Call It Sleep NOTES

1. Baal Makhshoves (Israel Isidor Elyashev), “Two Languages – Only One Literature” [Yiddish], in Geklibene verk (New York, 1953), p. 122 (my translation). English version in What Is Jewish Literature?, ed. Hana Wirth-Nesher (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1992).

2. Ibid., p. 119.

3. Ibid., p. 117.

4. William Mackey, “The Description of Bilingualism,” in Readings in the Sociology of Language, ed. Joshua Fishman (The Hague, 1968), p. 554.

5. Joshua Fishman, Sociolinguistics: A Brief Introduction (Rowley, Mass., 1972), pp. 52–54. Fishman is basing his definitions on the work of Charles Ferguson, “Diglossia,” Word 15 (1959).

6. Leonard Forster, The Poet’s Tongues: Multilingualism in Literature (Cambridge, 1970), p. 4.

7. The hidden and entirely inaccessible language to David is Polish, which appears in the text only as gaps to be filled by the child’s misguided speculations.

8. See Max Weinreich, History of the Yiddish Language (Chicago, 1980); Uriel Weinreich, Languages in Contact: Findings and Problems (New York, 1953); Itamar Even-Zohar, “The Nature and Functionalization of the Language of Literature Under Diglossia” [Hebrew], Hasifrut 2 (1970): 286–302, and “Aspects of the Hebrew-Yiddish Polysystem,” in Polysystem Theory (forthcoming); Benjamin and Barbara Harshav, American Yiddish Poetry (Berkeley, 1986); Dan Miron, A Traveler Disguised: A Study in the Rise of Modern Yiddish Fiction in the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1973).

9. Max Weinreich, p. 249.

10. M. M. Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination (Austin, 1981), p. 292.

11. Meir Sternberg, “Polylingualism as Reality and Translation as Mimesis,” Poetics Today 2 (1981): 225–32.

12. Dorrit Cohn, Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction (Princeton, 1978).

For illuminating readings of Call It Sleep see Murray Baumgarten, City Scriptures: Modern Jewish Writing (Cambridge, Mass., 1982); Naomi Diamant, “Linguistic Universes in Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep,” Contemporary Literature 27 (1986): 336–55; Wayne Lesser, “A Narrative’s Revolutionary Energy: The Example of Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep,” Criticism 23 (1981): 155–76.

13. Max Weinreich, “Yiddishkayt and Yiddish: On the Impact of Religion on Language in Ashkenazic Jewry,” in Readings in the Sociology of Language, ed. Joshua Fishman (The Hague, 1968), p. 410.

14. Max Weinreich, History of the Yiddish Language, p. 252.

15. See American Yiddish Poetry, p. 404.

16. Sternberg, p. 225.

17. Henry Roth, Call It Sleep, p. 16. All further page references will be cited in the text.

18. See Hana Wirth-Nesher, “The Modern Jewish Novel and the City: Kafka, Roth, and Oz,” Modern Fiction Studies 24 (1978): 91–110.

19. Max Weinreich, History of the Yiddish Language, p. 270.

20. Uriel Weinreich, Languages in Contact, p. 76.

21. Bonnie Lyons, Henry Roth: The Man and His Work (New York, 1976), p. 172.

22. Henry Roth, Shifting Landscapes (Philadelphia, 1987), p. 142.

I am grateful to David Roskies and Zephyra Porat for their excellent suggestions during revisions of this essay.