Jewish East Side: 1881-1924

Overview

This book, originally published as The Old East Side, is a collection of literature and documents ranging from the autobiography of the sculptor Jacob Epstein and the novels of Abraham Cahan to the reporting of William Dean Howells and the fictional reconstruction of a vanished world by Henry Roth. The world is that of the old shtetl transplanted to a new, growing country, where “the ghetto” (in the years 1881-1924) was an unstable mixture of nostalgic elements and the pressures...

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Overview

This book, originally published as The Old East Side, is a collection of literature and documents ranging from the autobiography of the sculptor Jacob Epstein and the novels of Abraham Cahan to the reporting of William Dean Howells and the fictional reconstruction of a vanished world by Henry Roth. The world is that of the old shtetl transplanted to a new, growing country, where “the ghetto” (in the years 1881-1924) was an unstable mixture of nostalgic elements and the pressures of American economic and social reality.

The productivity, both intellectual and material, of the section of New York known as the East Side during those forty years around the turn of the twentieth century has become a legend among many Jews in this country and deserves to become better known to many more of other ethnic origins. The lower East Side was paradoxically a wilderness to be traversed and a portion of that “promised land” which had been glimpsed with so much hope from afar. To wonderfully talented and observant children, like Jacob Epstein, the streets there in the 1880s were as filled with excitement as those of the Arabian Nights. To serious philosophic young men like Morris Raphael Cohen, they were as challenging as the marketplace of Athens had once been to Socrates to achieve intellectual enlightenment and the improvement of the social order.

The conditions of abominable crowding and poverty described in the sociological tracts of Jacob Riis, Lillian Wald, and others are better known perhaps to the average reader than the accounts of such pleasures as the dancing schools, the Yiddish theaters, the cafes, the lectures, the literary ferment and activities, described in the pages of Abraham Cahan and Hutchins Hapgood. But all the views presented in The Jewish East Side, both dark and bright, are recognizably parts of the same picture. This book will be of value to sociologists, historians, researchers specializing in Judaic studies, and students of literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
Today, with problems of immigration and poverty still with us, it may seem that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The stories included are heartening and encourage one to think that the present problems, however insoluble they may seem, are likely, as in the past, to be muddled through without social earthquakes that have disrupted other countries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560008422
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Series: Library of Conservative Thought Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.86 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Milton Hindus, a founding member of the Brandeis University faculty, served as the Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities until his retirement. He is the author of Irving Babbitt, Literature and the Democratic Culture and has contributed to leading periodicals throughout the world.

Milton Hindus, a founding member of the Brandeis University faculty, served as the Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities until his retirement. He is the author of Irving Babbitt, Literature and the Democratic Culture and has contributed to leading periodicals throughout the world.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Introduction
Autobiography 1
Yekl 17
The Rise of David Levinsky 33
A Dreamer's Journey 39
Impressions and Experiences 51
The American Scene 65
Autobiography 81
How the Other Half Lives 93
The Children of the Poor 107
My Ten Years' War with the Slums 121
The Spirit of the Ghetto 127
Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty 167
Green Worlds 173
By the Waters of Manhattan 201
Call It Sleep 221
Windows on Henry Street 251
Neighborhood 257
Red Ribbon on a White Horse 265
The New Cosmopolis: A Book of Images 287
Acknowledgments 301
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