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Music from a Speeding TrainJewish Literature in Post-Revolution Russia$
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Harriet Murav

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804774437

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804774437.001.0001

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Jewish Spaces and Retro-Shtetls

Jewish Spaces and Retro-Shtetls

(p.245) Six Jewish Spaces and Retro-Shtetls
Music from a Speeding Train
Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on the connection between the classic Yiddish literary imagination of the shtetl and Yiddish literature before and after World War II, focusing on the works of such authors as David Bergelson, Itsik Kipnis, and Shmuel Gordon, as well as Inna Lesovaia, Grigorii Kanovich, and Fridrikh Gorenshtein. These authors situate the Jewish home in the former Pale of Settlement, which is something in between a wasteland and the site of full plenitude and unbroken tradition. The chapter considers how Jewish Jews live in a Jewish world and how Jewish literature represents and imagines the survival and continuing existence of the Jewish body politic in Jewish places in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia following the massive destructions of the twentieth century. In his two-volume autobiographical novel Baym Dnyeper (At the Dnieper), Bergelson takes the notion of continuous, ordered time with him from the shtetl into the world beyond. The shtetl is also the focus of Kipnis's autobiographical fiction Untervegns (On the road).

Keywords:   Yiddish literature, shtetl, Jewish literature, Jews, Jewish life, Jewish spaces, Pale of Settlement, body politic, David Bergelson, Itsik Kipnis

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