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By Stephen Watt

Complex analogies among Irish and Jewish background, among Irish and Jewish subjectivities, ensue with amazing frequency all through American literature. They remember James Joyce's Leopold Bloom and episodes of Ulysses, Douglas Hyde's analogies in the course of the Celtic Revival among studying Hebrew and studying Irish, and a myriad of claims of an strange courting among those peoples that is going past comparisons in their respective diasporic histories. yet how does one describe this uncanny dating, one usually marked by means of hostility, affinity, and ambivalence, with out essentializing humans whose origins, classification association, educations, existence reviews, etc are vastly different?

"Something Dreadful and Grand": American Literature and the Irish-Jewish Unconscious describes a fancy allosemitism and allohibernianism via quite a few cultural texts with which immigrant Irish and Jewish americans have been so much engaged: well known track of the Tin Pan Alley period, tenement literature from Anzia Yezierska and James T. Farrell throughout the posthumous e-book of Henry Roth's An American Type, and proletarian and socialist-inflected drama by way of Elmer Rice, Clifford Odets, Eugene O'Neill, and Arthur Miller as they engaged the Irish drama of such writers as Bernard Shaw and Sean O'Casey. to be able to hint either the family tree and newer trajectory of immigrant drama and fiction, chapters discover either the post-Famine melodramatic degree of the 19th century and a bunch of extra modern texts from more moderen generations of immigrants. all through, the ebook argues for a "circum-North Atlantic" tradition during which texts from eire, Britain, Irish the USA, and Jewish the USA give a contribution considerably to either a contemporary American literature and to understandings of the phrases "Irish" and "Jewish."

How do we rather recognize what those phrases suggest as they delimit or erase completely the diversities inherent to them? Borrowing a time period from psychoanalytic and political thought, "Something Dreadful and Grand" explores the bigger dimensions of this Irish-Jewish subconscious underlying cultural construction in the USA, arguing for the centrality of those diasporic teams to the improvement of yankee well known song, fiction, and particularly drama.

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