A growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish identity.
Modernism and the Yiddish Picaresque Novel
Miriam Udel, assistant professor of German Studies and Jewish Studies at Emory University, speaks about her work involving modernism and the evolution of the novel. She suggests that modernist literature -- and, in particular, Yiddish modernist literature -- can be characterized as a sort of revival of the picaresque, a literary form from sixteenth-century Spain that involves a non-linear first-person narration from a marginalized speaker. This form, she explains, "was the perfect vehicle for talking about the modern Jewish condition" in the "essentially chaotic society" of Europe.
This is an excerpt from an oral history with Miriam Udel.
This excerpt is in English.
Miriam Udel was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1976.
This interview is part of the Yiddish in the Academy: scholars, language instructors, and students series.
Other video highlights from this oral history
Modernism and the Yiddish Picaresque Novel3 minutes 53 seconds
Bat Mitzvah Tutoring, a Spanish Bookstore, and Guarapo2 minutes 4 seconds
Translation Keeps You At Arm's Length1 minute 38 seconds
Reflections on Ruth Wisse, "Doktormama" and My Introduction to Yiddish6 minutes 45 seconds
“A Herring Is Also A Fish”: On Yiddish, Insecurity, and Being A Yiddishist in the 21st Century3 minutes 14 seconds
“I Have to Tell You, Your Yiddish is Very Strange”: Speaking Yiddish with Hadism3 minutes 20 seconds
The "Mysterious Alchemy" of Embracing Yiddish1 minute 46 seconds
Singing Yiddish To Seniors: Community Engaged Learning at Emory3 minutes 53 seconds
"Find the parts that really do resonate with you, and then pursue them”: Advice to Yiddish Students1 minute 24 seconds
More information about this oral history excerpt
About the Wexler Oral History Project
Since 2010, the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project has recorded more than 500 in-depth video interviews that provide a deeper understanding of the Jewish experience and the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture.
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