restricted access The Rise (and fall) of David Levinsky: Performing Jewish American Heterosexuality

This essay examines Abraham Cahan's 1917 classic novel The Rise of David Levinsky through the lens of queer theory. The article suggests that Levinsky may be read as a queer character whose homoerotic desires must be suppressed as being incompatible with the larger project of Jewish American assimilation that Cahan's text is invested in. Focusing on how David carefully constructs his own persona via narration to establish himself as a masculine heterosexual American man, the essay highlights the power that compulsory heterosexuality exerts over the formation of David's identity and situates that force opposite multiple moments of queer desire that pervade the narrative.