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Identifying the 'Female Schlemiel': The Composition and Representation of the Female Jewish Archetype in Mid to Late Twentieth Century Texts

Barr, Morgan Nastassia (2020) Identifying the 'Female Schlemiel': The Composition and Representation of the Female Jewish Archetype in Mid to Late Twentieth Century Texts. Masters thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

The construction and representation of the schlemiel is a subject deeply linked to archetype, culture, perspective, gender and comedy. The history of the archetype itself is steeped in a rich background of character, one that only a small part of it is recognised through the past seventy years of comedy. The title of this dissertation refers to its intent to examine the composition and representations of the schlemiel, and how the visibility of the archetype has lent itself towards a male perspective, and what that means for inclusivity within the archetype. The first two chapters will cover the definitions and interpretations of the schlemiel, which will be linked through the discussions of gender, comedy and ‘Jewishness’ and the remaining chapters will be used to discuss four primary examples of the female schlemiel, who in themselves feature similarities and differences between male and female representations of the same archetype. These collective schlemiels will be examined through a term written by Ruth Wisse, that the schlemiel is a ‘model of endurance’, and will be applied to the primary texts. The main examples used within this research are Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, Elaine May, and Madeline Kahn and the importance of these women as primary resources is due to; the decades on which this research is directed, from the mid 1950s to the late 1980s, the fact these women are all Jewish, that they are known for their comedy work, and each have worked within sectors of the comedy industry. In utilising these key factors, the analysis of the female schlemiel and its representations will work to create cohesive structure that will lead to its overall conclusion.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Published
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NE Print media
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5008

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