This article analyzes Alex Appella’s art book published in Argentina in English as The János Book and in Spanish as Entonces el libro and Después de la carta, along with the reception of the book among “communities of response” in classrooms throughout Argentina through a program called the Biblioteca Ambulantes, or Traveling Libraries. I argue that Appella’s writing is multidirectional and nonlinear, two significant characteristics of Jewish writing that necessitate greater attention to the flow of ideas and people across borders in the Western hemisphere, such as between the United States and Argentina, as well as across the Atlantic, such as in contact with Eastern Europe or Israel. Moreover, this multidirectionality draws in “communities of response” in Argentina, even students in a largely Catholic and/or indigenous society who may have previously known little or nothing about Jewish history or the Holocaust. Thinking with the concept of “communities of response” (Davis 1997), my article means to draw attention to the many possibilities for resonance or meaning, which go beyond simple and perhaps misguided assumptions that attempt to fix the Jewishness of Appella or her writing.
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Research Article| March 30 2022
“Un libro no convencional”: Communities of Response and Finding Jewishness in Alex Appella’s Writing
Jessica L. Carr
Jessica L. Carr
JESSICA CARR (they/she) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Berman Scholar of Jewish Studies at Lafayette College. Her first book is titled The Hebrew Orient: Palestine in Jewish American Visual Culture, 1901–1938 (SUNY Press, 2020). This article is part of a larger research project on contemporary visual culture by Jewish women in the Americas.
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Studies in American Jewish Literature (1981-) (2022) 41 (1): 1–33.
Jessica L. Carr; “Un libro no convencional”: Communities of Response and Finding Jewishness in Alex Appella’s Writing. Studies in American Jewish Literature (1981-) 30 March 2022; 41 (1): 1–33. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/studamerijewilite.41.1.0001
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