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Title:Afterlives: Translations of German Weltliteratur Into Yiddish
Author(s):Blau, Amy Rebecca
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Palencia-Roth, Michael; Murav, Harriet
Department / Program:Comparative Literature
Discipline:Comparative Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Abstract:My dissertation examines the Yiddish translation and reception of canonical German texts to trace the changes in the cultural value placed on German language and literature in Yiddish discourse at significant points of historical transition between 1876 and 1966. I compare German literary texts with their Yiddish translations in the context of contemporary understandings of world literature and Jewish literature. At a time when the ideals of German education, Bildung, were foundational for the Jewish Enlightenment in Eastern Europe, the translations into Yiddish of classic texts by Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller show an effort to bring these significant works to Yiddish readers who could not read German, as well as to bring German vocabulary into their language. Translation was also part of a program to prove the worth of Yiddish as a literary language, demonstrating that it was equal to the challenge of presenting world masterpieces. Following World War I, Yiddish translations from German literature included an increasing number of works with more popular, contemporary themes, particularly those dealing with the events of the war itself (by such authors as Erich Maria Remarque, Andreas Latzko, Ernst Toller, Leonhard Frank, and Ludwig Renn) that did not necessarily include Jewish content. After the elimination of a vast population of Yiddish speakers and writers in the Shoah, Yiddish translators of German literature almost exclusively translated Jewish authors. When the content of the translated text, or the author himself, is not understood as authentically Jewish, the text becomes an object lesson in deracination, an example of a way of life to avoid. Yiddish reception of Stefan Zweig reveals great anxiety about the appropriate ways to express Jewish identity. The Yiddish reception of Franz Kafka, in contrast, reflects a desire to make him part of a Jewish literary canon.
Issue Date:2005
Description:318 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3198928
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2005

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