Joseph Opatoshu
A Yiddish Writer between Europe and America

Edited by Sabine Koller, Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov

Studies In Yiddish 11

Legenda

25 September 2013  •  282pp

ISBN: 978-1-907975-60-8 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ModernYiddishCentralRussianFiction


At the turn of the twentieth century East European Jews underwent a radical cultural transformation, which turned a traditional religious community into a modern nation, struggling to find its place in the world. An important figure in this ‘Jewish Renaissance’ was the American-Yiddish writer and activist Joseph Opatoshu (1886-1954). Born into a Hassidic family, he spent his early childhood in a forest in Central Poland, was educated in Russia and studied engineering in France and America. In New York, where he emigrated in 1907, he joined the revitalizing modernist group Di yunge - The Young. His early novels painted a vivid picture of social turmoil and inner psychological conflict, using modernist devices of multiple voices and mixed linguistic idioms. He acquired international fame by his historical novels about the Polish uprising of 1863 and the expulsion of Jews from Regensburg in 1519. Though he was translated into several languages, Yiddish writing always fostered his ideas and ideals of Jewish identity.

Although he occupied a key position in the transnational Jewish culture during his lifetime, Opatoshu has until recently been neglected by scholars. This volume brings together literary specialists and historians working in Jewish and Slavic Studies, who analyse Opatoshu's quest for modern Jewish identity from different perspectives.

The contributors are Shlomo Berger (Amsterdam), Marc Caplan (Baltimore, MD), Gennady Estraikh (New York), Roland Gruschka (Heidelberg), Ellie Kellman (Boston), Sabine Koller (Regensburg), Mikhail Krutikov (Ann Arbor, MI), Joshua Lambert (Amherst, MA), Harriet Murav (Urbana-Champaign, IL), Avrom Novershtern (Jerusalem), Dan Opatoshu (Los Angeles), Eugenia Prokop-Janiec (Krakow), Jan Schwarz (Lund), Astrid Starck (Basel/Mulhouse), Karolina Szymaniak (Krakow) and Evita Wiecki (Munich).

Reviews:

  • ‘The collection marks an important milestone in Slavic-Jewish Studies... a reader of this volume leaves with the satisfaction of being able to not only trace the literary, ideological, and cultural trajectory of Opatoshu, but also to better understand the course of modern Jewish history.’ — Naya Lekht, Slavic and East European Journal 59.1, Spring 2015, 135-37

Contents:

1-17
Joseph Opatoshu’s Search for Yidishkayt
Gennady Estraikh, Sabine Koller, Mikhail Krutikov
Cite
18-34
In New York Velder: Yosef/Joseph Opatoshu — Constructing a Multinational, 20th Century, (very) Modern Yiddish Identity
Dan Opatoshu
Cite
35-54
Soviet Dreams of a Cultural Exile
Gennady Estraikh
Cite
55-67
Faint Praise: The Early Critical Reception of Joseph Opatoshu’s In poylishe velder
Ellen Kellman
Cite
68-85
The Two Souls of Mordkhe: In poylishe velder
Sabine Koller
Cite
86-96
In poylishe velder and The Brothers Karamazov: A Comparative Study
Harriet Murav
Cite
97-111
‘Such a Rag-Bag’: The Historical Novel as Spectacle, neo-Hasidic Hagiography, and Pseudo-territory
Jan Schwarz
Cite
112-126
A tog in Regensburg and Elye Bokher: Opatoshu’s 1933 Vision of Early Yiddish and Medieval Ashkenazi Culture, his Scholarly-Yiddishist Models, and Means of Representation
Roland Gruschka
Cite
127-136
A tog in Regensburg: Scholarly Research and a Novel’s Outline
Shlomo Berger
Cite
137-159
The Flesh and the Spirit: Opatoshu’s novel Di tentserin (The Dancer)
Avraham Novershtern
Cite
160-171
Cityscapes of Yidishkayt: Opatoshu’s New York Trilogy
Mikhail Krutikov
Cite
172-183
Opatoshu’s Eroticism, American Obscenity
Josh Lambert
Cite
184-198
Yiddish Exceptionalism: Lynching, Race, and Racism in Opatoshu’s Lintsheray
Marc Caplan
Cite
199-214
Mentshn un khayes (1938): Snapshots of Jewish life in America and Europe
Astrid Starck-Adler
Cite
215-230
Literature for Children? The Case of Joseph Opatoshu
Evita Wiecki
Cite
231-266
Bibliography of Joseph Opatoshu
Holger Nath
Cite

Bibliography entry:

Koller, Sabine, Gennady Estraikh, and Mikhail Krutikov (eds), Joseph Opatoshu: A Yiddish Writer between Europe and America, Studies In Yiddish, 11 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013)

First footnote reference: 35 Joseph Opatoshu: A Yiddish Writer between Europe and America, ed. by Sabine Koller, Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov, Studies In Yiddish, 11 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2013), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Koller, Estraikh, and Krutikov, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Koller, Sabine, Gennady Estraikh, and Mikhail Krutikov (eds). 2013. Joseph Opatoshu: A Yiddish Writer between Europe and America, Studies In Yiddish, 11 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Koller, Estraikh, and Krutikov 2013: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Koller, Estraikh, and Krutikov 2013: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


This Legenda title was first published by Modern Humanities Research Association and Maney Publishing but rights to it are now held by Modern Humanities Research Association and Routledge.

Routledge distributes this title on behalf on Legenda. You can search for it at their site by following this link.


Permanent link to this title: