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Religions 2017, 8(2), 26; doi:10.3390/rel8020026

“One Should Have Two Homelands”: Discord and Hope in Soma Morgenstern’s Sparks in the Abyss

Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, Duke University, Old Chemistry 116M, Campus Box 90256, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Academic Editors: Malachi Hacohen and Peter Iver Kaufman
Received: 24 October 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [206 KB, uploaded 15 February 2017]

Abstract

Soma Morgenstern’s three-part novel Sparks in the Abyss, written between 1930 and 1943, exudes a spirit of serenity and optimism at the same time that its narrative is structured by repeated scenes of conflict and violence. This paper seeks to account for the place of discord in the trilogy. Morgenstern uses the interwar Galician homeland as a site to articulate the possibility of traditional Jewish life in modern Europe. By inhabiting two homes—East and West, Galicia and Vienna, secularism and piety—Jews will be able to negotiate the inevitable discord and occasional brutality that they face in the world. The lessons learned by a Western secular Jew in pluralist Galicia create hope for the negotiation of difference, if not for the complete overcoming of violence, on the eve of World War II. View Full-Text
Keywords: Soma Morgenstern; Galicia; modernism; narrative; violence; discord; difference; hope; German-Jewish; Jewish literature Soma Morgenstern; Galicia; modernism; narrative; violence; discord; difference; hope; German-Jewish; Jewish literature
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gellen, K. “One Should Have Two Homelands”: Discord and Hope in Soma Morgenstern’s Sparks in the Abyss. Religions 2017, 8, 26.

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