Secular Hebrew literature emerged as a strong literary movement at the end of the 19th century. Because Hebrew was not a spoken language at the time, the first successful Hebrew writers encountered numerous technical problems. Pioneering Hebrew writers like Mendele Mokher Seforim needed to find ways to express the modern Jewish experience in an ancient language. In Israel, Hebrew literature flowered, evolving from its nationalistic, ideological beginnings to a literature that is oftentimes experimental and subversive.
Jewish-American literature has been an enormously successful genre. Fictional chronicles of the Jewish-American experience--from the immigrant adventures of Henry Roth to the suburban misadventures of Philip Roth--achieved notoriety among Jewish and mainstream American readership. Although many literary critics in the 1970s and 1980s predicted the decline of Jewish American fiction, recent achievements like Michael Chabon's 2001 Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay indicate that quality works of Jewish-American fiction are still being produced.
Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.