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Courses / Modules / ENGL3045 Post-War American Jewish Literature

Post-War American Jewish Literature

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Devorah Baum
Academic year

Module overview

Although not much more than a century old, American Jewish literature has exerted an enormous influence throughout its short history, and the Jewish writer has nowhere been more accommodated into the mainstream than in the place that the Anglo-Jewish author Israel Zangwill first called the “melting pot”. Creatively speaking, Jews seem to have enjoyed something of a golden age in America. But how settled is the American experience in reality? Is America, as a number of early Jewish immigrants to the ‘New World’ imagined, an alternative promised land for the Jews? Or is it another place of transition in a life of wandering? Concentrating on fiction after WWII, this module will consider in what ways the Jewish writer has been able to survive and rebuild after the Shoah in America. It will also consider to what extent these writers have chosen or been compelled to continue or discontinue or reinvent their previous Jewish legacies and affinities. We will examine how the Jewish writer has managed to blend the specificity of their Jewish identity within the larger narrative of America as a whole, and we will also explore a range of issues including religion, secularism, gender, sexuality, migration, race, nationalism, metropolitanism, comedy, transgression and the avant-garde.

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