Call it English by Hana Wirth-Nesher
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Call it English
By Hana Wirth-Nesher

Call it English

The Languages of Jewish American Literature

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Format: Paperback

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Call it English by Hana Wirth-Nesher

Book Awards

  • Runner-up for National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought 2006.
  • Shortlisted for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2007.

Book Description

Call It English identifies the distinctive voice of Jewish American literature by recovering the multilingual Jewish culture that Jews brought to the United States in their creative encounter with English. In transnational readings of works from the late-nineteenth century to the present by both immigrant and postimmigrant generations, Hana Wirth-Nesher traces the evolution of Yiddish and Hebrew in modern Jewish American prose writing through dialect and accent, cross-cultural translations, and bilingual wordplay. Call It English tells a story of preoccupation with pronunciation, diction, translation, the figurality of Hebrew letters, and the linguistic dimension of home and exile in a culture constituted of sacred, secular, familial, and ancestral languages. Through readings of works by Abraham Cahan, Mary Antin, Henry Roth, Delmore Schwartz, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Philip Roth, Aryeh Lev Stollman, and other writers, it demonstrates how inventive literary strategies are sites of loss and gain, evasion and invention. The first part of the book examines immigrant writing that enacts the drama of acquiring and relinquishing language in an America marked by language debates, local color writing, and nativism. The second part addresses multilingual writing by native-born authors in response to Jewish America's postwar social transformation and to the Holocaust. A profound and eloquently written exploration of bilingual aesthetics and cross-cultural translation, Call It English resounds also with pertinence to other minority and ethnic literatures in the United States.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691138442
ISBN-10: 0691138443
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 20-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Hana Wirth-Nesher

Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature by Hana Wirth-Nesher Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature, Hardback (November 2015)

This History presents a comprehensive history of Jewish American literature from its origins to the present day.

City Codes by Hana Wirth-Nesher City Codes, Paperback (February 2008)

This is a study of the representation of the city in the modern novel.

Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature by Hana Wirth-Nesher Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature, Paperback (June 2003)

The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature discusses Jewish American literature in relation to ethnicity, religion, politics, and race.

New Essays on 'Call it Sleep' by Hana Wirth-Nesher New Essays on 'Call it Sleep', Hardback (June 1996)

A 1996 collection of critical essays on Henry Roth's Call It Sleep.

» View all books by Hana Wirth-Nesher

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Author Biography - Hana Wirth-Nesher

Hana Wirth-Nesher is the Samuel L. and Perry Haber Chair on the Study of the Jewish Experience in the United States, Professor of English, and head of the Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Tel Aviv University. She is the author of "City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel" and the editor of "What is Jewish Literature?", and coeditor of "The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature".

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Recent books by Hana Wirth-Nesher close
Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature by Hana Wirth-Nesher
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