Journeys Beyond The Pale: Yiddish Travel Writing In The by Leah Garrett

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By Leah Garrett

An exam of ways Yiddish writers, from Mendele Moycher Sforim to Der Nister to the famed Sholem Aleichem, used motifs of go back and forth to specific their complex courting with modernization.

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Additional info for Journeys Beyond The Pale: Yiddish Travel Writing In The Modern World

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Mendele, moreover, Judaized the space beyond the shtetl by consistently using a system heavily embedded with Jewish iconography to describe it. Mendele was most comfortable in the broader world and in natural settings. Yet the broader world, as it was described in the tales, was a Judaized rendering, with Christians few and far between. ”54 As a literary tool, the mobility of Sholem Aleichem, like that of Mendele, was a means for situating the tale within a “real” voice of the people, traversing literary borders, and making the story part of a dialogue.

Ask the goy, Senderl, if he happens to have heard of Mount Nisbon and the heretic el-Torak? Ask him if he knows anything about the Ten Lost Tribes. . Go ahead, maybe he does. . ” Senderl might say, asking if their captain knew of any lost Jews. ” Senderl would expostulate. ” (“Explain to him what a mountain is, Senderl,” Benjamin would urge. )44 The Christian cannot understand Benjamin and Senderl’s garbled Ukrainian. Moreover, he does not live in the same bipolar mythic landscape of the Jewish characters.

Within the book other characters enact his chivalric imaginings by playing the parts of knights, damsels in distress, and the like. While the other characters inhabit the “surface La Mancha,” they at times pretend to be characters of Don Quixote’s imagined La Mancha. 39 Only Don Quixote lacks the ability to enter and exit the mad realm at will and instead is the sole inhabitant of the mirage La Mancha. 40 Moreover, the bipolar reality of Don Quixote is singular, with no stark division between Benjamin’s madness and the rest of the world’s sanity.

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