Master of Mythologies 1: 1963-1967
Once Upon a Droshky
Typed manuscript with corrections, 37 pages.
This manuscript is an early version of part of Once Upon a
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
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
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
The Man Who Grew Younger and Other Stories. New York: Harper and
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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