Contemporary Jewish Writing in Canada


Contemporary Jewish Writing in Canada

An Anthology

Edited by Michael Greenstein

Jewish Writing in the Contemporary World Series

233 pages


June 2004


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Contemporary Jewish Writing in Canada brings together important and innovative works from modern Jewish writers living in Canada. This anthology presents a variety of male and female voices, both established and new, some translated from French or Yiddish. Caught between a conservative British tradition and an aggressive American influence with a long immigrant history, Canadian Jewish literature has charted a unique, intermediate course.

The largest community of Jewish writers in Canada can be found in Montreal, where a vibrant Yiddish culture has flourished, surrounded by a Francophone majority. Beginning with A. M. Klein and carrying through the works of Leonard Cohen and Mordecai Richler, Jewish writing in Montreal has adapted to changing political and linguistic pressures over the course of the twentieth century. A number of Jewish authors in this anthology write in French and are involved in translation—not just of language, but of cultural values as well.

The second largest concentration of Jewish writers in Canada is in Winnipeg and the western part of the country, where Jewish communities have strong Yiddish and socialist roots. A generation of younger writers, however, have shifted from these earlier centers to Toronto, where they form part of a multicultural mosaic, blending Jewish, Canadian, and cosmopolitan values. From Anne Michaels’s Greek island to Aryeh Lev Stollman’s Berlin and Michael Redhill’s Irish synagogue, Canadian-Jewish literature engages exile—at home abroad and abroad at home.

Author Bio

Michael Greenstein is an adjunct professor of Jewish studies at McGill University. He is the author of Third Solitudes: Tradition and Discontinuity in Jewish-Canadian Literature and Adele Wiseman and Her Works.


"Through a lively cross-section of 17 stories and novel excerpts, the anthology reminds us that we are blessed with a cornucopia of thoughtful, engaging and significant Jewish Canadian writers. . . . Countless American undergrads who find this book on their course lists . . . are in for a special treat."—The Canadian Jewish News

"Contemporary Jewish Writing in Canada is unquestionably excellent. . . . Selections, overall, provide a good representation of the changes sweeping Canadian literary scenes throughout the twentieth century. . . . Without doubt, the writings in this collection are outstanding. . . . [T]he book exemplifies the incredible wealth of Jewish writing in Canada, both past and present."—Canadian Ethnic Studies

“This anthology presents a variety of male and female voices, both established and new, some translated from French or Yiddish, representing the centers of Jewish life in Canada in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Toronto.”—Shofar

“Michael Greenstein. . . . does not merely edit this book, but also introduces it with a comprehensive literary history.”—Prairie Fire

"The 'Introduction' is a strong statement, erudite and thoughtful, reflecting the breadth of scholarship the author brings to his subject. Similarly, his selection of writers and their work is based on his studies in the full range of Canadian Jewish literature, and covers nearly a century of creative endeavor. The selected pieces are definitely meritorious and would make anyone's list."—Mervin Butovsky, American Review of Canadian Studies

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