David Levinsky

David Levinsky

INTRODUCTION

Published in 1917, The Rise of David Levinsky is considered to be the first American novel to chronicle the Jewish American immigrant experience at the end of the 19th century. Almost a century later, it can be difficult to imagine the significance of this book at the time of its publication and in the intervening years.

Certainly before the turn of the last century, and undoubtedly since, we are proud to proclaim our nation a country of immigrants. We have developed an awareness of the immigrant experience through a variety of media?newspapers, books, magazine articles, television documentaries, radio shows and movies. We hardly can help but be aware, to some degree, of the unique challenges that have faced immigrants from such diverse places as Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba, China and Korea, to name a few. Even over the last thirty years within our own Jewish community we have come to appreciate the experiences of Russians, Iranians, Israelis, South Africans and South Americans starting their lives over in their adopted homeland.

What became the book The Rise of David Levinsky originally appeared as four related short stories in the English-language McClure?s Magazine. Immediately, what might have otherwise been available only to the new

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