Theses Doctoral

The Evolution of the Literary Neo-Hasid

Masor, Alyssa

Depictions of Hasidim changed drastically around the turn of the century in Yiddish literature. This thesis tracks this change from the early Haskalah until the Holocaust. In general, depictions of the Hasid in the nineteenth century tended to be quite negative; however, the first chapter will establish a counter-narrative of maskilim who defended Hasidism, or even discerned in it positive qualities. These maskilim set the stage for the blossoming of neo-Hasidism in Yiddish literature.

The second chapter is devoted to I. L. Peretz, who appropriated the Hasidic genre and transformed it into a neo-Romantic vehicle for preserving and building national identity. Peretz inspired several generations of Yiddish writers with his tales, including Aaron Zeitlin, whose Hasidic-themed poetry was a synthesis of modernism and mysticism and is the subject of the third chapter. Finally, the fourth chapter examines how Fishl Shneyerson used Hasidic concepts to create a new theory of psychology and a universal springboard for transcendence.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Germanic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Dauber, Jeremy A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 6, 2011