Diasporic Jewish culture has been multilingual by definition for more than two thousand years of statelessness—until the twentieth century, that is. This chapter juxtaposes two sharply different textual and intellectual trajectories for multilingual Jewish cultures. Henry Roth and Lionel Trilling were each engaged in projects of representing U.S. Jewish life in the 1920s and '30s, the former in his novel Call It Sleep (1934) and the latter in contributions to the Menorah Journal, his later occasional writings on Jewish culture, and, perhaps counterintuitively, his first scholarly book, Matthew Arnold (1939). While Roth's linguistically defamiliarizing novel depicted multilingual invention within Jewish, modernist, and multiethnic proletarian milieux, Trilling moved from particularist Jewish expression to Arnoldian definitions of culture and modernity that quietly enfolded Jewish ethics and aesthetics within a broader program for cultural institutions.
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