Launched from an essay published by Robert Alter in 1995, this essay introduces a forum that aims to bring new perspectives to bear on the "Jewish voice" as represented by American Jewish writers. Alter defines the Jewish voice as a cluster of characteristic speech habits that could be traced back to the culture of Yiddishkeit. Is the use of this voice by American writers, transmuted into English, evidence that an essential quality of Eastern European Jewish culture has persisted as a part of American Jewish life even in the face of all the social, cultural, and linguistic changes of the last century: the end of immigration as a formative experience for most Jews, the decline of Yiddish as a living language, and the integration of Jews into mainstream linguistic culture? The essays featured here suggest new ways to think about this question, as they focus in different ways on how the Jewish voices imagined by American Jewish authors are heard by the listeners to whom they address themselves.


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pp. 241-254
Launched on MUSE
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