From the 1880s, when systematic pogroms in Russia led to massive emigration, there have been two themes in Jewish history - persecution, culminating in the holocaust, and the corresponding search for a place in the world, which led to emigration to America, the rise of Zionism and the emergence of the State of Israel. In spite of these factors, Jews throughout the world have maintained their sense of identity and their cohesion as a people. One factor which has enabled them to do this has been the formation of an ideological vision of themselves - a sense of Jewishness - and one major way in which this ideology expresses itself is through the contributions by Jews to literature and thought.
This book, originally published in 1982 by an established authority on Hebrew and Israeli literature, analyses the characteristics of the Jewish sense of identity as it appears in twentieth-century Jewish literature. It considers the work of a variety of authors who wrote in different periods and countries, and shows how their Jewish background pervades their writing. Some of the authors discussed are Franz Kafka, Osip Mandelstam, Henry Roth, Giorgio Bassani, S.Y. Agnon, Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer. This book will be particularly useful since a complete understanding of the Jews in the twentieth century can only be gained by appreciating their literary and intellectual achievements.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. A Jewish Literary Identity 2. The Immigrant Experience in America 3. A Brief Spring: In the German World Between the Wars 4. In the Eye of the Revolution: Russia 5. Hebrew Literature Between Exile and Home 6. Is There a French Jewish Literature? 7. From the Periphery to the Centre in America 8. On the Fringes of Europe: The Italian Scene 9. A New Beginning: Israeli Literature
Leon Israel Yudkin