Hi, do you know any good books on "Antisemitism in American literature"? I need to write a paper of app. 80 pages on the subject. Thanx!!!Hi, do you know any good books on "Antisemitism in American...

Hi, do you know any good books on "Antisemitism in American literature"? I need to write a paper of app. 80 pages on the subject. Thanx!!!

Hi, do you know any good books on "Antisemitism in American literature"? I need to write a paper of app. 80 pages on the subject. Thanx!!!

Asked on by jewels09

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jk180's profile pic

James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I was a student in Germany (as a high school exchange student) for a year, long before I ever taught there or anywhere else. So both "gelernt" and "gelehrt" are valid. I'm glad that you're making progress on your project.

The idea about the family in "A Day's Wait" being Jewish refugess is interesting, but I think it's not a fully convincing idea without more evidence to support it. From what I can tell, that short story first appeared in print in 1933, which is the year that Hitler took power in Germany. The family in the story lived in France, but I'm not sure that they are French (or, for that matter, German). Rather, I suspect that the father of the story might be a fictional counterpart to Ernest Hemingway, who (as you know) lived abroad extensively in the early decades of the 20th century. That's my initial, unresearched view, at least. Maybe you can provide evidence to change it!

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Schoene Gruesse aus den USA, Julie! (Ich habe fast fuenf Jahre in Deutschland studiert und an einer deutschen Uni Amerikanistik gelehrt.)

Your topic sounds very good. Let me know what I can do to help you.

I will be happy to forward you an article or two as a pdf file (as an email attachment, if you send me your email address in a message through this site) and, aside from that, I can recommend that you use general internet search engines, such as Google and Google Books at http://books.google.com/

One of the books that I named in my first post, From Shylock to Svengali, is avalable (in limited fashion) at Google Books. Type the book title in the search field. You can read the full introductory chapter, for example. Of course, that book is on English literature, not American.

A good amount of the book The Image of the Jew in American Literature is similarly available at Google Books. You can read the entire introduction as well as parts of chapters througout the book.

Similarly, large sections of The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America are available at Google Books.

Using these keywords in a search at Google Books --

"american literature" antisemitism

-- yelds a number of other promising leads.

Google Books gives you real but limited access to legitimate print sources, complete with page numbers. You can cite these sources just as you would a printed book. (You may wish to explain to your professor, however, that you used Google Books and thus weren't able to read every single page that you might have liked to have read.)

As for how to develop an approach and start your paper, you might want to explore first the complexity of identifying and analyzing stereotypes in literature. What one reader sees as an offensive stereotype, another reader might see as an insightful portrait or as gifted satire. You do not have to take this approach, of course, but because you are an advanced student and are writing a long paper (is this a Magisterarbeit?), I recommend that you develop a framework for your discussion before you go on to examine a few specific literary works in detail.

When it comes to choosing specific literary works, I would encourage you to at least consider including something from the modernist period (c. 1915-30), such as Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises or some of the works by Ezra Pound. From a later period, some of the poems by Sylvia Plath may interest you (e.g. "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy"). Both Hemingway and Plath might be using the "Jew" as a metaphor for victimization, and Pound seems often to buy into the belief of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy centered around banking practices.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I don't know any books specifically on this topic approaching it from a theoretical standpoint, but a work of literature that I still remember deeply impacting me is The Plot Against America by Roth, which is an amazing "what if" kind of novel that looks at what could have happened if America had made different decisions and shown different sympathies during WWII. You might want to have a look at it.

jk180's profile pic

James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

This topic is very big, of course, and I'm sure that you'll encounter a number of useful sources.

The first link given below (commentarymagazine.com) leads to a review of one book (The Image of the Jew in American Literature) and substantial reference to a second, probably more sophisticated study (From Shylock to Svengali).

See the second link (muse.jhu.edu) for a review of The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America.

The third link (jstor.og) leads to the first page an article in the respected journal College English that should interest you: "Teaching Literary Antisemitism."

To access the full text of most or all of these resources, of course, you'll need to go through a library system, such as the one at your university. Get started now and use the inter-library loan service to get your hands on items that aren't in your library's holdings.

Also, search the MLA database (through your library's main page), using the key words "antisemitism" and "american." You'll get around 65 results, which is not too much to sort through one-by-one. You'll find some good items, I'm sure.

An interesting approach for a long research paper on this topic might be to focus on how two or more different critics define their terms (esp. "anti-semitism") and the degree to which they do or do not demonstrate familiarity with methods in literary studies. Some of the less sophisticated approaches will look simply for stereotypes and will claim that what they see as antisemitism in a particular literary work proves the antisemitism of that work's author. A more sophisticated approach, by contrast, might offer a thicker description of the historical context of the work or of the possiblity of multiple interpretations of that one work.

jewels09's profile pic

jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

Hi JK,

 

I haven't written in a while as I had o sit some exams. Now I am back to m paper.

The idea about "A day's wait" and the family being Jewish is mainly based on the fact that the father calls his son "Schatz" which is primarily a German word but secondly is found in Dictionaries of Jiddish language, too. So why would Hemingway have used that word then if he did not want to point out sth with it.

That's it so far. Could you please send me your email-address again, as I lost all of my data due to my computer....

