New Essays on Call It Sleep

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Henry Roth's Call It Sleep, praised when it first appeared in the 1930s, neglected for decades, and reissued to wide acclaim in the 1960s, has been finally hailed as the finest Jewish-American novel of the first half of the century and one of the richest modernist novels to appear in America. The introduction by Hana Wirth-Nesher locates the novel in its cultural context and in terms of contemporary debates about ethnic literature, minority writing, and the problem of representativeness. Leslie Fiedler, who played an instrumental role in the book's reissuance, offers a new reading in light of the work's canonization. Mario Materassi traces the controversial history of its reception, and Ruth Wisse connects the immigration theme with the existential hero. Each of the following three essays addresses the question of modernism from a different perspective: Brian McHale focuses on Roth's modernist rather than postmodernist poetic, Karen Lawrence on the maternal and paternal powers that forge the inner life so basic to the modernist novel, and Werner Sollors on the "ethnic modernism" of second-generation immigration literature. Thus the volume sets out to consider Roth's hybrid status - as an American writer, a Jewish writer, and a European modernist.
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Editorial Reviews

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" original and exciting ways push into new territory. It is to be read carefully and treasured." Jules Chametzky, Shofar
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521456562
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2009
  • Series: American Novel Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 The Many Myths of Henry Roth 17
3 Shifting Urbanscape: Roth's "Private" New York 29
4 The Classic of Disinheritance 61
5 Henry Roth in Nighttown, or, Containing Ulysses 75
6 Roth's Call It Sleep: Modernism on the Lower East Side 107
7 "A world somewhere, somewhere else," Language, Nostalgic Mournfulness, and Urban Immigrant Family Romance in Call It Sleep 127
Notes on Contributors 189
Selected Bibliography 191
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