The “Hidden Tradition” of Jewish Culture in Stein’s First Fictions
Chapter 2 explores Stein’s use of Arnold’s Hebraism in her first fictions to signal the Jewish morality of her middle-class characters. In 1903, Stein wrote the novella Q.E.D. and the brief first draft of her novel The Making of Americans. In both works, she presents ill-fated romances between ethically-Jewish and more aesthetically-inclined characters. In Q.E.D., she allusively depicts the Jewish identity of her protagonist Adele, who finds herself in a love affair with the aptly named Helen. Adele’s frequent lamentations have biblical roots in texts attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. Stein closes the novella with her characters in a romantic stalemate, but her romance fusing Arnoldian Hebraism and Hellenism as an ideal of Jewish culture had just begun. The affianced couple in the first draft of The Making of Americans espouses Stein’s Arnoldian fusion. The novel’s paterfamilial voice of Hebraism dismisses as “modern” the Hellenic inclinations towards the arts by the young heroine and her fiancé. Similar to Eliot, Woolf, and Joyce, Stein, in her revising of Arnold, imagines the modern writer, her Brother Singular, as one of a plurality of individuals whose typologically Jewish cultural ideals combine the ethical traditions of the Hebrew with the intellectually liberating creativity of the Hellene.
Florida Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.