Tradition and Innovation: Reflections on Latin American Jewish Writing

Tradition and Innovation: Reflections on Latin American Jewish Writing

Tradition and Innovation: Reflections on Latin American Jewish Writing

Tradition and Innovation: Reflections on Latin American Jewish Writing

Synopsis

This book studies the rich repository of Latin American Jewish literature, exploring the issues of vanishing traditions along with the subject of assimilation and acculturation. It places in sharp relief the Jewish contribution to the Latin American literary boom. An important aspect of this study is an examination of the contributions of women authors to this field. It studies Jewish life in communities that are little known in either the Jewish or non-Jewish world, worlds unique within the diaspora experience. The book contains critical essays by internationally renowned scholars, along with in-depth interviews with major writers. Contributors include Regina Igel, Florinda Goldberg, Robert DiAntonio, Leonardo Senkman, Naomi Lindstrom, David Foster, Edna Aizenberg, Nora Glickman, Lois Bara, Judith Morganroth Schneider, Murray Baumgarten, Flor Schiminovich, Sandra Cypess, Edward Friedman, Ilan Stavans, Jacobo Sefarmi, and Mario A. Rojas.

Excerpt

Over the past decades, the literary marketplace has been greatly enriched by a new wave of Latin American fiction. Masterworks by Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jorge Amado, Manuel Puig, and Gabriel García Márquez attest to the validity of this statement. While these Latin American writers are familiar to most English-speaking readers, Jewish Latin American authors have also played an important role in this literary renaissance. They have been able to offer a distinctive socioliterary perspective, as Jews generally have occupied positions of marginality within the dominant Catholic nations of the Americas. This has given them an opportunity to analyze both their own experience and the greater reality of their respective countries.

Presently, Jewish writers like Brazil's Moacyr Scliar and Clarice Lispector, Peru's Isaac Goldemberg and Argentina's Gerardo Mario Goloboff are beginning to acquire an international readership with successful and well-received translations. Lispector has long been considered one of the world's premier fiction writers; however, few critics to date are aware of her Jewish heritage, and even fewer have considered the influence that that heritage has exercised on her writing. Jewish authors constitute an important part of the Latin American literary community as their works are widely read and discussed. Though not yet at a level of recognition as that of Scliar or Lispector, many other writers are beginning to receive intense international attention—authors like Costa Rica's Samuel Rovinski, Cuba's José Kozer, and Argentina's Marcos Aguinis. However, other fine Latin American Jewish authors are still unknown outside the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking worlds. It is the intention of this book to correct this anomaly as the following studies turn the attention of the English-speaking reader to the state of Jewish thought . . .

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