New PDF release: Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and

By Jeffrey Shandler

ISBN-10: 0520244168

ISBN-13: 9780520244160

ISBN-10: 1423727630

ISBN-13: 9781423727637

Adventures in Yiddishland examines the transformation of Yiddish within the six many years because the Holocaust, tracing its shift from the language of everyday life for hundreds of thousands of Jews to what the writer phrases a postvernacular language of various and increasing symbolic price. With an intensive command of contemporary Yiddish tradition in addition to its centuries-old background, Jeffrey Shandler investigates the amazing range of up to date encounters with the language. His learn traverses the large spectrum of people that interact with Yiddish--from Hasidim to avant-garde performers, Jews in addition to non-Jews, fluent audio system in addition to those that recognize very little Yiddish--in groups around the Americas, in Europe, Israel, and different outposts of "Yiddishland."

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Extra resources for Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (S. Mark Taper Foundation Imprint in Jewish Studies)

Example text

39 From our postwar perspective it is apparent that, just as the atrocities that awaited Europe’s Jews during World War II were beyond their imagination, Yiddish speakers could not fathom the devastating effect that the Holocaust would have on the language and its culture. Writing in the Jewish Daily Forward at the end of 1941, weeks after the United States’ entry into the war, Max Weinreich considered its consequences for Yiddish. ” Noting that predictions, positive as well as negative, of the impact World War I would have on Yiddish had all proved to be inaccurate, Weinreich refused to speculate about the particular consequences of the current war.

Understanding postvernacular Yiddish, then, requires investigation into the desires of those who choose to pursue it. What is it that draws people to sign up for Yiddish language classes, to attend Yiddish festivals, to organize Yiddish conversation groups, to support the rescue of abandoned Yiddish books, to 24 POSTVERNACULARITY purchase mock Yiddish dictionaries, to compose pious songs and plays in Yiddish, to subscribe to Yiddish periodicals, to translate works of world literature into Yiddish, or to tune into Yiddish radio programs via the Internet?

44 This trope of recounting the decline of Yiddish in postwar America as an ambivalent sign of cultural loss has continued through the turn of the millennium. In 2000 New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman observed that while “a fair amount of Yiddish . . has become mainstream in America, . . the Yiddish that Americans tend to know (most Jews included) consists of only a word here, a word there, and often those words are exceedingly vulgar. ”45 Paradoxically, at the same time that Yiddish was becoming, for many Jews, a lost language, it also gained new value as a signifier of loss.

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Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (S. Mark Taper Foundation Imprint in Jewish Studies) by Jeffrey Shandler


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