Creative Awakening: The Jewish Presence in Twentieth-century American Literature, 1900-1940s
Two themes predominate in works written by Jews - the Americanization of the immigrant Jew despite social prejudice and racism, and social radicalism. Discusses the antisemitism of leading non-Jewish writers between 1900-18 (e.g., Edith Wharton, Jack London), and some works by philosemitic writers. Argues that most of the important non-Jewish writers in the 1920s were indifferent to social and political issues, but accepted the pervasive antisemitism of society. Notes the vulgar Jew-baiting of Pound, the social prejudice of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and the resistance to Jewish cultural influence of Eliot and Cather. During the 1930s, Jewish writers aimed at assimilation but were forced by antisemitism and racism to deal with Jewish themes. Pp. 124-132 focus on the controversy over Dreiser's antisemitism. Deals also with Jewish war novels showing widespread antisemitism in the armed forces, and discusses self-hating Jewish characters and the authors' identification with them.
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