Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, Jul 11, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 256 pages
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In interwar and post-Holocaust New York, Yiddish autobiographers responded to the upheaval of modern Jewish life in ways that combined artistic innovation with commemoration for a world that is no more. Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers is the first comprehensive study of the autobiographical genre in Yiddish literature. Jan Schwarz offers portraits of seven major Yiddish writers, showing the writer's struggles to shape the multiple identities of their ruptured lives in autobiographical fiction. This analysis of Yiddish life-writing includes discussions of literary representation, self and collectivity, and memory in modern Jewish literature.
Schwarz shows how Yiddish autobiographical fiction fuses novelistic elements and memoiristic truthfulness in ways that also characterize Jewish life-writing in English and Hebrew. His accessible style, biographical sketches, glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, and careful survey of notable texts takes readers on an incomparable journey through modern Yiddish literature.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Part I The Classical Trio
23
Part II In America
77
Part III After the Holocaust
125
Conclusion
159
Chronology
167
Glossary
185
Notes
189
Bibliography
221
Index
231
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About the author (2005)

Jan Schwarz is lecturer in the department of German at Northwestern University and lecturer in the Committee on Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago.

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