Heroic Imaginings: Judaism, Masculinity, and Compensation in Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, St. Urbain’s Horseman, and Solomon Gursky Was Here
This paper explores the evolving pattern of hero worship in Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959), Saint Urbain’s Horseman (1966), and Solomon Gursky Was Here (1989). It posits that both the ineffectual protagonists and the supremely capable heroes they imagine in the novels are a consequence of the generation into which Richler and his characters were born. This generation is marked not only by the Holocaust, but also by the unbelievable outcome of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. At once haunted by the ghosts of the past and stalked by the new expectations of the present, Richler’s protagonists employ displacement to reconcile themselves to competing notions of what it means to be a Jewish man in the second half of the 20th century.