Jerome Weidman Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

ph_0111207212-Weidman.jpg Jerome Weidman Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Jerome Weidman’s published works include plays, essays, travelogues, more than twenty novels, autobiographical sketches, one autobiographical volume, and numerous short-story collections and uncollected short stories. He is probably best known for his dramatic scripts, including the musicals Fiorello! (produced in 1959, published in 1960) and Tenderloin (produced in 1960, published in 1961), done in collaboration with George Abbott, and a musical version of his first novel, I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1937), produced and published in 1962.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

As a fiction writer, Jerome Weidman is known best for his unpleasant, sometimes brutal, portrayal of Jewish characters in novels such as I Can Get It for You Wholesale and What’s in It for Me? (1938), and in short stories such as “The Kinnehórrah,” “Chutzbah,” and “The Horse That Could Whistle ‘Dixie.’” He portrays characters more sensitively in his novels Fourth Street East: A Novel of the Way It Was (1971) and The Enemy Camp (1958) and in his stories ”My Father Sits in the Dark” and “Movable Feast.” Many of the settings in his novels and short stories are drawn from the areas in which he grew up—New York’s Lower East Side and the Bronx, and many of the activities his characters pursue are drawn from his own experiences as a child growing up in the slums and from his experiences as an office boy, an accountant, a law student, and a writer. Weidman won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for his collaboration on Fiorello!


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Bannon, Barbara A. “Authors and Editors.” Publishers Weekly 196 (July 28, 1969): 13-15. Uses the publication of Weidman’s The Center of the Action as a starting point for a treatment of his literary career. The article discusses aspects of the relationship between Weidman’s fiction and his life. Accompanied by a photograph of Weidman.

Barkham, John. “The Author.” Saturday Review 45 (July 28, 1962): 38-39. This interview, concerning Weidman’s fiction and theater work, accompanies a review of Weidman’s novel The Sound of Bow Bells. Barkham’s essay examines some of Weidman’s ideas about the way stories should be written and treats Weidman’s daily schedule as a writer. A photograph of Weidman accompanies the review.

Blicksilver, Edith. “Jerome Weidman.” In Twentieth-Century American-Jewish Fiction Writers, edited by Daniel Walden. Vol. 28 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1984. Entry on Weidman’s life and prolific body of works.

Hawtree, Christopher. “Chronicles of the Lower East Side.” The Guardian, October 20, 1998, p. 22. A brief sketch of Weidman’s life and literary career; concludes with a comment on his story “Monsoon,” which he compares to a story by Eudora Welty in its treatment of racism.

Liptzin, Sol. The Jew in American Literature. New York: Bloch, 1966. This volume discusses Weidman in the context of American literature. Liptzin briefly compares Weidman to Budd Schulberg in connection with their treatment of “the Jewish go-getter” and of “unpleasant Jewish money-grubbers.”

Sarafin, Steven R., ed. “Jerome Weidman.” In Encyclopedia of American Literature. New York: Continuum, 1999. Overview of Weidman’s writing career.

Sherman, Bernard. The Invention of the Jew: Jewish-American Education Novels, 1916-1964. New York: Yoseloff, 1969. Treats Weidman’s I Can Get It for You Wholesale as a rogue-hero novel. Sherman places the work in a tradition beginning with The Rise of David Levinsky by Abraham Cahan and running through Haunch, Paunch, and Jowl by Samuel Ornitz and What Makes Sammy Run (1941) by Budd Schulberg.

Weidman, Jerome. “Interview with Jerome Weidman.” Interview by John Barkman. Saturday Review 45 (July 28, 1962): 38-39. Weidman discusses his literary career and his intent as a writer.

Weidman, Jerome. Interview by Lisa See. Publishers Weekly 230 (September 12, 1986): 72-73. Uses the publication of Weidman’s autobiographical volume, Praying for Rain, as a point of departure for surveying his literary career. Also treats some of Weidman’s ideas about composition. Includes a photograph of Weidman.