Master of Mythologies 1: 1963-1967

Once Upon a Droshky

Jerome Charyn. "Farewell, Farewell." Typed manuscript with corrections, 37 pages. No date.
This manuscript is an early version of part of Once Upon a Droshky.

Jerome Charyn. Once Upon a Droshky. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964.

Published in 1964 when Charyn was twenty-six years old, Once Upon a Droshky is a fairy tale-like story set in the Yiddish-American community of the Lower East Side. The narrator, Yankel Rabinowitz, tells the story in English that is heavily broken by Yiddish, creating a great comic effect. The novel centers on the relationship of a father and son: the father represents the old and embattled Yiddish community while the son's legalistic tendencies make him the prototypical American. Charyn draws heavily on experiences from his childhood in the Bronx for details of the Yiddish community.

On the Darkening Green

Jerome Charyn. On the Darkening Green. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965.
Like Going to Jerusalem, which was published in 1967, On the Darkening Green is a kind of anti-Bildungsroman. Set in prewar and wartime New York, the main character, Nick, goes through a series of experiences that leave him fragmented and disillusioned rather than enlightened. Using a more conventional narrative voice than Once Upon a Droshky, the novel is structured around the conventional Yiddish tension of the righteous versus the demonic and guides the reader toward a complex moral awareness. In its bitter humor and moral complexity the story foreshadows Charyn's later works.

Going to Jerusalem

Jerome Charyn. Going to Jerusalem. New York: Viking, 1967.

Going to Jerusalem has been called "a fable for our times that begins and ends in madness." The novella explores the role of the moral man in a corrupt contemporary world, where he appears to be either a clown or a lunatic. The narrative, which is mostly in present tense and uses experimental forms, enhances the sense of perspective gone wrong. There is no "Jerusalem" in the text; it is an episodic trip across a morally bleak America.

The Man Who Grew Younger and Other Stories

Jerome Charyn. The Man Who Grew Younger and Other Stories. New York: Harper and Row, 1967.

In this collection Charyn returns to the style of his early novels. The motif of the war is prevalent in the stories, which show Charyn's growing stylistic power. The characters often seek meaning beyond social facts, a recurring theme in Charyn's works.

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Last Updated: November, 1995
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