I was reminded of this conceit of early American literary historiography just as I began to prepare this introduction to the present special issue of SAJL
on the egregiously neglected area of early Jewish American literary history, what I dubbed in an earlier essay for this journal its "wretched refuse.
My interview of Dan helps to define the beginnings, the philosophy, and the originality of SAJL
This appears in "The Silver Mosaic: American Jewish Literature in the New Millennium," SAJL 19 (2000).
ALB: I think that SAJL illustrates the fact that you do take it seriously.
ALB: You of course are so well known in the field as a pioneer in Jewish American literature, and SAJL the journal that you founded, is now thirty-seven years old.
A whole issue of SAJL was dedicated to him in 1984, and he was very pleased with that.
Jewish American literature in the 1970s, when you founded SAJL, was one thing.
DW: SAJL today is the leading journal in the field.
Ellen Uffen's early article, "My Name Is Asher Lev: Chaim Potok's Portrait of the Young Hasid as Artist," appeared in SAJL
As we explain in our front matter, SAJL does not seek to be an all-purpose Jewish Studies journal (of which there are already several excellent examples); instead, we're trying to theorize how "Jewish" exists literarily and culturally--how it exists, above all, textually.
I should point out that, though SAJL remains ardently committed to scholarly responsibility, the essays in this first issue have not been put through the regular peer review process, as we wanted to preserve to as great a degree as possible the occasional nature and contentiousness native to this kind of writing.
It isn't that I simply want more people to pay attention to what we are doing over here in SAJL