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Golem ~ In Literature

The legends concerning the golem, especially in their later forms, served as a favorite literary subject, at first in German literature—of both Jews and non-Jews—in the 19th century, and afterward in modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature. To the domain of belles lettres also belongs the book Nifla'ot Maharal im ha-Golem ("The Miraculous Deeds of Rabbi Loew with the Golem"; 1909), which was published by Judah Rosenberg as an early manuscript but actually was not written until after the blood libels of the 1890s. The connection between the golem and the struggle against ritual murder accusations is entirely a modern literary invention, as is the Golem's love for a woman, the theme of the unredeemed, unformed man, and the working class aspiring for its liberation.

An outstanding early work about the golem was the novel entitled Der Golem (1915; Eng. 1928) by the Bavarian writer Gustav Meyrink (1868–1932), who spent many years in Prague. Meyrink's book, notable for its detailed description and nightmare atmosphere, was a terrifying allegory about man's reduction to an automaton by the pressures of modern society. Other early 20th century works on the subject include Johannes Hess's Der Rabbiner von Prag (Reb Loeb)... (1914), a four-act "kabbalistic drama;" Chayim Bloch's Der Prager Golem: von seiner "Geburt" bis zu seinem "Tod" (1917; The Golem. Legends of the Ghetto of Prague, 1925); and Ha-Golem (1909), a story by the Hebrew writer David Frischmann which later appeared in his collection Ba-Midbar (1923)

 

Cover of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Golem remains a popular image in contemporary fiction. It plays a prominent role in science fiction and fantasy, as well as belles lettres

Cover of "He, She, and It"

 

Cover of "Golem, a Giant Made of Mud"It has also appeared in children's literature and fiction.

The interest in the critique of Golem in literature has produced a vast field of research on the subject.

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