The Yiddish Book Center's
Wexler Oral History Project
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
“A Herring Is Also A Fish”: On Yiddish, Insecurity, and Being A Yiddishist in the 21st Century
3 min 14 sec
Slide 3 of 8
“I Have to Tell You, Your Yiddish is Very Strange”: Speaking Yiddish with Hadism
3 min 20 sec
Slide 4 of 8