Studies in Modern Jewish Literature

Studies in Modern Jewish Literature

Studies in Modern Jewish Literature

Studies in Modern Jewish Literature

Synopsis

This outstanding volume of 26 essays represents a cross-section of the writings of Arnold J. Band on Jewish literature. Band, a renowned Jewish studies and humanities scholar, writes on such topics as literature in historic context, interpretations of Hasidic tales and other traditional texts, Zionism, S. Y. Agnon and other important Israeli writers, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, Jewish studies, and the Jewish community. Scholars and students of literature--particularly Jewish literature--and Jewish studies won't want to miss this remarkable collection.

Excerpt

The twenty-six essays in this volume, Studies in Modern Jewish Literature, speak for themselves, each in its particular clarity and each with its own argument. Their author is bold and often unequivocal, so that commentary may not seem necessary. But the appearance of this important Jewish Publication Society collection is a good occasion to cast Arnold Band's work in a broader context than the author would permit of himself. He has always made his arguments on the basis of historical and cultural contexts, and so a bit of context is warranted on his behalf.

Arnold Band is a product of the lush intellectual environment of Boston, with its pre-World War II intensity for immigrants, (Jews as well as others) whose ambitions to become “Americans” and to excel on these shores resulted in remarkable contributions to science, business and letters. Band's essay on an aspect of that world, (“Confluent Myths, ” the first essay in this volume) was composed originally for a book honoring a beloved friend, Walter Ackerman, who shared in that confluence and who joined with Band in a variety of tough-minded intellectual predispositions. Both David Ellenson and I (in the Band Festschrift, History and Literature) have suggested that Band's “Confluent Myths” has emerged as even more telling than its author anticipated. It is a statement about those Boston Jews who were part of a special kind of cerebral ambition and blending of American thinking, a respect for Greek and Latin classics, and a commitment to Judaic-Hebraic studies. The outward reach of Band's intellectual life and the harmonies he sought to establish are suggested in that opening essay, and represent a kind of psycho-sociological echo of the author's wide interests and talent for synthesis. I imagine Arnold Band now saying two contrary things about . . .

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