Facing Black and Jew: Literature as Public Space in Twentieth-Century America

Synopsis

Adam Zachary Newton couples works of prose fiction by African American and Jewish American authors from Henry Roth and Ralph Ellison to Philip Roth and David Bradley. Reading the work of such writers alongside and through one another, Newton offers an original way of juxtaposing two major traditions in American literature and rethinking their sometimes vexing relationship. Newton combines Emmanuel Levinas' ethical philosophy and Walter Benjamin's theory of allegory in shaping an innovative kind of ethical-political criticism. A final chapter addresses the Black/Jewish dimension of the O. J. Simpson trial.