FROM SHTETL TO SUBURBIA: The Family in Jewish Literary Imagination by Sol Gittleman

FROM SHTETL TO SUBURBIA: The Family in Jewish Literary Imagination

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With unassuming yet tidy authority (culled from the essential published sources, graciously acknowledged), Gittleman traces Jewish literary endeavor from the first flourishing of Yiddish as a legitimate mode of general and artistic expression Oust around the time ghettoization of the Jews was mandated by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215), through the rise of a coherent shtetl literature (Mendele Mocher Sforim, Sholom Aleichem, Peretz, Singer, Grade), to, finally, Bellow, Malamud, and Roth--toward whom Gittleman shows unusual tolerance, coming as it does from a traditionalist Jewish critic/sociologist; rightly or no, he sees the American novelists as preservers of Jewish identity against American secularity and success. As a critic, Gittleman tends toward synopsis; as a sociologist he sets off no great sparks (and advances no thesis, the subtitle notwithstanding); but as a digester of cultural advances and retreats, especially the general acceptance of Yiddish as the Jewish mother-tongue, the moma-loshen, he is lucid, succinct, and informative.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1978
Publisher: Beacon