Date of Degree

2-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Carrie Hintz

Committee Members

Ammiel Alcalay

Alan Vardy

Subject Categories

Children's and Young Adult Literature | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Jewish Studies | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America | Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority | Religion

Keywords

Fantasy, Rhetoric, Kabbalah, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Children's Literature

Abstract

This dissertation traces the development of Jewish fantasy rhetoric in post-WWII British and American literature, focusing on three genres: kabbalistic Beat poetry, children’s fantasy, and graphic novels/comics. Despite increasing scholarly attention to all these areas, little work has focused on fantasy rhetoric or issues of gender and sexuality within non-canonical Jewish literature, or on interplays of religion and fantasy in children’s literature. Jewish kabbalistic poetry and children’s fantasy speak to each other in their mutual engagements with the otherworldly, mystical and monstrous, interrogations of gender, and complex portrayals of feminist theological potentialities. I identify and analyze Jewish-hermeneutic themes and methodologies within chronological, geographic, and generic ranges of primary texts; doing so opens new ways to conceptualize both “Jewish literature” and Judaism/Jewishness across interdisciplinary contexts. Jewish children’s literature, particularly, receives significant attention regarding questions of curricular use and sociological import; yet few conversations incorporate rigorous literary analysis. Utilizing a range of literary theoretical and methodological lenses, my project’s literature-disciplinary research aims to address this scholarly lacuna.

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