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On the Margins of Modernism

Decentering Literary Dynamics

Chana Kronfeld (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 275 pages
ISBN: 9780520083479
November 1996
$31.95, £27.00
Modernism valorizes the marginal, the exile, the "other"—yet we tend to use writing from the most commonly read European languages (English, French, German) as examples of this marginality. Chana Kronfeld counters these dominant models of marginality by looking instead at modernist poetry written in two decentered languages, Hebrew and Yiddish. What results is a bold new model of literary dynamics, one less tied to canonical norms, less limited geographically, and less in danger of universalizing the experience of minority writers.

Kronfeld examines the interpenetrations of modernist groupings through examples of Hebrew and Yiddish poetry in Europe, the U.S., and Israel. Her discussions of Amichai, Fogel, Raab, Halpern, Markish, Hofshteyn, and Sutskever will be welcomed by students of modernism in general and Hebrew and Yiddish literatures in particular.
Chana Kronfeld is Associate Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the coeditor of David Fogel: The Emergence of Hebrew Modernism (1993).
"A remarkable study. . . . The first book of its kind and essential for any future discussion of modernism and its embattled boundaries."—Françoise Meltzer, author of Hot Property

"One of the very best books of literary criticism, literary scholarship, or literary theory I have ever read. . . . It illuminates interrelationships between historical studies and theory in any humanist discipline."—Menachim Brinker, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

"A milestone in the study of modern Jewish literature. It seriously engages and recontextualizes all the scholarship that came before, and by so doing sets it on a new course: applying a rigorous definition of modernism yet insistent upon methodological diversity; deeply grounded in Hebrew culture yet unabashedly diaspora-centered. This is not a book that readers will take lightly."—David G. Roskies, author of Against the Apocalypse

1996 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, Modern Language Association.

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