Cynthia Ozick has asserted a dominant voice in Jewish-American literature for the past fifteen years. Pinsker places Ozick in the context of such writers as Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, and Saul Bellow, showing how her literary vision and scope of topic differ significantly. Pinsker argues that, more than any other contemporary Jewish-American writer, Ozick deals in her work with the difficulties of non-assimilation to her literary heritage, which she insists has become threadbare, and that she has expanded the possibilities of what Jewish-American fiction can be.
Through a chronological survery of works, from her initial unpublished fiction and her first published work, Trust (1966), to The Cannibal Galaxy (1983), Pinsker details Ozick's energy and wide-ranging intellect, her deep sense of moral passion, and her way of generating fictions that have a life of their own beyond the text. In addition, Pinsker shows how Ozick's essays, principally those collected in Art & Ardor, substantiate the style and intention of her fictions.
Ozick is often a difficult and demanding writer. This study will offer help to both those readers of Ozick's work already familiar and its contours and those encountering her for the first time.
Sanford Pinsker is Professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College. His published works include Philip Roth: Critical Essays (G. K. Hall, 1982), Between Two Worlds: The American Novel in the 1960s (Whitston Publishing Co., 1978), and The Comedy that "Hoits": An Essay on the Fiction of Philip Roth (University of Missouri Press, 1975).