A DELUGE IN DISGUISE: THE STORY BEHIND NICOLE KRAUSS’ THE HISTORY OF LOVE

Open Access
Author:
Press, Brady Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
English
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Thesis Supervisor
  • Christopher Gervais Reed, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • The History of Love
  • Genesis
  • Nicole Krauss
  • Angels
  • Flood
  • Adam and Eve
  • Tower of Babel
Abstract:
How should we read Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love? This brilliant work about a Holocaust survivor is too intricate to simply read as a realist novel. Readers who take her words as common exaggerations miss the crucial and impactful themes that Krauss colors. What began as an examination of the novel’s use of water developed into my elaborate argument that Krauss is writing an updated version of the story of Genesis in The Bible in order to face the harsh reality of religious skepticism amongst the Jewish community after the Holocaust. By using Genesis as a template, she references the story of Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and smaller biblical elements while weaving together a genuine, fictional masterpiece. Her seemingly wacky characters are actually modern-day angels, exhibiting the presence of God’s messengers in everyday life, and her lonely protagonist, Leo Gursky, fulfills his time on earth in the novel’s final scene. This thesis tackles the intricacies of the novel which, by opening your mind and reading The History of Love in a mythical context, take a more interesting and complex form.