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Theses Doctoral

“Groyse goyim”: On the Translation of World Literature into Yiddish, 1869-1935

Price, Joshua

This dissertation explores the history of the translation of world literature into Yiddish through a series of interconnected case studies, stretching from the “founding” decade of modern Yiddish literature through its interwar acme. It features diachronic studies of single translator-authors (Sh. Y. Abramovitsh; Der Nister; Isaac Bashevis Singer) which consider the relationship between translations and original writing; synchronic views of transformative moments in Yiddish literary (translational) history across its multiple centers (1903; 1910; New York, Warsaw, Moscow); and “distant” readings of periodicals and anthologies with an eye to their particular explicit and implicit translation theories and practices as well as to the role of editors and publishers (Sholem Aleichem; Avrom Reyzen) in shaping both real and imagined literary markets. Throughout, it mobilizes the chronically-neglected genre of homegrown Yiddish literary criticism and theory (I.L. Peretz, Chaim Zhitlowsky, Moyshe Litvakov) in the hopes of understanding the shifting stakes and meanings of translation on the terms of translators, authors, critics, and readers themselves. By attending to the ways in which translations functioned as both sources of livelihood and engines of literary growth, this dissertation examines the desired and intermittently realized modernization and “normalization” of Yiddish literature on the world stage.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Germanic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Dauber, Jeremy A.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 26, 2020