Journal Article

Cynthia Ozick's Golem: A Messianic Double

Miriam Sivan

in Literature and Theology

Volume 19, issue 1, pages 47-59
Published in print March 2005 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2005 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/19.1.47
Cynthia Ozick's Golem: A Messianic Double

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When Ruth Puttermesser in ‘Puttermesser and Xanthippe’ fashions a golem in the middle of the night, she is giving tangible form to a number of her longings. She is unconsciously hoping to redeem herself and, by extension, her home New York City from the plight of loneliness and squalor which seems so ubiquitous. The salvatory influences in the creation of her golem are linked: the mother persona contains both the passion of the id and that of the redeemer. Yet, true to tradition, the golem attempts to undo her maker. Puttermesser knows that she has transgressed the boundaries of authorial power and that while she revelled in her role as mother redeemer, she, and by extension her city, has suffered beyond the point when creativity has become decay and power has become corruptive.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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