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Unclean Lips: Jews, Obscenity, and American Culture (The Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History) [Kindle Edition]

Josh Lambert
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Jews have played an integral role in the history of obscenity in America. For most of the 20th century, Jewish entrepreneurs and editors led the charge against obscenity laws. Jewish lawyers battled literary censorship even when their non-Jewish counterparts refused to do so, and they won court decisions in favor of texts including UlyssesA HowlLady Chatterley’s Lover, and Tropic of Cancer. Jewish literary critics have provided some of the most influential courtroom testimony on behalf of freedom of expression.
  
The anti-Semitic stereotype of the lascivious Jew has made many historians hesitant to draw a direct link between Jewishness and obscenity. In Unclean Lips, Josh Lambert addresses the Jewishness of participants in obscenity controversies in the U.S. directly, exploring the transformative roles played by a host of neglected figures in the development of modern and postmodern American culture.
 
The diversity of American Jewry means that there is no single explanation for Jews' interventions in this field. Rejecting generalizations, this bookoffers case studies that pair cultural histories with close readings of both contested texts and trial transcripts to reveal the ways in which specific engagements with obscenity mattered to particular American Jews at discrete historical moments.
 
Reading American culture from Theodore Dreiser and Henry Miller to Curb Your Enthusiasm and FCC v. FoxUnclean Lips analyzes the variable historical and cultural factors that account for the central role Jews have played in the struggles over obscenity and censorship in the modern United States.
 
Josh Lambert is Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
 
In The Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Josh Lambert undermines many cliches about Jews, obscenity, and even 'sexual anti-Semitism' in this engrossing book. He brilliantly navigates us through many episodes of sexual representation, some familiar, some quite unexpected, along with the social and legal conflicts that surrounded them. Lucidly written and arduously researched, this is an exceptional work of cultural history."-Morris Dickstein,author of Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression

"Josh Lambert breaks new ground in his complex, original, and important work on Jews and obscenity. His story weaves together Jewish publishers, writers, birth control crusaders, Orthodox advocates for modesty, and comedians as well as non Jews writing about Jews. He recenters debates about obscenity on Jewishness, as well as centering them within American Jewish culture. Unclean Lips is a timely and fascinating study of American culture itself."-Riv-Ellen Prell,author of Fighting to Become Americans: Jews Gender and the Anxiety of Assimilation

"[H]e presents what is engaging material, demonstrating how 'taboo words and explicit representations of sex were meaningful to American Jews during the 20th-century... in contingent and historically specific ways.'"-Publishers Weekly,

About the Author

Josh Lambert is Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Product Details

  • File Size: 644 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (November 25, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G5I0KDS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,152 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Obscenity in life May 13, 2014
By suzanne
Format:Kindle Edition
a very interesting and informative read. I have a new perspective on the subject. l found the book an excellent resource for a subject often neglected or avoided due to ignorance and or fear of being discovered, one should not be so curious!
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