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Call It English:
The Languages of Jewish American Literature
Hana Wirth-Nesher

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"Call It English is an extraordinary book that will force a revision of our understanding of English-language Jewish American literature from the perspective of multilingualism. Cogently argued and vividly written, it offers a substantially new approach to the field and fresh and compelling readings of major authors from Abraham Cahan to Philip Roth."--Werner Sollors, Harvard University, author of Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature

"A book, as its author says, about forgetting and remembering, Call It English takes us on a marvelous journey into different territories of fiction, above all those where writing and identity struggle to survive and make themselves new. In this perspective Jewish American writing appears as both more various and more continuous than we have thought, and if we continue to call its dominant idiom English we shall do so now in full awareness of the many lives and languages that are hiding in that name."--Michael Wood, Princeton University, author of The Road to Delphi and The Magician's Doubts (Princeton)

"This is simply a stunning book, and it is the book that Hana Wirth-Nesher's life experience and intellectual formation have meant her to write. There is no other student of American Jewish literature who possesses the tools and scholarly rigor to take on this topic, and there is no one else who delivers as abundantly on this promise. What at first seems peripheral or vestigial or even pedantic--the uses of Hebrew and Yiddish in American Jewish literature--is shown in a completely persuasive argument to turn to be of the first importance. In that sense, the book is path-breaking and will rewrite the map of the field."--Alan Mintz, Chana Kekst Professor of Hebrew Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary

"Call it Yiddish-, Hebrew-, German-, Polish-, or dialect-inflected, twentieth-century Jewish American literature emerges as uniquely multilingual in Hana Wirth-Nesher's groundbreaking book. Call It English brilliantly interprets 'American literature with a Jewish accent' for readers interested in the history of the novel and the aesthetic impact of transnationalism, translation, and diaspora."--Susan Gubar, Distinguished Professor of English, Indiana University

"Call It English makes a rich, comprehensive, and welcome contribution not only to the study of American Jewish literature but more broadly to our understanding of the evolution of transnational, multicultural American history. It is unlike any other critical work on American Jewish literature. Given her command of Yiddish and Hebrew, as well as her deep familiarity with American literature generally and American Jewish literature in particular, Wirth-Nesher is unusually well-positioned, and she has made the most of her scholarly and analytical skills in a book that is original from start to finish."--Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles, author of To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature

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File created: 4/21/2017

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