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

By Elaine Kauvar

Remarkable novelists deserve first-class literary research. Cynthia Ozick has discovered such critics... such a lot lately in Elaine Kauvar, whose current paintings is at the same time a profound contribution to Ozick interpretation and an astonishingly readable account of the novelist's rules and creative manner.... hugely recommended.? —Choice"... accomplished and fantastically 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 sizeable shop of writings that impression her... a definitive and indispensible study... "? —American Literature"... a unprecedented mix of painstaking scholarship with astounding severe intelligence and inventiveness." —Edward Alexander"... Elaine Kauvar's finished and wonderfully written research of Cynthia Ozick's fiction can 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 offers readings of all of Ozick's fiction from her first released novel, ?ќTrust, via ?ќThe Messiah of Stockholm.

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Example text

Her "nightly trysts with Tilbeck" may, as Victor Strandberg argues, "signify her larger importance as a sort of love goddess," but they also testify to her lawlessness, to the possibility of her having an illegitimate child like the narrator (Strandberg 97).  Town Island may be a place for initiation rites and rites of regeneration—a place which "harbors nature's deeply immanent Life Force"—but it is also a location haunted by the death of John Vermoulian (Strandberg 95). 19 Unlike her mother, the daughter will participate in these rites on Town Island; she will confront her destiny in America, not in Europe.

Strange and new, I breathed the minotaur.  A mirror and blood were part of the Mystery religions: one suggested self­knowledge and the other was dripped onto the Page 26 initiates as part of the rituals.  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.

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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