Jewish Americans have produced some of the most imaginative, provocative, and widely read literary works of the twentieth century. These works reflect the hopes and dreams of Jewish Americans, as well as their challenges and troubles. These works help students understand the cultural and historical events central to Jewish Americans in the twentieth century. This book gives an introduction to ten masterpieces of Jewish American Literature.
An introductory chapter discusses the backgrounds of Jewish American literature, including Jewish literary traditions, Jewish life in America, the history of Jewish American literature, and the importance of anti-semitism, the Holocaust, and the State of Israel to the Jewish American imagination. The chapters that follow cover ten major works of Jewish American literature, including: The Rise of David Levinky, by Abraham Cahan Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska Jews without Money, by Michael Gold Call It Sleep, by Henry Roth The Old Bunch, by Meyer Levin The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow The Assistant, by Bernard Malamud The Chosen, by Chiam Potok Portnoy's Complaint, by Philip Roth And The Messiah of Stockholm, by Cynthia Ozick. Each chapter provides biographical information, a plot summary, a discussion of characters, an analysis of themes, an examination of narrative style, an exploration of historical context, and suggestions for further reading. The volume closes with a selected, general bibliography.