Beyond the Great Story: History as Text and Discourse by Robert F. Berkhofer Jr.

By Robert F. Berkhofer Jr.

What makes a narrative, stable? Is there this sort of factor as a "true tale" (cf. Lucian)? What a few tale approximately actual problems--problems that underlie the discursive models of the day? What makes a narrative rather great--not simply in scope, yet in depths? Berkhofer's quantity ignores those and akin questions. He prefers to roll again into modern "discourse" or groundless (!) speak, as though there have been not anything extra pressing and important--nay, meaningful--for students (including historians) to debate than the outside of actually empty talk--a speak that, without doubt, is of significant curiosity to many, arguably accurately due to its emptiness--of its superficiality, its mildly refined utter loss of depths.

It is valid to suspect that the writer hasn't ever studied (read: taken heavily) any reasoned-out publication written ahead of the trendy delivery of "Ideology," i.e. the trendy "politicization" of philosophy. No severe inspiration is given to the prospect that truth isn't exhausted through ancient (material) appearances. What ancient/classical assets may regard as key to any solid history--namely a willing knowing of the permanent/central difficulties of political lifestyles, wearing with it a capability to make superficial concessions to the style or spirit of the times--disappears within the "beyond" welcomed via our writer, a "beyond" choked with capacity possible looking ahead to existential Nothingness as their unquestioned, tyrannical finish.

The challenge we're all confronted with--in Berkhofer's company--is that of ends. Berkhofer turns out to imagine that the easiest severe stance rests upon a prejudice opposed to all ends: all ends needs to be groundless (i.e. there isn't any finish through nature--hence the "Cartesian" feel of simple task that suggests needs to be attended to prior to and independently of ends). Socratic or zEtetic inquiry (openness to truth/reality as a normal finish) is overlooked in prefer of a significantly extra trendy discussion open to nowhere. the final word "Great tale" past all not-so-great tales is NIHILISM. the cost to be paid for lack of precise greatness (think of Thucydides, for example) is dire.

One reviewer defends Berkhofer's quantity by means of invoking "the speed of erudition," which reads as a codeword for "Progress". crimson lighting flash for "Grand Narrative" (or "Great Stories").

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761). By the beginning of the twentieth century American literature was reflecting a change in national consciousness in its stories of returning East rather than heading westward. Philip Roth's long odyssey from Newark to Prague is also a turning point in the Jewish-American literary tradition, for it marks the passage from a literature of immigration and assimilation into a literature of retrieval, of the desire to be part of a Jewish literary legacy alongside the European and American literary traditions.

From then on, Roth's art began to turn inward so that the drama between the Jewish writer bent on freely expressing his desires in his art and his moralistic readers bent on denouncing him becomes the central subject of his fiction. And when his art begins to turn in upon itself, it also moves toward a more complex identification with Jewish life. Roth has himself admitted that this is the case. 'Part of me wishes the misreading had never happened, but I also know that it's been my good luck; that the opposition has allowed me to become the strongest writer I could possibly have been.

8 'Tradition as discontinuity', Irving Howe's summation of what constitutes the Jewish-American novel, turns Alter's observation into a dictum. Howe's corpus for this genre has been the literature of immigration, and as he has tended to see immigrant neighbourhoods as a kind of region, Jewish-American literature is for him a 'regional literature' focusing on one locale, displaying curious and exotic customs, and coming as a burst of literary consciousness resulting from the encounter between an alien group racing toward assimilation and half-persuaded that it is unassimilable.

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