Real and imaginary Yiddishland. A journey along the borders of a borderless nation

Article in journal
Materia Giudaica 24 (2019), pp. 473-484, ISSN: 2282-4499, ISBN: 978-8880578314

Tags: Jewish-American literature | Literary criticism | Yiddish | Yiddish literature


Yiddishland is a concept variously applied to manifestations of Yiddish culture, although its definition is problematic due to both translation issues and the deterritorialized nature of Yiddish cultural, linguistic, and national space. This paper will explore various instances and understandings of Yiddishland throughout history, including Yiddish nationalism, the revolutionary experience, and the Birobidzhan experiment. Re-enactments of Yiddishland following the sudden disappearance of the Ashkenazi homeland in Eastern Europe will be analysed, as well as depictions of Yiddishland in post-Holocaust fiction. The conclusion will emerge that despite its inherently diasporic nature, Yiddishland in all its instances appears as deeply rooted in a pre-war Eastern European landscape.


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