April 17, 2014, 14:00. Alumni Hall, Rm 400, 121 St. Joseph Street.
Amelia Glaser (University California, San Diego): “Sholem Aleichem, Russian Literary Critic”
When Sholem Rabinovich (Sholem Aleichem) began writing Yiddish fiction, he was steeped in Russian literature. With only a few Yiddish humorists on which to model his prose, he based important aspects of his persona and poetics on exemplars from the Russian canon, in particular Gogol. Sholem Aleichem, beyond encouraging a comparison between himself and Gogol, also consciously modeled elements of his writing on Turgenev, Saltykov-Schedryn and his younger contemporary Maxim Gorky. In order to understand the intimate relationship between the writer canonized as the father of Yiddish prose (particularly in Russia) and the Russian literature he read, we must examine not only what Sholem Aleichem was borrowing from his Russian models, but what he was critiquing. By considering Sholem Aleichem as a critical reader of Russian literature, we begin to glean the importance of nineteenth century Russian literature to what was, at the turn of the twentieth century, a still-nascent Yiddish canon. This talk is drawn from the recent book, Jews and Ukrainians in Russia’s Literary Borderlands: From the Shtetl Fair to the Petersburg Bookshop (Northwestern U.P., 2012).
Amelia Glaser is Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, and Chair of the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies program at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of Jews and Ukrainians in Russia’s Literary Borderlands: From the Shtetl Fair to the Petersburg Bookshop (Northwestern U.P., 2012), and the translator and editor of Proletpen: America’s Rebel Yiddish Poets (U. Wisconsin Press, 2005).
Sponsored by CERES. Co-sponsored by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Al and Malka Green Program in Yiddish Studies, Centre for Jewish Studies, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures, Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine, MellonFoundation