Avery, Evelyn 1940-

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AVERY, Evelyn 1940-

PERSONAL: Born January 18, 1940, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Jack (a grocer) and Fay (a grocer's assistant and homemaker; maiden name, Pittelman) Gross; married Sheldon Avery, June 26, 1960; children: Peter, Daniel. Ethnicity: "Jewish." Education: Brooklyn College (now of the City University of New York), B.A., 1961; University of Oregon, M.A., 1970, Ph.D., 1976. Politics: Independent. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Biblical study, film viewing and analysis, swimming.

ADDRESSES: Home—Baltimore, MD. Offıce—Department of English, Towson University, 800 York Rd., Towson, MD 21252; fax: 410-704-3999. E-mail— [email protected].

CAREER: Towson University, Towson, MD, professor of English, 1975—, coordinator of Jewish studies, 1997—. Formerly taught at schools in New York, NY, and in Uganda.

MEMBER: National Association of Scholars (member of board of directors, 1990—), Bernard Malamud Society (coordinator, 1991—).

AWARDS, HONORS: Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1980; fellow of Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, 1987; award for outstanding faculty member, Towson Alumni Association, 2002.


Rebels and Victims: The Fiction of Richard Wright and Bernard Malamud, Kennikat Press (Port Washington, NY), 1979.

Sex and the Modern Jewish Woman: An AnnotatedBibliography, Fresh Meadows Press, 1986.

The Magic Worlds of Bernard Malamud, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2001.

Coeditor, Malamud Newsletter.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Editing Divided Selves: Jewish Women Writers in America.

SIDELIGHTS: Evelyn Avery told CA: "Writing allows me to express distinctive points of view which do not conform to current literary trends such as post-modernism. If successful, I can reach a broader audience and discover like-minded colleagues who also wish to influence literary scholarship and teaching.

"A product of Jewish immigrant culture, I have been influenced by the Hebrew scriptures, Jewish history, and Yiddish and Jewish American literature as well as great European writers such as Fyodor Dostoievsky, Anton Chekhov, and Gustave Flaubert. Having taught in Ugandan and New York City schools and been raised in Brooklyn, I was also attracted to the interaction of ethnic groups, particularly blacks and Jews, about whom Bernard Malamud, the subject of my books, has also written.

"Although I had always considered writing, it was my grandmother's encouragement and Bernard Malamud's fiction that motivated my desire to share my thoughts with others. Malamud's The Assistant, which I read at age eighteen, so replicated my life in detail and spirit that I chose to focus on the author for my academic studies. His belief in the possibility of human regeneration is central to Jewish values, and his best works place him inside the Jewish canon of literature.

"Likewise, my grandmother, my bubbe, Shenah Pesha, believed in the potential goodness of people until they proved her wrong. And though she experienced horrible anti-Semitism in Poland, she recalled some acts of gentile kindness. She also believed in me and urged me to write about Jewish life. My current work in progress is dedicated to her influence."