The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature by Hana Wirth-Nesher, Michael P. Kramer

By Hana Wirth-Nesher, Michael P. Kramer

Jewish americans produced essentially the most very important writing within the U.S. within the 20th century. This significant other addresses the distinct Jewish American contribution to American literary feedback, poetry and pop culture. It establishes the broadest attainable context for the dialogue of Jewish American id because it intersects with the corpus of yankee literature. that includes a chronology and consultant to extra interpreting, the quantity is effective to students and scholars alike.

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The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature (Cambridge Companions to Literature)

Jewish american citizens produced the most very important writing within the U. S. within the 20th century. This significant other addresses the specified Jewish American contribution to American literary feedback, poetry and pop culture. It establishes the broadest attainable context for the dialogue of Jewish American identification because it intersects with the corpus of yank literature.

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So why did He open with, “In the beginning”? Because of this: “He hath declared to His people the power of His works, to give them the heritage of the nations” [Psalms 111:6]. So if the nations of the world would say to Israel, “You are thieves, since you have conquered the lands of the seven nations,” they could say to them: “The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He created it and gave it to whom He saw fit. ” But Rashi, the quintessential medieval Jewish exegete, did not think so.

Yet as much as Jews viewed America as an expression of Jewish values, they transformed Judaism in accord with American principles into a religion of democracy. If European Judaism signified a backward, Orthodox religiosity, America meant freedom within Judaism to develop liberal religious expressions, and to do so by means of a democratic process. What that meant was eliminating the role of chief rabbi and strengthening the control of laity over rabbis’ decisions regarding liturgy and ritual that, in Europe, had been 32 Imagining Judaism in America under rabbinic authority.

If early Jewish literary historiography is haunted by the question of continuity, the American quest for literary nationality is fueled by the ideological imperative of autochthony. Again and again in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries we hear the obsessive call for American writers to throw off the chains of European influence. “We have listened too long,” Emerson wrote, “to the courtly muses of Europe” (“The American Scholar,” 62). As if it were possible to imagine American literature as anything but a branch of English literature.

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