Cynthia Ozick’s Comic Art

Cynthia Ozick’s Comic Art

From Levity to Liturgy
Sarah Blacher Cohen
Distribution: World
Publication date: 02/22/1994
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-31398-0
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Cohen has succeeded in showing a fusion of Ozick’s writing as sacred and comic. Defining humor broadly, Cohen persuasively argues that levity and liturgy are natural companions, enriching each other, especially in the creative imagination of Cynthia Ozick." —Midstream

... a thoughtful introduction to a monumental though underrated writer." —SHOFAR

This study is a welcome addition to the growing body of scholarly criticism of Ozick and focuses on her comedic style." —Choice

Cohen has written an important... book, one that celebrates Ozick’s ‘liturgical laughter,’ emphasizing on every occasion the connection between the comic and the sacred. It is a connection we should be reminded of often." —Belles Lettres

Cohen’s readings of these stories reveal their many levels and meanings in a language as acute and perceptive as that of Ozick herself."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch Magazine

In presenting Ozick as a ‘comedian of ideas,’ Sarah Blacher Cohen has raised the study of Ozick to a new level." —Alan L. Berger

[Cohen] understands Ozick’s hybrid conception of human nature, her realization that the secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow and that the ironic mode... is the best way of telling the truth." —Daniel Walden

Author Bio

SARAH BLACHER COHEN is Professor of English at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is author of Saul Bellow’s Enigmatic Laughter and editor of From Hester Street to Hollywood, Jewish Wry, and Comic Relief.

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Table of Contents


I. Introduction: Cynthia Ozick’s Comic Art of Truth-Telling

II. Trust: Comedy of Manners and Morals

III. Envy; or Yiddish in AMerica: Elegy, Satire, and Celebration

IV. The Pagan Rabbi, Levitation, and Usurpation: Wry Jokes on Realism

V. The Puttermesser Stories: Feminist Follies

VI. The Cannibal Galaxy: From Caustic Humor to Midrashic Laughter

VII. The Messiah of Stockholm and the Cackle of Satire

VIII. The Shawl: The Tragicomedy of Revolt and Survival

IX. Conclusion: From Low to High Comedy