Date of Award

8-1981

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Major Professor

Daniel J. Schneider

Committee Members

Richard Penner, Martin Rice, Bain Stewart

Abstract

When Isaac Bashevis Singer was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1978, he was still largely an unknown artist, and his work certainly had not been given the critical attention it deserved. At best, books on Singer are appreciative criticism that lack a systematic frame of reference through which the artistry of the novels may be approached.

My approach in the present study is essentially that of a formalist critic. I have sought to define the shaping artistic principle of each of Singer's novels, and in doing this I have been able to isolate Singer's allegorical tendencies. Thus Singer emerges as an artist studying the allegorical struggle between Good and Evil, between God and Satan, yet his profound insight into the subtle, "realistic" complexities of life and lends a sense of immediacy to the timeless comprehensiveness of his themes.

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