The Inveterate Dreamer: Essays and Conversations on Jewish Culture, by Ilan Stavans

By Most, Andrea | Shofar, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

The Inveterate Dreamer: Essays and Conversations on Jewish Culture, by Ilan Stavans


Most, Andrea, Shofar


Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001. 306 pp. &24.95.

In The Inveterate Dreamer, Ilan Stavans poses perhaps the question of modern Jewish culture: what unites secular Jews from around the world, if anything? Does Jewish identity, and more specifically, Jewish literary identity, cross national and linguistic borders? His collection of essays offers an unqualified argument in the affirmative. Raised in Mexico and currently a professor of Spanish at Amherst College, Stavans is uniquely positioned to assess the broad field of modern Jewish literature. His essays, book reviews, and interviews are evidence of his linguistic and cultural fluency. He showcases Jewish authors writing in Spanish, English, Hebrew, Romanian, Russian, Polish, German, and Italian. His goal, as he states in the Preface, is to fight provincialism, "to shape a balanced canon that transcends time and place." In two of the most interesting essays in the book, on the Jewish canon, Stavans addresses the relative importance of language, history, and memory in defining a literary tradition. While he investigates the function of all three elements in constructing a canon, he ultimately argues, in "A Matter of Choice" that it is the reader, not the writers, whom we must look to in deciding what counts as Jewish literature: "this question of who is and who is not a Jewish writer can only be handled when one applies the famous `law of reciprocity' to it -- that is, when one leaves it for the reader to decide" (p. 248).

What The Inveterate Dreamer offers, then, is Stavans's recipe for modern Jewish literature. His vision is often refreshing and eye-opening. His many essays on Latin American Jewish writers open up a whole new world of Jewish literature to American readers, most of whom are schooled largely on European and American writers of the past century. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Inveterate Dreamer: Essays and Conversations on Jewish Culture, by Ilan Stavans
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.