Thursday, April 24, 2008

Steve Feffer Article in Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History

Steve Feffer's article “'Judas the Maccabeas:' Samuel B. H. Judah and the Staging of Jewish Identity in Early American Melodrama" appears in the current issue (27: 3) of PROOFTEXTS: A JOURNAL OF JEWISH LITERARY HISTORY.

Feffer's article considers Samuel B. H. Judah, the least well-known and most critically reviled of the early Jewish-American playwrights, and how in Judah’s plays, his subaltern status as a Jew in early America contributes to an important artistic separation with Judah’s Jewish playwriting contemporary and renowned patriot, sheriff and journalist, Mordecai Manuel Noah’s more popular melodramas. Judah’s neglected melodramas of the early 1820s, such as THE MOUNTAIN TORRENT and THE BATTLE OF LEXINGTON, become a fecund site to consider the representation of Jews by Jewish playwrights in early nineteenth century American popular theatrical entertainments. Furthermore, Judah’s LEXINGTON should be seen as a landmark work of Jewish-American literature because it introduces, in a manner, the first contemporary Jewish characters written by a Jewish playwright for the American stage.

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