Master of Mythologies 2: 1969-1973

American Scrapbook

Jerome Charyn. American Scrapbook. New York: Viking, 1969.

This novel about Japanese internees during World War II is an expression of Charyn's anger at racism and totalitarianism. Told as a series of first person narratives, the novel explores how the "enemy" is determined by ethnicity and how, when locked out of mainstream American culture, all that is left to emigrees are the remnants of their original cultures.

Jerome Charyn. American Scrapbook. Manuscript notebooks with additional notes and source materials. No date.

The archive is rich in notebooks and other source materials Charyn used when working on his novels. Shown are some of these materials that he used when writing American Scrapbook.

Jerome Charyn. Eisenhower, My Eisenhower. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.

The main character of Eisenhower, My Eisenhower is Toby Malothioon, an Azazian gypsy, who is a persecuted outcast in American society. For the first time, Charyn forgoes a solid historical basis for his works. Toby narrates the story in an impressionistic, fragmented, and achronological style.

Jerome Charyn. Eisenhower, My Eisenhower. Autograph notebook with additional materials laid in. No date.

Jerome Charyn. The Tar Baby. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973.

In The Tar Baby , Charyn further develops his concept of the fragmentation and alienation of contemporary experience. Through the use of experimental narrative, the novel parodies academic journals, each chapter appearing as an article about the life of Anatole Waxman-Weissman, a fictitious figure. The "journal" articles reveal more about the politics and pettiness of the authors than the life of Waxman-Weissman. As with other of Charyn's works, society is seen as basically anti-intellectual and anti-creative. The novel implies a metanarrative that questions the meaning of fiction itself and that complicates the credibility of a single voice in literature.

Jerome Charyn. The Tar Baby. Autograph notebook and notes. No date.

While taking notes on The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus, Charyn sketched the Tar Baby in this notebook. A similar sketch by Charyn appears on the dustjacket design of the first edition.

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