The Making of American Jewish Identities in Postwar American Fiction

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Contribution to Book

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The second half of the twentieth century saw a flourishing of American Jewish fiction. Writers such as Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth emerged in rapid succession and re-imagined the possibilities, not only for Jewish writing, but for literary expression in America. The years directly following the Second World War saw the publication of exceptional debut works of fiction from writers who would go on to influence generations of American novelists: Saul Bellow's Dangling Man, published in 1944; Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, published in 1948 to stunningly enthusiastic reviews; Bernard Malamud's The Natural and Philip Roth's novella and collection of stories Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories, published in 1952 and 1959, respectively. While Bellow, Mailer, Malamud and Roth might be thought of as the central Jewish literary figures of this time, a considerable number of American Jewish writers made their literary debuts in the two decades following the Second World War, writers who would contribute to a burgeoning literary tradition and would come to define a rich and creative cultural and intellectual era in America. In doing so, these writers fashioned a uniquely and distinctively transformed Jewish presence in American fiction, one that would metamorphose not only Jewish writing in America but American literature at large.


David Brauner & Axel Stähler


Edinburgh University Press





Publication Information

The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction

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