The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism / Judaica


Telling the Little Secrets
American Jewish Writing since the 1980s
Janet Handler Burstein

"Burstein's work will leave many readers amazed at the quantity
and quality of the American Jewish contribution to contemporary
—Andrew Furman, author of Contemporary Jewish-American Writers and the Multicultural Dilemma: Return of the Exiled

Janet Burstein argues that American Jewish writers since the 1980s have created a significant literature by wrestling with the troubled legacy of trauma, loss, and exile. Their ranks include Cynthia Ozick, Todd Gitlin, Art Spiegelman, Pearl Abraham, Aryeh Lev Stollman, Jonathan Rosen, and Gerda Lerner. Whether confronting the massive losses of the Holocaust, the sense of "home" in exile, or the continuing power of Jewish memory, these Jewish writers search for understanding within "the little secrets" of their dark, complicated, and richly furnished past.

"Lucid, sophisticated, intelligent. Burstein shows how contemporary Jewish American writing grapples in new and complicated ways with issues of trauma and identity."—Sara Horowitz, Centre for Jewish Studies, York University, Toronto

Janet Handler Burstein is professor of English at Drew University and chair of the Modern Literature section of the Association for Jewish Studies. She is the author of Writing Mothers, Writing Daughters: Tracing the Maternal in Stories by American Jewish Women.

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cover of Burstein's book is a photo illustration of curtains, gauzy drapes, and glimpsed figures

November 2005
LC: 2005005454 PS
264 pp.  6 x 9

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Cloth $45.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-21240-7
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