The rise of modern Yiddish culture /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Fishman, David E., 1957-
Imprint:Pittsburgh, PA : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2005.
Description:x, 190 p. ; 24 cm.
Series:Pitt series in Russian and East European studies
Subject:Yiddish language -- Europe, Eastern -- History -- 19th century.
Yiddish language -- Europe, Eastern -- History -- 20th century.
Yiddish language -- Social aspects -- Europe, Eastern.
Yiddish language -- Political aspects -- Europe, Eastern.
Jews -- Europe, Eastern -- Intellectual life.
Jews -- Europe, Eastern -- Politics and government.
Yiddishists -- Europe, Eastern.
Jews -- Intellectual life.
Jews -- Politics and government.
Yiddish language.
Yiddish language -- Political aspects.
Yiddish language -- Social aspects.
Europe, Eastern.
Format: Print Book
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ISBN:0822942720 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Notes:Includes bibliographical references (p. 155-182) and index.
Review by Choice Review

Although readership of Yiddish has declined--in part because of the Nazis' decimation of Eastern European Jews whose primary tongue was Yiddish--academic study of Yiddish has increased significantly. So although stark figures of Jewish demography suggest no renewal of the Jewish vernacular, one can enjoy some measure of satisfaction from the rich scholarship now available (e.g., Dovid Katz's Words on Fire, CH, Jun'05, 42-5702; Emanuel Goldsmith's Modern Yiddish Culture, 1987). Fishman (history, Jewish Theological Seminary) offers a brilliant overview of the cultural, political, and intellectual conditions present at the birth of Yiddish culture, when it emerged from the orthodox religious societies that characterized Jewish life. He stresses the fact that Yiddish culture went beyond the confines of literature and art to become the language of science, politics, social studies, education, and journalism. Covering all aspects of Yiddish culture, Yiddish functioned as the language of secularism and by the mid-19th century had penetrated all areas of Jewish life. In discussing the bitter controversy between Chaim Zhitlovsky and I. L. Peretz over the contours of Jewish cultural nationalism, the author illustrates that the rise of Yiddish was neither simple nor uncontested. A lucid and important contribution to Jewish cultural history. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. Butovsky emeritus, Concordia University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review