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The Jewishness of Isaac Bashevis Singer

Guo Quiang Qiao

This book explores Jewishness in the writings of Isaac Bashevis Singer. The author makes a close examination of Singer’s literary works, Judaism, Jewish history and related criticism to illustrate Singer’s unique but ambiguous position in American Jewish literature.
The book offers a discussion of Singer’s modernity. Singer’s Jewishness finds its major expression in challenging the notion of covenant and the concept of «the coming modern consciousness» of Spinoza’s philosophy. The book also focuses on Singer’s representation of Jewish assimilation in the past and present, both in Poland and in America and on the de-Americanisation of the Holocaust.
After an examination of Singer’s narrative strategies the author also discusses the similarities and diversities of four major American Jewish writers, Singer, Bellow, Malamud and Roth in terms of Jewish identity and Jewish historical consciousness.
Contents: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Ambivalent Modernity – Assimilation: An Ineffable Tribulation – De-Americanisation of the Holocaust or, Indelible Shadows on the Jews – Narrating Jewishness – Isaac B. Singer and His Jewish Contemporaries.