Jacob Glatstein and Yiddish Rage with Sunny Yudkoff and Saul Zaritt

Presented on Zoom, June 22, 2021

Jacob Glatstein was a central figure in the American Yiddish world of the twentieth century, a celebrated modernist poet and cultural critic whose writing spanned the gap between interwar modernism and postwar recovery. In this talk, Professors Sunny Yudkoff (University of Wisconsin–Madison) and Saul Zaritt (Harvard University) share from their research on Glatstein, discussing a range of texts that demonstrate Glatstein’s sustained and ever-changing creativity, his theorization of Yiddish as a language of art and folk, and his complex meditations on the convergence of Jewish life and the modern world. Yudkoff and Zaritt focus on a series of texts that mark out different periods in Glatstein’s life, poetic experimentation, and understanding of what it means to write in Yiddish in America. These include the poems “1919” (1919), “Good Night World” (1938), “A Sunday Shtetl” (1956), and a selection from Glatstein’s reflections on Yiddish in world literature.

About the Speakers:

Sunny Yudkoff is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic, as well as the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies. She is the director of UW’s Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture. Her first book, Tubercular Capital: Illness and the Conditions of Modern Jewish Writing, was published with Stanford University Press (2019) and was awarded the Salo Wittmayer Baron book Prize. She is currently at work on her second monograph, entitled Against Jewish Humor: Toward a Theory of Yiddish Joy.

Saul Noam Zaritt is an associate professor of Yiddish Studies at Harvard University, in the departments of Comparative Literature and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He is the author of Jewish American Writing and World Literature: Maybe to Millions, Maybe to Nobody, published with Oxford University Press in 2020. He is a founding editor of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. He is currently at work on his second book, A taytsh Manifesto: Yiddish, Translation, and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture.