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SU’s Sternlicht pens “Tenement Saga” about turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants
SU’s Sternlicht pens “Tenement Saga” aboutturn-of-the-century Jewish immigrantsNovember 30, 2004Edward Byrnesedbyrnes@syr.edu
The University of Wisconsin Press has announced the Dec. 15 release of “The Tenement Saga: The Lower East Side and Early Jewish American Writers,” a book by Sanford Sternlicht, part-time professor of English and Judaic Studies in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. In “The Tenement Saga,” Sternlicht tells the story of his own childhood in New York City and situates his experience within the context of 14 significant early 20th-century East Side writers such as Anzia Yezierska, Abraham Cahan, Michael Gold and Henry Roth.
Nearly 2 million Jewish men, women, and children emigrated from Eastern Europe between 1882-1924 and settled in or passed through the Lower East Side of New York City. Sternlicht’s latest literary work discusses the role of women in East Side life, the pleasures of Yiddish theater, secular values, the struggle between generations, street crime, the role of Tammany politics, the development of labor unions and the importance of newspapers and periodicals. He documents the decline of Yiddish culture as these immigrants blended into what they called “The Golden Land” and paved the way for the great Jewish American novelists of the second half of the 20th century.
Sternlicht is the author of numerous works, including his recent “A Student Companion to Elie Wiesel” and “A Reader’s Guide to Modern American Drama” (2002). Other works include “C.S. Forester and The Hornblower Saga” (1999); “A Reader’s Guide to Modern Irish Drama” (1998); “New Plays from the Abbey Theatre 1993-1995, 1996″(1997); and “All Things Herriot: James Herriot and His Peaceable Kingdom,” (1995).
Sternlicht is the recipient of several awards for writing and for excellence in teaching. He was awarded a 1994 Research and Travel Grant to Northern Ireland by the British
Council, and The English-Speaking Union awarded him Sir Evelyn Wrench Travel/Lecture Grants 1997 and 1998.
He earned his Ph.D. in English from SU in 1962, and began teaching at SU in 1986.