Il ‘terzo atto’ della letteratura ebraico-americana. Allegra Goodman e l’americanizzazione della Shoah in “Paradise Park”

Simona Porro

Abstract


The present essay focuses on the so-called ‘Act III’ of Jewish-American literature, a particularly prolific phase that started in the 1980s and saw a new revival of interest in Jewish theology, especially in relation to the challenges to Jewish continuity posed by the increasing secularization that characterized the ‘chosen people’’s progression to modernity. In that respect, one of the most interesting voices is that of Allegra Goodman, a third-generation Jewish writer, whose prose centers on the present and future of the Jewish community within the diaspora, with a focus on one main theme: the search, by her contemporaries, for a common spiritual tradition as an antidote to the secularizing pressures of the American Way of Life. This spiritual quest often involves the Holocaust, which the American public discourse has turned into the funding myth of Jewish identity in the US—a phenomenon defined by Hilene Flanzbaum as an ‘Americanization’ of the Holocaust, which has been judged with palpable ambivalence. In her novel Paradise Park, published in 2001, Goodman expresses her skepticism about this process by representing in pungent satirical terms the ways in which assimilated American Jews respond to the legacy of the Holocaust, especially by using and abusing the historical record for their own personal purposes.


Keywords


Allegra Goodman; Paradise Park; Americanization of the Shoah

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13136/2281-4582/2021.i18.1036

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