Abstract

ABSTRACT:

By situating The Rise of David Levinsky in its original 1913 magazine context, I recognize the ways in which Abraham Cahan set out to undermine the theories of race—and attendant ideas about Jewish identity—with which McClure’s and other American periodicals were obsessed. I argue that the novel appears to accept the premise that races exist while it also undermines a belief in racial inequality. In short, I argue that Cahan likely used race, and McClure’s propensity for “exotic” characters as a kind of Trojan horse in order to deny the prevailing view that, in the United States, only one race, the Anglo-Saxon, can lay claim to the achievements of civilization. Cahan’s Yiddish-speaking world of Russian Jewish characters became a convenient and critical foil for capitalism itself.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-5077
Print ISSN
0271-9274
Pages
pp. 140-171
Launched on MUSE
2021-09-15
Open Access
No
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