A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof

Il titolo completo è: Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof. L'autrice è Alisa Solomon, prof. alla scuola di giornalismo della Columbia e la casa editrice Metropolitan Books.
"As for Tevye—well, that’s a story too. Like every mythic figure, he’s been shaped and reshaped in the telling, adapted to the needs of successive artists and audiences. The icon who has circled the globe at the center of Fiddler on the Roof, the personification of shtetl nostalgia, at one with “tradition” and his arcadian community, is very different from the complex, ironic, ambivalent character that Sholem Aleichem [nella foto] built up, story by episodic story, over the course of more than 20 years, in intimate contact with his Yiddish-speaking readership. That transformation, broadly speaking, is the subject of Wonder of Wonders. Alisa Solomon’s subtitle is, if anything, too modest. Her book is nothing less than a cultural history of American Jewry as refracted through its most celebrated artifact. Fiddler, which debuted in 1964, is placed within its moment. ... 
But what exactly did that Jewishness consist of? If Fiddler marked the early days of multiculturalism, it also represented the climax of the process by which the Jews of Eastern Europe were rendered safe for their grandchildren, reduced to a set of reassuring stereotypes—poverty and piety, laughter and tears, candlesticks and chicken soup and “warmth”—that preserved them not so much in amber as in schmaltz. The paintings of Chagall, the photographs of Roman Vishniac (redacted to eliminate signs of prosperity or modernity), books like Life Is With People (1952) and, indeed, The World of Sholem Aleichem (1943): for the new suburbanizing Jews, those Unitarians with yarmulkes, such artifacts performed a complicated kind of psychic work. They gave them a past to adore, but also one that they could proudly leave behind". William Deresiewicz, theatlantic.

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