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Adventures in Yiddishland examines the transformation of Yiddish in the six decades since the Holocaust, tracing its shift from the language of daily life for millions of Jews to what the author terms a postvernacular language of diverse and expanding symbolic value. With a thorough command of modern Yiddish culture as well as its centuries-old history, Jeffrey Shandler investigates the remarkable diversity of contemporary encounters with the language. His study traverses the broad spectrum of people who engage with Yiddish—from Hasidim to avant-garde performers, Jews as well as non-Jews, fluent speakers as well as those who know little or no Yiddish—in communities across the Americas, in Europe, Israel, and other outposts of "Yiddishland."
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Postvernacularity, or Speaking of Yiddish
1. Imagining Yiddishland
2. Beyond the Mother Tongue
3. Founded in Translation
4. Yiddish as Performance Art
5. Absolut Tchotchke
6. Wanted Dead or Alive?
Jeffrey Shandler is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. He is author of While America Watches: Televising the Holocaust (1999), editor of Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust (2002), and coauthor of Entertaining America: Jews, Movies, and Broadcasting (2003), among other books. He lives in New York.
“Opens a new genre within the fields of Yiddish and pop culture. . . .He has offered an elegant framework for integrating contemporary trends in Yiddish culture into a system for better understanding culture, community, and scholarship today.”—Amanda Glaser Sh’ma: A Journal Of Jewish Responsibility
“Adventures in Yiddishland
presents a familiar phenomenon in American-Jewish culture that has rarely been seen before. Shandler has a thorough command not only of contemporary Yiddish, but indeed in all its historical stages.”—Naomi Seidman, author of A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish
"A brilliant and original take on Yiddish in the post-World War II period. The book is beautifully conceived, thoroughly researched, logically structured, and clearly written. The writing is lively and the argument is clear and richly documented. While the focus is on post-World War II America, the book reaches back in time to virtually the entire history of Yiddish, but especially Yiddish in the modern period."—Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, author of Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage