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Singer's Typewriter and Mine

Reflections on Jewish Culture (Texts and Contexts)

Ilan Stavans


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A cultural critic of extraordinary erudition, encyclopedic knowledge, and boundless curiosity, Ilan Stavans, an Ashkenazic Jew who grew up in Mexico, negotiates wildly varied topics as effortlessly and deftly as he manages the multiple perspectives of a dual national, religious, and ethnic identity. In Singer’s Typewriter and Mine, a follow-up to The Inveterate Dreamer (Nebraska, 2001), Stavans interweaves his own experience with that of other Jewish writers and thinkers, past and present, to explore modern Jewish culture across the boundaries of language and nation. Juxtaposing the personal and the analytical, these essays and conversations take up the oeuvres of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Mario Vargas Llosa, translation and God’s language, storytelling as midrash, anti-Semitism in Hispanic America, Yiddish and Sephardic literatures, the connection between humor and terror, impostors as cultural agents, the creators of the King James Bible, and the encounter between Jewish and Latino civilizations, to name but a few of Stavans’s topics here. Funny, engaging, and provocative, this collection continues Stavans’s project of opening new vistas in our cross-cultural understanding of language, literature, and life.

Praise For Singer's Typewriter and Mine: Reflections on Jewish Culture (Texts and Contexts)

“In short, Stavans is an old-fashioned intellectual, a brilliant interpreter of his triple heritage—Jewish, Mexican, and American.”—Henry Louis Gates Jr.

"Stavans's charming and erudite prose will draw in even those unfamiliar with his subjects."—Publishers Weekly starred review

"[Singer's Typewriter and Mine is an] eye-opening book-lover's book."—Ray Olson, Booklist

"This major collection of Ilan Stavans's shorter writings confirms his place as a premier interpreter of the Jewish experience in the Americas."—Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council

"A wonderful collection. . . . Stavans is an engaged cultural observer with a gift for the written word."—Sonia Smith, Association of Jewish Libraries

University of Nebraska Press, 9780803271364, 368pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2012

About the Author

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.