Criticism: Yiddish Literature In America - Essay

Joseph C. Landis (essay date 1988)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Landis, Joseph C. “Yiddish Dreams in America.” In Handbook of American-Jewish Literature: An Analytical Guide to Topics, Themes, and Sources, edited by Lewis Fried, pp. 143-65. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.

[In the following essay, Landis chronicles the growth of Yiddish literature in America, focusing particularly on the image of the New World as represented in the writing and poetry.]

Collective dreams, unlike private ones, are a public affair and simpler to explore since their content tends to be more overt than latent. The wishes they reflect seem more obvious to the eye. It is not difficult to observe, however, that when wishes are held with such...

(The entire section is 9914 words.)

Matthew Frye Jacobson (essay date 1998)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jacobson, Matthew Frye. “‘The Quintessence of the Jew’: Polemics of Nationalism and Peoplehood in Turn-of-the-Century Yiddish Fiction.” In Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, edited by Werner Sollors, pp. 103-11. New York and London: New York University Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Jacobson discusses the changing nature of Jewish identity in America through the works of Cahan and other Yiddish writers.]

Among the first and most famous pieces of Yiddish literature in the United States is Yekl, Abraham Cahan's account of a tragicomic Russian Jew who wants nothing more than to become,...

(The entire section is 4609 words.)

Hana Wirth-Nesher (essay date spring 2001)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Wirth-Nesher, Hana. “‘Shpeaking Plain’ and Writing Foreign: Abraham Cahan's Yekl.Poetics Today 22, no. 1 (spring 2001): 41-63.

[In the following essay, Wirth-Nesher explores the intermingling of Yiddish literary tradition and American influences on Cahan's writing in his first English-language novel, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto.]

In 1896, fourteen years after immigrating to America from Lithuania at the age of twenty-two, Abraham Cahan published his first novel in English, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto. Despite his active career as a Yiddish journalist for the Socialist Yiddish weeklies Neuetseit and Arbeiter...

(The entire section is 9887 words.)