Call It Sleep

By Henry Roth; Hana Wirth-Nesher (Afterword by); Alfred Kazin (Introduction by)
(Picador USA, Paperback, 9780312424121, 462pp.)

Publication Date: July 2005

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When Henry Roth published his debut novel Call It Sleep in 1934, it was greeted with considerable critical acclaim though, in those troubled times, lackluster sales. Only with its paperback publication thirty years later did this novel receive the recognition it deserves----and still enjoys. Having sold-to-date millions of copies worldwide, " Call It Sleep" is the magnificent story of David Schearl, the "dangerously imaginative" child coming of age in the slums of New York.

About the Author
Henry Roth died in New Mexico in 1995. His previous novels include "Call it Sleep," one of the greatest novels of this century, as well as "A Star Shines Over Mt. Morris Park," "A Diving Rock on the Hudson," and "From Bondage."

Hana Wirth-Nesher is the Samuel L. and Perry Haber Chair of the Study of the Jewish Experience in the United States and Professor of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University. She is the author of Call It English: The Languages of Jewish American Literature and City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel (Cambridge University Press, 1996). She is also the editor of New Essays on Call It Sleep (Cambridge University Press, 1996), and, with Michael Kramer, The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Alfred Kazin was born in Brooklyn in 1915. His first book, On Native Grounds, published in 1942, revolutionized critical perceptions of American literature. It was followed by many more books of essays and criticism, including A Walker in the City and, most recently, Writing Was Everything.

Kazin has taught at Harvard, Smith, Amherst, Hunter College, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In 1996, he received the Truman Capote Literary Trust's first Lifetime Award in Literary Criticism.

Kazin lives in New York City.

Praise For Call It Sleep

"One of the few genuinely distinguished novels written by a twentieth-century American." --Irving Howe, The New York Times Book Review

"Arguably the most distinguished work of fiction ever written about immigrant life...Surely the most lyrically authentic novel in American literature about a young boy’s coming to consciousness." --Lis Harris, The New Yorker

"Roth has done for the East Side Jew what James T. Farrell is doing for the Chicago Irish in the Studs Lonigan trilogy.... When his characters are speaking pure Yiddish, Roth translates it into great beauty....The final chapters in the book have been compared to the Nighttown episodes of Joyce’s Ulysses; the comparison is apt." --John Chamberlain, The New York Times

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