Wrestling with the Angel and the Law, or the Critique of Identity: The Demjanjuk Trial, Operation Shylock: A Confession, and "Angel Levine"

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Abstract

This essay suggests that in the aftermath of the Holocaust the Jews needed to either regain the identity that existed before the war or to undertake a Jewish identity that emerges with the founding of the state of Israel. Roth and Malamud are dramatizing precisely the psychic cost to the self of such strained identity formation. Using the work of Walter Benjamin, the author argues that hope is both authors’ subordinate topic. Roth and Malamud invest new literary and historical significance in man’s struggle with the angel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
JournalPhilip Roth Studies
Volume4
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008

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