Jews, Obscenity, and American Culture
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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At the University of Michigan, where the project began, I had the privilege of studying with a remarkable group of scholars and teachers. Jonathan Freedman, Anita Norich, Deborah Dash Moore, Julian Levinson, and June Howard in particular continue to serve as mentors, models, and inspiration. ...
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In late October 1961, the police chief of Mount Prospect, a Chicago suburb, took action against what he perceived to be a disturbing threat to his community: a paperback edition of Henry Miller’s notorious 1934 novel Tropic of Cancer. Visiting six drugstores that sold paperbacks, he succeeded in having all copies of the book pulled from the shelves.1 ...
1. Sexual Anti-Semitism and Pornotopia: Theodore Dreiser, Ludwig Lewisohn, and The Harrad Experiment
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One Friday night in 1917, Theodore Dreiser accompanied Irwin Granich, a young Jewish playwright associated with the Provincetown Players, to the apartment on Chrystie Street, on New York’s Lower East Side, where Granich and his mother lived.1 Dreiser wanted atmospheric details for a play he had been writing about poor tenement dwellers. ...
2. The Prestige of Dirty Words and Pictures: Horace Liveright, Henry Roth, and the Graphic Novel
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On September 14, 1933, Henry Roth wrote a note in his journal: “The novel is finished.”1 He had completed a draft of the manuscript that was to be published as Call It Sleep. Twelve weeks later, on December 6, federal judge John Woolsey announced his verdict in a case that must have interested Roth, United States v. One Book Called “Ulysses.” ...
3. Otherfuckers and Motherfuckers: Reproduction and Allegory in Philip Roth and Adele Wiseman
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Another way that the debates about the law of obscenity resonated with particular intensity for some American Jews is in relation to their shifting anxieties about reproduction, both biological and cultural. The emphasis on reproduction in rabbinic Judaism would be hard to overstate: ...
4. Seductive Modesty: Censorship versus Yiddish and Orthodox Tsnies
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In the late 1980s and 1990s, scholarly treatments of literary censorship in the United States changed in reaction to a series of cultural and political developments. On the one hand, under the Reagan and Bush administrations, artists’ work was subject to renewed attempts by the government to suppress sexual explicitness. ...
Conclusion: Dirty Jews and the Christian Right: Larry David and FCC v. Fox
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The gathering with which this book began—the encounter, real and figural, of half a dozen American Jews in a Chicago courtroom in 1961—has its analogue in the structure of this study. Those men found themselves working together to establish the legal right of Chicagoans and other Americans to purchase and read a paperback copy ...
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About the Author
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Josh Lambert is Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013