 

Thanks and have a great Sunday,

 

Julie

jewels09's profile pic

jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

@Jk: Ich habe erst jetzt gesehen, dass da GELEHRT und nicht GELERNT steht. Huiui, ich habe also einen Vollprofi vor mir. Ich bin neu hier auf der Seite und habe das System noch nicht so durchschaut, aber ich freue mich jetzt schonmal, Sie gefunden zu haben!!

jewels09's profile pic

jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

Schoene Gruesse aus den USA, Julie! (Ich habe fast fuenf Jahre in Deutschland studiert und an einer deutschen Uni Amerikanistik gelehrt.)

Your topic sounds very good. Let me know what I can do to help you.

I will be happy to forward you an article or two as a pdf file (as an email attachment, if you send me your email address in a message through this site) and, aside from that, I can recommend that you use general internet search engines, such as Google and Google Books at http://books.google.com/

One of the books that I named in my first post, From Shylock to Svengali, is avalable (in limited fashion) at Google Books. Type the book title in the search field. You can read the full introductory chapter, for example. Of course, that book is on English literature, not American.

A good amount of the book The Image of the Jew in American Literature is similarly available at Google Books. You can read the entire introduction as well as parts of chapters througout the book.

Similarly, large sections of The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America are available at Google Books.

Using these keywords in a search at Google Books --

"american literature" antisemitism

-- yelds a number of other promising leads.

Google Books gives you real but limited access to legitimate print sources, complete with page numbers. You can cite these sources just as you would a printed book. (You may wish to explain to your professor, however, that you used Google Books and thus weren't able to read every single page that you might have liked to have read.)

As for how to develop an approach and start your paper, you might want to explore first the complexity of identifying and analyzing stereotypes in literature. What one reader sees as an offensive stereotype, another reader might see as an insightful portrait or as gifted satire. You do not have to take this approach, of course, but because you are an advanced student and are writing a long paper (is this a Magisterarbeit?), I recommend that you develop a framework for your discussion before you go on to examine a few specific literary works in detail.

When it comes to choosing specific literary works, I would encourage you to at least consider including something from the modernist period (c. 1915-30), such as Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises or some of the works by Ezra Pound. From a later period, some of the poems by Sylvia Plath may interest you (e.g. "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy"). Both Hemingway and Plath might be using the "Jew" as a metaphor for victimization, and Pound seems often to buy into the belief of a world-wide Jewish conspiracy centered around banking practices.

Hi JK,

 

Thanks again for your more than helpful post.

 

I have bought a few books by now.

I got "The Temple of Culture", "Between Race and Culture", "From Shylock to Svengali" and "American Literature and the Jews".

 

I really liked your idea to include poems although I am not too sure about Sylvia Plath. She does not elaborate on "the Jew" in the poems but seems to show her way of coping with the 3rd Reich - at least this is how I understood it but I might be wrong.

I do have the novel "the sun also rises" and meant to include it as you said. Actually this is how the whole topic started.

I am convinced that father and son in Hemingway's "A day's wait" are Jews who had to leave Europe due to the persecution of Jews - my prof, however, doubted that and dadaa: This is where the whole story started. Maybe it could be a nice approach to include that anyways and show that there is proof to it (also it is not about antisemitism but more about Jews in lit).

 

So far so good. At the moment, I still feel like I have no idea how to get that thing started but at least I am getting organized :o)

 

 

Julie

 

 

 

jewels09's profile pic

jewels09 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

This topic is very big, of course, and I'm sure that you'll encounter a number of useful sources.

The first link given below (commentarymagazine.com) leads to a review of one book (The Image of the Jew in American Literature) and substantial reference to a second, probably more sophisticated study (From Shylock to Svengali).

See the second link (muse.jhu.edu) for a review of The Temple of Culture: Assimilation and Anti-Semitism in Literary Anglo-America.

The third link (jstor.og) leads to the first page an article in the respected journal College English that should interest you: "Teaching Literary Antisemitism."

To access the full text of most or all of these resources, of course, you'll need to go through a library system, such as the one at your university. Get started now and use the inter-library loan service to get your hands on items that aren't in your library's holdings.

Also, search the MLA database (through your library's main page), using the key words "antisemitism" and "american." You'll get around 65 results, which is not too much to sort through one-by-one. You'll find some good items, I'm sure.

An interesting approach for a long research paper on this topic might be to focus on how two or more different critics define their terms (esp. "anti-semitism") and the degree to which they do or do not demonstrate familiarity with methods in literary studies. Some of the less sophisticated approaches will look simply for stereotypes and will claim that what they see as antisemitism in a particular literary work proves the antisemitism of that work's author. A more sophisticated approach, by contrast, might offer a thicker description of the historical context of the work or of the possiblity of multiple interpretations of that one work.

Hi JK180 - Thanks a lot for your helpful post.

 

The problem is just that I am from Germany - I have no access to jstor or similar library systems of the US. Our library has nothing on the topic as it is a bit exotic for German students to write a paper on Antisemitism in American Literature ( it is uch more likely to focus on Germany). Do you have any idea how I could get copies of the articles from Germany?

 

Thanks again for your help.

Additionally I did not actually understand the approach to the topic through the critics as you said. I would be very happy to have some good advice on how to start my paper and which approach would be the best as I am really at the very beginning.

 

Julie

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