Search results for: jewish-literature-a-very-short-introduction

Jewish Literature A Very Short Introduction

Author : Ilan Stavans
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The story of Jewish literature is a kaleidoscopic one, multilingual and transnational in character, spanning the globe as well as the centuries. In this broad, thought-provoking introduction to Jewish literature from 1492 to the present, cultural historian Ilan Stavans focuses on its multilingual and transnational nature. Stavans presents a wide range of traditions within Jewish literature and the variety of writers who made those traditions possible. Represented are writers as dissimilar as Luis de Carvajal the Younger, Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Isaac Babel, Anzia Yezierska, Elias Canetti, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Irving Howe, Clarice Lispector, Susan Sontag, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Amos Oz, Moacyr Scliar, and David Grossman. The story of Jewish literature spans the globe as well as the centuries, from the marrano poets and memorialists of medieval Spain, to the sprawling Yiddish writing in Ashkenaz (the "Pale of Settlement' in Eastern Europe), to the probing narratives of Jewish immigrants to the United States and other parts of the New World. It also examines the accounts of horror during the Holocaust, the work of Israeli authors since the creation of the Jewish State in 1948, and the "ingathering" of Jewish works in Brazil, Bulgaria, Argentina, and South Africa at the end of the twentieth century. This kaleidoscopic introduction to Jewish literature presents its subject matter as constantly changing and adapting.

Jewish History

Author : David N. Myers
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"How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. This book charts the long journey of the Jews through history. At the same time, it points to two unlikely factors to explain the survival of the Jews: antisemitism and assimilation"--

Judaism

Author : Norman Solomon
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Outlines the basics of practical Judaism and considers how Judaism has responded to, and dealt with, a number of key issues and debates, including the impact of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel.

Comparative Literature A Very Short Introduction

Author : Ben Hutchinson
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Comparative Literature is both the past and the future of literary studies. Its history is intimately linked to the political upheavals of modernity: from colonial empire-building in the nineteenth century, via the Jewish diaspora of the twentieth century, to the postcolonial culture wars of the twenty-first century, attempts at 'comparison' have defined the international agenda of literature. But what is comparative literature? Ambitious readers looking to stretch themselves are usually intrigued by the concept, but uncertain of its implications. And rightly so, in many ways: even the professionals cannot agree on a single term, calling it comparative in English, compared in French, and comparing in German. The very term itself, when approached comparatively, opens up a Pandora's box of cultural differences. Yet this, in a nutshell, is the whole point of comparative literature. To look at literature comparatively is to realize just how much can be learned by looking over the horizon of one's own culture; it is to discover not only more about other literatures, but also about one's own; and it is to participate in the great utopian dream of understanding the way nations and languages interact. In an age that is paradoxically defined by migration and border crossing on the one hand, and by a retreat into monolingualism and monoculturalism on the other, the cross-cultural agenda of comparative literature has become increasingly central to the future of the Humanities. We are all, in fact, comparatists, constantly making connections across languages, cultures, and genres as we read. The question is whether we realise it. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Comparative Literature as an agent of international relations, from the point of view both of scholarship and of cultural history more generally. Outlining the complex history and competing theories of comparative literature, Ben Hutchinson offers an accessible means of entry into a notoriously slippery subject, and shows how comparative literature can be like a Rorschach test, where people see in it what they want to see. Ultimately, Hutchinson places comparative literature at the very heart of literary criticism, for as George Steiner once noted, 'to read is to compare'. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Hebrew Bible As Literature

Author : Tod Linafelt
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The Hebrew Bible, or Christian Old Testament, contains some of the finest literature that we have. This biblical literature has a place not only in the synagogue or the church but also among the classics of world literature. The stories of Jacob and David, for instance, present the earliest surviving examples of literary characters whose development the reader follows over the length of a lifetime. Elsewhere, as in the books of Esther or Ruth, readers find a snapshot of a particular, fraught moment that will define the character. The Hebrew Bible also provides quite a few high points of lyric poetry, from the praise and lament of the Psalms to the double entendres in the love of poetry of the Song of Songs. In short, the Bible can be celebrated not only as religious literature but, quite simply, as literature. This book offers a thorough and lively introduction to the Bible's two primary literary modes, narrative and poetry, foregrounding the nuances of plot, character, metaphor, structure and design, and intertextual allusions. Tod Linafelt thus gives readers the tools to fully experience and appreciate the Old Testament's literary achievement. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Ghetto a Very Short Introduction

Author : Bryan Cheyette
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For three hundred years the ghetto defined Jewish culture in the late medieval and early modern period in Western Europe. In the nineteenth-century it was a free-floating concept which travelled to Eastern Europe and the United States. Eastern European "ghettos", which enabled genocide, were crudely rehabilitated by the Nazis during World War Two as if they were part of a benign medieval tradition. In the United States, the word ghetto was routinely applied to endemic black ghettoization which has lasted from 1920 until the present. Outside of America "the ghetto" has been universalized as the incarnation of class difference, or colonialism, or apartheid, and has been applied to segregated cities and countries throughout the world. In this Very Short Introduction Bryan Cheyette unpicks the extraordinarily complex layers of contrasting meanings that have accrued over five hundred years to ghettos, considering their different settings across the globe. He considers core questions of why and when urban, racial, and colonial ghettos have appeared, and who they contain. Exploring their various identities, he shows how different ghettos interrelate, or are contrasted, across time and space, or even in the same place. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Kafka A Very Short Introduction

