Jewish Gangsters of Modern Literature

Overview

In this vividly written study, Rachel Rubin posits the Jewish literary gangster -- a figure whose violence, transgressiveness, and ongoing internal conflict render him an important symbol of modernity -- as a locus for exploring questions of artistic power in the interwar years. Focusing specifically on the Russian writer Isaac Babel and Americans Mike Gold, Samuel Ornitz, and Daniel Fuchs, but also taking in cartoons, movies, and modernist paintings, Rubin casts the Jewish gangster as a favorite figure used by ...
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Overview

In this vividly written study, Rachel Rubin posits the Jewish literary gangster -- a figure whose violence, transgressiveness, and ongoing internal conflict render him an important symbol of modernity -- as a locus for exploring questions of artistic power in the interwar years. Focusing specifically on the Russian writer Isaac Babel and Americans Mike Gold, Samuel Ornitz, and Daniel Fuchs, but also taking in cartoons, movies, and modernist paintings, Rubin casts the Jewish gangster as a favorite figure used by left-wing Jewish writers to examine their own place in world history.
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Editorial Reviews

Hyam Maccoby
Writers who employed th image of the Jewish gangster did so in different ways. But Rachel Rubin has extracted from them an interesting chapter in the history of Jewish adaptation to modernity.
Times Literary Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252025396
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
A Note on Transliteration xiii
Introduction: Reading, Writing, and the Rackets 1
1. Imagine You Are a Tiger: A New Folk Hero in Babel's Odessa Tales 15
2. A Sordid Generation: Plundering Ethnic Culture in Samuel Ornitz's Haunch Paunch and Jowl 50
3. A Gang of Little Yids: Savage Jews in Mike Gold's Jews without Money 70
4. Business Is Business: The Death of the Gangster in Daniel Fuchs's Novels of the 1930s 119
Conclusion: The Gangster's Funeral 141
Notes 147
References Cited 167
Index 183
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