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Home > Catalog > The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature
The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature


  • 5 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 720 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.14 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 810.9/8924
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: PS153.J4 C364 2015
  • LC Subject headings:
    • American literature--Jewish authors--History and criticism
    • Jews--United States--Intellectual life--History
    • Judaism and literature--United States--History
    • Judaism in literature
    • Jews in popular culture--United States

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9781107048201)

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$198.00 (R)

This History offers an unparalleled examination of all aspects of Jewish American literature. Jewish writing has played a central role in the formation of the national literature of the United States, from the Hebraic sources of the Puritan imagination to narratives of immigration and acculturation. This body of writing has also enriched global Jewish literature in its engagement with Jewish history and Jewish multilingual culture. Written by a host of leading scholars, The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature offers an array of approaches that contribute to current debates about ethnic writing, minority discourse, transnational literature, gender studies, and multilingualism. This History takes a fresh look at celebrated authors, introduces new voices, locates Jewish American literature on the map of American ethnicity as well as the spaces of exile and diaspora, and stretches the boundaries of American literature beyond the Americas and the West.


1. Encountering the idea of America Julian Levinson; 2. Encountering English Hana Wirth-Nesher; 3. Encountering native origins Rachel Rubinstein; 4. Immigration and modernity, 1900–45 Werner Sollors; 5. Making it into the mainstream, 1945–70 Benjamin Schreier; 6. New voices, new challenges, 1970–2000 Michael Wood; 7. Religious selfhood, 1870–1950 Shira Wolosky; 8. Secularity, sacredness, and Jewish American poets, 1950–2000 Maeera Y. Shreiber; 9. Yiddish American poetry Avraham Novershtern; 10. Yiddish theater in America Nahma Sandrow; 11. Jewish American drama Edna Nahshon; 12. Jews and film Jonathan Freedman; 13. Hebrew in America Michael Weingrad; 14. Ladino in US literature and song Monique Rodrigues Balbuena; 15. Writing and remembering Jewish Middle Eastern pasts Dalia Kandiyoti; 16. The ghost of the Holocaust in the construction of Jewish American literature Emily Miller Budick; 17. Israel in the Jewish American imagination Naomi Sokoloff; 18. Their New York: possessing the 'capital of words' Murray Baumgarten; 19. Spaces of Yidishkayt: New York in American Yiddish prose Mikhail Krutikov; 20. Landscapes: America and the Americas Sarah Phillips Casteel; 21. Across the border: Canadian Jewish writing Rebecca Margolis; 22. The role of the public intellectual in American culture Jesse Raber; 23. The caravan returns: Jewish American literary anthologies, 1935–2010 Wendy I. Zierler; 24. Poetics and politics of translation Anita Norich; 25. Jews on America's racial map Adam Zachary Newton; 26. Gender poetics in Jewish American poetry Kathryn Hellerstein; 27. Performance: queerly Jewish/Jewishly queer in the American theater Alisa Solomon; 28. Jewish American comic books and graphic novels Laurence Roth; 29. Jewish American popular culture Stephen J. Whitfield; 30. Jewish humor in America Marc Caplan; 31. Since 2000 Josh Lambert.


'… a masterly work of synthesis … marks a milestone in [the] institutionalization [of] Jewish-American writing …' Morris Dickstein, The Times Literary Supplement

'From a variety of perspectives, The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature provides an illuminating analysis of [the] points of intersection, a vibrant cultural landscape that has enriched America and invigorated Jewishness. This collection is a logical starting point for anyone interested in exploring this history.' Jarrod Tanny, The Review of Rabbinic Judaism

'… an unexpectedly coherent mosaic that stands as close to a complete picture of the history of Jewish American literature as we can imagine at this point in the early twenty-first century.' Joe Kraus, MELUS

'In the face of the multifarious creativity so richly documented in this expansive volume, no reasonable person could hold on to his or her skepticism. I use the term multifarious on purpose to underscore what I regard as one of the key choices in the conception of the volume: to go wide and eschew canonicity.' Alan Mintz, Studies in American Jewish Literature

'… we have in hand a Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature that embraces, with exquisite critical attention and traditional scholarly values, such diverse phenomena as the graphic novel, stand-up comedy, film and video, gender-bending performance art, and popular music …' Esther Schor, Studies in American Jewish Literature

'… this is a wonderful collection of essays, which extends our understanding of, and at times redefines, the field of Jewish American literature. The editor, Hana Wirth-Nesher, has done a fabulous job, assembling a stellar list of contributors and ensuring that … they engage afresh with their material, producing genuinely original work, rather than rehearsing previous research or living off former glories.' David Brauner, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies

'The volume is certainly rich and varied and expansive. To be sure, its thirty-one chapters treat familiar subjects like immigrant writing, Jewish American fiction at mid-century, Yiddish literature, New York City as a site for creative expression, overviews of Jewish American poetry, drama, popular culture, and humor. But not only. There are also sections that invite re-thinking of the geographic and linguistic boundaries of the field, thus expanding our idea of what 'Jewish American literature' (each term also under interrogation these days) represents as a subject of academic inquiry. In this respect the Cambridge History begins an important remapping of the field.' Donald Weber, Studies in American Jewish Literature

'… a study like The Cambridge History has the opportunity both to re-shape the canon of Jewish American literature and to offer readers new historiographical lenses through which to read familiar material.' Heather S. Nathans, Studies in American Jewish Literature

'… scholars who … read America with an enthusiastic but skeptical eye for its occasional flashes of Jewish significance have achieved the exact sorts of edifying and lively results that fill the pages of the Cambridge History.' Michael Hoberman, Studies in American Jewish Literature

“… captures both the vital and vitalizing multifariousness of the field and also the editor’s unique vision that gives that multifariousness a conceptual coherence …' Michael Kramer, Studies in American Jewish Literature

'The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature is indeed a landmark, a superior assortment of field-defining essays, and a testimony to scholarly activity and achievements in the rich transnational, transcultural, polylingual field of Jewish American literature.' Cheryl Lester, Philip Roth Studies


Julian Levinson, Hana Wirth-Nesher, Rachel Rubinstein, Werner Sollors, Benjamin Schreier, Michael Wood, Shira Wolosky, Maeera Y. Shreiber, Avraham Novershtern, Nahma Sandrow, Edna Nahshon, Jonathan Freedman, Michael Weingrad, Monique Rodrigues Balbuena, Dalia Kandiyoti, Emily Miller Budick, Naomi Sokoloff, Murray Baumgarten, Mikhail Krutikov, Sarah Phillips Casteel, Rebecca Margolis, Jesse Raber, Wendy I. Zierler, Anita Norich, Adam Zachary Newton, Kathryn Hellerstein, Alisa Solomon, Laurence Roth, Stephen J. Whitfield, Marc Caplan, Josh Lambert

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