Exploring Jewish Arts and Culture
Published by: University of Texas Press
192 pages, 140.00 x 216.00 x 13.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780292754584
- Published: July 2014
Winner of seven Molières, the Pulitzer Prize of France, Jean-Claude Grumberg is one of France’s leading dramatists and a distinguished voice of modern European Jewry after the Shoah. His success in portraying contemporary Parisian Jews on the stage represents a new development in European theater and a new aesthetic expression of European Jewish experience and sensibility of the Holocaust and its aftermath, a perspective quite different from either the American or the Israeli one. Grumberg’s Jews are French to their fingertips, yet they have been made more consciously Jewish by the war and the difficulties of reintegrating into a society in which too many neighbors denounced them or ignored their pleas to save their children. Affirming the new status of Jewish culture, Grumberg’s plays insist on the recognition of Jewish identity and uniqueness within the majority societies of Europe.
This volume offers the first English translation of three of Grumberg’s prize-winning plays: The Workplace (L’Atelier, 1979), On the Way to the Promised Land (Vers toi Terre promise, 2006) and Mama’s Coming Back, Poor Orphan (Maman revient, pauvre orphelin, 1994). Presented in the order of the history they record and steeped in Grumberg’s personal experience and insights into contemporary Parisian life, these plays serve as documentary witnesses that begin with the immediate postwar reality and continue up to the end of the twentieth century. Seth Wolitz provides notes on the plays’ themes, structures, characters, and settings, along with an introduction that discusses Grumberg’s place within the emergence of French-Jewish drama and a translation of an interview with the playwright himself.
- Three French Jewish Plays of Jean-Claude Grumberg: A Theatre of Memory and Accommodation
- Jean-Claude Grumberg: A Timeline of Key Works and Life Events
- The Plays
- The Workplace
- On the Way to the Promised Land: A Dental Tragedy
- Mama’s Coming Back, Poor Orphan
- An Interview with Jean-Claude Grumberg
- Selected Bibliography
All three plays in this volume are infused by the tragedy of the broken family, and Grumberg masterfully deploys comedy in his dialogue as a way of dealing with tragic memories that defy expression. Grumberg effectively invented the genre of post-war French Jewish theatre, fusing the French language and the Jewish experience in a strange and innovative way, and giving voice to a French Jewish identity that goes beyond the traditional Republican prescription.~Natasha Lehrer, Times Literary Supplement