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From Kabbalah to Class StruggleExpressionism, Marxism, and Yiddish Literature in the Life and Work of Meir Wiener$
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Mikhail Krutikov

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804770071

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804770071.001.0001

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Folklore, Language, and the Haskalah

Folklore, Language, and the Haskalah

(p.168) Five Folklore, Language, and the Haskalah
From Kabbalah to Class Struggle
Stanford University Press

Meir Wiener linked the development of modern Yiddish literature to the collective creativity of the Jewish masses, viewed the study of folklore as part of literary studies, and also argued that modern Yiddish culture resulted from the interaction of folklore and Haskalah. He saw Soviet ethnography as a Marxist reconstruction of the culture of the oppressed classes and accused contemporary Yiddish folklorists abroad of still practicing the “bourgeois-nationalist” approach of S. An-sky (Shloyme-Zanvl Rappoport). This chapter examines Wiener's theory of folklore and its role in the emergence of Yiddish literature, along with its relation to language and the Haskalah. It also considers Wiener's views about the problem of Jewish military conscription, the place of Yisroel Aksenfeld and Shloyme Etinger in his arguments, and his use of Marxism to develop a conceptual framework that incorporated literary and social aspects of Jewish cultural development in the Russian Empire during the early nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Meir Wiener, Yiddish literature, folklore, Haskalah, Yiddish culture, Marxism, language, military conscription, Yisroel Aksenfeld, Shloyme Etinger

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