Germanic Languages | Topics in Yiddish Literature
Y505 | 12687 | D. Kerler


Topic: LOVE, SOUL, AND DESTINY IN MODERN YIDDISH FICTION

This course will offer a survey of modern Yiddish culture while
focusing on close readings and discussion of a number of major
Yiddish or Yiddish-related works (Yiddish prose and drama – all in
English translation), one American novella written in English, and
viewing and contrastively analyzing two major Yiddish films from the
late 1930s (one based on an eminent play and one on a major literary
work).

The literary works, which will be read and discussed, deal with some
of the central aspects of the human condition and modern Jewish
experience in the face of secularization and political turmoil in
Eastern Europe, and radical modernization in America since the late
19th century. These include: new possibilities (some real, some
imagined) for personal and social change; new ethical and moral
dilemmas in view of rapid secularization (the decline of religious
belief system and the traditional way of life); the clash between
individual and “progressive” collective aspirations on the one hand
and the overwhelmingly and often fatefully contrary effect of the
existing social, political, and economical realities on the other
hand.

Class meets with GER-E 351, and CMLT-C 377

Spring Semester, 2008, second 8-week only