Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The Judaeo-Christian mythic tradition postulates a universe with absolute limits in both time and space, as typified by the biblical books Genesis and Revelations. In the first chapter of my thesis I examine the way in which works of literature written from within this tradition necessarily have definite endings characterized by a return to a state of unity and an end to narratable incidents. Such endings may be interpreted as an affirmation of Apocalypse and of the eventual end of linear (and narrative) time.
This theoretical framework cannot, however, account for the approaches to closure evidenced in literature of atrocity: the unprecedented nature of the event narrated necessitates a total re-evaluation or replacement of interpretive models. Thus we see structural innovations built around radically new interpretive strategies in the writings of post-Holocaust Jewish authors faced with the inapplicability of the Judaeo-Christian paradigm as a model for understanding. Of special relevance is Emil Fackenheim's concept of Tikkun Olam ("mending of the world") , which searches--and reconfigures--Jewish tradition in creating a uniquely Jewish response to the Holocaust. The practical implications of this paradigm shift, particularly as manifest in Henry Kreisel's The Betrayal, forms the focus of the second...
Shea, Thomas Patrick, "A New Aesthetic of Closure: The Non-Linear Cosmologies of Henry Kreisel and Toni Morrison" (1995). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5946.
McMaster University Library