American Naturalism and the Jews
Garland, Norris, Dreiser, Wharton, and Cather
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Table of Contents
I would like to thank Stephen Brennan, Richard Lehan, Joseph R. McElrath, Keith Newlin, Thomas P. Riggio, and Fannie Yoker for their comments and aid in connection with various parts of this book in the course of its preparation. Also, a special kind of thanks to the late John Higham for his groundbreaking studies ...
I have been writing for over fifty years about the generation of American writers who came to maturity in the 1890s and who are usually designated as naturalists. I have always been aware of the anti-Semitism present in the thinking of almost all of these writers, but since I believed that this was not a major element in their work, I put it aside. ...
1. Hamlin Garland
The discussion of Garland’s attitude toward the Jews that follows, I hasten to state at the beginning, is not an effort to paint him as an anti-Semite in any conventional sense of the term. Garland was not deeply preoccupied by the Jewish presence in American society for much of his career, and his comments about Jews lacked the rabid vehemence of the full-scale anti-Semite. ...
2. Frank Norris
Frank Norris’s racism, which includes one of the most vicious anti-Semitic portrayals in any major work of American literature, has long been an embarrassment to admirers of the vigor and intensity of his best fiction and has also contributed to the decline of his reputation during the past several generations. ...
3. Theodore Dreiser
Dreiser concerned himself fully with the Jewish presence in America only from the mid-1920s to his death in 1945; indeed, it was only in the last decade of that period that he became widely known as an anti-Semite. In addition, although Jews appear occasionally in his writing, they always do so in minor roles, with the single exception of his play The Hand of the Potter (1919). ...
4. Edith Wharton and Willa Cather
A study of Edith Wharton’s and Willa Cather’s attitudes toward Jews requires a somewhat different approach than that which was employed for the figures already discussed. Each woman succeeded in keeping much of her private life and opinions out of public knowledge during both her lifetime and afterward. ...
Anti-Semitism was a pervasive element in the thinking of many of the new writers who emerged during the 1890s. Although the prejudice never reached the virulence found in a Dostoevsky or Celine, it was nevertheless a distinct presence. For Hamlin Garland, anti-Semitism was largely a closet belief, expressed principally in his diaries and later autobiographies. ...
Page Count: 112
Publication Year: 2008
OCLC Number: 811409072
MUSE Marc Record: Download for American Naturalism and the Jews