Facing Black and Jew: Literature as Public Space in Twentieth-Century America (Cultural Margins)

Facing Black and Jew: Literature as Public Space in Twentieth-Century America (Cultural Margins)

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Adam Zachary Newton
Cambridge University Press, 7/15/1999
EAN 9780521658706, ISBN10: 0521658705

Paperback, 236 pages, 21.7 x 14 x 1.4 cm
Language: English

A reading of African American and Jewish American writers from Henry Roth and Ralph Ellison to Philip Roth and David Bradley. Reading the work of such writers alongside and through one another, Newton's book offers an original way of juxtaposing two major traditions in modern American literature, and rethinking the sometimes vexed relationship between two constituencies ordinarily confined to sociopolitical or media commentary alone. Newton combines Emmanuel Levinas's ethical philosophy and Walter Benjamin's theory of allegory in shaping an innovative kind of ethical-political criticism. Through artful, dialogical readings of Saul Bellow and Chester Himes, David Mamet and Anna Deavere Smith, and others, Newton seeks to represent American Blacks and Jews outside the distorting mirror of 'Black-Jewish Relations', and restrictive literary histories alike. A final chapter addresses the Black/Jewish dimension of the O. J. Simpson trial.

Introduction, Part I. The Space Between Black and Jew
Part II. History and Allegory
A Match Made in Shadow
1. 'An antiphonal game' and beyond
facing Call It Sleep and Invisible Man
2. 'Jew me sue me dont you black or white me'
the (ethical)politics of recognition in Saul Bellow and Chester Himes
3. Words Generally Spoil Things and Giving a Man a Final Say
facing history The Chaneysville Incident and Operation Shylock
4. Literaturized Blacks and Jews
or, Golems and Tar Babys
fates of recognition in John Edgar Wideman and Bernard Malamud
5. Black-Jewish inflations
face (off) in Mamet's Homicide and the O. J. Simpson trial
Postface Déja vu all over again
Ann Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror.