Journal Article

A. M. Klein and Kabbalah

Zailig Pollock

in Literature and Theology

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 137-149
Published in print June 2010 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frq021
A. M. Klein and Kabbalah

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A.M. Klein’s writings are imbued from beginning to end with allusions to the Bible and the Talmud and to Jewish liturgy and ritual. Moreover, during the most creative period of his career, Klein was strongly influenced by Kabbalah, specifically by the version of Kabbalah associated with Rabbi Isaac Luria, as expounded in Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. However, although Klein was deeply influenced by the religious beliefs of his people, he did not actually share those beliefs. In contrast with his fellow poet P.K. Page, who at a time of crisis found a lifelong source of consolation and inspiration in Sufism, Klein’s engagement with Kabbalah, similarly at a point of crisis, was short-lived and ended tragically. After being inspired by the Lurianic vision of tikkun to create some of his finest writing, most notably The Second Scroll, he soon turned against its promise of redemption and fell into a silence from which he never recovered. Unlike Page, whose crisis was essentially religious in nature, Klein was not able to find in religion the lasting resolution of a crisis that was essentially secular.

Journal Article.  5564 words. 

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

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