A Rhetorical Conversation: Jewish Discourse in Modern Yiddish Literature

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Penn State Press, Jan 1, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 216 pages
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This book is about Jewish language. The fact that Jews speak and write in distinctive ways is well known. (The journalist Mike Royko called it "Hebonics.") These forms of expression actually draw from many sources and have been employed in popular culture from Henry Roth's Call It Sleep to the novels of Saul Bellow to contemporary television. What has received less attention is what allowed these modern forms to flow from a rich body of Yiddish literature. This book fills that gap by exploring the language of modern Yiddish literature, addressing emblematically why Jews answer a question with a question. Through a series of case studies, A Rhetorical Conversation explores various distinctive aspects of Yiddish literature to explain the nature and importance of Jewish discourse: the way of speaking, writing, arguing, and thinking developed by Yiddish culture based on prolonged and intimate contact with traditional texts.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Case of the Tautological Infinitive
17
2 The Language of Jewish Discourse
31
3 Jewish Discourse and Modern Yiddish Poetry
49
4 Conversational Orchestration in the TSENERENE and Sholem Aleykhem
81
5 Y L Peretss Conversationalart in Yiddish and Hebrew
109
Coda
147
Notes
155
Bibliography
183
Index
193
Back Cover
203
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