Red, Black, And Jew

Red, Black, And Jew

by Stephen Katz


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Between 1890 and 1924, more than two million Jewish immigrants landed on America’s shores. The story of their integration into American society, as they traversed the difficult path between assimilation and retention of a unique cultural identity, is recorded in many works by American Hebrew writers. Red, Black, and Jew illuminates a unique and often overlooked aspect of these literary achievements, charting the ways in which the Native American and African American creative cultures served as a model for works produced within the minority Jewish community. Exploring the paradox of Hebrew literature in the United States, in which separateness, and engagement and acculturation, are equally strong impulses, Stephen Katz presents voluminous examples of a process that could ultimately be considered Americanization. Key components of this process, Katz argues, were poems and works of prose fiction written in a way that evoked Native American forms or African American folk songs and hymns. Such Hebrew writings presented America as a unified society that could assimilate all foreign cultures. At no other time in the history of Jews in diaspora have Hebrew writers considered the fate of other minorities to such a degree. Katz also explores the impact of the creation of the state of Israel on this process, a transformation that led to ambivalence in American Hebrew literature as writers were given a choice between two worlds. Reexamining long-neglected writers across a wide spectrum, Red, Black, and Jew celebrates an important chapter in the history of Hebrew belles lettres.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780292723566
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication date: 07/01/2009
Series: Jewish Life, History, and Culture
Pages: 364
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

STEPHEN KATZ is Professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter One. Encountering Native Americans: B. N. Silkiner's Mul ohel TimmuraChapter Two. Facing the Sunset: Israel Efros on Native AmericansChapter Three. To Be as Others: E. E. Lisitzky's Representation of Native AmericansChapter Four. Fantasy or Plain Folk: Imagining Native AmericansChapter Five. Child's Play: Hillel Bavli's "Mrs. Woods" and the Indian in American Hebrew LiteratureChapter Six. Red Heart, Black Skin: E. E. Lisitzky's Encounters with African American Folksong and PoetryChapter Seven. From Prop to Trope to Real Folks: Blacks in Hebrew LiteratureChapter Eight. Representing African Americans: The Realistic TrendChapter Nine. The Language of Alienation: The Anxiety of an Americanized HebrewChapter Ten. Singing the Song of Zion: American Hebrew Literature and IsraelConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

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