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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight Jewish-American Literature
 
Jewish-American Gay and Lesbian Literature with its rich heritage, diverse subject matter, and thriving vitality has imbued American Jewish literature with new life.
 
 
  Myron BrinigMyron Brinig (1896-1991) was one of the first Jewish-American writers of his generation to write in English rather than Yiddish. He was also one of the first to create homosexual characters, though he remained publicly closeted all of his life.  
 
 
  Bernard CooperBernard Cooper (b. 1951) is an award-winning writer who blurs the boundaries between autobiography, essay, poetry, and fiction in elegantly crafted works that focus on sexuality, memory, and growing up gay in the 1950s and 1960s.  
 
 
  Elana DykewomonElana Dykewomon (b. 1949) consistently presents the lesbian as an active, dynamic hero on center stage. Throughout her poetry, novels, and essays, there walks the figure of the outsider: the Jew, the fat woman, the woman moving between communities.  
 
 
  David Feinberg (1956-1994) is known for his novels anatomizing gay life at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. He used humor as a defense mechanism and a means to avoid madness and despair in a world that had become nightmarishly absurd.
 
 
 
  Leslie FeinbergLeslie Feinberg (b. 1949) is a political organizer, grassroots historian, an accomplished writer, and a pioneer of transgender activism and culture. Feinberg is perhaps best known as the author of the widely acclaimed novel Stone Butch Blues (1993).  
 
 
  Harvey FiersteinHarvey Fierstein (b. 1954) is one of the finest gay male playwrights currently working in the American theater. He won Tony awards for best play and for best actor in 1983 for Torch Song Trilogy and won again the next year for best book for a musical for La Cage aux Folles.  
 
 
  Edward Field (b. 1924) is a poet whose work is an account of coming to terms with homosexuality in the literary world of New York in the second half of the twentieth century.  
 
 
  Robert Friend (1913-1998), an American-born Israeli, was both an accomplished poet in his own right and also an exceptionally skillful translator of poetry from many different languages.  
 
 
  Allen GinsbergAllen Ginsberg (1926-1997) is probably the best-known American poet to emerge in the post-World War II period. Ginsberg, a leading figure in the Beat literary movement, entered public awareness with the controversy over his first book, Howl and Other Poems (1956).  
 
 
  Paul Goodman (1911-1972) wrote about the homosexual libido in his poetry and fiction with unusual candor, which made him an important and highly visible advocate of gay liberation.  
 
 
  Richard Hall (1926-1992) focused almost exclusively on issues of gay identity and community in his novels, short stories, plays, and critical writings.  
 
 
  Larry kramerLarry Kramer (b. 1935) gained prominence in the world of gay writing when his novel Faggots, a scathing satire of gay life, was published in 1978. The controversial playwright, novelist, essayist, and founder of ACT UP has since become an important figure in the gay political response to AIDS in America.  
 
 
  Tony Kushner (b. 1956) has become a celebrity spokesman for gay politics and AIDS activism in addition to being a prize-winning playwright. Kushner's most famous drama, Angels in America (1991-1992), which elicited provincial criticism for its frank sexuality and leftist politics, garnered Kushner a Pulitzer Prize and two Tony Awards.  
 
 
  David LeavittDavid Leavitt (b. 1961), a novelist and short story writer, is one of the brightest stars of the gay literary world today. His debut novel, The Lost Language of Cranes (1986) was a critical success. While subsequent novels have sometimes been met with mixed reviews, he continues to produce work of quality and intelligence.  
 
 
  Leslea NewmanLesléa Newman (b. 1955) is a prolific Jewish femme lesbian-feminist writer of poetry, fiction, and children's books. Her children's book, Heather has Two Mommies (1989) was, for a time, the second most banned book in the United States.  
 
 
  Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), who has aestheticized politics and politicized aesthetics, is America's most widely read lesbian poet. In 1974, Rich won the National Book Award for Diving into the Wreck, one of many awards she has received througout her career.  
 
 
  Edouard Roditi (1910-1992) was a poet, translator, literary and art critic, and short story writer who was associated with most of the twentieth-century's avant-garde literary movements from Surrealism to Post-modernism.  
 
 
  Paul Rudnick (b. 1957) is a playwright, novelist, screenwriter, and humorist who writes regularly for a variety of media, often on gay subjects. His subversive wit characteristically punctures pretensions and lays bare hypocrisies, yet it is also typically forgiving and healing.  
 
 
  Sarah SchulmanSarah Schulman (b. 1958) is an author and playwright concerned with constructing a lesbian identity around and against the multicultural identities of New York City. Schulman, who is equipped with a sharp satiric wit, blends narrative experimentation with political critique.  
 
 
  Maurice Sendak (b. 1928) is an important voice in children's literature. Over the past half century, he has written and illustrated books that both acknowledge the fears faced by children and celebrate the imagination with which they cope with them. He is most famous for his book Where the Wild Things Are (1963).
 
 
 
  Martin Sherman (b. 1938) is an iconoclastic playwright and screenwriter who has created an impressive body of work. He is best known for the groundbreaking play Bent (1978), which can be seen as a product of the intellectual foment spawned by the gay liberation movement.  
 
 
  Gertrude SteinGertrude Stein (1874-1946) was--with Alice B. Toklas--half of an iconic lesbian couple and was an important innovator and transformer of the English language. For Stein, to be Jewish and lesbian was to be "doubly other."  
 
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