Page 215 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

Basic HTML Version

KESSNER AND SO F IA / SELECTED B IBL IOGRA PHY OF LITERARY CR IT IC ISM
207
indeed seemed to have grasped a portion of America with quite
a bit of authority. And the wider American public seems to
have grasped him as well, for three of his novels have been
made into successful films. The bibliography of criticism has,
as a result, proliferated. The study of American Jewish fiction
has exceeded the production of the fiction itself. Where we once
had sixty titles of fiction in seventy years, we can now count
at the very least 135 titles for ten years. And where there were
thirty-two entries of both books and articles of criticism, includ­
ing chapters on American Jewish fiction in literary surveys of
American Literature, we have collected 123 full length book
titles alone, for the ten—year period 1980-1990. Essays, articles,
and book reviews would constitute so long a list as to preclude
publication in a volume this size.
What this suggests, then, is that whereas it is true that Amer­
ican Jewish literature no longer can claim the preeminent place
in American literature as it did in the fifties and sixties, it most
certainly has not disappeared. Nor have writers who choose to
identify as Jews run out of material. History has a way of sur­
prising us by taking unpredictable twists — hence new avenues
of experience have become accessible to the creative imagina­
tion, such as the new Soviet-Jewish emigration to Brighton
Beach, American-Israelis in Queens and Long Island, and per­
haps most potent of all, the prominence of the American Jewish
woman writer. I f the list of important ethnic and American writ­
ers is dominated by women such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walk­
er, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Bharati Mukherjee,
Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Mary Gordon, and Jane
Smiley, should we be surprised that among the most interesting
American Jewish writers are women such as Cynthia Ozick,
Grace Paley, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Marge Piercy, Johanna
Kaplan, Lore Segal, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, and Rosellen
Brown. What the decade that leads us to the new century will
bring to the subject of American Jewish fiction we cannot pre­
dict. But I am inclined to believe that Jews in America still will
be writing their particular version of the American experience.
SCOPE OF BIBLIOGRAPHY
The following bibliography includes the titles of full-length
critical works published between 1980 and 1990 on the subject