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By Jules Chametzky

How have American writers functioned as cultural mediators―as brokers who compile the fragments of a various society and as artists who invent their tradition for brand new audiences? particularly, how have Jewish and Southern writers fulfilled this position as they strove to maneuver from positions of marginality towards the guts of yank literary tradition and to realize entry to the associations of cultural dominance? those are many of the questions addressed during this stimulating number of essays.

Jules Chametzky examines the paintings of Abraham Cahan, Charles Chestnutt, Kate Chopin, I.B. Singer, Edward Dahlberg, Elmer Rice, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Mark Twain, George Washington Cable, Thomas Wolfe, and William Styron, between others. He increases 3 simple and interrelated concerns: first, the query of language; moment, ethnic and nearby particularities as an important facets of twentieth-century American tradition; 3rd, the position and technique of the 'marginal' author as she or he struggles with those parts in the wider social context. within the method, Chametzky deftly explores the ways that each one author transforms his or her reports to create a brand new feel of being "on local ground."

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Extra resources for Our decentralized literature: cultural mediations in selected Jewish and Southern writers

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To some extent, that is what I imply parenthetically in the Styron piece"Styron's Sophie's Choice: Jews and Other Marginals," which is the final essay of Part III, "The Southerner as All-American Writer"and when I refer to the heavy freight he carries with talk of sin and Auschwitz, although the situation, and Page 16 Styron's intentions, as well as my own, are more complicated. These intentions, as should be abundantly clear by now, have to do with a rethinking of the constituents of an American literary culture.

Main Currents in American Jewish Literature from the 1880s to the 1950s (and beyond)," Ethnic Groups 4, 1 & 2 (1982): 85101. 5. " pp. 1617. Page 8 American culture; and the third, the role and strategy of the "marginal" writer as he/she struggles with these elements within the wider cultural context. In the process, the writer transforms all the elements, re-creating or re-presenting them imaginatively and symbolically so that a new self, expressed in a new and compelling voice, stands at the center of that world we call culture.

Kirk, "Abraham Cahan and William Dean Howells: The Story of a Friendship," American Jewish Historical Quarterly 52 (Sept. 1962): 41. 8. Literature and Life, p. 182. 9. Edmund Wilson, "The Ordeal of George Washington Cable," New Yorker, 9 Nov. 1957, p. 204. "10 I simply want to underline their general observations. " We will see that this was not the essential Cable. " Cable was well aware, too, that by then the cause of the freedman was for the moment largely lost: the disfranchisement of the Negro and the removal of his civil rights were largely completed in the South, and in the North the urge toward forgetting past realities could be seen in the increased prominence of the plantation tradition in literature (the works of Thomas Nelson Page had begun appearing in 1884).

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