Beyond Canonization: The Contested Legacy of Isaac Bashevis Singer
As we are celebrating Isaac Bashevis Singer’s 120 anniversary (1903-1991), the time has come to reconsider the legacy of one of the greatest Yiddish writers of the post war era. As the recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1978, his work has received great critical acclaim and has been widely translated into English and from the English versions into more than thirty languages. Bashevis has become a cultural icon signifying diverse notions such as the exotic ghosts-ridden shtetl as well as the American Jewish experience and universal skepticism.
This special issue of Studies in American Jewish literature aims, firstly, to analyze Bashevis’ academic and public reception, and discern major controversies, tendencies and shifts in the ongoing debate about this canonical and yet contested world writer. Secondly, we aspire to bring Bashevis into contemporary discourse, including 21st century gender and queer theories, the politics of canonicity, world literature, translation studies, and digital humanities. We also wish to promote interdisciplinary approaches that offer a broader consideration of Bashevis’ reverberations in world culture, including his manifold theatrical, cinematic and pop-culture adaptations.
We welcome articles that rely on a wide range of primary sources in the Yiddish press and the Singer archive, employ current critical methodologies in a diverse range of fields, and examine Bashevis’ bilingual corpus in its totality (Warsaw 1925-1936, New York 1935-1991 and posthumous work). We also welcome contributions concerning his works published in the Yiddish press, which have still not been translated or critically accessed.
Jan Schwarz, Lund University and Zehavit Stern, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Please submit a short abstract of 200-400 words to:
email@example.com and Jan.Schwarz@sol.lu.se by August 15, 2023.