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By Jeffrey Shandler

Adventures in Yiddishland examines the transformation of Yiddish within the six a long time because the Holocaust, tracing its shift from the language of way of life for thousands of Jews to what the writer phrases a postvernacular language of various and increasing symbolic worth. With a radical command of recent Yiddish tradition in addition to its centuries-old heritage, Jeffrey Shandler investigates the extraordinary variety of latest encounters with the language. His examine traverses the vast spectrum of people that interact with Yiddish--from Hasidim to avant-garde performers, Jews in addition to non-Jews, fluent audio system in addition to those that be aware of very little Yiddish--in groups around the Americas, in Europe, Israel, and different outposts of ''Yiddishland.''

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Additional info for Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture. S. Mark Taper Foundation Imprint in Jewish Studies

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48 Such devotion to Yiddish as an act of remembrance and of a defiant Jewish persistence in the face of genocide elides the fundamental questioning of the language’s future, which was pervasive, if often tacit, in early postwar Yiddish culture. 49 Abraham Sutzkever, who settled in Palestine in 1947 and would eventually emerge as the doyen of Yiddish poetry in Israel, challenged the new state’s dismissal of Yiddish. In a poem written in 1948, he asked that if someone knows “exactly in what region” the fruits of Yiddish culture Are straying to their sunset— Could he please show me Where the language will go down?

17 No more elaborate vision of the geopolitical implications of Yiddish can be found than in the writings of pioneering secular Yiddishist ideologist Chaim Zhitlowski; these are among the earliest published evocations of Yiddishland. In his 1913 essay “In a yidisher medine” (In a Jewish/Yiddish State), Zhitlowski characterizes the time and place of his childhood as a model of Jewish cultural and socioeconomic autonomy centered on the Yiddish language: I spent my childhood years in a purely Jewish/Yiddish environment [in a reyn yidisher svive].

Chapter 3 considers the role that literary translations from and into Yiddish have played in the conceptualization of Yiddish culture, beginning with the earliest works of Yiddish literature in print and concluding with certain recent translations of works of world literature into Yiddish, which exemplify postvernacularity’s distinctive privileging of a language’s symbolic level of meaning. Translations also provide the opportunity to consider the significance of Yiddish in relation to other languages.

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