The Pass­ing Game: Queer­ing Jew­ish Amer­i­can Culture

War­ren Hoffman
  • From the Publisher
October 10, 2011
Tony Kush­n­er’s award-win­ning epic play Angels in Amer­i­ca was remark­able not only for its sen­si­tive engage­ment of Jew­ish-Amer­i­can and gay cul­ture but also for bring­ing these themes to a main­stream audi­ence. While the play rep­re­sent­ed a water­shed in Amer­i­can the­ater and cul­ture, it belies a hun­dred years of pre­vi­ous atten­tion to queer Jew­ish iden­ti­ty in twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture, dra­ma, and film. In The Pass­ing Game, War­ren Hoff­man sheds light on this long his­to­ry, tak­ing up both Yid­dish and Eng­lish nar­ra­tives that explore the ten­sions among Jew­ish iden­ti­ty, queer sex­u­al­i­ty, per­for­mance, and Amer­i­can cit­i­zen­ship. Hoff­man high­lights the ways in which the char­ac­ters in canon­i­cal texts attempt to pass” as white, straight, and Amer­i­can in the ear­ly and mid-twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. This pio­neer­ing work is a wel­come con­tri­bu­tion to the study of Jew­ish Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture and culture. 

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