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From Continuity to ContiguityToward a New Jewish Literary Thinking$
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Dan Miron

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762007

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762007.001.0001

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Contiguity: How Kafka and Sholem Aleichem Are Contiguous

Contiguity: How Kafka and Sholem Aleichem Are Contiguous

(p.351) Eleven Contiguity: How Kafka and Sholem Aleichem Are Contiguous
From Continuity to Contiguity
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses the positive contiguity between Frankz Kafka and Sholem Aleichem. It considers Aleichem's character of Tevye the dairyman and the uses of the monologue form as employed in Tevye's tales; a good part of Kafka's best shorter works were also written as monologues. For Kafka the law could be revered and discounted at the same time. This is exactly the position of the law in Tevye the Dairyman: it is studied; it is quoted and misquoted; it is verbally played with and humorously referred to; but it is also irrelevant because real life cannot anymore be measured by it. Aleichem established a formula of transcendence in the first Tevye tales, and then went on to further develop it in an array of short stories, which in depth, originality, and authenticity approximate the supreme achievement of Kafka, the very apex of modern Jewish writing.

Keywords:   Jewish literary complex, Jewish literature, Hebrew literature, Tevye, monologue, law

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