Author : Ritchie Robertson
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'When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous insect ...' So begins Franz Kafka's most famous story Metamorphosis. Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is among the most intriguing and influential writers of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he worked as a civil servant and published only a handful of short stories, the best known being The Transformation. All three of his novels, The Trial, The Castle, and The Man Who Disappeared [America], were published after his death and helped to found Kafka's reputation as a uniquely perceptive interpreter of the twentieth century. Kafka's fiction vividly evokes bizarre situations: a commercial traveller is turned into an insect, a banker is arrested by a mysterious court, a fasting artist starves to death in the name of art, a singing mouse becomes the heroine of her nation. Attending both to Kafka's crisis-ridden life and to the subtleties of his art, Ritchie Robertson shows how his work explores such characteristically modern themes as the place of the body in culture, the power of institutions over people, and the possibility of religion after Nietzsche had proclaimed 'the death of God'. The result is an up-to-date and accessible portrait of a fascinating author which shows us ways to read and make sense of his perplexing and absorbing work. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Jewish History A Very Short Introduction

Author : David N. Myers
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How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. Many have attempted to explain this singular success as a result of divine intervention. In this engaging book, David N. Myers charts the long journey of the Jews through history. At the same time, it points to two unlikely-and decidedly this-worldly--factors to explain the survival of the Jews: antisemitism and assimilation. Usually regarded as grave dangers, these two factors have continually interacted with one other to enable the persistence of the Jews. At every turn in their history, not just in the modern age, Jews have adapted to new environments, cultures, languages, and social norms. These bountiful encounters with host societies have exercised the cultural muscle of the Jews, preventing the atrophy that would have occurred if they had not interacted so extensively with the non-Jewish world. It is through these encounters--indeed, through a process of assimilation--that Jews came to develop distinct local customs, speak many different languages, and cultivate diverse musical, culinary, and intellectual traditions. Left unchecked, the Jews' well-honed ability to absorb from surrounding cultures might have led to their disappearance. And yet, the route toward full and unbridled assimilation was checked by the nearly constant presence of hatred toward the Jew. Anti-Jewish expression and actions have regularly accompanied Jews throughout history. Part of the ironic success of antisemitism is its malleability, its talent in assuming new forms and portraying the Jew in diverse and often contradictory images--for example, at once the arch-capitalist and revolutionary Communist. Antisemitism not only served to blunt further assimilation, but, in a paradoxical twist, affirmed the Jew's sense of difference from the host society. And thus together assimilation and antisemitism (at least up to a certain limit) contribute to the survival of the Jews as a highly adaptable and yet distinct group.

What is American Literature

Author : Ilan Stavans
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An incisive, thought-provoking, and timely meditation, at once panoramic and synoptic, on American literature for an age of xenophobia, heightened nationalism, and economic disparity. The distinguished cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the nation's identity through the prism of its books, from the indigenous past to the early settlers, the colonial period, the age of independence, its ascendance as a global power, and its shallow, fracturing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The central motives that make the United States a flawed experiment—its celebration of do-it-yourself individualism, its purported exceptionalism, and its constitutional government based on checks and balances—are explored through canonical works like Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Emily Dickinson's poetry, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the work of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Toni Morrison, and immigrant voices such as those of Américo Paredes, Henry Roth, Saul Bellow, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jhumpa Lahiri, and others. This is literary criticism at its best-informed: broad-ranged yet pungent and uncompromising.

Jesus A Very Short Introduction

Author : Richard Bauckham
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Two billion people today identify as Christians, with the implication that Jesus is the focus of their relationship with God, and their way of living in the world. Such followers of Jesus are now more numerous and make up a greater proportion of the world's population than ever before. Despite its decline in the West, Christianity is rapidly increasing in areas such as Africa and China. Richard Bauckham explores the historical figure of Jesus, evaluating the sources and concluding that they provide us with good historical evidence for his life and teaching. In order to place Jesus in his proper historical context, as a Jew from Galilee in the early first century of our era, Bauckham looks at Jewish religion and society in the land of Israel under Roman rule. He explores Jesus' symbolic practices as well as his teachings, looks at his public career and emphasises how his actions, such as healing and his association with notorious sinners, were just as important as his words. Bauckham shows that Jesus was devoted to the God of Israel, with a special focus on God's fatherly love and compassion, and like every Jewish teacher he expounded the Torah, but did so in his own distinctive way. With a discussion about the way Jesus understood himself and what finally led to his death as a criminal on a Roman cross, he concludes by considering the significance Jesus has come to have for Christian faith worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.