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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

Yiddish Life: On Page, On Stage, On Screen (3 cr)
Dov-Ber Kerler
GER-E 351 Topics in Yiddish Literature (34053) / CMLT-C 377 Topics in Yiddish Literature (34094) 
2nd 8 week course
MW 4:00-6:15 (Woodburn 203)

Meets with GER-Y 505 (34054) 

This course will offer a number of literary, cinematic, and historicized insights into the late 19th and early 20th century life of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe and America. Until WW1 there were about 11 million native Yiddish speakers primarily in Eastern Europe, but increasingly also in North and Latin Americas, as well as pre WW2 Central Europe. We will read and discuss two major works of modern Yiddish literature (fiction and drama) and one short American novel written in 1896 (in a partially Yiddish-intoned English). Watch and critically review films – cinematic adaptations of these three literary works, as well as discuss a few short Yiddish stories and address the history and role of modern Yiddish drama and theater.

Apart from general overview to the historical and socio-cultural aspects of modern Yiddish culture, this course will also address issues of (1) fantasy, realism and fiction, (2) the notion of a “national” literature and its role in the so-called “world literature,” (3) various specific concerns of a cinematic adaptation of a literary work, (4) the role of drama, theater (and perhaps also cinema) in the cultural public make-up of a stateless national group both in Europe and North America.