Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jodi Eichler-Levine on Maurice Sendak

I good friend of mine, Jodi Eichler-Levine, has written an essay, "Where the Wild Things Aren't Just Jewish," in Religion Dispatches on Maurice Sendak and, I guess we could call it "inclusive chosenness" (don't blame her for such an infelicitous phrase).  Sendak, who died this past week, is most famous for the children's book, Where the Wild Things Are.  Jodi, by the way, researches the ways in which collective trauma (such as the Holocaust), holidays, and religious identity are expressed in children's books.  On her webpage (link on her name), she says this about her work, "In Professor Eichler-Levine’s current book project, which is under contract with New York University Press, she examines how Jewish Americans and African Americans incorporate traumatic pasts and religious ideals in stories young people."  Thus, it was a topical match made in heaven. 

Here is my favorite passage from the article:

"His response to the Holocaust was not material generativity, not the reproduction of Jewish children to spite Hitler; instead, it was a creative demand that we open up our humanity and transmit our imaginations through unsettling yet ravishing forms of media. The author whose illustrations first appeared in Atomics for the Millions forces us to rethink the imaginary “nuclear family.”"

It is an interesting article; take a look!


jodi said...

thanks for the post, Jared! JEL

Jared Calaway said...

No prob, Jodi!