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Shechner to read from his White Whale tale "Call Me Moishe" tonight

For over four decades, University at Buffalo English professor emeritus Mark Shechner has been one of the leading teacher-critics ever to grace the Buffalo area literary scene, and a nationally-prominent authority and scholar on the writings of James Joyce, Philip Roth, Isaac Rosenfeld, and the entire canon of 20th century to present-day Jewish-American writers from Sholem Aleichem to Louis Zukofsky.

Among his most influential critical writings are "Joyce in Nighttown: A Psychoanalytic Inquiry into Ulysses" (1974), "After the Revolution: Studies in the Contemporary Jewish American Imagination" (1987), "Preserving the Hunger: An Isaac Rosenfeld Reader" (1988) and the provocatively titled
"Up Society's Ass, Copper: Rereading Philip Roth" (2003).  Next year, Wayne State University Press will publish "The New Diaspora: The Changing Face of Jewish Writing In America," an anthology of contemporary Jewish writing he is co-editing with Victoria Aarons and Avinoam Patt,

Since retiring from active teaching at UB in 2009, Shechner has also had the opportunity to pursue his own fiction writing, including a now completed project he is unveiling locally tonight at 7 p.m. at Hallwalls  Cinema, 341 Delaware Ave. (near Tupper St.) as the guest of UB's Exhibit X Fiction Series.

"Call Me Moishe: The True Confessions of a White Whale" is what Shechner wryly describes as "a rewriting of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick from below the water line," and "an exercise in 'history from below' that asks (then answers) the question, 'Can the submerged speak?'"

Portions of Shechner's tongue-in-cheek inversion of the Melville classic were published last year in the Texas Review, and are available online here, but if you actually want to hear him give voice to the most overdetermined metaphor and sinister symbolic presence in all of American literature, Hallwalls is your ticket tonight.  The event is free and open to the public. 

--R.D. Pohl

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