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Literary Criticism Canadian

A House of Words

Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory

by (author) Norman Ravvin

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Oct 1997
Canadian, Jewish
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 1997
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 1997
    List Price

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Arguing that Jewish North American writing is too commonly discussed as part of the mainstream, neglecting the Jewish aspects of the works, Ravvin places the writing of Bellow, Richler, Cohen, West, Mandel, Roth, and Rosenfarb within the Jewish context that the works demand. Ravvin depicts a Jewish cultural landscape within which postwar writers contend with community and identity, continuity and loss, and highlights the way this particular landscape is entangled with broader literary and cultural traditions. He considers Bellow and West alongside apocalyptic narratives, discusses Cohen in relation to the counterculture, examines Mandel's postmodern view of history, and looks at autobiography and ethics in Roth and Rosenfarb. At once scholarly and poetic, A House of Words will appeal to the general reader of Canadian, American, and Jewish literature and history, as well as to specialists in these fields.

About the author

Norman Ravvin is a fiction writer, critic and teacher. His published work includes the novel, Lola by Night, and the story collection, Sex, Skyscrapers and Standard Yiddish. His essays on Canadian and American literature are collected in A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory. He is the editor of Not Quite Mainstream: Canadian Jewish Short Stories and co-editor of The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader. He is chair of the Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia University.

Norman Ravvin's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"An interesting and impressive collection of essays. Ravvin's arguments are convincing and provocative." Michael Greenstein, author of Third Solitudes: Tradition and Continuity in Jewish-Canadian Literature