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How Strange the ChangeLanguage, Temporality, and Narrative Form in Peripheral Modernisms$
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Marc Caplan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804774765

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804774765.001.0001

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Conclusion: At the Limits of the Periphery

Conclusion: At the Limits of the Periphery

The Future of the “Minor” in Minority Literatures

(p.245) Conclusion: At the Limits of the Periphery
How Strange the Change
Stanford University Press

Peripheral literature is an affirmation of difference in the midst of conformity, of a community that is at once both collective and private. An automatic expression of Ashkenazic Jewish peripherality is Yiddish literature, which essentially ended in the decade before World War I erupted. According to Benyomin Moss, 1905 was the period separating the Yiddish literature of the nineteenth century from that of the twentieth. After World War II, Yiddish writing shifted its focus on commemoration. Current Jewish literature is divided along national and functional lines, raising the question of whether a single, unified concept of Jewish literature can be achieved. Authors such as Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, Sholem Aleichem, and Sh. Y. Agnon articulate the peripherality of Jews in relation to the experience of Western modernity. Another issue is the essential conflict in Ashkenazic modernity between Hasidism and haskole, along with the dilemma faced by Jewish and African literature caught between traditional hegemony and imperial modernity.

Keywords:   Yiddish literature, peripheral literature, Jewish literature, African literature, modernity, Jews, peripherality, Hasidism, haskole, commemoration

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