Diasporas of the Mind: Jewish and Postcolonial Writing and by Bryan Cheyette

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By Bryan Cheyette

In this attention-grabbing and erudite publication, Bryan Cheyette throws new gentle on quite a lot of glossy and modern writers—some on the center of the canon, others extra marginal—to discover the ability and obstacles of the diasporic mind's eye after the second one international warfare. relocating from early responses to the loss of life camps and decolonization, via the world over favourite literature after the second one global conflict, the booklet culminates in clean engagements with modern Jewish, post-ethnic, and postcolonial writers.
Cheyette regards the various 20th- and twenty-first-century luminaries he examines—among them Hannah Arendt, Anita Desai, Frantz Fanon, Albert Memmi, Primo Levi, Caryl Phillips, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Edward stated, Zadie Smith, and Muriel Spark—as severe exemplars of the diasporic mind's eye. opposed to the discrete disciplinary considering the academy, he elaborates and argues for a brand new comparative procedure throughout Jewish and postcolonial histories and literatures. And in so doing, Cheyette illuminates the ways that histories and cultures could be imagined throughout nationwide and communal boundaries.

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These appropriations and reappropriations continue in Diasporas of the Mind with the Saidian persona (George Ziad) at the heart of Roth’s Operation Shylock: A Confession (1993) and the figure of Primo Levi reimagined in The Satanic Verses. indd 31 18/10/13 7:25 AM 32 DIASPORAS OF THE MIND To be sure, Said’s identification with the ‘last Jewish intellectual’ was an act of risk-­taking not least because it illustrates the power of metaphorical thinking. The difficulties in deciding whether the work of metaphor is ethically suspect or not are, as James Young has shown, deeply embedded in those who, after Arendt, wished to protect the victims of the Holocaust from the figurative realm which was said to expunge ‘actual’ history (Young 1988: 84).

Naipaul’s The Mimic Men: A Novel (1967), we have the following passage: I paid Mr Shylock three guineas a week for a tall, multi-­mirrored, book-­shaped room with a coffin-­like wardrobe. And for Mr Shylock, the recipient each week of fifteen times three guineas, the possessor of a mistress and of suits made of cloth so fine I felt I could eat it, I had nothing but admiration. indd 32 18/10/13 7:25 AM I ntrod u ction 33 Mr Shylock looked distinguished, like a lawyer or business man or politician.

The Jews used it to fulfil their own imagination, but we are talking about a different situation for the Palestinian. The Palestinian situation and society Palestinians desire is peculiar to that nation’ (Viswanathan 2001: 442). indd 27 18/10/13 7:25 AM 28 DIASPORAS OF THE MIND was attempting to remake in his own image as the exiled and isolated amateur intellectual (Said 2001: 174). As he puts it in the interview with Rushdie: ‘To be a victim of a victim does present quite unusual difficulties.

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