A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987
In A Question of Tradition, Kathryn Hellerstein explores the roles that women poets played in forming a modern Yiddish literary tradition. Women who wrote in Yiddish go largely unrecognized outside a rapidly diminishing Yiddish readership. Even in the heyday of Yiddish literature, they were regarded as marginal. But for over four centuries, women wrote and published Yiddish poems that addressed the crises of Jewish history—from the plague to the Holocaust—as well as the challenges and pleasures of daily life: prayer, art, friendship, nature, family, and love. Through close readings and translations of poems of eighteen writers, Hellerstein argues for a new perspective on a tradition of women Yiddish poets. Framed by a consideration of Ezra Korman's 1928 anthology of women poets, Hellerstein develops a discussion of poetry that extends from the sixteenth century through the twentieth, from early modern Prague and Krakow to high modernist Warsaw, New York, and California. The poems range from early conventional devotions, such as a printer's preface and verse prayers, to experimental, transgressive lyrics that confront a modern ambivalence toward Judaism. In an integrated study of literary and cultural history, Hellerstein shows the immensely important contribution made by women poets to Jewish literary tradition.
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Anna Margolin Antologye Bassin biblical bobes oytser candles Celia Dropkin contrast couplet daughter depicts Dropkin earth Esther eyes Ezra Korman Father King female Fishls’s Fogel Frakes Froyen Froyen-lider Gele Gele’s gender girl girl’s God’s grandmother grandmother’s Hallelujah Havdalah Haynt Hebrew Hellerstein Ibid Jewish tradition Jewish women Jews Kadya Molodowsky Khane Korman’s anthology Korn’s Krynicka language letter Lider lines Literarishe bleter literary lover male Matriarchs mayn mercy metaphor Miriam Ulinover modernist Molodowsky mother Moyshe Moyshe-Leyb Halpern nakht nekht Novershtern Pan’s Paper Bridges phrase poem poem’s poet poet’s poetic Prague prayer book premodern published Purim reader rhymed Rivke Rokhl Korn role Royzl Fishls Sabbath sexual Seyder Tkhines Shmuel Niger shtetl Shtok song speaker stanza Tfile tion tkhines Toybe translation Tsene-rene Turniansky Tussman Ulinover Ulinover’s poems voice Warsaw woman women poets words writing wrote Yakubovitsh Yiddish literature Yiddish poetry Yidishe dikhterins YIVO