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By Bernard Malamud

With a brand new advent by way of Aleksandar Hemon

In The Tenants (1971), Bernard Malamud introduced his unerring feel of contemporary city lifestyles to undergo at the clash among blacks and Jews then inflaming his local Brooklyn. the only tenant in a rundown tenement, Henry Lesser is suffering to complete a singular, yet his solitary pursuit of the chic grows advanced while Willie Spearmint, a black author ambivalent towards Jews, strikes into the construction. Henry and Willie are creative opponents and unwilling buddies, and their uneasy peace is disturbed by way of the presence of Willie's white female friend Irene and the owner Levenspiel's makes an attempt to evict either males and demolish the construction. This novel's clash, present then, is perennial now; it unearths the slippery nature of the human , and the human means for violence and undoing.

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36 Holden’s fear of losing what you talk about is geared to the relationship between adolescence and time; like time (and like the river in Huckleberry Finn), the voice only moves in one direc- 13 14 F O U N DAT I O N : T H E VO I C E B E N E AT H T H E T E X T tion, and its unilinear flow becomes an image of irreversible mutability, precariousness, even danger. What the voice says cannot be unsaid; what the voice creates cannot be undone. The words that created white people in Ceremony “cannot be called back”; they can only be partially and temporarily repaired, modified, or controlled by more words.

On the other hand, a folk song in the oral tradition is always itself, but the eleven variants of “Gypsy Laddie” published in Francis J. Child’s collection present eleven different first lines. Each of them poses the same general questions as the first line of Moby-Dick; but beyond that, when we prepare to hear a performance of “Gypsy Laddie,” we do not know what the first words will be. 62 In writing, “interpretation” is downstream from “text”; in orality, it is intrinsic to the performance.

First comes the suggestion that the truth about colonial origins is to be sought less in the Puritan founders’ histories and records than in less edifying, orally transmitted family Foundations: Orality, Origins stories. In these narratives the hero’s first ancestor did not come to America in search of religious freedom but to get away from some lowly court intrigue. Next comes the legal truth: the ancestor is expelled from Boston after a trial that is recalled in so many different versions as to make them all unreliable.

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