This book studies Jewish literature and culture by situating authors from Isaac Babel and David Bergelson to Osip Mandelshtam, Perets Markish, Dina Rubina, and Inna Lesovaia in the same literary universe in which the framework for creativity is provided by modernism and socialist realism, revolution and catastrophe, as well as traditional Jewish writings such as the Hebrew Bible. It discusses Yiddish literature and the terms “Soviet Yiddish,” “Russian-Jewish literature,” and “Jewish literature in Russian”—that is, Russian-language work with Jewish themes written by Jews. Because it addresses cultural production in Soviet Russia in general, the book considers works written by Jews without any apparent Jewish content and examines the question of what constitutes Jewish literature. It also explores the socialist realist manipulation of time, narrative, and memory, focusing mostly on prose. In particular, it offers readings of poetry by Markish, Mandelshtam, Boris Slutskii, Semen Lipkin, and Il'ia Sel'vinskii.
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