Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation / Edition 1

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In an attempt to lend a more nuanced ear to the ongoing dialogue between African and Jewish Americans, Emily Budick examines the works of a range of writers, critics, and academics from the 1950s through the 1980s. This study records conversations both explicit, such as essays and letters, and indirect, such as the fiction of Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin. The purpose is to understand how this dialogue has engendered misperceptions and misunderstandings, and how blacks and Jews in America have both sought and resisted assimilation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Budick's book is a worthy addition to the quickly growing list of texts redefining the study of Black-Jewish relations." Jeffrey Melnick, American Studies

"Emily Budick begins this important book by challenging the cultural myth that in their struggle against social injustice, American Jews and blacks enjoyed a special alliance that went awry in the 1960s." Michael Nowlin, American Literature

"...the book eloquently voices a theme that runs throughout African American and Jewixh American relations...The most important contribution of Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation lies in its thorough, thoughtful tracing of these dialogues as it works out, in essay form, the vicissitudes of black-Jewixh relations." Contemporary Literature

Library Journal
Budick American literature, Hebrew Univ. has written a complex work on the vexing relationship between American and Jewish American writers during the last half of the century. Describing American culture as basically biracial, she discusses nonfiction and fiction to show the various readings and misreadings each community gives the other. Along the way, she illuminates many existing controversies and highlights the emotional and intellectual distress raised when people attempt to compare issues like the political meaning of American slavery with the Holocaust. Fiction by Malamud, Bellows, Roth, Morrison, Himes, and Walker are used as guideposts. As an Israeli Jew, Budick brings an added objectivity and sensitivity to the argument. An interesting study, mixing political, historical, and literary ideas; recommended for literature collections.--Gene Shaw, NYPL
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Mutual textual criticism of Black-Jewish Identity; 2. Crisis and commentary in African-Jewish American relations; 3. Race, homeland, and the construction of Jewish American identity; 4. Cultural autonomy, supersessionism, and the Jew in African American fiction; 5. 'The anguish of the other'; On the mutual displacements, appropriations, and accomodations of culture.

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