Scholars who track the interactions of Irish and Jewish immigrant voices in the creation of American culture have largely focused on vaudeville, musical theater, and popular music around the turn of the twentieth century. Stephen Watt’s ambitious study, “Something Dreadful and Grand”: American Literature and The Irish-Jewish Unconscious, takes this intriguing pairing in a bold new direction, covering more than a century of American theater, including the modern political theater of Clifford Odets and the post-World War II classics of Arthur Miller and others. Watt moves beyond George Bornstein’s The Colors of Zion: Blacks, Jews, and Irish, 1845-1945 (2011), which traced parallels between representations...

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