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Reconstructing Jewish Identity in Pre- and Post-Holocaust Literature and Culture

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Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich and Malgorzata Pakier

The volume aims to illuminate the issue of Jewish identity in the context of its pre-Holocaust European origins and post-Holocaust American and Israeli settings. Jewish experience and identity construction in Europe, America and Israel are presented through diverse perspectives: Merchant of Venice in the light of Levinas’ ethics, Italian Jews in the 20th century, German-speaking Jewish authors in the Nazi 1930s, the Hassidic culture of learning, the representation of contemporary Poland in Jewish photography, Jewish life in America in a kashrut observing Orthodox neighbourhood, Kaballah in feminist cyberpunk fiction by Marge Piercy, constructing Jewish identity in British fiction in novels by Will Self and Muriel Spark, and Israeli films focusing on ethical solutions to political problems.

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Golem, Cyborg, Other: Jewish Feminism in Responseto Ecological Degradation in a Cyberpunk Novelof Marge Piercy He, She and It. Justyna Sierakowska

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Golem, Cyborg, Other: Jewish Feminism in Response to Ecological Degradation in a Cyberpunk Novel of Marge Piercy He, She and It Justyna Sierakowska Marge Piercy, Jewish-American poet and writer (born 1936), identifies herself with the second wave of feminism. She is a remarkably prolific author: her oeuvre comprises seventeen novels, seventeen volumes of poetry, essays, plays, pamphlets, and a memoir. Piercy's works address controversial social and politi- cal issues such as feminism, sex discrimination, racism, civil rights, feminist spirituality, lesbianism, critique of capitalism, and environmental degradation. Despite her radical views, Marge Piercy is becoming an increasingly distin- guished writer in the United States; she is frequently compared to such writers as Alice Walker, Erica Jong, or Margaret Atwood. For many readers, Piercy's writings have been an element of a rite de passage toward an increased aware- ness of the asymmetric encoding of power in the Western culture (Walker 1991). Since the early eighties the author has been fascinated with Kabbalah and is involved in the movement of Jewish Renewal. Moreover, Judaism and Jewish culture create an important thread in Piercy's works; especially popular are her poems inspired by Jewish spirituality. The author developed her love for Judaism from the Orthodox, Yiddish- speaking maternal grandmother, Hannah, who grew up in a Lithuanian shtetl and was daughter of a rabbi. After witnessing her grandmother’s grief over rela- tives murdered by the Nazis, the writer at age ten decided that she would always remain Jewish. The knowledge of the Holocaust has become central...

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