Review by Choice Review
This encyclopedic collection appears at an opportune time. For most of the 20th century, the literature that addressed the experience of Jews usually traced the historic dynamics that transformed an Eastern European Yiddish-speaking people, over a period of several decades, to quintessential Americans, fully acculturated to the novelties that confronted them in the US. The critical perspective on much Jewish American writing was mainly sociological, emphasizing the conflict between generations as the foundation story that animated fiction, drama, and poetry. The authors of the 14 perceptive essays in this volume assume that the literature should be contextualized and evaluated as integral to the literature and culture of the US. This results in fresh, comprehensive readings that cover the range of interactions between Jewish writers and their American cultural milieu. The essays, each with its own valuable bibliography, look at Judaism in the US, the legacy of Eastern European immigrants, Hebrew literature in America, Jews and popular culture, the Holocaust in the Jewish American literary imagination, Jewish poetics and literary theory, and the Jewish American renaissance. A helpful chronology lists significant cultural events in the history of American Jews from 1492 to 2001. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. Butovsky emeritus, Concordia University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.