Prufrock's Page

Thursday, November 24, 2005

On Jewish-American Literature

"I had no idea of what Jewish fiction should be, or even if it should be. Hemingway (with his fondness for the word 'kike') and Fitzgerald (also not above the occasional slur, despite occasional bouts of semitophilia) were my idea of American fiction writers. To the extent that an American author of Jewish birth could match their achievements, fine.

"I put aside my preconceptions and prejudices and experienced the exhilaration of reading Augie March, the splendor of Bellow’s achievement standing as it does as a bridge between the 19th century novel with its echoes of Dickens and the 20th century, speaking in a voice and language completely American yet completely his own. In Roth, I found an heir to Franz Kafka, Isaak Babel, Nikolai Gogol and Lenny Bruce. I reveled in the humor, wit and prodigious talent manifest in his novels, continuing to this day, a run without parallel in American literature...But more remarkable than Roth and Bellow — who, let’s face it, are remarkable by any standard in any category — are all their contemporaries and all the American Jewish writers who have followed them. Jerzy Kosinski, Cynthia Ozick, Singer, to name but a few whose books have given me many pleasurable hours."

Musing on Who We Are, a collection of essays by Jewish-American writers, film producer and columnist Tommy Teicholz offers a personal overview of the subject.


  • Random thought: "Good As Gold" by Joseph Heller is about a guy who (forever) plans to write a book about the Jewish experience in USA.

    By Blogger shrik, at 1:25 PM  

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