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Golem and a Little Girl

Article in the Exhibition Catalogue GOLEM

Helene Wecker

I know a woman, a very deluded woman, who believes in the natural wisdom of children. To her, they are oracles who speak and act in holy innocence, free of the failures that accrue to us like clay as we grow older, the acclimatizations and indoctrinations, equivocations and cynicisms. Our children could repair the entire world, she says, if only we would let them, if only we would listen. She says this as, through the open window, we can hear the shrieks of her own boy and girl, the latest skirmish in their war.

We're afraid for our children, of course. We worry that this time, in this generation, we really have gone too far: The monsters we've created will run amok at last, loose among the children. So we create stories in which the innocence of children, their blamelessness, is their saving grace. Once upon a time we pitted them against slavering wolves in spinsters' dresses, and crooked witches with empty cauldrons. Then we wrote tales in which they had to escape the earth itself, after we, their guilty forerunners, transformed it and bent it to our will, with only the best of intentions.

I know why we tell these stories. They have power to give us solace, and even plan a way forward. But sometimes escapism can shade into self-delusion, a moral failure to tell the truth. The monsters we have built will not be toppled by innocence. I look at my own children, and I pray that they will fight the monsters and win. But I also wonder about the monsters that they themselves will create in the attempt.

Helene Wecker is an US-American writer. She worked for advertising and communication agencies before deciding to study creative writing at the Columbia University. Her first novel, The Golem and The Jinni, was published in 2013. Its sequel is scheduled for 2018.

Filmstill from the movie “The Golem, How He Came Into the World” by Paul Wegener:A child in a white dress hands an apple to the Golem.

The Golem, How He Came into the World (Filmstill)
Directed by Paul Wegener/Carl Boese
Written by Paul Wegener/Henrik Galeen, Germany, 1920
Photograph, 10 x 8 cm
Deutsches Filminstitut Frankfurt a.M./ Nachlass Paul Wegener - Sammlung Kai Möller

Citation recommendation:

Helene Wecker (2016), Golem and a Little Girl. Article in the Exhibition Catalogue GOLEM.

Golem als Actionfigur (Ausschnitt)

Online Edition of the GOLEM Catalog: Table of Contents

The Golem in Berlin – introduction by Peter Schäfer
Chapter 1
The Golem Lives On – introduction by Martina Lüdicke
My Light is Your Life – by Anna Dorothea Ludewig
Avatars – by Louisa Hall
The Secret of the Cyborgs – by Caspar Battegay
Chapter 2
Jewish Mysticism – introduction by Emily D. Bilski
Golem Magic – by Martina Lüdicke
Golem, Language, Dada – by Emily D. Bilski
Chapter 3
Transformation – introduction by Emily D. Bilski
Jana Sterbak’s Golem: Objects as Sensations – by Rita Kersting
Crisálidas (Chrysalises) – by Jorge Gil
Rituals – by Christopher Lyon
A Golem that Ended Well – by Emily D. Bilski
On the Golem – by David Musgrave
Louise Fishman’s Paint Golem – by Emily D. Bilski
Chapter 4
Legendary Prague – introduction by Martina Lüdicke
Golem Variations – by Peter Schäfer
Rabbi Loew’s Well-Deserved Bath – by Harold Gabriel Weisz Carrington
Chapter 5
Horror and Magic – introduction by Martina Lüdicke
Current page: Golem and a Little Girl – by Helene Wecker
The Golem with a Group of Children Dancing – by Karin Harrasser
Bringing the Film Set To Life – by Anna-Carolin Augustin
Golem and Mirjam – by Cathy S. Gelbin
Chapter 6
Out of Control – introduction by Emily D. Bilski
Golem—Man Awakened with Glowing Hammer – by Arno Pařík
Dangerous Symbols – by Charlotta Kotik
Be Careful What You Wish For – by Marc Estrin
Chapter 7
Doppelgänger – introduction by Martina Lüdicke
From the Golem-Talmud – by Joshua Cohen
Kitaj’s Art Golem – by Tracy Bartley
The Golem as Techno-Imagination? – by Cosima Wagner
See also
GOLEM – 2016, online edition with selected texts of the exhibition catalog
GOLEM – 2016, complete printed edition of the exhibition catalog, in German
Golem. From Mysticism to Minecraft – Online Feature, 2016
GOLEM – exhibition, 23 Sep 2016 to 29 Jan 2017

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