <Motiv>
Page Number:23
First Page:162
Last Page:184
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
BDSL-Klassifikation:03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft / BDSL-Klassifikation: 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.10.00 Stilistik. Rhetorik
16.00.00 Jahrhundertwende (1880-1914) / BDSL-Klassifikation: 16.00.00 Jahrhundertwende (1880-1914) > 16.15.00 Zu einzelnen Autoren
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht