Yiddish writer Avrom Sutzkever (1913–2010) was described by the New York Times as “the greatest poet of the Holocaust.” Born in present-day Belarus, Sutzkever spent his childhood as a war refugee in Siberia, returned to Poland to participate in the interwar flourishing of Yiddish culture, was confined to the Vilna ghetto during the Nazi occupation, escaped to join the Jewish partisans, and settled in the new state of Israel after the war. Personal and political, mystical and national, his body of work, including more than two dozen volumes of poetry, several of stories, and a memoir, demonstrated the ways in which Yiddish creativity simultaneously balanced the imperatives of mourning and revival after the Holocaust. In The Full Pomegranate, Richard J. Fein selects and translates some of Sutzkever’s best poems covering the full breadth of his career. Fein’s translations appear alongside the original Yiddish, while an introduction by Justin Cammy situates Sutzkever in both historical and literary context.
Over the past four decades Ruth R. Wisse has been a leading scholar of Yiddish and Jewish literary studies in North America, and one of our most fearless public intellectuals on issues relating to Jewish society, culture, and politics. In this celebratory volume, edited by four of her former students, Wisse's colleagues take as a starting point her award-winning book The Modern Jewish Canon (2000) and explore an array of topics that touch on aspects of Yiddish, Hebrew, Israeli, American, European, and Holocaust literature. Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon brings together writers both seasoned and young, from both within and beyond the academy, to reflect the diversity of Wisse's areas of expertise and reading audiences. The volume also includes a translation of one of the first modern texts on the question of Jewish literature, penned in 1888 by Sholem Aleichem, as well as a comprehensive bibliography of Wisse's scholarship. In its richness and heft, Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon itself constitutes an important scholarly achievement in the field of modern Jewish literature.
Justin Cammy and Hinde Bergner
The reader is given an intimate memoir of Jewish adolescence and life from a young woman's perspective in an Eastern European shtetl at the end of the nineteenth century. Hinde Bergner, future mother of one of Yiddish literature's greatest poets and grandmother of one of Israel's leading painters, recalls the gradual impact of modernization on a traditional world as she finds herself caught between her thirst for a European education and true love, and the expectations of her traditional family. Written during the late 1930s as a series of episodes mailed to her children, and never completed due to Bergner's murder at the hand of the Nazis, the memoir provides details about her teachers and matchmakers, domestic religion and customs, and the colorful characters that peopled a Jewish world that is no more. Translated from the Yiddish and with a critical introduction by Justin Cammy, it is a lively addition to the library of Jewish women's memoir, and should be of interest to students of Eastern European Jewish culture and women's studies.
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