Orginal Publication Date
Explorations in Sights and Sounds
During the last several years, the rapidly appearing volumes of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, particularly such specialized volumes as American Writers in Paris, 1920-1929 and American Realists and Naturalists, have become an important tool of my college library's reference section for American literature undergraduate students. Especially valuable is this new DLR for those of us who teach either a general multi-ethnic American literature or a specialized Jewish-American or Yiddish-American literature course. The fifty-one individual essays deal with all of the giants, including Bellow, Malamud, Doctorow, Mailer, Heller, and Roth as well as the much less well-known Gerald Green, Jay Neugeboren and Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. Daniel Walden, in an eminently sensible "Foreword," indicates that his method of selection was based on choosing those who wrote about the Jewish-American experience or whose work as shaped by "their Jewish cultural environment." He declares that "the importance of the American-Jewish experience in shaping a writer's fictional world ... has been crucial in my determination to include that author." His choices have been very good; all major writers are included. Beyond those, of course, each of us would pick and choose with wide variations; I see Walden's choices as middle of the road, considering the hundreds of productive writers across the cultural and political spectrum who are potential entrants to this volume.
Copyright, ©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1985