2016 - 2017

  Modern Yiddish Culture and the Quest for Aesthetic Expression  
Zehavit SternGilman-humanities3611600-1800 Sem  2
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description

The course will examine the search for new ways of aesthetic expression in modern Yiddish culture. We will follow the continuous effort of various authors to transform the debased vernacular into a respectable language, and to re-imagine modern Yiddish culture as stemming from a well-established Jewish aesthetic heritage. We will begin our journey with the genre of the novel, following Sholem Aleykhem, who viewed writing a Jewish novel in ”jargon” as a challenge. We will continue to explore other ways of experimenting with questions of genre, form and aesthetic language, including: the “discovery” of the monologue in modern Yiddish literature (Sholem-Aleykhem, Isaac Bashevis Singer); the re-imagination of the Ballad and the folk song in modern Yiddish poetry (Mani Leyb, Moyshe Leyb Halpern, Itzik Manger) the modernist manifestos, and the complex relation between literature and visual arts in the avant-garde journals (Albatros, Khalyastre, Yung yidish). We will also discuss the various attempts to construct art theater in Yiddish, and the aesthetic possibilities offered by Yiddish cinema.

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