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ENGLISH 145D. Jewish American Literature. 5 Units.

From its inception, Jewish-American literature has taken as its subject as well as its context the idea of ¿Jewishness¿ itself. Jewish culture is a diasporic one, and for this reason the concept of ¿Jewishness¿ differs from country to country and across time. What stays remarkably similar, though, is Jewish self-perception and relatedly Jewish literary style. This is as true for the first-generation immigrant writers like Isaac Bashevis Singer and Anzia Yezierska who came to the United States from abroad as it is for their second-generation children born in the United States, and the children of those children. In this course, we will consider the difficulties of displacement for the emigrant generation and their efforts to sustain their cultural integrity in the multicultural American environment. We¿ll also examine the often comic revolt of their American-born children and grandchildren against their (grand-)parents¿ nostalgia and failure to assimilate. Only by considering these transnational roots can one understand the particularity of the Jewish-American novel in relation to mainstream and minority American literatures. In investigating the link between American Jewish writers and their literary progenitors, we will draw largely but not exclusively from Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe.
Same as: AMSTUD 145D, JEWISHST 155D, REES 145D