Roy Schwartz says he’s deeply honored to win the Diagram award for the weirdest title of the year for his book Superman circumcised?
“Anyone can win the Pulitzer. It’s something special,” said the New York author. As it happens host Carol Off.
The Diagram Prize is an annual competition run by the UK trade publication Bookseller, where users can vote for the strangest title of a book published in the past year. Last year went to Canadian anthropologist Gregory Forth for his book A dog peeing by the side of a path, on Indonesian animal metaphors.
The content of the book does not matter. The organizers don’t even read them. In an interview with As it happens last year, the Diagram Prize coordinator, Tom Tivnan, presented it as “the purest literary prize there is.”
Schwartz beat suitors such as The Russian way of life; Miss, I don’t care; and Hats: A very unnatural story.
âThe competition was tough, but I’m glad she took up the challenge,â he said.
“The subject is serious”
But don’t be fooled by the title. Schwartz’s is a well-documented, serious work of non-fiction.
âThe headline is cheeky and playful, and it’s meant to be fun and kind of signal that even though the topic is serious, it’s still fun read, and I don’t take myself seriously,â he said. declared.
He says the true nature of the text is summed up in the caption: The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero.
“The medium of the comic book is a Jewish invention, and the superhero genre is a Jewish invention, just like jazz is an African-American invention. And I wanted to explore both the historical context and the thematic content.” , did he declare.
Superman’s origin story is that of Moses.-Roy Schwartz, author of Is Superman Cirumcised?
Superman debuted in Action comics Number 1 in 1938, and was designed by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, both Jewish.
Superman’s character, aka Clark Kent, is canonically Christian. But Schwartz maintains that his stories and themes are deeply rooted in Jewish culture and tradition.
“The easiest thing to point out – and it was pointed out before me – is that Superman’s origin story is that of Moses. It’s a baby that was put in a ship to save it from destruction. imminent of his people and sent adrift to an unknown fate, “he said.
“He stands, you know, in the midst of thick vegetation, he was raised by people who are not his own with a new name, and as an adult he takes it upon himself to become a great savior. . “
And Superman made his debut on the cusp of WWII amid the rise of Nazism in Germany.
âSiegel explains in detail how the rise of Nazism in Europe and domestic anti-Semitism in America – which was far more important than what collective memory likes to recognize here – really was the impetus to create this character,â a- he declared.
âBefore he was known as the Man of Steel, he was known as the Champion of the Underdog. And before he saved the world from alien invasions, he really took on the tyrants of the world, including many, many positions. Nazi-ins, and then comes war, the real Nazis. “
So why not just write it down as Jewish?
âThe thing to do in 1938, when Superman made his debut, had to pass. The idea that a character was Jewish was a mistake. It wouldn’t even occur to them, much less something than an editor. would touch, âhe said.
Schwartz says the book actually answers the question posed in the title – but “it’s a very Jewish answer, which is to say: [it] depends.”
âThere is a fictional Superman and a real Superman. And the fictional Superman is an alien from planet Krypton. He grew up in Kansas. He is chronically Christian, generally Methodist or Protestant. He is not Jewish,â a- he declared.
âBut there is also a real Superman, who is a fictional character in the real world, in our world, and this character is very Jewish. He was created by Jews. He was manipulated by Jews for the most part. of his life. And it is very rich in Jewish themes and symbolism. “
Superman circumcised? was published by McFarland & Company in 2021.
Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview conducted by Kate Cornick.