Growing Up Ethnic: Nationalism and the Bildungsroman in African American and Jewish American Fiction
University of Iowa Press, 1. 4. 2005 - Počet stran: 218
Growing Up Ethnic examines the presence of literary similarities between African American and Jewish American coming-of-age stories in the first half of the twentieth century; often these similarities exceed what could be explained by sociohistorical correspondences alone. Martin Japtok argues that these similarities result from the way both African American and Jewish American authors have conceptualized their "ethnic situation." The issue of "race" and its social repercussions certainly defy any easy comparisons. However, the fact that the ethnic situations are far from identical in the case of these two groups only highlights the striking thematic correspondences in how a number of African American and Jewish American coming-of-age stories construct ethnicity. Japtok studies three pairs of novels--James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man and Samuel Ornitz's Haunch, Paunch and Jowl, Jessie Fauset's Plum Bun and Edna Ferber's Fanny Herself, and Paule Marshall's Brown Girl, Brownstones and Anzia Yezierska's Bread Giver--and argues that the similarities can be explained with reference to mainly two factors, ultimately intertwined: cultural nationalism and the Bildungsroman genre. Growing Up Ethnic shows that the parallel configurations in the novels, which often see ethnicity in terms of spirituality, as inherent artistic ability, and as communal responsibility, are rooted in nationalist ideology. However, due to the authors' generic choice--the Bildungsroman--the tendency to view ethnicity through the rhetorical lens of communalism and spiritual essence runs head-on into the individualist assumptions of the protagonist-centered Bildungsroman. The negotiations between these ideological counterpoints characterize the novels and reflect and refract the intellectual ferment of their time. This fresh look at ethnic American literatures in the context of cultural nationalism and the Bildungsroman will be of great interest to students and scholars of literary and race studies.
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Ethnic Nationalism and Ethnic Literary
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African Amer African American American and Jewish Angela anti-Semitism appears artistic autobiography and Bildungsroman Barbadian becomes Bildung Bread Givers Brown Girl Brownstones character choice claim color conceptualizations of ethnicity defined depict discussed dominant double-consciousness embrace essentialism essentialist Esther ethnic authors ethnic Bildungsroman ethnic community ethnic culture ethnic group ethnic identity ethnic nationalism ethnic solidarity Eugenia Collier European European American Ex-Coloured Fanny's father Fauset feels Ferber focuses genre Harlem Haunch heritage ican idealism ideology immigrant individualism individualist Jewish American Jews Judaism kind literary Lower East Side mainstream Marcus Garvey materialism Meyer Hirsch moral mother narrator narrator's nationalist nicity novel one's Ornitz passing Paunch and Jowl Plum Bun protagonists race racial racism rejection relationship role Samuel Ornitz Sara Sara's says selfishness Selina serve Silla similar social society Sollors spiritual strategy symbolic tensions tion traditional transethnic twentieth century W. E. B. Du Bois Yezierska Zionism