Chaim Potok

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  • Born: February 17, 1929
  • Died: July 23, 2002
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Author

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Chaim Potok was an American Jewish author and rabbi. His first book The Chosen (1967), was listed on The New York Times’ best seller list for 39 weeks and sold more than 3,400,000 copies.

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A book is sent out into the world, and there is no way of fully anticipating the responses it will elicit. Consider the responses called forth by the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare - let alone contemporary poetry or a modern novel. Literature, Writers & Writing
A non-fiction writer pretty much has the shape of the figure in front of him or her and goes about refining it. A work of non-fiction is not as difficult to write as a work of fiction, but it's not as satisfying in the end. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
All of us grow up in particular realities - a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we're brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it. Families, Children & Parenting
And these two elements are at odds with one another because Freud is utterly adversary to almost all the ways of structuring the human experience found in Western religions. No Western religion can countenance Freud's view of man. Religion & God
And yet there are some magnificent things from Freud, profound insights into the nature of man. Nature
As a species we are always hungry for new knowledge. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
But today we become aware of other readings of the human experience very quickly because of the media and the speed with which people travel the planet. Travel
Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.
Each work seems to give me the most trouble at the time I'm working on it. Time ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere. Citizenship & Patriotism
I don't work on my Sabbath. I write five-and-a-half or six days a week. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I get up around 6:30. I work from about 8:00 to 1:00, take a break for lunch, work again until about 5:00, and then go for a long walk and have dinner. Then, if my wife and I have no previous plans, we decide what to do for the evening. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I think most serious writers, certainly in the modern period, use their own lives or the lives of people close to them or lives they have heard about as the raw material for their creativity.
I think that to a very great extent we are partners with the divine in this enterprise called history. That is an ongoing relationship, and there is absolutely no guarantee that things will automatically work out to our best advantage. History ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I think the hardest part of writing is revising. And by that I mean the following: A novelist has to create the piece of marble and then chip away to find the figure in it.
If I had a plot that was all set in advance, why would I want go through the agony of writing the novel? A novel is a kind of exploration and discovery, for me at any rate.
I'm constantly revising. Once the book is written and typed, I go through the entire draft again.
I'm not altogether certain that a fundamentalism of necessity has to argue that it is the only reading of the human experience in order to stay alive.
In other words, Judaism is not Calvinism.
It is impossible to fuse totally with a culture for which you feel a measure of antagonism.
It is inconceivable to me that a million or three million or half a million human beings will think and feel precisely the same way on any single subject.
There is in my work a very strong religious foreground and background. In the later work some of that tends to diminish, but it's certainly present in the early work. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
To the extent that I come from a deeply religious tradition and have been contending with those beginnings all of my life - that constitutes the subject of much of my early fiction. Life
Two hundred or more years ago most people on the planet were never aware of any reality other than the one into which they were brought up.
Well, in The Chosen, Danny Saunders, from the heart of his religious reading of the world, encounters an element in the very heart of the secular readings of the world - Freudian psychoanalytic theory.
Well, one hopes that if you're really related to the core of your particular culture, you have profound commitments to it, and that you are aware of how much you can strain it before you do violence to its essential nature. Nature
What I have in advance are people I want to write about and a problem or problems that I see those people encountering and that I want to explore - it all proceeds sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, and scene by scene.
Yes, there is some thought about making a film of My Name Is Asher Lev.