Page 211 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

Basic HTML Version

CAROLE S. KESSNER
and
CAROLYN A. SOFIA
Selected Bibliography of Literary
Criticism on American Jewish
Fiction and Authors 1980—1990
INTRODUCTION
t h i s
is
m y
second experience at compiling a bibliography re­
lated to American Jewish Fiction. The twenty-five years between
the two endeavors made the later project both infinitely easier
and considerably more difficult. It was easier because we can
now avail ourselves of the computer search; it was more difficult
because the number of works, both primary and secondary, has
greatly expanded.
In the mid 1960’s, to satisfy a graduate student requirement
in methodology, I assembled an annotated bibliography of
Jewish-American immigrant fiction written in English between
1867 and 1920. The effort to compile such a list of novels and
to include materials for background study such as literary crit­
icism, history, sociology, took a great deal of time spent in the
Jewish Room at the New York Public Library. Nonetheless,
when the work was completed, I could claim that I intended
my bibliography to be comprehensive. After three months at
the card catalogue I had been able to turn up only sixty works
of fiction, and this included children’s fiction. Furthermore, I
was convinced that I was doing pioneer work; until the 1960’s
there had been little scholarly interest in the Jewish immigrant
experience, so that even the critical books, essays, and articles
on American Jewish fiction were not overwhelming in number.
I cannot claim that the present bibliography is definitive, nor
can I claim pioneering.
Between the time of the first project and its revision for pub­
lication ten years later, however, much already had happened.
203