With a Foreword by Alan Mintz
"In this wondrous volume, Michael Weingrad unfolds a lost world of American Hebrew literature. He introduces its leading figures, lays bare its central preoccupations, and translates or summarizes some of its most admired writings. Replete with exciting discoveries and tantalizing suggestions, American Hebrew Literature breathes new life into long-forgotten works and serves as a groundbreaking introduction to a literature that few until now have properly appreciated."
—Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University
"Michael Weingrad’s fascinating
history of the flourishing of Hebrew
literature in America from 1915–1925
is most timely and needed. With great
learning and lucidity and passion,
Weingrad brings to life this ‘counterhistory’
of émigré authors who refused
the typical path of Jewish assimilation
to the United States."
—Ross Posnock, Columbia University
Over the last one hundred years, the story of Jews in the United States
has been, by and large, one of successful and enthusiastic Americanization.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews began the twentieth century as
new arrivals in a foreign land yet soon became shapers and definers of
American culture itself. One of the clearest expressions of this transformation
has been the quick linguistic march of immigrant Jews and their
children from Yiddish to English.
In this book, Weingrad presents a counter-history of American Jewish
culture, one that tells the story of literature written by a group whose core
identity was neither American nor Jewish American. These writers were
ardently and nationalistically Jewish and, despite adopting a new country,
their linguistic and cultural allegiance was to the Hebrew language.
Producing poetry, short fiction, novels, essays, and journals, writers such
as Shimon Halkin, Hillel Bavli, and Gabriel Preil sought to express a Jewish
cultural nationalism through literature.
Weingrad explores Hebrew literature in the United States from the
emergence of a group of writers connected with the Hebraist movement
in the early twentieth century to the present. Radically expanding
and challenging our conceptions of American and Jewish identities in
literature, the author offers wide-ranging cultural analyses and thoughtful
readings of key works. American Hebrew Literature restores a lost piece
of the canvas of Hebrew literature and Jewish culture in the twentieth
century and invites readers to reimagine Jewish-American writers of our
View other books in the series Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art
Michael Weingrad is professor of Judaic studies at Portland State
University. He has published articles in Prooftexts, Jewish Social Studies,
AJS Review, Commentary, the Jewish Review of Books, and other
6 x 9, 280 pages, notes, bibliography, index