Cooper Lecturer Explores Jewish American Fiction

UALR’s William G. Cooper Jr. Honors Program in English Lecture Series presents a lecture, “What’s Jewish About Jewish American Fiction?” by Ezra Cappell, author of the critically acclaimed book, American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American Fiction, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19.

The lecture in Room D of UALR’s Donaghey Student Center is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture. For more information, contact Dr. Zabelle Stodola, director of the William G. Cooper, Jr., Honors Program in English at UALR, or (501) 569-3161.

In his book published by State University of New York Press in 2008, Cappell redefines the genre of Jewish American fiction and places it squarely within the larger context of American literature. Cappell departs from the conventional approach of defining Jewish American authors solely in terms of their ethnic origins; instead he contextualizes Jewish American fiction within the theological heritage of Jewish culture.

Questions to be considered in his presentation include: How do Jewish writers explore issues of ethnicity and religion in their work?  What makes one writer an ethnic writer as opposed to an American writer?  How do Jewish writers make sense of the conflicts between tradition and modernity?  How can a Jewish writer ethically represent the Holocaust in a work of fiction? Cappell will sign copies of his book after the presentation. 

Cappell, associate professor of English and director of the Inter-American Jewish Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso, has published numerous articles on American and Jewish American writing and is a frequent lecturer on Jewish American culture and Holocaust writing.

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