Thursday, March 04, 2010

D.G. Myers at Jewish Ideas Daily

D.G. Myers, proprietor of The Commonplace Blog, is “surveying the history of American Jewish fiction, one book at a time, from the last decade of the nineteenth century to the present” at Jewish Ideas Daily. Go here for the complete list. Some titles are familiar, most are not, but I always welcome new books even if they’re old, particularly when they come recommended by so discerning a reader as David. First he looked at Other Things Being Equal (1892) by Emma Wolf. The second essay in the series, on Ezra Brudno's Fugitive (1904), appears today. Here’s David's conclusion:

“In short, Brudno seems to have conceived his book as a piece of propaganda for cultural assimilation. But in undermining its thesis with starkly contrary evidence, as well as in its ease with Jewish religion, Jewish sources, and Jewish idiom, the novel’s effect outruns its conception and establishes its lasting importance as a precursor to such better known (and more accomplished) works as The Rise of David Levinsky and Call It Sleep. Not incidentally, The Fugitive also serves as a useful reminder of a perennially relevant fact: Jews in the United States have never been terrorized by blood libel or pogrom.”

Mention of Henry Roth’s great novel is enough to goad any serious reader into at least auditing Prof. Myers’ seminar.

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