Red, Black, and Jew: New Frontiers in Hebrew Literature by Stephen Katz

By Stephen Katz

Among 1890 and 1924, greater than million Jewish immigrants landed on America's beaches. the tale in their integration into American society, as they traversed the tricky course among assimilation and retention of a different cultural identification, is recorded in lots of works by way of American Hebrew writers. "Red, Black, and Jew" illuminates a distinct and sometimes neglected point of those literary achievements, charting the ways that the local American and African American artistic cultures served as a version for works produced in the minority Jewish neighborhood. Exploring the anomaly of Hebrew literature within the usa, during which separateness, and engagement and acculturation, are both powerful impulses, Stephen Katz provides voluminous examples of a strategy that can finally be thought of Americanization. Key parts of this procedure, Katz argues, have been poems and works of prose fiction written in a manner that evoked local American types or African American people songs and hymns. Such Hebrew writings awarded the US as a unified society that may assimilate all overseas cultures. At no different time within the historical past of Jews in diaspora have Hebrew writers thought of the destiny of alternative minorities to this kind of measure. Katz additionally explores the impression of the production of the nation of Israel in this approach, a change that ended in ambivalence in American Hebrew literature as writers got a decision among worlds. Re-examining long-neglected writers throughout a large spectrum, "Red, Black, and Jew" celebrates a massive bankruptcy within the background of Hebrew belles lettres.

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Extra resources for Red, Black, and Jew: New Frontiers in Hebrew Literature (Jewish History, Life, and Culture)

Sample text

I fled from the place of my double calamity to a distant and cold city. But from there I began to greatly miss that parcel of land I left behind, the quiet and sun-drenched Maryland fields. Long ago I read a legend. It was the tale of an Englishman who happened upon an Indian village in those very fields and whom the head of the village wanted for his daughter, Lalari. And she, too, wanted him, until he revealed to her that his bride awaits him beyond the sea to return with a handful of gold to obtain her noble parents’ approval.

In either case, the outcome is the same: the physical or cultural annihilation of the Other and his assimilation into the American mainstream. Facing the Sunset 33 In spite of the poet’s insistence on calling it and the subsequent Zahav (Gold) by the term “shirim,” poems, this composition is also a poema, albeit unlike Silkiner’s. In place of the latter’s emphasis on the mythic, this tale is fixed in a recognizably realistic environment and situation. Efros’s language is more lucid, the narrative organized, and the plot accessible.

He asks Lalari about the Indians’ gold, of which he has heard many tales. She takes him to the wreck of a galleon, showing him the Spanish gold left untouched by her people, and then leaves him. With riches in hand, Tom returns to England, abandoning a pregnant Lalari to discover that the girl back home did not wait for him. Lalari gives birth to a stillborn child whom she buries. Tom, who has just returned, attempts to rekindle their relationship, but Lalari takes her own life, leaving Tom to mourn her death and, all too belatedly, regret his ways.

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