New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage

By Alpana Sharma Knippling | Go to book overview

erful force particularly in the work of Rosaly De Maios Roffman, David Altabe, and Ammiel Alcalay. These are well-traveled poets, scholars in numerous literatures--Spanish, Hebrew, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, and so on--and Altabe and Alcalay are both translators. Their poems infrequently confront the American experience but often address or allude to issues of international scope. For example, Roffman "Sometimes people think" shows the poet's recognizing that images of contemporary human horrors immediately remind her of the Holocaust. In addition, Alcalay is at the forefront of the artistic movement to widen world understanding of the tragedy in the former Yugoslavia. To this end, he has edited a special issue of the journal Lusitania and Zlatko Dizdarevic's Sarajevo, A War Journal.

Given the prominence of the Holocaust in the Jews' twentieth-century history, it is not surprising that memory, history, sense of place, loss, and exile are a fourth issue pervasive in many works by Sephardic writers, though in quite different ways. Sciaky Farewell to Salonika, written at the close of World War II, captures and preserves a pre-World War I world swathed in tradition but on the brink of enormous and violent changes. In America in 1946 Sciaky no longer hears ancestral voices pulling him toward a traditional life; he hears primarily the desire for freedom and peace expressed by the warring and innocent nationalities of a disintegrating empire. Ruth Knafo Setton "Pieds Noirs" effectively reveals how folklore and ethnicity haunt children who have been encouraged to hide their identity. Alcalay spectacular poem "I Had Thought of Writing a Play Based on the Following Facts" presents the complexities of national identity as well as the contemporary world's destruction of the past. Further, how the immigrant's memories of the old country's people, values, and assumptions shape his or her experience of America is one subject of Stanley Sultan Rabbi, Gloria L. Kirchheimer "Two Stories," and several poems by Stephen Levy. One more example is Sarah Melhado White, who is half Sephardic and who suggests that Jewish history informs the fragmented world depicted in many of her tales.

A fifth theme for Sephardic writers is multiple identity, first sounded in Farewell to Salonika as Sciaky detailed the impact on him of Sephardic and Islamic culture. Herbert Hadad memoir pieces, Jordan Elgrably soon-to-be-finished novel, and Ammiel Alcalay poetry all explore the pleasures and dilemmas faced by those with hearts and minds embedded in more than one culture.


CONCLUSION

Offering a glimpse into a rich Jewish culture different from the widely known Eastern European one, the literature of twentieth-century American Sephardim deserves further attention. Much work by Sephardim also resonates with figures, attitudes toward ritual and the past, social and ideological concerns that are part of the fabric of American life. The best of it combines an emphasis on concrete and intimate detail and a concern with universal human issues.

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New Immigrant Literatures in the United States: A Sourcebook to Our Multicultural Literary Heritage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Works Cited xix
  • I - Asian-American Literatures 1
  • 1 - Arab-American Literature 3
  • Conclusion 15
  • Notes 15
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 16
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 17
  • 2 - Armenian-American Literature Khachig Tololyan 19
  • Conclusion 37
  • Notes 39
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 40
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 41
  • 3 - Chinese-American Literature 43
  • Introduction 43
  • Notes 62
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 62
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 63
  • 4 - Filipino American Literature Nerissa Balce-Cortes and Jean Vengua Gier 67
  • Conclusion 84
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 86
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 87
  • 5 - Indian-American Literature 91
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 105
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 107
  • 6 - Iranian-American Literature Nasrin Rahimieh 109
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 122
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 123
  • 7 - Japanese-American Literature Benzi Zhang 125
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 140
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 141
  • 8 - Korean-American Literature 143
  • Conclusion 151
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 152
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 154
  • 9 - Pakistani-American Literature Sunil Sharma 159
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 164
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 167
  • II - Caribbean-American Literatures 169
  • 10 - Anglophone Caribbean-American Literature 171
  • 11 - Cuban-American Literature 187
  • Conclusion 203
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 204
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 205
  • 12 - Dominican-American Literature 207
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 216
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 218
  • 13 - Puerto Rican-American Literature Carrie Tirado Bramen 221
  • Conclusion 234
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 234
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 237
  • III - European-American Literatures 241
  • 14 - Finnish-American Literature 243
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 251
  • 15 - Greek-American Literature 253
  • Conclusion 259
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 259
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 261
  • 16 - Irish-American Literature 265
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 276
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 279
  • 17 - Italian/American Literature 281
  • Conclusion 287
  • Notes 290
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 291
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 292
  • 18 - Jewish-American Literature 295
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 305
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 307
  • 19 - Sephardic Jewish-American Literature 309
  • Introduction 309
  • Conclusion 313
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 314
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 316
  • 20 - Polish-American Literature 319
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 326
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 327
  • 21 - Slovak-American and Czech-American Literature 329
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 337
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 338
  • IV Mexican-American Literatures 339
  • 22 - Mexican-American Literature Ada Savin 341
  • Conclusion 357
  • Notes 359
  • Selected Primary Bibliography 360
  • Selected Secondary Bibliography 362
  • Selected Bibliography 367
  • Index 371
  • About the Contributors 383
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