Literature of Exile and Displacement

American Identity in a Time of Crisis (First Edition)
Edited by Holli Levitsky, Monica Osborne, and Stella Setka
©2016, 354 pages

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    Literature of Exile and Displacement includes excerpts and short stories from an international body of writers examining almost 100 years of literature on the experience of exile from a home country and displacement to the United States.

    Through the selections readers will investigate how the authors have portrayed the journeys, hopes, and hardships of dislocation and alienation, and the role literature may play in creating a sense of community for immigrants, refugees, and people living in exile.

    Readers will analyze and critically evaluate how terms such as exile, immigration, and terror intersect with the related concepts of displacement, dislocation, and expatriation. They will consider the various factors that spur exile, human migration, and related acts of terror.

    The material is organized by theme and geographical area. All chapters include incisive questions to encourage classroom discussion or use as essay prompts.

    Literature of Exile and Displacement can be used as a stand-alone text for courses in American culture, American literature, or comparative literature. It is also an excellent supplement for humanities classes.

    Holli Levitsky holds a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of California, Irvine. A professor of English at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Dr. Levitsky is also the founder and director of the Jewish Studies Program. She was a Schusterman Fellow and held a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Literature at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Dr. Levitsky was also a fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. Her work has been published in such journals as Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal and POLIN: Studies in Polish Jewry and her most recent book is titled Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust, and the Literary Imagination (2015).
    Stella Setka holds a Ph.D. in English from Purdue University. Her scholarship on ethnic American literature and women’s studies has been published in journals such as MELUS, Mosaic, American Periodicals, and Jewish Film & New Media, and she is currently working on a monograph that examines the role of the supernatural in cultural trauma narratives by black, Jewish, and Native American authors. Dr. Setka is an honors lecturer and the director of the National & International Scholarships Office at Loyola Marymount University.
    Monica Osborne earned her Ph.D. at Purdue University and was a post-doctoral Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Holocaust and World Culture at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Osborne is a visiting assistant professor of Jewish Studies at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She has written for Tikkun, The New Republic, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and The Forward. She has also published scholarly work in journals and books including Religion and Literature, Studies in American Jewish Literature, and Companion to Woody Allen, among others.
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    This fascinating collection of essays provides an impressive foundation for new kinds of university courses that Americans, especially, must teach in order to recover our memories of the often traumatic social transitions that are composed of innumerable individual stories of pain that nonetheless built our magnificent American diversity. Drawing on both fiction and social analysis, the editors have constructed a creative textbook that will surely become the basis for profoundly important courses. What a welcome volume this is!

    Dr. Daniel L. Smith-Christopher (D.Phil.) professor of theological studies (Old Testament) Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles

    Literature of Exile and Displacement, a rich and multifaceted collection of outstanding, mostly contemporary, authors, presents a set of short stories and excerpts from novels dealing with both the particularity and universality of the exilic condition and its consequences. In an expansive and inclusive way, it addresses a major question of what it means to be an immigrant, a refugee, an exile, and a displaced person in general and in America in particular. It explores a number of significant issues associated with human dislocation, including identity formation, memory, artistic creativity, and intergenerational transmission of trauma. By providing brief theoretical, historical and biographical notes, by posing follow-up questions, and by suggesting further readings, the editors make sure that the anthology, when used in a classroom, fully meets its objective: “to promote understanding of the complex issues resulting from exile.” Literature of Exile and Displacement constitutes a major and timely contribution to the research and teaching of Exile Studies.

    Dr. Asher Z. Milbauer, director of The Exile Studies Program, professor of English, Florida International University

    E. M Forster despaired that we had become a “civilization of luggage” which would impoverish our imagination. As this collection demonstrates, our nomadic condition and search for a home has inspired artistic riches. With its broad sweep of texts, and useful pedagogical guides Literature of Exile and Displacement offers us a way in to the kaleidoscopic chaos of migration. This timely volume captures the lure of the American beacon calling out to those adrift, promising a safe harbour.

    Rachel S. Harris, associate professor of comparative and world literature, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, author of An Ideological Death: Suicide in Israeli Literature (Northwestern University Press, 2014)